Statement by President Diann Woodard on AFT President Randi Weingarten’s Opening Speech for the TEACH Conference 2013

As we step forward into the 2013-2014 school year, President Weingarten is correct in calling for a united front among parents, educators and community members in reclaiming the promise of public education. The voices of educators and parents have been ignored for too long.

Facing more attacks than ever, the time is now for us as public educators to lead the way in steering the national conversation away from top-down approaches of reform toward solutions that include the tools and opportunities students from all walks of life need to succeed.

Additionally we must not allow assessment-obsessed education reformers to marginalize one of the most important and crucial goals of the Common Core Standards—successfully closing the achievement gap. As Weingarten so correctly said, “the tests are not the reforms.”

Common Core Standards offer promising solutions, but they must be implemented in a way that sufficiently prepares our educators and students. If our nation is looking for common standards, there must be common support and funding opportunities in place for all districts and states.