Quotes by: Randi Weingarten
Randi Weingarten in 2008
December 18, 1957 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
||Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
||Trade union leader; attorney
||President, American Federation of Teachers
Former president, United Federation of Teachers
There is a recognition that Second Amendment rights, like First Amendment and other rights, come with responsibilities and limitations. There is no reason both sides of the gun debate can't support policies that both protect the right to legally own guns for sport and safety, and reduce the likelihood of mass fatalities.
I loved teaching social studies. And I loved starting each year by teaching about John Locke and the social contract. That lesson helped me teach not just about our rules for the classroom, but how, in our democracy, we give up some individual rights to ensure we collectively have the right to live and prosper in a society.
We know that reading to children is a crucial step. From the beginning, babies who are read to are exposed to the cadence of language, and school-age children who read at home for 15 minutes a day are exposed to millions of words.
While books expand horizons by exposing us to worlds outside our own, children also need to see themselves, their experiences and their cultures reflected in books they read. Unfortunately, for too many children, this is not the norm.
Learning should be engaging. Testing should not be the be all and end all. All students should have a broad curriculum that includes the arts and enrichment. Students should have opportunities to work in teams and engage in project-based learning. And student and family well-being should be front and center.
America always pivots between collective responsibility and the idea that the individual can pull himself up by his bootstraps.
There are essential elements for our public schools to fully develop the potential of both students and educators. They should be centers of community, where students, families and educators work together to support student success. They should foster collaboration.
Standardized testing is at cross purposes with many of the most important purposes of public education. It doesn't measure big-picture learning, critical thinking, perseverance, problem solving, creativity or curiosity, yet those are the qualities great teaching brings out in a student.
We all have a stake in ensuring that all students have the schools they deserve and that communities are leading this effort, not being left behind. To do that, we must challenge unchecked charter expansion and the forces driving it.
Where educators are raising and combining their voices, the seeds of positive change have emerged. Collective voice, exercised through the union, is power - the power to drive real change for our kids, families and communities.
A high-quality public education can build much-needed skills and knowledge. It can help children reach their God-given potential. It can stabilize communities and democracies. It can strengthen economies. It can combat the kind of fear and despair that evolves into hatred.
There's no silver bullet when it comes to helping all children achieve. Great public schools are our best shot.
White Americans can go a long time without ever thinking about the color of their skin. Black and brown Americans have no choice but to confront issues of race every day.
If we want to recruit and retain high-quality teachers, it starts with a fair wage, adequate working conditions, and the resources and support to succeed. Remember: teachers' working conditions are students' learning conditions.
When I taught, the way in which we got evaluated is what I used to call the drive-by evaluation. Somebody would come in for 20 minutes with a checklist, and that would be your evaluation. So it was clearly a snapshot.
I'm such a stereotypical female learner in that I love social studies and love literature, and I always struggled with math and science.
It's hard work to ensure that all schools are safe and welcoming places for all children. It means changing policies, practices and cultures; providing school support personnel; and funding programs like restorative justice - not simply resorting to excessive and often discriminatory discipline.
I remember the first day of school my first year in the classroom. My stomach churned with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Could I do the job? Could I connect with the kids? Will there be the chemistry to build relationships and get the job done, or will I totally flop?
Many schools desperately need caring professionals like guidance counselors and social workers to ensure students' emotional, social and educational needs are met. But proposals to arm teachers are irresponsible and dangerous. The role of educators is to teach and nurture our children, not to be armed guards.
Public schooling fosters our common identity as Americans sharing a land of diversity. It promotes the American ideal of opportunity for all, not just some. It cultivates the civic values of respecting individuals as well as collective responsibility.
I can't imagine my life without books. My father was an electrical engineer, and my mother was a public school teacher. Books were an integral part of my childhood.
For me, the labor movement and public education are linked as the essential building blocks to a strong middle class and a path to the American dream. It's why I went to Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations as an undergrad and then to law school.
High-quality alternative educational settings should be available when students violate codes of conduct and need to be removed from the classroom while still maintaining access to instruction. And there must be social, health and psychological services to address students' needs.
Teaching is a profession in which capacity building should occur at every stage of the career - novices working with accomplished colleagues, skillful teachers sharing their craft, and opportunities for teacher leadership.