Gun violence is a tragic, pervasive part of American life. Assassins’ bullets have felled presidents and national icons. Americans are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun than residents of other developed countries. Even those who had grown numb to the everyday carnage were shaken last month by the unthinkable murder of the most innocent of innocents—young children in their classrooms. In the weeks since the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., more than 900 people in the United States have died from gun violence. This must end. Read Weingarten's column.
The AFT is mourning the deaths of 26 children and educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and has begun transforming our grief into comfort and support for the community, as well as advocating for saner national policies on guns and mental health services.
"Raising the Bar—Aligning and Elevating Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession," issued by the AFT Teacher Preparation Task Force, urges a move toward a systemic approach to preparing teachers and a more rigorous threshold to ensure that every teacher is ready to teach. The report says that all future teachers should be required to meet a universal and rigorous bar that gauges mastery of subject-matter knowledge, much like the bar exam lawyers must take before they can enter the legal profession.
The AFT has launched the second phase of its campaign against excessive testing, Learning Is More Than a Test Score, which will include a policy agenda that takes into account what we learn from teachers, parents and others.
The AFL-CIO has launched its 2012 AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch site—now called CEO Pay and the 99%—which includes the most comprehensive data available on 2011 executive pay. All the data available is searchable by industry, by state and by the top 100 highest-paid CEOs.
Many studies over the years have documented the need for smoother transitions from prekindergarten to the elementary level. A new AFT report reinforces that conclusion—and does it in a manner that puts frontline voices at the heart of the dialogue.