Here is AFT President Randi Weingarten’s Statement on the Offensive Time Magazine Cover:
On Monday, Nov. 3, this cover will be in every supermarket checkout line and newsstand across the country—and it’s already online.
When I saw this today, I felt sick. This Time cover isn’t trying to foster a serious dialogue about solutions our schools need—it’s intentionally creating controversy to sell more copies.
The millionaires and billionaires sponsoring these attacks on teacher tenure claim they want to get great teachers into the schools that serve high-need kids. It’s a noble goal, but stripping teachers of their protections won’t help.
In fact, this blame-and-shame approach only leads to low morale and high turnover, making it even harder to get great teachers into classrooms. Just today, constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky wrote a fact-based argument 1 that tenure protections help recruit and retain high-quality teachers! In fact, there is a strong correlation between states with strong teacher tenure and high student performance.
But rather than use the cover to put the spotlight on the people using their wealth to change education policy, Time’s editors decided to sensationalize the topic and blame the educators who dedicate their lives to serving students. The cover is particularly disappointing because the articles inside the magazine present a much more balanced view of the issue. But for millions of Americans, all they’ll see is the cover and its misleading attack on teachers.
When we work together instead of pointing fingers, we know we can help students succeed.
In places like New Haven, Conn., Lawrence, Mass., Los Angeles’ ABC school district and many others, union-district collaboration is leading to real change2.
When we collaborate, we’re able to recruit AND retain high-quality teachers, and reclaim the promise of a high-quality education for every student.
But instead of a real debate, Time is using the cover to sensationalize the issue so it can sell magazines.
We need to have a substantive, facts-based conversation about the challenges our schools face and the real solutions that will help educators and kids succeed.
Help us tell Time that blaming teachers isn’t the way to help struggling schools.