Randi Weingarten, new president of the American Federation of Teachers, has optimistic plans for the success of public schools. Weingarten’s vision is to create a comprehensive design that would integrate education into a center that serves the community- a place where underprivileged students are offered more than just classroom learning time. Sam Dillon wrote about her plans in an interesting New York Times article, “New Vision for Schools Proposes Broad Role.”

“Imagine schools that are open all day and offer after-school and evening recreational activities and homework assistance,” Weingarten said. “Suppose the schools included childcare and dental, medical and counseling clinics.”

Weingarten hopes to blend government funded programs and education under one school-roof. For Weingarten, government-supported programs such as child care and dental care combined with classroom education will create a public school utopia.

“Imagine if schools had the education resources we have long advocated…so no child feels anonymous,” she said.

In a recent speech in Chicago, Weingarten criticized the No Child Left Behind Law as “too badly broken to be fixed,” according to the New York Times article. She claims No Child Left Behind is doing a “huge disservice to America.”

Instead of changing the No Child Left Behind law, which she believes is too big of a mess to work with, Weingarten outlined a plan that takes a huge leap from the current education laws.

“Can you imagine a federal law that promoted community schools — schools that serve the neediest children by bringing together under one roof all the services and activities they and their families need?” Ms. Weingarten asked in the speech.

In the upcoming presidential election, education needs to be a priority and whoever the next president may be, he needs to believe in the youth of America, said Weingarten.

Corporate Voices for Working Families has conducted considerable research looking at the problems facing young people in school and as they prepare to enter the workforce. Copies of our research studies and position papers are available on our website.

by Amy Simon