The Daily Rundown | September 24, 2012
>>> union told me not to work past a certain time. i didn't care. i stayed. that's what they did.
>> we stay as long as the doors are open.
>> that was from nbc's education nation teachers forum, part of nbc's commitment to improving education in the country. the focus has intensified recently after the week long strike in chicago that kept hundreds of thousands of students locked out of the classroom while city leaders and teachers goeshnegotiated a new treatment. joining me now is the president of the american foundation of teachers. randi weingarten . you said this was a good thing because -- make your case.
>> so, we don't write the headlines, but kari lewis and i both talked about what the lessons are for the strike. number one nobody wants a strike. shiks should be averted at all cost. what the fight was about and why parents supported the strike is how do we make sure that we're teaching are tested? how do we make sure the kids get the resources they need. kids are sweltering hot in schools in chicago in august. kids don't have libraries. there's 83% poverty. they need libraries. they need social workers . they need those kinds of things. that's what the strike was about. how you fix schools instead of close schools. you make sure you're teaching instead of simply testing.
>> but let's go to accountability. that's always the biggest question. if not testing, then what to do with accountability?
>> no one is talking about we shouldn't have testing. the question is becoming and some teachers in chicago are saying 18 to 25 of their days, remember, the mayor wanted extended days. 18 of 25 current days go to testing as opposed to teaching. and if we're talking about what we all endorsed and 91% of the teachers in chicago have been rated well by an independent measure. so if we are all endorsing common quarter, how you actually apply knowledge instead of know knowledge. then we have to spend the time, not just testing, but really teaching. let's talk about extended day . it sounds like you're in favor of it in principle. when it got to the details --
>> actually, wapd here was the union agreed to the extended day in the summer. to make sure they had part in music like we've done in schools that really work. like another school that was highlighted yesterday was the edward school in massachusetts. where we also have extended days. the bottom line is this, nobody opposes accountability. evaluation, always on the table. the issue of how do we make sure we're really focused on teaching and not testing? how do we make sure we help every child learn. unfortunately what really happened in chicago was it's been 15 years of top down, very focussed on testing as opposed to teaching.
>> you seem to be a little bit critical. maybe i'm mischaracterizing. but you said that it was a race to the bottom . explain what you meant by this.
>> i was definitely misquoted. what i said is we have to actually have a real race to the top . we can't just have winners and losers. every child has to be there.
>> how do you create the incentive? the problem is we do all the incentive-based studies. incentives work. the studies show incentives work on all number of levels. why wouldn't they work on education?
>> actually, who works on the education level is incentives aligned to what we have to do for kids, and incentives aligned to how we ensure they get the support they need to do a great job. no one is arguing about things like incentives to get people who go to their schools to differentiate pay. we've done lead teacher programs and things like that. we've done it throughout the country. the issue becomes having the right incentive and making sure evaluation plans work.
>> have the democrats been a good political ally for you? you're a good political ally for them?
>> well, look, if you look at what is happening right now, take what mitt romney just said to a teacher the last few days. the bottom line is, you need to have a government or people in government that are going to listen to what teachers need to help. so romney is not listening to teachers. he wants teachers to be seen and not heard.
>> i have to leave it there. nice to see you.