FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 24, 2022
Texas AFT President Zeph Capo commented today on the release of national standardized testing scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress:
“Our union of educators and school employees agrees with every parent and educator across the country: our students are struggling. We don’t need the ‘nation’s report card’ to tell us that. We have been in the classroom and in our schools throughout the pandemic, supporting children who lost loved ones to COVID-19, caring for families with profound food or housing insecurity, and turning school buses into Wi-Fi hotspots to keep kids learning.
One million Americans have died from COVID-19. Globally, more than 10.5 million children have lost a caregiver; is it really a wonder that our kids are struggling to focus at school?
To truly help our students, we need more resources and support instead of handwringing. This isn’t about virtual learning; it’s about trauma response. The decline in test scores in states that stayed virtual longer mirrors that of states like Texas, which rushed back to in-person schooling long before it was safe.
In Texas, we need schools funded to meet student needs. Instead, we’re 44th in the nation for per-student spending, and the state’s share of funding hasn’t increased since 2019. We need counselors, social workers, psychologists, and wraparound support for students who are dealing with trauma. Instead, we’ve got a state that can’t meet the needs for any of those things in 98% of its schools.
I agree with Secretary of Education Cardona: this is an urgent call to action. It’s an urgent call to action to put our money where the pundits’ mouths are. It’s an urgent call to action to invest in our neighborhood schools. We should set the example for our kids and do the math.”
The Texas American Federation of Teachers represents 66,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO.