A new CFT White Paper summarizes the union’s public support for recommendations to build quality education that are based on sound research and best practices as recommended by three educational experts. The experts in the paper titled “What makes quality public education? Ask the experts. That’s what the education union did,” are widely published and have presented to CFT members and countless other progressive organizations.

Diane Ravitch offered a scathing critique of “educational reform” efforts of the past decade in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System. Her critique has been affirmed by the nation’s highest scientific body, the National Research Council, that established in its study Incentives and Test-based Accountability in Education that the reform efforts initiated by the No Child Left Behind Act have not resulted in improved student learning.

Professor Linda Darling-Hammond has written extensively on research-based education reforms, including teacher evaluations systems that focus on improving and supporting the expertise of teachers as opposed to “getting rid of teachers.” Darling-Hammond has reviewed the world’s highest performing education systems in her book, The Flat World and Education, and proposed education reforms for the United States based on those systems. Finland is one of those countries with high-performing schools.

Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg has recounted the strategies employed in Finland to raise a once poor performing school system to one of the world’s highest performing systems in his book, Finnish Lessons. The public, legislators, the media, and policymakers in this country can find concrete lessons about building quality public education by learning what worked Finland.

All three education experts emphasize that strong education unions and the involvement of educators are essential to school success and development of policies that work. Delegates to CFT Convention 2013 overwhelmingly supported the use of this White Paper for member and public education.