Randi Weingarten, the New Yorker who is rising to become president of the American Federation of Teachers, says she wants to replace President Bush’s focus on standardized testing with a vision of public schools as community centers that help poor students succeed by offering not only solid classroom lessons but also medical and other services, the New York Times reports. Weingarten, 50, is running unopposed for the presidency of the national teachers union, whose delegates at an annual convention in Chicago are expected to elect her July 14. In a speech prepared for delivery after the vote, Weingarten criticizes No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s signature domestic initiative, which is defended staunchly by Margaret Spellings, the secretary of education. Saying the law "is too badly broken to be fixed," Weingarten lays out a "new vision of schools for the 21st century." "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?" Weingarten is expected to ask in the speech, a copy of which was provided by the union to the New York Times. "Imagine schools that are open all day and offer after-school and evening recreational activities, child care and preschool, tutoring and homework assistance," the speech reads. "Schools that include dental, medical, and counseling clinics."
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