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NEA applauds efforts to quantify education achievement gaps

Educators invite action at solution table

WASHINGTON - April 22, 2009 -

Reacting to the dismal numbers announced in a report on the economic impacts of achievement gaps, the National Education Association again expresses its deep concern that there are still individuals who do not see a fundamental flaw in the system that allows our schools to shortchange our students.

The McKinsey & Company’s report, The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gaps in America’s Schools, highlights the need to take action immediately to address the economic, racial and international disparities that keep our students from succeeding.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“The data in the McKinsey report on achievement gaps did not tell us anything new. Disparities and gaps continue to exist. However, the report does provide us with quantifiable information that allows us to move beyond the typical rhetoric. If we are going to bridge the divide, we’ve got to look at the entire problem and include everyone in strategizing a solution.

“I firmly believe that until we start to look at transforming the entire system and stop looking for tactical quick fixes, we will continue to fail to deliver for our students. The way forward requires us to look at what is working and adopt those best practices throughout the system. When it comes to students, we’ve got to invest time and resources in capturing their minds early and continuing to engage them throughout their lifetime. Regarding teachers, we must focus on the profession of teaching as a whole and invest in professional development and training throughout their careers,” said Van Roekel.

“We’ve been debating solutions for a while. Now, is the time to begin to implement real change and NEA stands ready to work with policymakers, community leaders and parents to develop an implementation plan that works.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Michelle Hudgins (202) 822-7823,