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NEA President Dennis Van Roekel testifies about turning around high-need schools

WASHINGTON - September 30, 2009 -

A recent report by the National Education Association documents proven strategies to help recruit, prepare, support and retain teachers in high-needs schools. The NEA has pledged to invest $1 million per year over six years to pursue strategies to increase teacher effectiveness these schools, and in a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, NEA  President Dennis Van Roekel urged Congress to ensure all children—including poor and minority children—have access to outstanding teachers.

“Our nation has the capacity to make sure every child in every high-needs school has great teachers,” Van Roekel testified before the House Education and Labor Committee. “President Obama has called for the nation to ‘treat teachers like the professionals they are while also holding them more accountable.’  Doing so means not only looking carefully at the research evidence, but also listening to our most accomplished teachers and acting on their advice.”

We must also acknowledge, though, that each day countless dedicated, talented teachers and support professionals report to work in challenging and low-resourced schools, knowing they will face students with a sobering array of social and economic disadvantages, working conditions that impede the highest possible levels of teaching and learning, and a revolving door of administrators and school staff. 

The NEA report, Children of Poverty, presents solid, proven strategies and policy recommendations that can make a difference. It also offers solutions to recruiting, preparing, supporting, and compensating teachers for high-needs schools and highlights NEA’s commitment to ensure great teachers are in every classroom.

“As the president has suggested, teachers are ready to ‘lift up their schools,’” Van Roekel said. “They are ready to maintain the promise of great public schools for our nation.  It is time to hear their voices and embrace their ideas for recruiting, preparing, rewarding, and supporting great teachers — the teachers that all students deserve.”

The  “Children of Poverty” report is available online.
To learn about NEA’s vision for Great Public Schools by 2020 visit

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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: Will Potter  (202) 822-7823,