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NEA President Says Changes to NCLB Are Overdue


WASHINGTON - March 18, 2008 -

The U.S. Department of Education today announced plans to address one of the major flaws of No Child Left Behind, calling on states to submit proposals to develop differentiated outcomes for schools that miss making their annual benchmarks — by a little or a lot. The department is requesting proposals from all states and plans to admit up to 10 states into the pilot program.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Reg Weaver:

"Today’s announcement, aimed at addressing one of the major one-size-fits-all flaws of NCLB, is a long overdue step in the right direction. While we welcome the news, it comes more than six years after the law was enacted and less than a year before the Bush administration leaves office. What is regrettable, though, is that Secretary Margaret Spellings — and her predecessor for that matter — have had the legal authority to make the changes she is planning to make now. 

"We have known for more than six years that the law has produced many unintended and unfavorable consequences for students, parents, and educators. It's worth noting, however, that many of the changes that the department has sought — and is seeking — have come as a result of our members speaking out. For example, NEA has been calling on the department to provide greater flexibility to states in measuring student progress; allow for more flexibility in interventions for schools not making their annual benchmarks; and clarify confusing and complex teacher requirements.

"Students, parents, and educators deserve a law that gets it right this time and one that is fully funded because, in the end, it doesn't matter how many administrative tweaks are made if the tools and resources aren't provided for educators to prepare students for the real world.

That's why we are calling on Congress to reject the president's proposed fiscal year 2009 budget for education, which cuts funding for existing NCLB programs and diverts money to private school voucher schemes. Instead we are asking our elected leaders to substantially increase resources for Title I, teacher quality, afterschool, and other important programs."

For additional information about NEA, please visit: http://www.nea.org/.

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee 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: Miguel Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823