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More About Our Positions on NCLB

NEA's statements of principle for rewriting and improving the law include:

NEA has sent Congress detailed proposals for changing the law:

NEA’s positions can be organized in these five themes:


  • ESEA should promote innovation, high expectations, and encourage development of 21st century skills in public schools.
    • Innovation in public schools is not achieved simply by promoting more charter schools. There are lots of innovative models and ways to deliver a world-class public education that prepares students for citizenship, lifelong learning, and challenging postsecondary education and careers.
    • Students need a well-rounded, challenging curriculum infused with 21st century skills to prepare them to compete in today’s global economy.
    • Local communities across the country have already developed new, sustainable approaches to public education—shining examples include magnet schools and teacher-led schools.
    • Common core standards—if developed with educators and adopted voluntarily by the states—can help ensure that every child is held to high standards and that those standards are more uniform than those now in use.
    • The federal government must increase support for educational research and development, and should create a clearinghouse for promising, innovative practices.
  • ESEA should end the obsession with high-stakes, poor-quality tests by developing high-quality assessment systems that provide multiple ways for students to show what they have learned.
    • The best way to assess student achievement is with multiple, valid, reliable measures of student learning and school performance over time.
    • We must replace the cheap, flawed standardized tests now used with second-generation assessment systems that (1) provide students with multiple ways to show what they have learned over time and (2) provide educators with valid data to improve instruction and enhance support for students.
    • The concept of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) must be replaced by a system that recognizes schools’ progress in meeting learning goals and correctly identifies struggling schools so they can get the support they need to improve.
    • High-quality, longitudinal data systems that improve instruction and protect the privacy of students and educators need to be developed.
    • Special populations—such as students with disabilities and English-language learners—have unique instructional and assessment needs. Standards and assessments must be accessible to all students.
    • ESEA should help provide great educators and school leaders for every student.
      • Teachers and education support professionals must be respected and involved in all decisions. We believe they must be involved in all decisions that affect students and schools, as well as decisions related to their professions.
      • To give all students access to the accomplished educators they deserve, we must establish high, state-based standards for entry into the profession and offer incentives to teach in hard-to-staff schools.
      • School administrators should be effective instructional leaders and operational managers.
      • To attract top-tier college graduates to the teaching profession, we should establish a prestigious national education institute and provide incentives for states to create world-class teacher preparation programs of their own.
      • To master their craft and deliver the best instruction to students, teachers need and want a robust, comprehensive, fair system of evaluating instructional practices. Such systems must be designed at the local level—with educators—and implemented by well-trained personnel.
      • Treating public education employees fairly means protecting their rights under state laws, local laws, and collective bargaining agreements.
    • ESEA should promote public education as a shared responsibility of parents, communities, educators, and policymakers.
      • Students succeed when public schools involve and engage their parents, caregivers, and families.
      • Parental and community engagement with public schools can be enhanced through programs that include business leaders, policymakers, and community organizations.
      • Collaboration among administrators and education employees is the key to creating school climates in which students can succeed—and great public schools for all our students.
      • Local communities must help develop and share responsibility for strategies to turn around struggling schools and students. This type of collaboration should be a required element of school turnaround efforts.
      • NEA leads the way in school turnaround efforts with its Priority Schools Campaign.
    • ESEA should provide increased funding to all states and school districts to meet the growing demand for globally-competitive education of U.S. students.
      • Federal funding for education should not be decided by jump balls—some students win and some students lose.
      • Federal funding for public schools should be adequate, equitable, and sustainable.
      • The federal government should require states and districts to prepare educational equity and adequacy plans that address disparities in resources, support services, programs, and opportunities to experience smaller classes, advanced courses, and exposure to accomplished educators.
      • NEA has and will continue to advocate relentlessly for full funding of critical federal programs—for example, Title I, IDEA, and other funding streams for special populations.
      • The federal role should include support for research-based strategies to transform struggling schools.ESEA should promote innovation, high expectations, and encourage development of 21st century skills in public schools.



    E-mail Legislators about ESEA

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    Read Great Public Schools for Every Student by 2020, NEA's proposal to revitalize the partnership between federal, state, and local leaders.