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Americans Find Narrowing the Curriculum a Real Concern According to PDK/Gallup Poll

NEA President Reg Weaver urges Congress to pay close attention to public sentiments on NCLB

WASHINGTON -- Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup Poll today released the 39th Annual Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Among this year's major findings: 52 percent of Americans believe that No Child Left Behind is limiting what children are taught -- at the expense of subjects such as art, science, health and social studies -- and a significant majority believe that more must be done to prepare students to compete in a global economy. 

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

"Narrowing the curriculum and teaching to the test are only two of the unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind, and educators were the first to sound the alarm on this trend," said NEA President Reg Weaver. "The law's single-minded focus on test preparation is robbing students of the opportunity to think critically and solve problems. We need to prepare them for the real world, for success in the new industries of tomorrow like alternative energy, medical research and technology. 

"The good news is that the American public is wise and understands that a good education is more than a standardized test and a student is more than a test score. I hope that Congress is paying attention to the public's sentiments regarding No Child Left Behind as it moves to reauthorize the law.

"NEA is moving forward with a comprehensive positive agenda for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. The NEA plan strengthens the teaching profession; engages parents, families and communities; provides the tools and resources to get the job done; and puts children and great public schools first.

"Our priorities for NCLB reauthorization include reducing class size to help students learn, using more than test scores to measure student learning and school performance, and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in our schools."

Weaver also urged Congress to strengthen the teaching profession by investing in teachers through improved classroom working conditions, high-quality mentoring for new teachers, better professional development and financial incentives for teachers working in hard-to-staff schools.

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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.