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Independent survey results confirm NEA’s position: Teachers voices must be heard in ed reform debate


New York - March 03, 2010 -

Today, Scholastic Inc. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released Primary Sources, results of a survey of more than 40,000 public school teachers’ views on what is needed in education reform.

The following can be attributed to National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel:

“The results of this survey clearly point to the necessity for the voice of educators to be included in the national debate on education reform. School improvement cannot be imposed from on-high without input from educators, but instead must have the full support of classroom teachers. The results reiterate what our members tell us: teachers have sound ideas for school improvement, and they are eager to help students succeed. Without question, collaboration is the key to successful efforts to close achievement gaps and serve underperforming schools.

“We thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Scholastic, Inc., for taking on this endeavor and sharing the results, which could not come at a more opportune time—during a national debate about what is in the best interest of students. Clearly, this report is one more piece of evidence of the need to be front and center in the dialogue.

“Political leaders and management at the local, state and federal level who fail to listen to the voice of teachers risk wasting a lot of taxpayers’ money and implementing policies destined for failure. That is simply not something we can afford to do.

“Educating our nation’s youth is a complicated endeavor. Arriving at solutions to close achievement gaps, reduce dropout rates and better serve underperforming schools needs collaboration from all the stakeholders.

“When teachers say they want clear standards that cross state lines; multiple ways to evaluate student performance; innovation to reach today’s students; effective methods of measuring the effectiveness of teaching and help building a bridge between home and school. Policymakers in Washington, DC, and across the country would do well to take these findings to heart.”

More than 30 teams of teachers, administration and school board representatives are meeting in New York City March 4 at an NEA summit on priority schools, where the results of this survey will inform next steps to improving those schools most in need.

To learn more about NEA’s priority schools campaign, please visit: http://neapriorityschools.org/

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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: Andy Linebaugh 202-822-7823, newsdeadline@nea.org