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NEA president to Administration: “Takes working together to improve schools”

“Blueprint” proposal needs redrafting if it is to fulfill America’s education promise

WASHINGTON - March 13, 2010 -

The White House has announced that the Obama administration’s “blueprint” for reauthorization will be forwarded to Congress on Monday, March, 15, 2010. The following statement can be attributed to Dennis Van Roekel, president of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association:

“We are disappointed by this first effort by the Administration to rectify the considerable problems in the current federal education law.

“What excited educators about President Obama’s hopes and vision for education on the campaign trail has not made its way into this blueprint. We were expecting to see a much broader effort to truly transform public education for kids. Instead, the accountability system of this ‘blueprint’ still relies on standardized tests to identify winners and losers. We were expecting more funding stability to enable states to meet higher expectations. Instead, the ‘blueprint’ requires states to compete for critical resources, setting up another winners-and-losers scenario. We were expecting school turnaround efforts to be research-based and fully collaborative. Instead, we see too much top-down scapegoating of teachers and not enough collaboration.

“The public knows that struggling schools need a wide range of targeted actions to ensure they succeed, and yet the Administration’s plan continues to call for prescriptions before the actual problems are diagnosed. We need proven answers along with the deep insight of the experienced professionals who actually work in schools.

“We know that it takes all stakeholders working together to improve our schools. The Administration’s plan leaves out students’ first teachers—their parents. There is no attempt in the ‘blueprint’ to support parents’ efforts to be more involved in their children’s education.

“The National Education Association cannot support the Administration’s plan at this time. We are sharing the ‘blueprint’ with our members so their voices are heard. We intend to engage in a productive dialogue to meet the needs of students, educators and public schools.”

For more information about NEA’s principles for the reauthorization of ESEA, visit

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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.

Staci Maiers
, NEA Public Relations
(202) 270-5333 cell,
Andrew Linebaugh, NEA Public Relations
(202) 441-9866 cell,