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After Nine Long Years

In a blog post for the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel writes that “while NCLB was useful in providing data about different demographic groups, it didn’t achieve its goal of closing the achievement gaps. But in its emphasis on standardized multiple choice tests, NCLB has distorted our children’s experience in school. Students as young as 6 or 7 years old are now subjected to weeks of preparation for high stakes tests. Because math, reading and to a lesser extent science are the only subjects regularly tested, students are drilled in those topics. Meanwhile, subjects such as history, civics, music and art—which help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills—are squeezed out of the school day.” Source: Washington Post’s Answer Sheet.

Teaching Profession

Independent Panel Formed

NEA created a national, independent commission to study the teaching profession. The new Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching (CETT) will consist of 21 teachers—supported by researchers, policymakers, and academicians—who will examine teaching policies and practices, then craft a teacher-centered vision of the profession. The commission, which will meet several times over the next year and conduct public hearings, will provide preliminary recommendations to the 2011 NEA Representative Assembly in Chicago.

Teaching Profession

Long Work Days

While the average school day in America may last 7-8 hours, the real work day for many teachers begins early and ends late in the evening, as lessons are prepared, papers and tests graded, and parents contacted. According to a recent poll conducted on EdVoices, NEA’s blogging community, roughly 46 percent of teachers say they work more than 20 hours per week outside the classroom. Nearly 31 percent say they work from 11 - 20 hours. That means more than three-quarters of respondents are putting in at least 11 hours of extra work each week outside the classroom. See responses to the EdVoices poll.

Education Rankings

Poverty is a Factor

The recent release of international education rankings placing U.S. students in the middle of the pack for reading and science and below average in math overlooked the poverty level of students,  a significant factor. The head of the National Association of Secondary School Principals examined how the U.S. reading scores compared with the rest of the world’s, overlaying them with statistics on how many of the tested students are in the government’s free and reduced lunch program for students below the poverty line. In schools where less than 10 percent of students get free or reduced lunch, the reading score is 551. That would place those U.S. students at No. 2 on the international ranking for reading. See more at:


Classroom Superheroes

NEA is excited to launch, a new site that allows parents, students, and community members to support educators by highlighting their work and dedication. Nominate a teacher, education support professional, or other educator who you think deserves to be acknowledged for their performance at school, with the Association, or in the community. Learn more at:


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