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Letter to the House Education and the Workforce on "Education Reforms: Promoting Flexibility and Innovation"

April 05, 2011

Dear Representative:

As the Education & the Workforce Committee prepares to hear testimony on providing flexibility and encouraging innovation in public education, on behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association we urge to analyze thoroughly the potential impact of any proposed adjustments in training or support programs for educators. Researchers concur that teacher quality is the single most important school-related factor in student achievement.  

The 34 areas covered in the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s March 2011 report, Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue, include teacher quality. The relatively large number of programs in this area is testament to the essential role teachers play in education at all levels from pre-K to post-graduate. It also reflects the breadth of skills necessary to meet the needs of today’s diverse student population and the myriad aspects of the teaching profession itself. Accordingly, these programs run the gamut from preparation of future teachers to induction and mentoring of new teachers to targeted professional development and support for practicing teachers. GAO acknowledges that it is difficult to detect “unnecessary” duplication among such a broad spectrum of programs.

As reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) proceeds, we look forward to finding ways to enhance the dividends from the federal investment in these vital programs. We urge you to afford teachers the opportunity to speak for themselves—to testify, based on their own firsthand experience, what does and does work, what is and is not needed. We look forward to working with the Education & the Workforce Committee to determine how best to ensure that all federal education programs are based on sound research and data, thereby furthering our shared goal: equipping all students in America to succeed in school and in life.  


Kim Anderson        
Director of Government Relations

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy