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Van Roekel urges Administration to focus on student-centered reform

WASHINGTON - August 08, 2011 -

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today reiterated his plan to allow states to set aside federal proficiency requirements mandated by No Child Left Behind.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement:

“What we need now is teacher-led and student-focused comprehensive reform instead of making states jump through more hoops. The Administration should be leading efforts that support all students and schools by providing real relief from parts of the law that everyone acknowledges simply don’t work.   We know what works in America’s classrooms. We need to make sure every student has qualified, caring and committed teachers in schools with strong and inspiring leadership. 

“It’s time to turn the page from the one-size-fits-all standardized testing regime and unleash the power of real teaching.  Testing rules also must be revised so students can demonstrate what they know and what they can do.

“If we know what works, why not invest in the classroom priorities that build the foundation for student learning, including early childhood education, smaller class sizes,  greater emphasis on reading, math, science and technology, up-to-date textbooks and computers, extended learning time for students who are struggling, and a well-rounded education that includes history, arts, P.E., and music?  These investments form the cornerstone for student-focused reform that meets the needs of all students.

“NEA stands ready to work with Congress and the administration to get the law right for students this time.”

For more information on NEA’s principles on ESEA/NCLB reauthorization, including our message to Congress, click here.

For’s coverage of ESEA/NCLB reform, click here.

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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.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,