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Obama, Duncan to provide relief from many NCLB restrictions

Van Roekel: Flexibility from rigid rules welcomed by educators


WASHINGTON - September 22, 2011 -

President Obama announced a plan today to provide relief to states from many of NCLB’s more onerous provisions, such as meeting Adequate Yearly Progress requirements and other deadlines. 

“President Obama has taken a welcome step forward with this plan.  It sets much more realistic goals for schools, while maintaining ESEA’s original commitment to civil rights, high academic standards and success for every student,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. 

“Teachers have been sounding the alarm on NCLB’s test-label-punish approach for more than 10 years.  Now, there is an opportunity to move forward with real reform, especially for the most disadvantaged students,” said Van Roekel. 

“Educators want commonsense measures of student progress, freedom to implement local ideas, respect for their judgment and the right to be a part of critical decisions,” said Van Roekel. “This plan delivers.”

Van Roekel notes that the waiver plan provisions get away from labeling schools as failures.  “Instead, the Department of Education has adopted a term NEA also uses for low performing schools:  Priority Schools. The waivers recognize the Title I schools that need the most help—and the students they serve—as a federal priority.” 

Last week, Van Roekel completed a back-to-school tour for a first-hand view of how teachers are collaborating with key education stakeholders to significantly improvement student learning and success.    “I’ve been visiting schools across the country and I know that teachers and education support professionals care deeply about their students and they want policies that work to benefit students,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.  “President Obama and Secretary Duncan have crafted a path that breaks through the logjam of bad NCLB policy and opened the way to better ideas that will work for students and schools.”

 “NEA will continue to work with Congress and push for comprehensive NCLB reauthorization,” said Van Roekel. 

See NEA’s letter to Sec. Duncan requesting regulatory relief for K-12 schools 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
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CONTACT: Sara Robertson (202) 822-7823, srobertson@nea.org