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Letter to the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education

July 23, 2012

Dear Representative: 

The National Education Association, representing more than three million educators across the nation, would like to share with you the attached materials in advance of this week’s hearing in the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education on “Education Reforms: Discussing the Value of Alternative Teacher Certification Programs.” 

Attached for your information and use are:

Research shows that teacher quality is the single most important school-related variable affecting student achievement. Thus, it is absolutely critical to assure that beginning teachers possess the knowledge and skills necessary to serve effectively as teachers of record. NEA believes that every candidate, including those entering the profession via alternative routes, should meet the appropriate professional standards prior to being granted a teaching license.    

NEA is at the forefront of transforming the teaching profession. Since teachers know best what teachers do, they should take responsibility for leading their profession. To this end, NEA has identified three areas where steps can and should be taken to transform the teaching profession — among them, raising the bar for entry into the profession — in which we are now taking concrete, specific action. 

The first step in transforming the teaching profession is to strengthen and maintain strong and uniform standards for preparation and admission. NEA advocates the alignment of teaching standards across higher education institutions and state licensing agencies. NEA also advocates that no candidate should enter the teaching profession prior to demonstrating proficient classroom performance based on universally accepted standards and practices. 

The attached documents provide additional information regarding NEA’s position on alternative certification and our proactive efforts to ensure the highest quality teachers for every student. We hope they will be useful to you.  

Thank you for your attention to this important information.   

Sincerely, 

Kim Anderson 
Director, Center for Advocacy 

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations