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Letter to Representative Moran expressing NEA's support for the Practicality in Education Act (H.R. 2166) - 06/27/08

June 27, 2008

Dear Representative Moran:


On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we would like to express our strong support for the Practicality in Education Act (H.R. 2166). We thank you for your leadership in introducing this bill, which we believe will provide common sense flexibility to improve key provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

As you may know, NEA has consistently expressed support for NCLB's goals -- closing achievement gaps, increasing student achievement, and ensuring that all students learn from qualified teachers. However, we believe several major changes to NCLB are needed to alleviate unintended consequences and ensure great public schools for every child. We are pleased that your bill reflects recommendations on assessments of students with limited English proficiency (LEP) and those with disabilities, changes in determining Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), and reasonable requirements for teachers. Specifically, we support your proposals to:

  • Provide schools with two years of teaching newly arrived LEP students before including their math or reading results in AYP calculations, unless native language tests are used.

  • Provide for use of growth models to determine AYP.

  • Assess students with disabilities at the grade level recommended by their Individualized Education Programs.

  • Allow schools in need of improvement with one year to improve before providing transfer options to students.

  • Provide special education and rural teachers with needed flexibility to meet NCLB's mandates through alternative mechanisms to prove qualifications.

Again, we thank you for considering NCLB changes recommended by a number of stakeholders and for taking a leadership role by introducing this bill. We look forward to working with you to garner support for this measure as Congress reauthorizes NCLB. If you need additional assistance, please contact either Kim Anderson (Kanderson@nea.org) in NEA Government Relations or Donna Harris-Aikens (DHarris-Aikens@nea.org) in Education Policy and Practice.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy

cc:

Blake West, President, Kansas National Education Association
Bruce Goeden, Executive Director, Kansas National Education Association