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Letter to Representative Carolyn McCarthy supporting the Teachers at the Table Act

August 02, 2007

Dear Representative McCarthy:


On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we would like to express our support for the underlying concept of the Teachers at the Table Act (H.R. 2896). We thank you for your leadership in introducing this important legislation, which we believe will help ensure that educators' voices are heard as Congress reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

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 ensure great public schools for every child, and we believe public school educators have a significant role to play in identifying needed changes.

As a result, we are pleased that your bill would create a teacher advisory committee to advise the Secretary of Education regarding implementation of ESEA. If educators are not "at the table" when decisions are made, then it becomes increasingly more difficult to incorporate their classroom experience into the school improvement process. Specifically, we support your proposal to ensure that the members of the Teacher Advisory Committee monitor the effects of the statute "on the ground, in classrooms, with a focus on children and families" and to provide periodic reports to Congress and the Secretary.

Thank you for leading this effort to ensure public school teachers a seat at the decision-making table so that their voices can be heard. We look forward to working with you to garner additional support for this measure as Congress reauthorizes ESEA. If you need any 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