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Letter to Representative Grijalva supporting his Success in the Middle Act

September 26, 2007

Dear Representative Grijalva:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our support for the Success in the Middle Act of 2007 (H.R. 3406). We thank you for your leadership in offering this legislation, which would focus needed resources on high-need middle schools.

As you know, middle schools receive few resources in the education system, but are over-represented in the category of schools identified for improvement under No Child Left Behind. We know from research that it takes a variety of tactics and resources to turn around a school that is struggling, yet we have not yet provided sufficient resources to make educational reform a reality for middle schools.

Your bill would move us in the right direction by creating a new grant program to provide financial resources for those middle schools that are most in need of help. States would be required to develop and execute a plan to invest in proven strategies to help middle school students achieve and successfully transition to and graduate from high school, including developing early warning systems to help support students at risk of dropping out of school. These strategies include providing professional development for educators that includes a focus on teaching diverse learners; targeting of resources toward comprehensive, school-wide improvement efforts for high-need middle schools; as well as implementing student supports.

Notably, H.R. 3406 also dedicates resources to research so that we can continue to learn about what works for middle schools and how to improve continually upon the supports and interventions available to help middle school students succeed and graduate.

We thank you again for your leadership on this important issue. We look forward to working with you to garner support for middle schools in general, and in particular, to obtain support for your efforts to offer the bill as an amendment during the upcoming mark-up of the No Child Left Behind Act. If you need any assistance, please contact Al Campos, NEA lobbyist, (acampos@nea.org, 202-822-7345) or Donna Harris-Aikens, ESEA Policy Advisor, (dharris-aikens@nea.org, 202-822-7409).

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy