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NEA President Labels Proposed Changes to Federal Education Law ‘Too Little and Too Late’

WASHINGTON - April 23, 2008 -

National Education Association President Reg Weaver reacted to today’s announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings that she is taking matters into her own hands and making regulatory changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, otherwise known as No Child Left Behind.

The following statement can be attributed to President Weaver:

“The regulatory changes Secretary Spellings outlined today are too little and too late for children, parents and educators across America to effectively deal with the unintended and adverse consequences of the No Child Left Behind law. These proposals fail to move away from the test, label and punish framework established under the current law.

“While the most significant change in the proposed regulations—requiring states to utilize a common graduation rate methodology as proposed by the National Governors Association—is a step in the right direction, it should not be implemented in an overly prescriptive or punitive fashion.

“Accurately measuring high school graduation rates is only half of the equation. States and schools must have programs, such as those called for in NEA’s 12-point dropout prevention plan, that provide students with the services and support they need to be successful and to graduate. The president and the Congress must substantially increase funding for dropout prevention, as well as programs for middle and high school reform and improvement.

“Unfortunately, this announcement comes more than six years after President Bush signed NCLB into law and less than a year before he leaves office. The Bush administration has never been serious about following through on its promise to provide the tools and resources necessary to successfully implement No Child Left Behind.

 While imposing heavy-handed sanctions based on standardized test scores—and negatively labeling schools along the way—the administration has underfunded education to the tune of $70.9 billion since the law’s enactment. This is undermining the economic well-being of our country as well as the future of our children and public education.

“We deserve a federal education law that works for all children—and one that is fully funded—because, in the end, it doesn't matter how many administrative tweaks are made if the tools and resources are not provided for educators to prepare students for the real world.”

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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.

Contact: Miguel Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823