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NCLB Positive Agenda

NEA's Positive Agenda for ESEA Reauthorization:

An Action Plan


The Issue:


The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the fundamental federal law governing K-12 education. NCLB is not working to achieve its stated goals: improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.

It's Time for a Change:


The law has been in effect for five years and is now up for reauthorization by Congress, that is, for review, revision, and renewal for another five to seven years. Reauthorization offers an optimum opportunity to overhaul the law. NEA is ratcheting up its efforts and concentrating its resources to persuade Congress to make fundamental changes in the law so that it works for children.

With five years' experience under NCLB mandates, members have seen close-up the real-world effects of the law on students and schools, and they have shared their ideas on how to deal with the unintended consequences of the law. Their vision frames the NEA Positive Agenda for Reauthorization of NCLB/ESEA.

Our Core Belief:


NEA affirms that all children have a basic right to great public schools -- schools that improve learning for all students, close achievement gaps, and ensure that all educators have the resources and tools they need to get the job done.

The Priorities:


Accountability  Revise the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) accountability system that is overly focused on labeling and punishment based solely on standardized test scores. Put in place an accountability model that gives states flexibility to use multiple measures and to develop growth models to measure gains in student performance.

Class Size   Restore a class size reduction program -- with an optimum class size of 15 students -- to improve student achievement.

Quality Teachers and Paraprofessionals   Revise the definition of "highly qualified teacher," allow states flexibility in deeming teachers and education support professionals "highly qualified," provide grants for professional development for all educators, stipends for mentor teachers, and incentives to attract and retain caring, qualified educators in hard-to-staff schools, so that all children are taught by highly qualified professionals.

Parent/Family Involvement   Support strategies such as parent education programs and expanded Parent Information Centers to boost parent/family involvement.

Funding   Fully fund ESEA so that states, districts, and schools have the resources to meet the federal mandates and to implement proven programs to help close achievement gaps and to improve the health and well-being of children outside the classroom.

The complete version of NEA's Positive Agenda for ESEA Reauthorization is available online