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NEA President supports launch of ‘Excellent Educators for All’ initiative

Access to high quality teachers is only ‘one element’ of a broader educational equity agenda

WASHINGTON - July 07, 2014 -

In a ceremony at the White House, the U.S. Department of Education today announced the launch of “Excellent Educators for All,”—an initiative that is designed to help states and school districts support great educators for the students who need them most. The new initiative would ask states to analyze their data and consult with teachers, principals, districts, parents and community organizations to create new, comprehensive educator equity plans that put in place locally developed solutions to ensure every student has effective educators. The three-point initiative would include a comprehensive educator equity plan, an educator equity support network, and create educator equity profiles.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“The National Education Association fully supports the idea that students in our most challenging schools must have fully prepared and effective educators. In fact, NEA’s Representative Assembly just passed a call for NEA to advocate for ensuring that students in Title I schools have fully prepared and licensed teachers.

“Far too often we have seen schools with high levels of poor and minority students receive a disproportionately high number of new teachers with little to no experience, teachers who are uncertified or are still working toward full certification, teachers teaching outside of their areas of certification or teachers who are not nationally board certified. Our students with the highest needs deserve more.

“Yet the current federal law offers a big loophole that calls individuals still in teacher training as ‘highly qualified,’ which only serves to shortchange our students. The Department of Education could take a major step toward equity by closing this loophole.

“We must create accountability for the whole system that drives greater equity in every school, and an important first step is that every new teacher be profession-ready before ever stepping foot into a classroom and becoming the teacher of record for students. However, that is only one element to creating a broad approach to educational equity.

“We urge the Department of Education and the Obama administration to take a comprehensive approach to equity that includes access to high quality pre-school and early learning opportunities and access to high quality, rigorous curriculum, adequate facilities and other learning conditions in schools and attention to out-of-school needs so we are educating the whole child.”

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The National Education Association ( is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Staci Maiers, NEA Communications, (202) 270-5333 cell,