'Blueprint' proposal for ESEA reauthorization needs redrafting
NEA President: Takes working together to improve schools
The Obama Administration this weekend unveiled its "blueprint" proposal for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also referred to as No Child Left Behind). The result is a disappointing outline for more of the same focus on testing, according to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. As a result, the NEA cannot support the plan as released.
In response to the "blueprint" proposal, President Van Roekel released the following statement:
“We are disappointed by this first effort by the Administration to rectify the considerable problems in current federal education law.
“What excited educators about President Obama’s hopes and vision for education on the campaign trail has not made its way into this blueprint. We were expecting to see a much broader effort to truly transform public education for kids. Instead, this blueprint’s accountability system still relies on standardized tests to identify winners and losers. We were expecting more funding stability to enable states to meet higher expectations. Instead, this blueprint requires states to compete for critical resources, setting up another winners-and-losers scenario. We were expecting school turnaround efforts to be research-based and fully collaborative. Instead, we see too much top-down scapegoating of teachers and not enough collaboration.
“The public knows that struggling schools need a wide range of targeted actions to ensure they succeed, and yet the Administration’s plan continues to call for prescriptions before the actual problems are diagnosed. We need proven answers along with the deep insight of the experienced professionals who actually work in schools.
‘We know that it takes all stakeholders working together to improve our schools. The Administration’s plan leaves out students’ first teachers – their parents. There is no attempt in the blueprint to support parents’ efforts to be more involved in their children’s education.
“The National Education Association cannot support the Administration’s plan at this time. We are sharing the blueprint with our members so their voices are heard. We intend to engage in a productive dialogue to meet the needs of students, educators and public schools.
About ESEA Reauthorization
NEA believes the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act must focus on policies that would help transform public schools into high-quality learning centers by recognizing the shared responsibility among local, state, and federal governments. The Association encourages Congress to listen to the voices of educators in developing legislative proposals and offers these principles for ESEA reauthorization:
- The federal government should serve as a partner to support state efforts to transform public schools.
- A revamped accountability system must correctly identify schools in need of assistance and provide a system of effective interventions to help them succeed.
- The federal government should respect the profession of teachers and education support professionals by providing supports and resources to help students succeed.
- The federal government should require states to detail how they will remedy inequities in educational tools, opportunities and resources.
- State and local collective bargaining for school employees must be respected.
- Targeted programs that support students and schools with unique needs—such as English Language Acquisition, Impact Aid, rural schools and Indian education—should be maintained and expanded.
- The federal government should serve as a research clearinghouse, making available to educators a wealth of knowledge about how best to teach students and help schools improve practices.
The White House this weekend unveiled its proposal for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Obama administration’s “blueprint” for reauthorization will be forwarded to Congress on Monday, March, 15.
Starting immediately, NEA leadership will share the reauthorization blueprint with its 3.2 million members to give them the opportuity to share their opinions with the Administration.
Learn more at www.psea.org/ESEA.