Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NEA's Call for a New Federal Role in Education

Here are the major areas of the new NEA "white paper" on what we believe should be the role of our federal government in education.

We propose that the federal government set a goal that every student has a great public school by the year 2020. Achieving this requires collaboration, and the federal government should embrace its role as a supporter---nor a micromanager---of state and district responsibilities. To reach the goal we propose that the federal government start with a five-year initiative for public school improvement. This Transforming America's Public Schools Initiative asks Congress to address six points:

1. Support the profession of teaching as a desired and complex field of study and practice.

2. Federal guarantee for the sustained funding of Title I and IDEA and for special needs populations.

3. Equal access to educational services and supports.

4. Support state-led public school tranformation through authentic accountability that is publicly transparent.

5. Establish high-quality educational research and development as essential to educational improvement.

6. Support innovation and best practices to accelerate state-based improvement efforts and improve student learning base on proven teaching strategies and programs grounded in sound teaching and learning research.

NEA Commitment

NEA believes the federal government has a vital role to play in advancing the quality of the nation’s public schools. Federal leaders can help forge a new partnership with state and local authorities, parents and civic organizations, social service agencies and businesses, and NEA and our affiliates. Collectively, we can shape a type of American Renaissance in our public schools that will prepare our students to succeed as democratic citizens in a global economy.

NEA commits to:

*supporting a White House Summit on Education

*creating models for state-based educational improvement

*developing a new framework for accountability systems that support authentic student learning

*clearly representing our members’ insights and views to advance policy that works in the classroom and school,

*and fostering a constructive relationship with U.S. Department of Education leadership.

In a world of promise and uncertainty, students should develop a deep appreciation of our liberties and acquire the wide range of skills it will take to realize the American Dream. NEA and our affiliates already have begun work to transform our public schools. We are ready to contribute ideas, give aggressive support, and help unleash the creative energies that will create great public schools for every student in America.

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