Teacher Unions Push for NCLB Rewrite

WASHINGTON—The main Senate committee on education issues is off to a quick start in attempting to rewrite the nation’s federal education aid law. Teachers and their two unions, National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT), are weighing in on issues.

 

Key issues include, how many tests kids should take in grades K-12, the weight of tests in evaluating, hiring, and firing teachers, which public school’s don’t pass and why, and whether federal dollars should be pulled from failing schools and channeled into charter schools and religious schools.

 

Rachelle Moore, a board-certified outstanding teacher in Seattle and a National Education Association (NEA) member, told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during one of several panel hearings on the NCLB last month, “There is no ‘average’ student. Each is shaped by individual experiences, and those experiences must be taken into consideration when shaping policies geared towards improving student success.” Moore is in favor of in-service training, pairing new teachers with outstanding mentors to attract, train and keep excellent teachers.

 

In-service training is important because data shows that half of all teachers leave the profession after five years due to low respect and pay and lack of training. Additionally, half of all public school students are from poverty-level families.

 

Moore is pushing for two teachers in the classroom in disadvantaged schools. When the teacher-student ratio is low, teachers can use different instruction styles to meet the needs of all the students and work individually with students.

 

NEA and AFTs principles for rewriting the No Child Left Behind law include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Return the focus of federal law on those schools, and students, that need the most help to create a level playing field for disadvantaged students and fight poverty.
  • End the use of standardized tests the most important measure of student’s progress, teachers’ effectiveness, and whether or how much federal aid a school should receive.
  • Give states and school districts flexibility in meeting education goals.
  • Increase social services at school that have high-poverty students such as, school lunches, health screenings, after-school programs, and emotional services
  • More money to the schools most in need

 

Source: PAI