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“Focus on kids, fix the tests,” says NEA President

March 17, 2010

Current blueprint does not go far enough to help all students succeed

WASHINGTON— Today Education Secretary Arne Duncan presented the Administration’s priorities for changing our nation’s leading education policy for elementary and secondary education.  NEA does not support the Administration’s blueprint because it is based on the same flawed logic of No Child Left Behind—determining winners and losers based on test scores. The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“If we’re serious about creating a stronger foundation for America’s public schools, it’s important to get the blueprint right before it becomes policy.

“The 3.2 million members of the National Education Association would like nothing more than to see No Child Left Behind (NCLB) left behind.  For nearly a decade this legislation has punished students and entire communities with do-or-die, high-stakes testing.   

“Achieving a world-class education that prepares children for college and career, and allows them to compete in our ever-changing global economy means that we’re going to have to radically change the way we think about public education—our kids have got to be more than a test score.  This is exactly why we cannot support the blueprint as it’s currently being presented to Congress.  It simply does not go far enough to help all students succeed.  It’s still based on high-stakes, low quality standardized tests where some kids win and some kids lose.  President Obama promised we would fix this—and fix it for all students, not just some.   
“Educators know what works for students.  They’ve been sharing their views for years and no one is more eager to fix the problems of NCLB than NEA’s members. If the Administration and Congress want our support, they’ll have to put a draft in front of us that really allows teachers to help their students succeed, that doesn’t rely on high-stakes standardized tests. Our children are counting on the adults to get it right.”

For more information about NEA’s principles for the reauthorization of ESEA, visit

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Celeste Busser, NEA Public Relations
(202) 822-7823,


NEA resources on reforming NCLB