Policy Recommendations for the 115th Congress
The priorities which the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has established to accomplish its federal and state policy and advocacy work impacting Prek-16 teachers and schools are:
- Promote policies that ensure equity for all students to learn reading, writing, literature, language, and literacy
- Inform policy that impacts professional learning for teachers of English and composition
- Foster and promote education innovation in PreK-16 literacy instruction and learning
- Protect federal public education funding
To support our priorities and ensure the 115th Congress hears what is important to our 30,000 members, NCTE makes the following recommendations:
Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations
K-12 Education: The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
Title I – Do not divert funds away from Title I schools to support school choice initiatives. NCTE believes ESSA funding is necessary to provide equitable access to rich and compelling learning opportunities and transformative curricula for all students. Title I must be funded to achieve this purpose. [Is ESSA funding all funding for education?]
Title II: – Do not eliminate Title II funds. States can use Title II, Part A funds to flexibly invest in leadership and support job-embedded professional learning opportunities for teachers. As states help districts implement the new law, Title II funding is essential to assuring fully qualified teachers, resources, and technologies are available in the schools that serve students with fewer financial means. [Does Title II also address class size? If so, should we address also?]
Title II: Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) – Support $190 million for LEARN which was included in ESSA with overwhelming bipartisan support. LEARN is a grant program that connects policy and practice directly by providing states the flexibility to select the interventions necessary to improve literacy instruction [add for all content areas] for students from early childhood through high school.
Higher Education Opportunity Act
Title IV – Support TRIO, Gear Up, Pell and other student grant and loan programs that promote and improve access to post-secondary education for at-risk students.
Higher Education Act Reauthorization
- Support policy that prepares teachers across the curriculum to advance reading and writing; and, prepares teachers in all disciplines to work with English learners and non-standard or global English speakers.
- Support policy that creates stronger vertical connections between high school and college reading, writing, and literacy programs [and to prepare graduates for careers in all fields, including STEM, business, etc.].
Public Education Funding
- Do not use federal education funds for school choice programs. NCTE rejects any educational [voucher] or other choice system that can be used to support schools that discriminate against any student. With 91 percent of Prek-12 students attending public school and over half now eligible for free or reduced lunch, the growing wealth gap affects families as well as conditions and opportunities for learning. The federal government must help assure access to a quality public education so that all citizens are prepared to participate in a competitive economy and a strong democracy.