Literacy Is the Foundation of Education, Work, and Civic Life
Ask Your Senator to Vote YES on S. 439, the Student Non-Discrimination Act
7/14/15: Senator Al Franken (D-MN) filed this bill to prohibit discrimination against LGBT students. It would help ensure that all students attend school without fear of intimidation, harassment, and bullying. He has 40 co-sponsors.
Although this bill was submitted as an amendment during the ESEA reauthorization process and defeated on the floor, it is still a live bill. RIGHT NOW, please ask your Senator to vote YES on the Franken Student Non-Discrimination Act.
NCTE has a long history of supporting ALL children, including those who are LGBT. In 2007, NCTE passed the Resolution on Strengthening Teacher Knowledge of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Issues. In 2010, it passed the Resolution on Social Justice in Literacy Education and in 2011, the Resolution on Confronting Bullying and Harassment. NCTE also created the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Academic Studies Advisory Committee to "develop plans to assist teachers in making schools, colleges, and universities safe and welcoming places for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, intersex, queer, and questioning people…"
Senator Franken needs 60 Senators to support his bill in order for it to pass. Please ask your Senator to vote YES on S. 439, the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
Ask Your Senator to Vote YES on S. 37, the Core Opportunity Resources for
Equity and Excellence Act of 2015
7/8/15: This bipartisan bill that NCTE support will hold states and districts accountable for resource equity, rather than just test scores. It would help ensure that all students have access to
- rigorous coursework,
- health and wellness programs,
- high-quality early learning programs,
- school library programs,
- music and arts courses, and
- other opportunities that are important for student success.
RIGHT NOW, please ask your Senator to vote YES on S.37, the Core Opportunity Resources for Equity and Excellence Act of 2015.
Ask Your Senator to Cosponsor or Support S. 311, the Safe Schools Improvement Act
6/23/15: Senator Robert Casey's S. 311, the Safe Schools Improvement Act would "require schools and districts receiving federal funding to specifically prohibit bullying and harassment, including conduct based on a student's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion." Thirty-seven Senate Democrats are cosponsoring along with Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois.
Chairman Lamar Alexander has also introduced similar legislation, but his language does not require a delineation of protected classes. His language in Title IV, Amendment #1 "states that the policies may include addressing bullying or harassment based on characteristics that include a student's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion."
It is essential to protect explicitly all the classes that are delineated, as students in these groups are the most vulnerable to and much more harshly affected by bullying. This position is consistent with NCTE policies: see NCTE's Resolution on Confronting Bullying and Harassment and Resolution on Social Justice in Literacy Education.
The need for federal action to stop bullying is clear, and the American public wants to see action.
Senator Casey needs 60 Senators to support his Act in order for it to pass. We are appealing to you to write to your Senator to ask him or her to (1) cosponsor and/or (2) support S. 311 either before or when it is introduced in Committee.
Status Update: ESEA Reauthorization and NCTE’s Recommendations
4/9/15: Over the last five months, NCTE staff and members have pushed aggressively for improvements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, a.k.a. No Child Left Behind). On Advocacy Day in early March, NCTE offered three recommendations to policymakers that, together, define our priorities for ESEA reauthorization.
On April 7th, the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released a bipartisan reauthorization bill that will be marked up in committee next week. It is certainly a compromise, but it contains numerous improvements over the Republican draft bill released prior to hearings in January and February.
Here are some of NCTE’s key recommendations and how they compare to the bipartisan bill.
Tell Congress That Literacy Should Be a Priority
in Federal Support for Education
Fellow educators, we have the opportunity to make sure our priorities are included in the revised Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). As Congress negotiates the language of the new law, also known as No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB), you can make a difference by writing your representatives today. Persuade Congress that literacy is the foundation of education, work, and civic life -- it should be a priority in federal support for education.
Using our easy-to-use template, send a letter to your members of Congress: tell them that our students deserve (1) comprehensive literacy education programs; (2) equitable learning opportunities; and (3) assessments that enhance learning. Ask Congress to include the following:
- Funding for comprehensive literacy programs for students and professional learning for teachers that includes protected time for collaboration.
- Title I funds devoted to schools and districts that serve the most low-income students and to programs that build the capacity of such schools to make sustained improvements.
- Funding for research, professional learning, and teacher preparation to support assessments for learning and innovation in assessments for accountability.
- Use the form below to persuade your members of Congress that literacy is critical to all Americans. Please feel free to use the language we have drafted and add your own personal message within the letter.
You Might Want to Also Phone and Tweet Your Message:
Phone: Call your legislators with the messages on each of the topics listed above:
Contact the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, give your zip code, and the operator will connect you to your legislator’s office (you will need to repeat this to contact all three of your legislators). Please leave the message above. You can do this 24 hours a day and leave a voice mail if necessary.
Tweet: Send your legislators messages on each of the topics listed above:
Search Twitter for your Senators and Representatives, then send your tweets; be sure to include your city and state so they know you are a constituent.
Past Action Alerts