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Action Alerts: Help Make a Difference in Education Policy - Previous Revision

Help Make a Difference in Education Policy This Week

Let your Members of Congress know your support of important issues that affect education, pre-K-higher ed. Take action now through April 20 on the following issues, right from your own computer or phone:

Ask Your Members of Congress to Support Teacher Evaluation
Based on Multiple Factors

Please take time to ask your Senators and Representative to support teacher evaluation based on multiple factors and not just students’ standardized test scores. Research shows that effective evaluation connects teacher learning and professional development as well as student achievement; indicates that evaluators need to know about school context; and suggests that value-added measures lack validity. 
 

To call:  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.   

To write in support of this issue:  Use this letter template.

  • Please take a few minutes to edit the letter in the template after paragraph three to add a brief personal example demonstrating the importance of evaluating teachers by multiple factors.
  • For your information, the NCTE Legislative Platform calls upon policymakers at all levels to fund teacher evaluation systems that move beyond student test scores by basing evaluation on clearly defined standards of professional practice measured by the following: 
    • Documentation of ongoing learning and collaboration that supports the learning of all students (up-to-date content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge). 
    • Classroom observation (of higher-order learning; differentiated instruction; student engagement; teacher interaction with students; student interaction with one another; instructional methods, tools, and technologies). 
    • Student products and performances.
    • A variety of appropriate assessments.
    • Teacher reflections, portfolios, and goal achievements.
    • Student feedback. 

 

Ask Your Members of Congress to Support
Formative Assessments to Measure Student Progress

Please take time to ask your Senators and Representative to support formative assessments to measure student progress. Formative assessments contribute to teachers’ knowledge of student learning, students’ awareness of their own progress, and teachers’ and students’ knowledge of what to maintain or change to foster learning. Formative assessments used as multiple ways of reading student progress, done over time and incorporated into the learning process are essential in order to paint an accurate picture of what students know and are able to do. 

To call:  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.   

To write in support of this issue:  Use this letter template.

  • Please take a few minutes to edit the letter in the template after paragraph two to add a brief personal example demonstrating the importance of evaluating teachers by multiple factors.
  • NCTE is a partner in the Connected Learning Coalition which created this position statement.
  • For your information, the NCTE Legislative Platform calls upon policymakers at all levels to support equitable, fair, and valid assessments that advance, not merely measure, student learning by:
    • Reforming accountability guidelines so that the consequences of high-stakes tests do not increase inequities in our education system, narrow the curriculum, or drive instructional planning and decision making.  
    • Enacting measures that support teachers and teaching teams in developing formative, performance-based assessments designed to engage students in their own learning and to inform instruction.
    • Funding professional learning and providing time to analyze results of assessments for the purpose of improving student learning.

 

Ask Your Members of Congress to Support Funding
for the Humanities

Please take time to ask your Senators and Representative to support no less than $154.3 million in FY2013 funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).  NCTE makes this funding request in the company of 107 other organizations that constitute the National Humanities Alliance because NCTE supports humanities education to ensure that we are preparing students not only to make a living, but to live a well-rounded life. NCTE calls for a higher education system that sustains and increases student literacy and advances preparation of students for participation in society as productive citizens.

To call:  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.   

To write in support of this issue:  Use this letter template.

  • Please take a few minutes to edit the letter in the template after paragraph four to add a brief personal example of the importance of humanities education in your institution and with your students. 
  • For your information, the NCTE Executive Committee recently passed two motions recognizing the importance of the humanities. 
    • They passed as motion charging the Council to launch a campaign to heighten public perceptions of the crucial role of the humanities in education and 
    • They passed NCTE’s 2012 Legislative Platform which features this plank: Invest in a higher education system that sustains and increases student literacy and advances preparation for participation in society as productive citizens by: … Supporting humanities education to ensure that we are preparing students not only to make a living, but to live a well-rounded life.

 

Ask Your Members of Congress to Support Funding
for Pell Grants & Stafford Loans!

Please take time to ask your Senators and Representative to support FY 2013 appropriations for the proposed maximum grant level of $5,645 per year under the Pell Grants Program to provide low-income students access to higher education and to maintain interest rates of 3.4 percent for Stafford Loans.  The current educational environment stresses the importance of standards and assessments that prepare students to be college-ready.  However, preparing students to be college-ready means little if they cannot afford to attend.

To call:  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.   

To write in support of this issue:  Use this letter template.

  • Please take a few minutes to edit the letter in the template after paragraph six to add a brief personal example demonstrating the importance of supporting all students with adequate funding for a college education. 
  • For your information, the NCTE Legislative Platform calls upon policymakers at all levels to invest in a higher education system that sustains and increases student literacy and advances preparation for participation in society as productive citizens.  The platform suggests they do this by supporting students with adequate funding, including the reduction of educational costs that they bear in the form of loans including Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.

 

Ask Your Members of Congress to Support
Comprehensive Literacy Learning

Please take time to ask your Senators and Representative to support a comprehensive approach to literacy learning by appropriating money in FY13 for continuation of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program, the first federal program to support a comprehensive, aligned approach to literacy learning AND by assuring that the LEARN elements addressing literacy learning of all students be central in the reauthorization of ESEA.

To call:  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.   

To write in support of this issue:  Use this letter template.

  • Please take a few minutes to edit the letter in the template after paragraph two to add a brief personal example demonstrating the importance of evaluating teachers by multiple factors.

For your information, the NCTE Legislative Platform calls upon policymakers at all levels to

Support a comprehensive, cross-curricular literacy policy that:

  • Requires a sustained investment in literacy learning and instruction from birth through grade 12, including provision of wrap-around services such as expanded access to school libraries, books, and other support services.
  • Supports the implementation of state literacy plans as described in the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program and the LEARN Act.
  • Implements a comprehensive, cross-curricular literacy plan through ongoing, job-embedded professional development situated in communities of practice throughout all stages of teachers' careers.
  • Demonstrates the interdependent and reciprocal relationship of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and digital literacy practices.
  • Creates equitable learning environments rich in a variety of complex texts, media, and technologies.
  • Requires developmentally and contextually appropriate instruction that meaningfully engages students.
  • Supports systematic, comprehensive literacy instruction informed by cross-curricular and cross-grade-level teacher teams. 
  • Empowers teachers to generate and adapt formative assessments to fit diverse instructional needs.
  • Encourages literacy learning opportunities after school and at home.

 

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