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NCTE Position Statement

2012 Legislative Platform

Literacy education is a civil right and civic responsibility that is integral to building our nation's capacity for innovation, economic success, and global leadership.  Consequently, we are collectively responsible for providing optimal conditions for literacy learning in our education system. Under such conditions, not only will schools become richer learning environments, teachers accomplished professionals, and students engaged learners -- our communities will re-discover the initiative to overcome poverty, inequity, and economic stagnation. By investing in the conditions for enhanced learning, we secure our collective future.


We can sustain improvement in our education system by fostering evidence-based teacher decision making, school innovation, and integration of learning opportunities across every student's daily life.  Educators working in teams better understand how to teach the literacy practices needed for academic success in all content areas. To ensure that all students are college- and career-ready, we call 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.


Invest in systematic, team-based professional learning that results in increased student engagement and learning by:

  • Including teachers in planning professional learning that builds their capacity to meet the increasingly diverse needs of students.
  • Providing time in the school day for teaching teams to design and share goals and strategies, to strengthen informed decision making, and to participate in broadly based communities of practice to advance literacy learning in every content area. 
  • Supporting teachers in out-of-district learning such as attendance at professional conferences, Web-based learning, periodical subscriptions, and book-study groups.
  • Supporting teams as they design instruction and assessment that align with standards.
  • Supporting innovation, problem solving, and collaboration within and across grade levels and disciplines.
  • Increasing flexibility so that the results of teacher-generated formative assessments will be used to inform instruction.
  • Providing mentoring opportunities that tap the expertise of both early career and veteran teachers to create engaging learning experiences for all students.


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.


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.

Invest in an education system that prepares all students to become college- and career-ready by providing: 

  • Support for collaboration between high school and college teachers. 
  • Support for systematic involvement of teachers in the definition and process that ensures that every student is college- and career-ready.
  • Support for instruction that incorporates cultural and linguistic pluralism.
  • Resources to develop a better database about cross-institutional initiatives.
  • Learning experiences* that foster 
    • Curiosity – the desire to know more about the world.
    • Openness – the willingness to consider new ways of being and thinking in the world. 
    • Engagement – a sense of investment and involvement in learning.
    • Creativity – the ability to use novel approaches for generating, investigating, and representing ideas.
    • Persistence – the ability to sustain interest in and attention to short- and long-term projects.
    •  Responsibility – the ability to take ownership of one's actions and understand the consequences of those actions for oneself and others. 
    • Flexibility – the ability to adapt to situations, expectations, or demands. 
    • Metacognition – the ability to reflect on one's own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge.


Invest in a higher education system that sustains and increases student literacy and advances preparation for participation in society as productive citizens by:  

  • Supporting students with adequate funding, including the reduction of educational costs that they bear in the form of loans by:
    • Maintaining the maximum grant level under the Pell Program.
    • Immediately reinstating the grace period interest-free benefit on Subsidized Stafford loans.
    • Including literacy as one of the deferment categories under the Perkins Loan Program without being subject to the determination of state education agencies.
  • Supporting humanities education to ensure that we are preparing students not only to make a living, but to live a well-rounded life.


*Taken from the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing (2011)



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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts