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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on the Intervention of AACTE in English Language Arts Programs

1999 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Denver, Colorado

Background

The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) is an organization whose membership includes most colleges of education in the United States. Each college is represented by a team of university, college, and faculty members. AACTE is an affiliate of the Learning First Alliance (LFA), which deliberately excludes NCTE, IRA (International Reading Association), NRC (National Reading Conference), and all other professional subject matter organizations. AACTE recently mailed to all its affiliates Louisa Moats’ Reading Is Rocket Science, a publication of the American Federation of Teachers, which includes a highly explicit and narrow delineation of what literacy education for teachers should and should not include. This constitutes a major change in the relationship between AACTE and its affiliates because it interferes with the academic freedom of the faculties of its constituents. Already, NCTE members and other literacy educators are feeling pressures from university and college administrators that appear to be the direct result of AACTE’s joining this campaign.

Enormous political pressure is being put on English language arts educators in colleges of education to focus their teaching and their inquiry on narrowly defined definitions of language arts curricula and research. By contrast, the National Council of Teachers of English promotes highly sophisticated, broad research-based standards of what constitutes the best, most appropriate practices in the English language arts. Be it therefore

Resolution

RESOLVED, that the National Council of Teachers of English

  1. Oppose the intervention of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education in the English language arts and literacy education programs of its affiliates;
  2. Protest NCTE’s exclusion by AACTE and the Learning First Alliance from policy-making deliberations relating to English language arts and literacy education; and
  3. Develop strategies and policies to resist unwarranted and ill-advised intrusion by AACTE that include
    • issuing an advisory to NCTE members, to school and university authorities, and to the public (drafted by the Executive Committee or an ad hoc group appointed by the NCTE President);
    • communicating with the board of AACTE through letters and by personal contact;
    • issuing news releases to the education and general press; and
    • publishing its position in pamphlets and other short documents for use by NCTE members in combatting the intrusion of AACTE in their own academic communities.

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