The National Council of Teachers of English, the professional home for English educators since 1911, has been on the front lines advocating for curriculum development and implementation that reflects a solid basis in pedagogy, theory, and best practice. NCTE has acted over the years to recognize teachers as professional decision makers. NCTE also has promoted effective literacy programs and authentic assessment. NCTE's position statement "On the Reading First Initiative" (2002) clearly outlines professional concerns about the implementation of federal acts that result in mandates at the state, district, or local school level. NCTE's "Features of Literacy Programs: A Decision-Making Matrix" (2005) offers guidelines for structuring critical conversations as part of the informed decision-making process.
Despite all the efforts of NCTE, more and more constraints are being placed on teachers, on curriculum, and on classroom practices. The continuation of high-stakes testing and the resulting legislation connected to federal aid have come to dictate programs and practices. Despite research that demonstrates the failure of many mandated programs such as Reading First, school districts and educators are still being compelled to adhere to regimented, scripted programs. NCTE must reaffirm the authority of teachers as professionals who should make the decisions regarding materials and practices in literacy education.
RESOLVED, that the National Council of Teachers of English
- Continue to conduct research that documents the effects of scripted programs and high-stakes testing on teacher retention and job performance;
- Oppose policies that require educators to utilize scripted programs and materials;
- Oppose attempts by state legislatures, other elected or appointed officials, or school administrators to dictate scripted programs, materials, and methods; and
- Label such mandates as censorship.