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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on the Critical Role of Teachers in the Selection and Implementation of Reading Programs and Policies

2006 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee


NCTE came into being in 1911 because English teachers were responding to curriculum mandates from universities. Since that time, NCTE has been in the forefront of honoring the capabilities of teachers and teacher educators to be curriculum developers. In the current context of high-stakes accountability and the resulting curricular constraints placed on classroom teachers, NCTE must reassert the authority of teachers as professionals who make substantive decisions regarding literacy materials and instruction.

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.

Currently, teachers of English, language arts, and reading are being severely limited in the materials and methods they are permitted to use. In addition, teachers' rights to use their professional judgment and experience on behalf of their students are highly constrained. Therefore, NCTE must reassert the critical role of teachers in the selection and implementation of reading programs and policies. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English promote

  • active collaboration among teachers, administrators, and school board members in the selection and implementation of programs and materials for the teaching of reading;
  • education of policymakers, school board members, and school administrators in the areas of reading and language education so that their actions and policies reflect current research and effective practices in reading; and
  • development of protocols, decision-making tools, and participation structures for use by school personnel engaging in curriculum processes.

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