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NCLB Outrages

CTA will never support a bill that ties teacher compensation to student test scores.

California Teachers Association

August 30, 2007

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
450 Golden Gate Avenue, 14th Floor
San Francisco, California 94102

Dear Madam Speaker:

On behalf of the 340,000 members of the California Teachers Association and its Board of Directors, we request a meeting with you to discuss recent developments surrounding the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Recent comments suggesting inclusion of "pay for Performance" language in the reauthorization have sent shockwaves throughout our organization, CTA will never support a bill that ties teacher compensation to student test scores. All research shows that these merit pay schemes do not improve student learning or attract people into the teaching profession. CTA also opposes any federal mandate to use student test scores as a legitimate means to evaluate teachers. Our union will not step back from our collective bargaining rights and accept federal mandated terms of employment.

Until the most recent comments, we had been encouraged that Labor and Education Committee Chairman George Miller had stated his intention to include many significant reforms to the law. The key changes that CTA members, parents and other educators want to see are:

1) Use of multiple measures to assess student learning and school performance so that AYP is not based solely on standardized test scores. These measures can include student portfolios, dropout and attendance rates, and student participation in higher level courses.

2) Reduce class size to help students learn.

3) Increase the number of highly qualified teachers in our schools by providing funding to attract and retain quality teachers. Other incentives could include college student loan forgiveness and housing subsidies.

4) Shift the accountability system from one that labels and penalizes schools to one that rewards progress and provides substantial resources, guidance, and technical assistance to help turn around high priority schools.

5) Use growth models to measure changes in student performance to reward progress over time and improve student achievement at all levels.

6) Provide additional common-sense flexibility for assessing and counting test scores of students with disabilities and English learners.

7) Improve flexibility for meeting "highly qualified" teacher requirements for teachers of multiple subjects, including special education, middle school, and rural educators.

As you are well aware, Representative Miller has indicated that reauthorization will probably occur this fall. CTA members as well as other educators, parents and community members have met with Representative Miller numerous times to discuss our concerns. However, we believe it is imperative to discuss our priorities and concerns with you directly because this issue is so important to the future of public education. We would respectfully request that this meeting occur as soon as possible. To accommodate your busy schedule, we are prepared to come to Washington D. C. for this meeting.

A staff representative from our CTA will contact your district office to discuss dates for this meeting . . . .[direct phone numbers given]

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


Donald A. Sanchez

Carolyn Doggett
Executive Director

— letter
California Teachers Association


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