Teaching Profession

NEA: NCLB Draft Needs Heftier Focus on Equity

By Stephen Sawchuk — April 13, 2015 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The National Education Association says it’s opposed to the Senate’s draft bill to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act, because it doesn’t do enough to rectify inequities among high- and low-poverty schools, The Washington Post reports.

The union’s president, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, wants states to publish an “opportunity dashboard,” an idea she telegraphed several months ago, that would display inequities in funding, access to experienced teachers, and advanced classes, and require states and districts to help fix them.

As colleague Alyson Klein wrote earlier this year, many of those indicators are already in other federal data collections, but they’re not all that easy to find. (To be fair, the Senate proposal would require some additional reporting, such as on teacher inexperience, to be disclosed on state report cards. See my earlier anaylsis of the bill’s teacher provisions for the details.)

Funding inequities are a different matter altogether. The ESEA doesn’t address state financing formulas at all—changing that would be a heavy policy lift indeed. District spending, on the other hand, is affected: The “comparability” provision in the ESEA is supposed to require districts to equalize spending between high- and low-poverty schools before they can draw down their Title I funds for disadvantaged kids, but in practice, a loophole in the law basically undercuts that intent. The NEA has signed onto previous proposals to close this loophole, setting it apart from the Amercian Federation of Teachers, which at last glance had not endorsed such a fix.

Still, the union’s opposition is somewhat surprising, given that the proposal would reduce the federally required penaties for schools not making adequate progress; would not mandate teacher evaluation based on test scores; and does not include the conservative proposal contained in Sen. Alexander’s earlier version that would have allowed Title I funds to follow students to any public or charter school. All of those are key details the NEA pushed for in the bill.

Trying to figure out an organization’s strategy around legislation like this can be pretty challenging. On the one hand, this proposal faces an uphill battle, especially in the House, so perhaps the union feels that now is the time to hew closely to its principles. On the other hand, the NEA was largely left out of the drafting of the original bill, way back in 2001; being seen as unwilling to compromise could backfire.

See also:

for the latest news on teacher policy and politics.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Opinion ‘A Culture of Care’: How Schools Can Alleviate Educator Stress This Year
It takes more than deep breathing to alleviate the stress teachers feel. Here's how to get to the root cause.
Sean Slade & Alyssa Gallagher
6 min read
shutterstock 740616958 resized
Teaching Profession Reported Essay Students Aren’t the Only Ones Grieving
Faced with so many losses stemming from the pandemic, what can be done to help teachers manage their own grief?
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Teaching Profession We Feel Your Grief: Remembering the 1,000 Plus Educators Who've Died of COVID-19
The heartbreaking tally of lives lost to the coronavirus continues to rise and take a steep toll on school communities.
3 min read
090321 1000 Educators Lost BS
Education Week
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor Educators Have a Responsibility to Support the Common Good
A science teacher responds to another science teacher's hesitation to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
1 min read