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The National Education Association is pursuing a three-point plan to push for reform in the teaching profession after several years of assault from right-wing, anti-teacher, anti-union politicians and corporate interests. In particular, 2011 was a year where Republicans across the country pushed anti-education measures in many states and local governments. The NEA is pushing aggressively to challenge the misinformation being spread by their opponents and to bring real reform to the profession of teaching.
Key components of the plan include raising the bar for entry into the teaching profession, expanded collaboration among colleagues who have expertise and success in teaching, and strengthening teachers unions. Specific proposals include:
Drawing from recommendations of the CETT report, NEA will advocate the alignment of teaching standards across higher education institutions and state licensing agencies.
NEA also will advocate that no candidate enter the teaching profession prior to demonstrating proficient classroom performance based on universally accepted standards and practices.
Every teacher candidate should have one full year of residency under the supervision of a Master Teacher before earning a full license.
Every teacher candidate should pass a rigorous classroom-based performance assessment at the end of his or her candidacy.
NEA will work with institutions of higher education, districts, and interested foundations to establish residency programs. NEA commits to supporting the training of high-quality teachers to serve as clinical faculty, cooperating teachers, and mentors to ensure that candidates receive the clinical preparation they need.
NEA will collaborate with higher education and other partners to support the implementation of at least 50 high-quality residency programs over the next several yearsand teacher performance assessments in at least 10 state licensure systems.
NEA will strongly advocate for new state regulations in the 26 TPAC pilot states and others to require teacher candidates to pass a performance assessment before becoming a teacher of record.
The teaching profession should focus on supporting teachers, providing them with career options and helping teachers improve throughout their careers. Learning how to teach does not stop at the beginning of a teaching career. Teachers continually confront new challenges as they work with their students. They must refine their strategies and techniques to ensure that their students learn. During this process, time to collaborate with colleagues, as well as get the feedback and guidance of expert mentors and coaches, is essential.
Consistent with the NEA Policy Statement on Teacher Evaluation and Accountability, NEA is developing training and materials for all local and state affiliates to use as they develop quality evaluation systems and fair dismissal policies.
NEA also concurs with the CETT report on PAR programs, and as part of NEA’s national training effort, NEA will advocate for the expansion of Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) programs. NEA is disseminating best practice descriptions, research, and other information for use in promoting and adopting new programs, and NEA will implement training through its national UniServ Program beginning in January of 2012.
NEA will work with willing state and local affiliates that have the capacity and resources to establish at least 100 new Peer Assistance and Peer Assistance and Review programs over the next three years.
NEA will use its national training networks to deliver leadership skills to teachers recognized for their effectiveness. NEA will work with affiliates to train 1,000 accomplished teachers to be voices for their profession, both as instructional leaders and at all levels of policymaking. NEA will make extra efforts to ensure that younger teachers join their experienced colleagues to collaborate and bring fresh perspectives into professional decision-making. Throughout this effort, NEA will urge these talented teachers to be strongly involved at every level of their union.
Additionally, NEA will train educators from all 50 states in educational leadership based on the innovative curriculum being developed by the NEA Foundation’s Institute on Innovation in Teaching and Learning.