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NEA-Alaska Urges Alaska’s Congressional Delegation to Secure Federal Regulatory Relief From Unreasonable Education Mandates Presented by No Child Left Behind

NEA-Alaska President Barb Angaiak today issued letters to the Alaska Congressional Delegation requesting their help in securing federal regulatory relief for public schools in Alaska.

“As you know, schools in Alaska and across the nation, struggle to meet the mandates imposed by No Child Left Behind despite budget cuts, layoffs and increasing class sizes,” wrote Angaiak. “The mandates are unreasonable, difficult if not impossible to meet, and punitive, particularly in rural areas of Alaska.”

Angaiak’s letter followed a letter from national NEA Executive Director, John Wilson to Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan requesting regulatory relief in the form of waivers and interim adjustments to specific NCLB-related regulatory requirements.  The attached letter includes the following requests specific to No Child Left Behind:

1. Increase flexibility for meeting the “highly qualified” teacher requirements, including teachers of multiple subjects, special education and rural/small district educators.

2. Increase flexibility around AYP and the allowance of multiple measures of accountability.

3. Provide additional common-sense flexibility for assessing and counting test scores of students with disabilities and ELL students.

4. Expedite the invitation and approval of valid and reliable growth models to measure changes in student performance.

5. Adjust graduation calculation requirements to give schools credit for all students who graduate, not only those who graduate within a 4- or 5-year cohort deadline.

6. Provide greater flexibility to LEAs to use funds that must currently be set aside for school choice and supplemental educational services (SES).

7. Modify SES/choice regulations to allow (a) targeted SES/choice to certain student populations; (b) local input into SES certification; (c) the designation of LEAs as SES providers; and (d) flexibility to provide SES before choice.

8. Implement waivers to allow all Title I SIG schools to reset their NCLB timeline, not just turnaround and restart schools, and to give flexibility around the ‘Rule of 9’ with respect to the transformation model.

“NEA-Alaska is an unwavering advocate for providing quality educators in Alaska’s public schools,” added Angaiak.  “Our goal is to provide Alaskan children with a superior education that prepares them for the jobs of tomorrow. We understand that education is directly tied to the economic future of our state and we are dedicated to future developing an education system that produces and retains the best and brightest minds.”

NEA-Alaska is a diverse organization of teachers, certificated staff, education support professionals (ESPs), retired members, and students training to become teachers.  With almost 13,000 members, NEA-Alaska is a democratic organization that promotes high standards of excellence in education for the children of Alaska through support of public school employees. Approximately 67 local associations in school districts across the state are affiliated with NEA-Alaska, which is the state affiliate of the 3.2 million member National Education Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information on NEA-Alaska visit www.neaalaska.org.

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