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NEA on Dept. of Education’s ‘Excellent Educators for All’ state guidance

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García supports educator equity done right

WASHINGTON - November 10, 2014 -

The U.S. Department of Education today released guidance to ensure all students have quality teachers. Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, welcomed the announcement while remaining cautiously optimistic about how states across the country use the guidelines.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“Too often, our most vulnerable student populations—poor children and students of color—have too many teachers who are inexperienced, teaching out of their fields, or aren’t fully certified. Today’s announcement is a good start toward ensuring every child has a committed, caring and qualified teacher.

“The success of our children shouldn’t be left up to chance or be determined by their zip code. This guidance is an important step to ensure we bring high-quality teachers and teaching into every classroom in every neighborhood. How states distribute quality teachers to every student is critically important to ensuring every child as an equal opportunity for future success. Just as we know we can’t measure a student’s love of learning or critical thinking skills based solely on standardized tests, we know we can’t measure a teacher’s ability to inspire students’ natural curiosity by a flawed statistical guess of how their students perform on a bubble test either.

“States should lean on reliable indicators of quality teaching like years of experience, classroom observations, and being fully licensed in the subjects they teach, and national board certification to guarantee students’ basic civil rights of a quality teacher and teaching. Teachers have big hearts. They want to teach where they are needed most. We know what attracts the highest quality teachers to our most challenging communities. We must ensure they have the resources, mentoring, authority and support they need to be successful with every student.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Staci Maiers, (202) 270-5333 cell,