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Great Educators Never Stop Learning

NEA Vice President Becky Pringle: “To ensure student success, we must do what is necessary to support the growth, development and excellence of educators throughout an entire career.”

WASHINGTON - November 17, 2017 -

Most professions require an advanced degree or certification. The education profession is no different, and a majority of educators have earned associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees, certification in specific areas, and, in many cases, doctorate degrees. But learning doesn’t end with a degree or certification. Educators are on a continuous path of professional growth to help improve their practice and ensure student success.

Today NEA released two landmark reports, Great Teaching and Learning and the ESP Professional Growth Continuum, that offer recommendations to create a system of continual professional learning with an intense focus on student needs. The Great Teaching and Learning report identifies six career phases, and crucial elements of support and work to be done at each career phase to support growth. The ESP Professional Growth Continuum includes the first ever professional continuum for education support professionals (ESP). It will deepen the knowledge and understanding of the roles ESP play in student learning and further professionalize the nine ESP career families.

“Every student deserves to have a team of educators that cares for, engages and empowers learners, provides challenging instruction, and enlists the entire school community to ensure student success,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “The reports call for a new vision—a system of shared, mutual responsibility—that is founded on the premise that educators are ultimately responsible to students, to their colleagues and to their professions.”

Today’s rollout event, hosted by the NEA Center for Great Public Schools, included members from across the U.S., and representatives from other organizations. It was an opportunity for affiliates and education partners to come together to help transform our schools for greater student learning and staff professional growth, and to create a culture of social justice in our schools and communities.

“If we believe the quality of educators is most significant in student success, then we must do what is necessary to support the growth, development and excellence of all our educators, throughout their careers,” said NEA Vice President Becky Pringle.

To produce the reports, two expert panels and task forces focused on how educators, including education support professionals (ESPs), can work even more effectively to help students, their families, and communities. The panels debunked the myth of a flat profession, showing how teachers can enhance their practice and expand their influence even beyond a single classroom throughout an entire career.

NEA began to chart a course to greater student learning through strong professional practice with its 2011 report, Transforming Teaching: Connecting Professional Responsibility with Student Learning, and its 2015 Accountability Task Force Report, which outlined a vision for shared responsibility and student success.

The Great Teaching and Learning report and the ESP Professional Growth Continuum can be viewed in their entirety on quality and


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

CONTACT: Celeste Busser