NEA President on Huff Post: Teachers Unions Step Up to Lead
In a blog post featured on the Huffington Post’s Education page, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel addresses the gap between affluent and poor students, the “need to focus on those schools with high concentrations of poor students” and how “local teachers unions are stepping up to the challenge of raising academic performance in these schools.”
Van Roekel wrote:
Research at Stanford University found that the gap in test scores between affluent and poor students increased by 40 percent in the past 50 years, while a University of Michigan study found that the disparity in college completion rates increased by 50 percent since the 1980s.
These trends do not bode well for the more than 20 percent of children who live below the official poverty line, including a third of African American children. While there’s room for improvement in almost every school, we clearly need to focus on those schools with high concentrations of poor students who have not been getting the education they need and deserve.
Instead of playing the blame game, local teachers unions are stepping up to the challenge of raising academic performance in these schools. I know this because I have seen it in schools across the country, including those that are part of the National Education Association’s Priority Schools Campaign.
Van Roekel also highlighted the work at Romulus Middle School, an intensive support site of the NEA Priority Schools Campaign located in Romulus, Michigan. During a visit to Romulus in September, Van Roekel witnessed teachers taking responsibility for their profession, renewed community and family involvement, and a focus on significant and sustainable improvement. He noted that while an infusion of cash from a School Improvement Grant was important, “what really put the transformation effort over the hump was the collaborative efforts of teachers, administrators and the community.”
To read the entire post, visit the Huff Post Education page.