Joint Organizational Statement on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act

List of 156 Signers Updated December 13, 2011 

The undersigned education, civil rights, religious, children's, disability, and civic organizations are committed to the No Child Left Behind Act's objectives of strong academic achievement for all children and closing the achievement gap. We believe that the federal government has a critical role to play in attaining these goals. We endorse the use of an accountability system that helps ensure all children, including children of color, from low-income families, with disabilities, and of limited English proficiency, are prepared to be successful, participating members of our democracy.

While we all have different positions on various aspects of the law, based on concerns raised during the implementation of NCLB, we believe the following significant, constructive corrections are among those necessary to make the Act fair and effective.

Among these concerns are: over-emphasizing standardized testing, narrowing curriculum and instruction to focus on test preparation rather than richer academic learning; over-identifying schools in need of improvement; using sanctions that do not help improve schools; inappropriately excluding low-scoring children in order to boost test results; and inadequate funding. Overall, the law's emphasis needs to shift from applying sanctions for failing to raise test scores to holding states and localities accountable for making the systemic changes that improve student achievement.

Recommended Changes in NCLB

Progress Measurement

  1. Replace the law's arbitrary proficiency targets with ambitious achievement targets based on rates of success actually achieved by the most effective public schools.
  2. Allow states to measure progress by using students' growth in achievement as well as their performance in relation to pre-determined levels of academic proficiency.
  3. Ensure that states and school districts regularly report to the government and the public their progress in implementing systemic changes to enhance educator, family, and community capacity to improve student learning.
  4. Provide a comprehensive picture of students' and schools' performance by moving from an overwhelming reliance on standardized tests to using multiple indicators of student achievement in addition to these tests.
  5. Fund research and development of more effective accountability systems that better meet the goal of high academic achievement for all children

Assessments

  1. Help states develop assessment systems that include district and school-based measures in order to provide better, more timely information about student learning.
  2. Strengthen enforcement of NCLB provisions requiring that assessments must:
    • Be aligned with state content and achievement standards;
    • used for purposes for which they are valid and reliable;
    • Be consistent with nationally recognized professional and technical standards;
    • Be of adequate technical quality for each purpose required under the Act;
    • Provide multiple, up-to-date measures of student performance including measures that assess higher order thinking skills and understanding; and
    • Provide useful diagnostic information to improve teaching and learning.
  3. Decrease the testing burden on states, schools and districts by allowing states to assess students annually in selected grades in elementary, middle schools, and high schools.

Building Capacity

  1. Ensure changes in teacher and administrator preparation and continuing professional development that research evidence and experience indicate improve educational quality and student achievement.
  2. Enhance state and local capacity to effectively implement the comprehensive changes required to increase the knowledge and skills of administrators, teachers, families, and communities to support high student achievement.

Sanctions

  1. Ensure that improvement plans are allowed sufficient time to take hold before applying sanctions; sanctions should not be applied if they undermine existing effective reform efforts.
  2. Replace sanctions that do not have a consistent record of success with interventions that enable schools to make changes that result in improved student achievement.

Funding

  1. Raise authorized levels of NCLB funding to cover a substantial percentage of the costs that states and districts will incur to carry out these recommendations, and fully fund the law at those levels without reducing expenditures for other education programs.
  2. Fully fund Title I to ensure that 100 percent of eligible children are served.

We, the undersigned, will work for the adoption of these recommendations as central structural changes needed to NCLB at the same time that we advance our individual organization's proposals.

  1. Advancement Project
  2. American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  3. American Association of School Administrators
  4. American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA)
  5. American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA)
  6. American Association of University Women
  7. American Baptist Women's Ministries
  8. American Civil Liberties Union
  9. American Counseling Association
  10. American Dance Therapy Association
  11. American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
  12. American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA)
  13. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  14. American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  15. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
  16. American Humanist Association
  17. American Music Therapy Association
  18. American Occupational Therapy Association
  19. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  20. American School Counselor Association
  21. Americans for the Arts
  22. Annenberg Institute for School Reform
  23. Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
  24. Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
  25. ASPIRA
  26. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
  27. Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
  28. Association of Education Publishers
  29. Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO)
  30. Association of Teacher Educators
  31. Big Picture Company
  32. Business and Professional Women/USA
  33. Center for Community Change
  34. Center for Expansion of Language and Thinking
  35. Center for Parent Leadership
  36. Center for Policy Alternatives
  37. Change to Win
  38. Children's Aid Society
  39. Children's Defense Fund
  40. Christians for Justice Action--UCC
  41. Church Women United
  42. Citizens for Effective Schools
  43. Coalition for Community Schools
  44. Coalition of Essential Schools
  45. Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
  46. Communities for Quality Education
  47. Consortium for School Networking
  48. Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders
  49. Council for Exceptional Children
  50. Council for Hispanic Ministries of the United Church of Christ
  51. Council for Learning Disabilities
  52. Council of Administrators of Special Education, Inc.
  53. Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform
  54. Disciples Center for Public Witness
  55. Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  56. Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)
  57. Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children (DLD/CEC)
  58. Education Action!
  59. Education Law Center
  60. Educate Not Incarcerate
  61. Episcopal Church
  62. Equal Partners in Faith
  63. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  64. Every Child Matters
  65. FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing
  66. Forum for Education and Democracy
  67. Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
  68. Gender Public Advocacy Coalition
  69. Hmong National Development
  70. Holmes Partnership
  71. Indigenous Women's Network
  72. Institute for Language and Education Policy
  73. International Reading Association
  74. International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
  75. International Technology Education Association
  76. Japanese American Citizens League
  77. Jobs with Justice
  78. Learning Disabilities Association of America
  79. League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  80. Mental Health America
  81. Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic justice of the United Church of Christ
  82. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  83. NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF)
  84. National Alliance of Black School Educators
  85. National Association for Asian and Pacific American Education (NAAPAE)
  86. National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)
  87. National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME)
  88. National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans (NAFEA) \
  89. National Association for the Education of African American Children with Learning Disabilities (NAEAACLD)
  90. National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
  91. National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS)
  92. National Association of Pupil Service Administrators
  93. National Association of School Nurses
  94. National Association of School Psychologists
  95. National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
  96. National Association of Social Workers
  97. National Baptist Convention, USA (NBCUSA)
  98. National Coalition of ESEA Title I Parents
  99. National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
  100. National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE)
  101. National Conference of Black Mayors
  102. National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP)
  103. National Council for the Social Studies
  104. National Council of Churches
  105. National Council of Jewish Women
  106. National Council of Teachers of English
  107. National Education Association
  108. National Education Taskforce
  109. National Federation of Filipino American Associations
  110. National Forum on Information Literacy
  111. National Indian Education Association
  112. National Indian School Board Association
  113. National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
  114. National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA
  115. National Pacific Islander Educator Network
  116. National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
  117. National People's Action
  118. National Reading Conference
  119. National Rural Education Association
  120. National School Boards Association
  121. National School Climate Center
  122. National School Supply and Equipment Association
  123. National Science Teachers Association
  124. National Superintendents Roundtable
  125. National Training & Information Center
  126. National Urban League
  127. Native Hawaiian Education Association
  128. Network of Spiritual Progressives
  129. Organization of Chinese Americans
  130. People for the American Way
  131. Parents for Public Schools
  132. PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
  133. Presbyterian Church (USA)
  134. Progressive National Baptist Convention
  135. Promise the Children
  136. Protestants for the Common Good
  137. Protestant Justice Action
  138. Public Education Network
  139. Rethinking Schools
  140. Rural School and Community Trust
  141. Save Our Schools
  142. Service Employees International Union
  143. School Social Work Association of America
  144. Social Action Committee of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations
  145. Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  146. Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
  147. Stand for Children
  148. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL)
  149. United Black Christians of the United Church of Christ
  150. United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Concerns
  151. United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
  152. United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
  153. USAction
  154. Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church
  155. Women of Reform Judaism
  156. Young Men's Empowerment Network

(List of 156 signers updated December 13, 2011)

We encourage national organizations to sign the Joint Statement.

Email the endorsement to monty@fairtest.org. Send your organization's name, along with contact person and that person's email, phone and address, as well as organization's website.

We also encourage state and local organizations to endorse and use the Joint Statement, but we are not adding such groups to the list of signers.