ESEA Alert 10.24.03
50th Anniversary of Brown Vs. Board of Education
Our Purpose
Becoming A Member
Chapter Leadership
Officers' Update
Agendas and Minutes
Treasurer Reports
Education International

Enter subhead content here

National Education Association
ESEA Alert
October 24, 2003.
Welcome to the National Education Association's weekly update on the Great Public Schools for Every Child Action Plan and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA is also known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

    Great Public Schools Action Plan: Reg on TV...NEA's ESEA speakers making the rounds...Membersspeak Web page a growing hit...Lawsuit update.

    Legislative Update: Congress revisited...Citizens for Effective Schools takes on ESEA.
    Department of Education (ED) News: New ED guidance available...School crime report.
    State Reports: Two more governors speak out...NM amendment adds $78 million annually to school coffers...Florida's retirement system may purchase struggling Edison Schools.

    Studies, Articles and Reports: Brookings 2003 Report...ASCD Smartbrief on ESEA...State "highly qualified" numbers vary.

    Quote of the Week: Rural state governors draw the line.
    Great Public Schools Action Plan
    Reg TV: This past week, NEA President Reg Weaver taped two broadcasts that will be nationally televised in the near future. Reg touched on a variety of NCLB-related topics - vouchers, education spending, and politics - in his interviews with Fox News (national) and CNN NewsNight with Aaron Brown. CNN went a step further and interviewed the principal and teacher of an esteemed Georgia school unfairly branded "in need of improvement."

      ESEA Speakers: Keeping members and other factions of the education community aware of NEA's proposed changes to ESEA, has Great Public Schools ESEA manager Joel Packer in perpetual motion. Packer was one of three NEA staffers who recently met with the General Accounting Office to provide input for a study on how ESEA's definition of highly qualified affects special education teachers. The GAO - the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress - plans to release its report next summer.

      Packer also talked ESEA to 125 local members of the Montgomery County Education Association earlier this month and to 130 emerging leaders at the Southwest Region Minority Leadership Training last weekend in Atlanta. GR lobbyist Steve Nousen addressed 700 members at the Maryland State Teacher Association annual conference last week. Not only did he summarize the changes NEA is attempting to make in ESEA, "I told the delegates that through the use of political action we could make the changes necessary to 'fix' ESEA," Nousen said. And last weekend, Marilyn Hutton of NEA's Human and Civil Rights Division, discussed ESEA's impact on students, teachers and support professionals and helped NAACP members, parents and community leaders understand their role at the 63rd annual Maryland State NAACP conference Oct. 24. Other upcoming ESEA briefings: AERA, NSAII, TSTA-TFT Issues conference, NCUEA, and the Organizing Institute.

      Popular site: The video clips of NEA members talking about the negative impact ESEA has on their students, schools, colleagues and classrooms is one of the most visited pages on the NEA Web site - 2000 page views in less than a month. There are currently 12 video clips of NEA members speaking out, with three new clips being added each week. "I think this can be a powerful message vehicle for us - teachers, administrators, and education support professionals giving first-person testimony about what's wrong with NCLB," says Eddy Gattis of NEA Public Relations. Access this site at

      Lawsuit update: NEA has been diligently working to find one or more states to act as the lead plaintiff in its planned ESEA lawsuit. NEA's Office of General Counsel is in current discussions with several states that have expressed interest in doing so and hopes to have final agreement from one or more of these states shortly. As soon as something is firm, all state affiliates will be informed.

    Legislative Update
    NEA follow-up: NEA lobbyists lost no time making follow-up calls on the Congressmen visited earlier this month when NEA's board of directors tried to recruit more cosponsors for our bills to improve ESEA. Since Oct. 12, two bills aimed at changing ESEA - Rep. Strickland's Student Testing Fairness Act (HR 3049), which incorporates all of NEA's proposed changes to assessments and Rep. Moore's HR 2394, which asks for a suspension of all penalties until ESEA is fully funded - has added five new cosponsors each. The Moore bill now has 46 sponsors, the Strickland bill 19.

      New group takes on ESEA: Citizens for Effective Schools, a newly formed group of educators, administrators and civic leaders from across the USA, is asking Congress to rewrite ESEA. According to the group's members, which include New York's Urban League and the Education Law Center of New Jersey, meaningful education reform should not focus on punishment, but instead on techniques that help schools improve. In a letter to President Bush, ED Secretary Rod Paige and members of Congress, Citizens for Effective Schools said that "Instead of inducing the states to institute the necessary systemic changes, the Act has caused many of them to severely lower their improvement goals. The Act's accountability system is an invitation to manipulation, permitting states to postpone major reforms and perpetuate the failing status quo in the name of meaningless compliance." The group goes on to recommend a number of changes to the heavily criticized law. For the full text of it's letter, go to

    Department of Education (ED) News
    New guidance on Title I funding: ED's newest guidance, released Oct. 21, gives info on how public schools should disburse Title I funds to local children attending private schools. Since 1965, public schools have been obligated to provide Title I services to eligible private school children in their geographic area. But ESEA resulted in a number of changes to the old format and public school officials have had a hard time explaining the new rules to their private school counterparts. View it at

      School crime report: With ESEA's emphasis on "persistently dangerous" schools, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has prepared a report on school violence. NCES's 2000 School Survey on Crime and Safety says:

      - Violence is more likely to take place in secondary schools. The size of a school's enrollment is directly related to its number of violent incidents.

      - Approximately 71 percent of public elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. had a least one violent incident during the 1999-2000 school year.

      - Twenty percent of all schools had at least one violent incident involving rape, sexual battery, robbery or physical attack with a weapon.

      - Seven percent of all schools accounted for 50 percent on the violent incidents on record.
      In addition to school type and enrollment size, NCES also says violent incidents are more likely to occur in urban schools. The number of incidents also hinge on the number of class changes as well as the percentage of students who consider academics important at that school. For more info on this study, go to

Enter supporting content here