Current Policy Recommendations
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has identified the following objectives in order to accomplish its federal and state policy and advocacy work impacting PreK–16 teachers and schools:
- Support the implementation and funding of traditional and innovative strategies to diversify the teaching profession.
- Oppose state legislation censoring the teaching of critical perspectives, including, but not limited to, (1) any censorship of teacher expertise and autonomy, such as choice of teaching materials and text, (2) curriculum and pedagogical design, and (3) professional development.
- Support legislation and other state and local efforts to increase the racial literacy, cultural competence, critical media literacy, and trauma-informed practices of (1) inservice teachers through adequately funded and research-based designed educational opportunities and (2) preservice teachers by incorporating these areas into the curriculum of teacher preparation programs. State, LEAs, and HE institutions are encouraged to use ARP Act funding to support these efforts.
- Support legislation and other state and local efforts to update standards and curriculum to include racial literacy, inclusive histories, civic reasoning and discourse, and trauma-informed practices across all subject matters, with an emphasis on ELA and literacy.
- Support the expansion of a robust and culturally inclusive civics education that includes (1) dedicated focus on reasoning and discourse, including critical media literacy analysis and the incorporation of civic concepts and issues across all subject matter, with emphasis on ELA and literacy and critical media literacy and (2) research-based educational opportunities for inservice and preservice teachers to expand their civics knowledge and skills in civic reasoning and discourse.
- Expand research-based dual enrollment programs with an emphasis on ELA and teacher preparation pathways and increasing the enrollment of students who identify as BIPOC.
- Address the potential national teacher shortage situation and support the implementation and funding of traditional and innovative strategies for recruitment and retention of professional teachers.
- Protect, support, and/or grow Title II, Part A in ESSA for teacher professional growth.
- Promote digital equity across all grades and settings, including access to digital devices, high-speed internet, and multimodal instructional resources, to support critical media literacy and instruction that emphasizes students as content creators; promote support for student voice, including New Voices legislation.
- Remove barriers to access to rigorous curriculum (e.g., Advanced Placement courses) for students from traditionally marginalized populations, including, but not limited to, BIPOC students and students qualifying for free and reduced lunch.
- Support reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, where the reauthorization provides adequate support of humanities, ELA, and teacher preparation programs.
- Support higher education faculty, including contingent and part-time faculty, in terms of protecting positions, income supports, loan forgiveness, and the movement from contingent to full-time faculty.
- Support cost-free community colleges and investing in community college infrastructure.
- Provide support for GEAR UP, TRIO, and LEARN Act. (See descriptions below.
GEAR UP: This discretionary grant program is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. GEAR UP provides six-year or seven-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grantees serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through high school. GEAR UP funds are also used to provide college scholarships to low-income students.
LEARN Act: The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) authorizes a program called Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation, or LEARN, aimed at improving achievement in reading and writing. LEARN authorizes the secretary of education to give grants to states for evidence-based literacy instruction in high-need schools. The grant funding applies to students from birth through grade 12. States and districts must allocate no less than 15 percent of those funds for children ages zero to 5, no less than 40 percent of funds for students in grades K–5, and no less than 40 percent for students in grades 6–12.
TRIO Programs: These are federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs. TRIO also includes a training program for directors and staff of TRIO projects. The recipients of the grants, depending on the specific program, are institutions of higher education, public and private agencies, and organizations, including community-based organizations with experience