2016 NCTE Education Policy Platform

Writing, reading, language learning, and related literate activities are at the core of NCTE’s mission. For decades the organization and its members have investigated and acted on questions about how students should learn, how that learning should be assessed, and what conditions should exist to support learning from pre-kindergarten through college and beyond.

Recent initiatives such as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), as well as institutional, state, and local policies, have opened the possibility of innovative approaches to learning, assessment, and teacher support. These initiatives create opportunities to enact NCTE’s core commitments to literacy learning across grade levels and subjects.

These commitments include student access to knowledgeable teachers with expertise in literacy learning; the understanding that successful writers and readers analyze and adapt to expectations in different situations requiring literate skills; and the understanding that teachers should contribute to assessment processes and practices and to discussions about using assessment and accountability data. Enacting these commitments requires advocacy at all levels, from the national to the grassroots.

Ensuring Equitable Access to Learning
Ensuring equity is vital in a period when considerable control of education is moving to state, local, or institutional levels. Regardless of neighborhood, family circumstance, or personal situation, all students have a right to fully qualified teachers and to classrooms and curricula that enrich their lives and provide a foundation for growth as productive citizens.

We advocate to change learning and teaching conditions that create inequity for students through the following:

We advocate to advance learning and teaching conditions that create equity in literacy education through the following:

Assessment and Accountability That Open Life Pathways

Stakeholders in education have a collective responsibility to engage in assessment and hold each other accountable for helping students learn. As educators, we are accountable for using instructional practices that are most effective for the students we serve. State and local leaders must also be held accountable for providing necessary resources and policies.

Opening life pathways through literacy learning requires readiness. Institutions should be ready for the students they serve, just as students should be ready to take advantage of the opportunities and resources in those institutions. Educators play a primary role in determining both types of readiness, facilitating students’ progression from one site of learning to the next.

We advocate for appropriate assessment and accountability systems and for uses of data that are grounded in research and experience:

We advocate for assessment and accountability systems that are used to make principled decisions:

Valuing Teacher Expertise as a Condition for Literacy Learning
Literacy educators at all levels should be valued as professionals whose leadership is vital to literacy learning. All teachers must have a mastery of content and effective teaching practices and must have opportunities to teach and learn from each other. They must be able to meet the needs of diverse student populations and to participate in educational decision making. Because conditions for teaching directly affect conditions for learning, all teachers require appropriate time, resources, and compensation to design and offer thoughtful instruction.

We advocate for conditions that recognize teacher expertise and foster connections within classes and across grade levels and sites of learning:

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