In 2007, NCTE passed its Resolution on Strengthening Teacher Knowledge of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Issues. In 2010, NCTE passed its Resolution on Social Justice in Literacy Education, and in 2011, NCTE passed its Resolution on Confronting Bullying and Harassment.
Bullying and its deleterious impact on students will be debated on the floor of the Senate when the ESEA is considered in the coming weeks. At the HELP Committee mark-up, both Chairman Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Casey (D-PA) submitted amendments to address bullying (listed as Alexander Title IV, Amendment 1, and Casey Title IV, Amendment 1). While the two amendments share similar language, they differ in their proposed implementation. Given the importance of addressing bullying, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) suggested that the two Senators work out a compromise. Their staffs are in the process of working on language acceptable to all parties.
Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is also expected to introduce the Student Non-Discrimination Act as an amendment to ESEA. This amendment is focused on bullying but with particular attention paid to LGBT students.
NCTE’s commitment to treating every student with dignity and respect and its belief that teachers should have a voice makes this a particularly good time to share our resolutions with decision makers on the Hill. All 100 Senators will be voting on these amendments when they are introduced on the floor.
NCTE will send out relevant action alerts when the time comes, but why wait? Why not write your Senators now to raise their awareness about your perspective or the Council’s perspective on this issue!
As our Resolution on Confronting Bullying and Harassment states:
“As English teachers, we are in a unique position to use discourse as a way of helping students explore and understand bullying in all its forms and to shape their own values and attitudes toward it, even as they deepen their understanding of language effect and affect in the world.”