The weight of research and professional expertise about the teaching of literacy compel us to assert that teacher knowledge, skills, and judgment are paramount in implementing Common Core State Standards and other state standards for student learning. The current educational landscape creates tensions for teachers who are trying to align the standards with the needs of their students, schools, and communities.
The 1999 NCTE Position Statement on Reading affirms, “All educational stakeholders — educators, policymakers, and the general public — need to understand that they can best support beginning and advanced readers by participating in public conversation about the broad goals of literacy learning while acknowledging teachers as curricula decision makers.”
Moreover, the 2004 NCTE Position Statement On Reading, Learning to Read, and Effective Reading Instruction: An Overview of What We Know and How We Know It states that policies should “Respect teachers as professionals [and] value their knowledge of the students and community they serve. . . . ”
Most recently, the 2011 NCTE Resolution on Challenging Current Education Policy and Affirming Literacy Educators’ Expertise called for reaffirming NCTE’s commitment to supporting all literacy educators so that pedagogical and subject matter knowledge, as well as an understanding of the school community and students, are primary influences in school and district plans to advance literacy learning. Be it therefore
RESOLVED, that in recognition of teacher professionalism and the complexities of teaching and learning, the National Council of Teachers of English support teacher agency in implementing Common Core State Standards or other state standards for student learning; and
that NCTE urge policymakers, school leaders, and legislators to acknowledge and respect the expertise of teachers as they
- make instructional decisions that positively impact student learning;
- design differentiated instruction that reflects the importance of students’ academic, social, and emotional needs; background knowledge; and cultures;
- choose materials that respond to students’ interests and that broaden and deepen students’ understanding;
- provide students with choices that increase motivation, promote engagement, and encourage personal response;
- engage students in experiences with multiple forms of literacy; and
- use multiple measures of student learning, including classroom-based assessments, to monitor student progress and guide instruction.
Be it further resolved that NCTE and its members
- publicly critique and oppose any Common Core State Standards or all state standards that conflict with NCTE policies;
- engage in public dialogue and debate regarding implementation policies of Common Core State Standards and other state standards; and
- critique and oppose implementation policies when they adversely affect social and educational equity.
This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.