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Education Reporter

NEA Passes Resolutions at 1999
Convention in Orlando, Florida

A-2. Educational Opportunity for All. The National Education Association believes that each student has the right to a free public education that should be suited to the needs of the individual and guaranteed by state constitutions and the United States Constitution. Education is a lifelong process, and public schools serve a constituency that embraces all age groups. Access and opportunities for postsecondary education should be widely available, and no qualified student should be denied such opportunities because of the cost of tuition and fees. The Association also believes that all schools must be accredited under uniform standards established by the appropriate agencies in collaboration with the Association and its affiliates.

A-10. Public School Buildings. The National Education Association believes that closed public school buildings can be used effectively for public preschool, day care, job training, and adult education centers. The Association believes that closed public school buildings should be sold or leased only to those organizations that are not in direct competition with public schools.

A-13. Federal Financial Support for Education. The Association believes that funding for federal programs should be substantially increased, not merely redistributed among states. The Association further believes that there should be federal support for education whereby:

The federal government assumes a full partnership role with local school districts by providing significant levels of federal funding for elementary and secondary education

Federal education funding is clear and identifiable within the federal budget

Categorical funding is assured in areas such as special education, bilingual/English as a second language, and the economically/educationally disadvantaged.

A-15. Financial Support of Public Education. Funds must be provided for programs to alleviate race, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination and to eliminate portrayal of race, gender, and sexual orientation stereotypes in the public schools. The Association opposes the use of public revenues for private, parochial, or other nonpublic pre-K through 12 schools.

A-19. Undocumented Immigrants. The National Education Association believes that, regardless of the immigration status of students or their parents, every student has the right to a free public education in an environment free from harassment.

A-26. Charter and Nontraditional Public School Options. The Association believes that when concepts such as charter schools and other nontraditional school options are proposed, all affected public education employees must be directly involved in the design, implementation, and governance of these programs. The Association further believes that plans should not negatively impact the regular public school program.

A-27. Deleterious Programs. The National Education Association believes that the following programs and practices are detrimental to public education and must be eliminated: privatization, performance contracting, tax credits for tuition to private and parochial schools, voucher plans (or funding formulas that have the same effect as vouchers), planned program budgeting systems (PPBS), and evaluations by private, profit-making groups.

A-29. Voucher Plans and Tuition Tax Credits. The National Education Association believes that voucher plans and tuition tax credits or funding formulas that have the same effect - under which pre-K through 12 nonpublic school education is subsidized by tax monies - undermine public education, reduce the support needed to adequately fund public education, and have the potential for racial, economic, and social segregation of children. The Association opposes all attempts to establish and/or implement such plans.

A-33. Urban Development. The National Education Association believes that professional organizations should be concerned about the quality of life in our cities and should advocate policies or programs concerning land use, zoning, urban development, economic growth, plant closings, mass transit, rent subsidy, or other issues vitally affecting patterns of community development.

B-1. Early Childhood Education. The National Education Association supports early childhood education programs in the public schools for children from birth through age eight. The Association supports a high-quality program of transition from home and/or preschool to the public kindergarten or first grade. The Association further believes that early childhood education programs should include a full continuum of services for parents/guardians/caregivers, and children, including child care, child development, developmentally appropriate and diversity-based curricula, special education, and appropriate bias-free screening devices. The Association believes that federal legislation should be enacted to assist in organizing the implementation of fully funded early childhood education programs offered through the public schools. These programs must be available to all children on an equal basis and should include mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance.

B-7. Diversity. The National Education Association believes that a diverse society enriches all individuals. Similarities and differences among races, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, geographic location, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, size, occupation, and marital, parental, or economic status form the fabric of a society. The Association also believes that education should increase acceptance and foster an appreciation of the various qualities that pertain to people as individuals or members of a group. The Association further believes in the importance of observances, programs and curricula that accurately portray and recognize the roles, contributions, cultures, and history of these diverse groups and individuals.

B-8. Racism, Sexism, and Sexual Orientation Discrimination. The National Education Association believes in the equality of all individuals. Discrimination and stereotyping based on such factors as race, gender, immigration status, physical disabilities, ethnicity, occupation, and sexual orientation must be eliminated. The Association also believes that plans, activities, and programs for education employees, students, parents/guardians/caregivers, and the community should be developed to identify and eliminate discrimination and stereotyping in all educational settings. Such plans, activities, and programs must -

Increase respect, understanding, acceptance, and sensitivity toward individuals and groups in a diverse society composed of such groups as American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics, women, gays and lesbians, and people with disabilities

Eliminate discrimination and stereotyping in the curriculum, textbooks, resource and instructional materials, activities, etc.

Foster the use of nondiscriminatory, nonracist, nonsexist and nonstereotypical language, resources, practices, and activities

Eliminate institutional discrimination

Integrate an accurate portrayal of the roles and contributions of all groups throughout history across the curriculum, particularly groups who have been underrepresented historically

Identify how prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination have limited the roles and contributions of individuals and groups, and how these limitations have challenged and continue to challenge our society

Eliminate subtle practices that favor the education of one student over another on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, physical disabilities, or sexual orientation

Encourage all members of the educational community to examine assumptions and prejudices that might limit the opportunities and growth of students and education employees

Offer positive and diverse role models in our society including the recruitment, hiring, and promotion of diverse education employees in our public schools.

The Association encourages its affiliates to develop and implement training programs on these matters.

B-20. Educational Programs for Limited English Proficiency Students. The Association believes that LEP students should be placed in bilingual education programs to receive instruction in their native language from qualified teachers until such time as English proficiency is achieved. The Association values bilingual and multilingual competence and supports programs that assist individuals in attaining and maintaining proficiency in their native language before and after they acquire proficiency in English.

B-33. Vocational-Technical Education. The National Education Association believes that preparation of students for vocational-technical jobs should be the responsibility of secondary and higher education in collaboration with labor and business. Vocational-technical education should provide a comprehensive program of lifelong learning for the training, ad-vancement, and promotion of all students.

B-36. Family Life Education. The Association believes that programs should be established for both students and parents/guardians/caregivers and supported at all educational levels to promote -

The development of self-esteem

Education in human growth and development.

The Association also believes that education in these areas must be presented as part of an anti-biased, culturally-sensitive program.

B-37. Sex Education. The Association recognizes that the public school must assume an increasingly important role in providing the instruction. Teachers and health professionals must be qualified to teach in this area and must be legally protected from censorship and lawsuits. The Association also believes that to facilitate the realization of human potential, it is the right of every individual to live in an environment of freely available information and knowledge about sexuality and encourages affiliates and members to support appropriately established sex education programs. Such programs should include information on sexual abstinence, birth control and family planning, diversity of culture, diversity of sexual orientation, parenting skills, prenatal care, sexually transmitted diseases, incest, sexual abuse, sexual harassment.

B-38. AIDS Education. The National Education Association believes that educational institutions should establish comprehensive acquired human immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) education programs as an integral part of the school curriculum.

B-40. Environmental Education. The Association supports educational programs that promote -

  • The concept of the interdependence of humanity and nature
  • An awareness of the effects of past, present, and future population growth patterns on world civilization, human survival, and the environment
  • The protection of endangered, threatened, and rare species
  • Protection of the earth's finite resources
  • Solutions to such problems as pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, and acid precipitation and deposition
  • The recognition of and participation in such activities as Earth Day, Arbor Day, and Energy Education Day.

B-53. Standardized Testing of Students. The Association opposes the use of standardized tests when -

  • Used as the criterion for the reduction or withholding of any educational funding
  • Results are used inappropriately to compare students, teachers, programs, schools, communities, and states.

B-65. Home Schooling. The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When a home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state requirements. Home schooling should be limited to the children of the immediate family, with all expenses being borne by the parents/guardians/caregivers. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used. The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.

First New B. Racial Diversity Within Student Populations. The Association believes that a racially diverse student population may not be achieved or maintained in all cases simply by ending discriminatory practices and treating all students equally regardless of race. The Association further believes that, to achieve or maintain racial diversity, it may be necessary for elementary/secondary schools, colleges, and universities to take race into account in making decisions as to student admissions, assignments, and/or transfers.

Second New B. Assessment of Student Learning. The National Education Association supports ongoing comprehensive assessment of student growth. The Association believes that the primary purposes of assessment are as follows:

  1. To assist students and their parents/guardians/caregivers in identifying the student's strengths and needs

  2. To encourage students to become lifelong learners

  3. To measure a program's effectiveness, communicate learning expectations, and provide a basis for determining instructional strategies

  4. To develop appropriate learning experiences for students.

All methods of assessment shall be free of cultural, racial, and gender biases.

C-1. Health Care for All Children. The National Education Association believes that legislation should be adopted to provide comprehensive health care to all children.

C-7. Child Care. The Association encourages school districts and educational institutions to establish on-site child care for preschoolers, students, the children of students, and the children of staff members.

C-14. Extremist Groups. The National Education Association condemns the philosophy and practices of extremist groups and urges active opposition to all such movements that are inimical to the ideals of the Association.

C-22. Comprehensive School Health Programs and Services. The National Education Association believes that every child should have direct and confidential access to comprehensive health, social, and psychological programs and services. The Association believes that schools should provide -

  • A planned sequential, pre-K through 12 health education curriculum that integrates various health topics (such as drug abuse, violence, universal precautions, and HIV education).

    The Association believes that services in the schools should include -

  • Counseling programs that provide developmental guidance and broad-based interventions and referrals
  • Comprehensive school-based, community-funded student health care clinics that provide basic health care services (which may include diagnosis and treatment)
  • If deemed appropriate by local choice, family-planning counseling and access to birth control methods with instruction in their use.

C-23. School Counseling Programs. The National Education Association believes that guidance and counseling programs should be integrated into the entire education system, pre-K through college.

C-31. Suicide Prevention Programs. The National Education Association believes that suicide prevention programs including prevention, intervention, and postvention must be developed and implemented. The Association urges its affiliates to ensure that these programs are an integral part of the school program.

D-20. Testing/Assessment and Teacher Evaluation. The National Education Association believes that competency testing must not be used as a condition of employment, license retention, evaluation, placement, ranking, or promotion of licensed teachers.

E-3. Selection and Challenges of Materials and Teaching Techniques. The Association deplores prepublishing censorship, book-burning crusades, and attempts to ban books from school libraries/media centers and school curricula.

E-9. Academic and Professional Freedom. The National Education Association believes that academic freedom is essential to the teaching profession. Academic freedom includes the rights of teachers and learners to explore and discuss divergent points of view. A teacher shall not be fired, transferred, or removed from his or her position for refusing to suppress the free expression rights of students. The Association further believes that legislation and regulations that mandate or permit the teaching of religious doctrines and/or groups that promote antipublic education agendas violate both student and teacher rights. The Association urges its affiliates to seek repeal of these mandates where they exist.

F-1. Nondiscriminatory Personnel Policies/Affirmative Action. The National Education Association believes that personnel policies and practices must guarantee that no person be employed, retained, paid, dismissed, suspended, demoted, transferred, or retired because of race, color, national origin, cultural diversity, accent, religious beliefs, residence, physical disability, political activities, professional association activity, age, size, marital status, family relationship, gender, or sexual orientation. Affirmative action plans and procedures that will encourage active recruitment and employment of ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and men in under-represented education categories should be developed and implemented. It may be necessary, therefore, to give preference to men in recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion policies to overcome past discrimination.

F-37. Employees with HIV/AIDS. The National Education Association believes that education employees shall not be fired, nonrenewed, suspended (with or without pay), transferred, or subjected to any other adverse employment action solely because they have tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) antibody or have been diagnosed as having HIV/AIDS.

H-1. The Education Employee as a Citizen. The Association urges its members to become politically involved and to support the political action committees of the Association and its affiliates.

H-7. National Health Care Policy. The Association supports the adoption of a single-payer health care plan for all residents of the United States, its territories, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Association will support health care reform measures that move the United States closer to this goal.

I-1. Peace and International Relations. The Association urges all nations to develop treaties and disarmament agreements that reduce the possibility of war, provide for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and guarantee the rights of nations to coexist within safe and secure borders. The Association also believes that such treaties and agreements should prevent the placement of weapons in outer space. The Association further believes that the United Nations (UN) can further world peace and promote the rights of all people by preventing war, racism, and genocide.

I-3. International Court of Justice. The National Education Association recognizes that the International Court of Justice is one instrument to resolve international disputes peacefully. The Association urges participation by the United States in deliberations before the court.

I-13. Family Planning. The National Education Association supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association further urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel.

I-27. Freedom of Religion. The Association opposes the imposition of sectarian practices in the public school. The Association also opposes any federal legislation or mandate that would require school districts to schedule a moment of silence.

I-29. Gun-free Schools and the Regulation of Deadly Weapons. The Association believes that strict proscriptive regulations are necessary for the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale and resale of handguns and ammunition magazines.

I-43. Hate-Motivated Violence. The National Education Association believes that hate-motivated violence against individuals or groups because of their race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, size, marital status, or economic condition is deplorable.

I-47. English as the Official Language. The Association believes that efforts to legislate English as the official language disregard cultural pluralism; deprive those in need of education, social services, and employment; and must be challenged.

I-50. Equal Opportunity for Women. The Association supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution (such as the Equal Rights Amendment) that guarantees that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state because of gender.

The above text is excerpted from some of the 1999 NEA Convention resolutions. Words have been deleted but not changed.

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