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FaithfulAmerica.org launches letter writing campaign on school act

New York City, September 14, 2006 A growing number of Americans are voicing objections, concerns and disappointment in the federal education plan, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

The National Council of Churches USA's Committee on Public Education and Literacy has created a webpage for people of faith to lift voices for justice in preparation for the scheduled 2007 reauthorization of the NCLB.

Based on its online resource, "Ten Moral Concerns in the Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act," the committee expects broad participation in a year-long, online Congressional Letters project at the NCC's FaithfulAmerica.org advocacy website.

The committee provides ten different letters, one for each of its ten moral concerns. The project will permit participants to send ten letters, one letter for each of the ten concerns the committee has identified.

The committee is asking writers to add a personal story to each letter about how NCLB is impacting a particular school, child, teacher or community.

"The personal stories are important because the one-size-fits-all NCLB affects schools differently depending on the special needs of each school district," said Jan Resseger, NCC Committee on Public Education and Literacy chair. "Letter writers are not expected to suggest specific changes to the law," said Resseger, "but instead to share their own truth about specific injustices in the implementation of NCLB.”

"Like Esther of the Hebrew scriptures who lifted her voice for her people, we are asking people to speak on behalf of our children, 'for such a time as this', said Resseger, who is also the Minister for Public Education and Witness in the United Church of Christ.

"The NCC has long been a strong advocate for quality public education in America for every child regardless of economic background," said the Rev. Garland F. Pierce, NCC's associate general secretary for Education and Leadership Ministries.

Resseger believes the voice of the church will deepen and enrich what is too often a technocratic, policy-wonk conversation: “People of faith can articulate a vision for public morality. We are called to insist that NCLB begin to address poverty, racism and segregation; to demand that NCLB be changed to build capacity and support educators; to insist that the law be more oriented to student growth and less dependent on standardized tests; to call for full funding; to challenge NCLB’s sanctions that undermine educational programming in the very schools serving our nation's poorest students; and to decry the law's mechanisms that try to motivate through fear."


NCC News contact: Dan Webster, 212.870.2252, dwebster@councilofchurches.org, or Jan Resseger, Committee on Public Education and Literacy, ressegerj@ucc.org, 216-736-3711.


 

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