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NCC joins 100 groups wanting changes in NCLB

New York, January 3, 2007 – The National Council of Churches USA (NCC) and 20 faith organizations are part of 100 national civil rights, education, and disability advocacy groups calling for major changes in the "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) law.

With the fifth anniversary of the legislation drawing near (Jan. 8), the concerned groups have released a "Joint Organizational Statement" that urges "the law’s emphasis needs to shift from applying sanctions for failing to raise test scores to holding states and localities accountable for making the systemic changes that improve student achievement." 

The number of organizations signing the statement has nearly quadrupled since it was launched in late 2004.  The NCLB is up for reauthorization during the term of Congress that begins tomorrow.

"Demonstrating broad concern across America's demographic groups and throughout many sectors of American life, the 100 signing organizations share by consensus a belief that NCLB is fraying our social fabric by undermining an institution we all value; public schools are, after all, where we shape the future of 90 percent of American children," said Jan Resseger, chair of the NCC public education and literacy committee.  "Signing organizations are especially concerned that the schools being most severely punished by NCLB's sanctions are the schools serving our nation's poorest children," said Resseger, who is also the Minister for Public Education and Witness in the United Church of Christ. 

In addition to the NCC, the religious organizations signing on to the statement are:
American Baptist Women's Ministries
Church Women United
Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
Council for Hispanic Ministries, UCC
Disciples Home Missions
Disciples Justice Action Network
The Episcopal Church
Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice, UCC
National Baptist Convention USA
National Council of Jewish Women
National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Progressive National Baptist Convention
Protestants for the Common Good
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund
United Black Christians, UCC
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
Women's Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church
Women of Reform Judaism

The Joint Statement outlines 14 recommended changes to NCLB including:
▪ Replace over-reliance on standardized tests with the use of multiple achievement measures in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of student and school performance;
▪ Supplant arbitrary proficiency targets with ambitious achievement targets based on rates of success actually achieved by the most effective public schools;
▪ Increase NCLB funding to cover a substantial percentage of the costs that states and districts will incur to carry our these recommendations;

The "Joint Organizational Statement" and a current list of its signers are online at the new Forum for Educational Accountability website,
A copy of  "Ten Moral Concerns in the Implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act" a statement issued more than a year ago is available on the NCC website at

NCC Education and Literacy contact: Jan Resseger, 216.736.3711, .
NCC News contact: Dan Webster, 212.870.2252, .



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