Join the conversation

...about what is working in our public schools.

LFA Positions

April 2014

4/8/2014: Statement from the Learing First Alliance on the Need to Allow More Time for Implementation of the Common Core State Standards

Today, the Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of leading education organizations representing more than 10 million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

“The Learning First Alliance believes that Common Core State Standards have the potential to transform teaching and learning and provide all children with knowledge and skills necessary for success in the global community.

To meet this potential, teachers, administrators, parents and communities are working together to align the standards with curriculum, instruction and assessment. Their work – which includes providing the pre-service and professional learning opportunities educators need to effectively teach the standards, making necessary adaptations to implementation plans as work progresses and field-testing efforts to ensure proper alignment – will take time.

Rushing to make high-stakes decisions such as student advancement or graduation, teacher evaluation, school performance designation or state funding awards based on assessments of the standards before they have been fully and properly implemented is unwise. In light of recent developments, we suggest a transition period that respects the time good implementation requires. Results from assessment of these standards then can be used to guide instruction and attention to curriculum development, technology infrastructure, professional learning and other resources needed to ensure that schools have the supports needed to help all students achieve under the standards. Removing high-stakes consequences for a short time will release the pressure on educators and allow them to make adjustments to their instruction that will best support student learning. It will give parents and communities the opportunity to understand how they can better support the needs of children. 

During this time, we urge a continued commitment to accountability. We recommend that states and districts continue to hold educators and schools to a high standard as determined by the components of their accountability systems that are not solely based on standardized tests, including other evidence of student learning, peer evaluations, school climate data and more. 

We continue to see growing opposition to the standards as officials move too quickly to use aligned assessments in high-stakes accountability decisions. Such actions have the potential to undermine the standards themselves – and thus our opportunity to improve education for all students. We must take the necessary time to ensure we succeed in this endeavor.”

Download the statement.

August 2013

8/12/2013: Learning First Alliance Calls for Increase to E-Rate Funding Cap

Today, the Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of 15 leading education associations representing more than 10 million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

"The Learning First Alliance applauds recent initiatives to modernize the E-Rate program, including the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) approval of the E-Rate Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on July 19, 2013.

E-Rate has played a critical role in supporting school connectivity and student learning since it was initially enacted in 1996. However, given advances in telecommunications and education technology that have occurred since its inception, the need for E-Rate has grown significantly. Currently, the program receives requests for assistance that more than double the resources available for it.

As the FCC moves forward with the rulemaking process, LFA urges the Commission to approve a significant and permanent increase to the E-Rate funding cap." Read more...

June 2013

6/6/2013: Open Letter to Education Stakeholders on Common Core Transition

Fifteen members of the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of national education organizations representing more than ten million parents, educators and policymakers, have agreed on the following statement:

"The Learning First Alliance believes that the Common Core State Standards have the potential to transform teaching and learning and provide all children with knowledge and skills necessary for success in the global community.

To meet this potential, teachers, administrators, parents and communities are working together to align the standards with curriculum, instruction and assessment. Their work – which includes providing the pre-service and professional learning opportunities educators need to effectively teach the standards, making necessary adaptations to implementation plans as work progresses and field-testing efforts to ensure proper alignment – will take time.

Rushing to make high-stakes decisions such as student advancement or graduation, teacher evaluation, school performance designation, or state funding awards based on assessments of the Common Core standards before the standards have been fully and properly implemented is unwise. We suggest a transition period of at least one year after..." Read more...

September 2011

9/9/2011: Learning First Alliance Supports President's Bold Plan to Invest in Education

The Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of 16 leading education associations representing more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America's public schools, applauds the President’s call last night to invest in schools and teachers.  LFA supports the President’s focus on putting teachers back to work and investing in education infrastructure to make schools more efficient and innovative.

“We support the President’s initiative,” said Dan Domenech, LFA Board Chair and AASA executive director. “Placing teachers back in the classroom is essential to the educational needs of our students; putting people to work and making much needed repairs to our schools is ...” Read more...

May 2011

5/24/2011: Learning First Alliance Urges U.S. Secretary of Education to Provide Regulatory Relief in the Absence of Swift Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Sixteen member organizations of the Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of national education associations representing more than ten million parents, educators and policymakers, community and state leaders, sent a formal letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking the Department of Education, in the absence of reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) prior to the start of the 2011-12 school year, to offer regulatory relief to schools who struggle with the demands of No Child Left Behind.

The Alliance has urged Secretary Duncan to exercise his authority and address the act’s current flaws that tie up scarce resources with unnecessary regulatory compliance, counterproductive sanctions, and reporting that does little to contribute to student success. Read more...

July 2010

Today, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 16 national education associations representing over ten million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

"The Learning First Alliance supports the goal of rigorous and fair accountability systems for schools and districts. These accountability systems should accurately measure student and school performance and support continuous improvement of schools. Therefore, we recommend that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act promote improved accountability systems that ..." Read more...

7/15/10: Major Education Associations Urge Swift Action to Pass Education Jobs Fund

Today, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 17 national education associations representing over ten million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

“The Learning First Alliance strongly supports efforts to provide $10 billion in federal aid to prevent imminent layoffs of teachers, principals and other school staff. The importance of these funds at this critical time cannot be overstated. Massive layoffs of school and district staff could have grave long-term consequences for our nation’s children, who are already facing growing class sizes, shrinking curricula and the loss of essential services.

Job cuts in our public schools and school districts threaten our long-term economic future, which depends on our ability to prepare all students for college and careers. The prospect of job losses running into the hundreds of thousands also poses a serious and immediate threat to our fragile economic recovery.

We call on the Senate to work quickly to address this crisis facing our nation’s classrooms. Because some have concerns with the education offsets in the House-passed supplemental, we urge the Senate to work with the House and the Administration to craft a package that can garner the needed votes for swift passage of a Supplemental Appropriations Bill that includes the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund. " Read more...

7/8/10: Major Education Associations Reaffirm Importance of Stable and Reliable Title I Funding

Today, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 17 national education associations representing over ten million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

"Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a critical tool in the nation’s efforts to promote equity in education. It remains the only national mechanism for addressing the widespread state and local funding inequities that put low-income children at a severe disadvantage and call into question our nation’s commitment to equal opportunity.

While it does not fully fill these funding gaps, stable and reliable formula-driven Title I funds are a vital resource for school districts working to..." Read more...

June 2010

6/28/10: Partnership of Major Education Associations Calls for Better Assessment Systems

Today, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 17 national education associations representing over ten million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

"The Learning First Alliance calls for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to promote improved assessment systems that better capture whether students are gaining the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century. We believe reauthorization should support assessment systems that are designed to improve instruction and that..." Read more...

6/8/10: Partnership of Major Education Associations Urges a Stronger Focus on Professional Development

Today, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 17 national education associations representing over ten million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

"The Elementary and Secondary Education Act should make effective professional development a top priority. The federal government should support frequent, job-embedded professional development for teachers, principals and other school and district staff. It should offer dedicated funds for comprehensive, sustained and intensive approach to improving staff effectiveness in raising student achievement. The National Staff Development Council's definition of and standards for staff development identify the characteristics of professional development that are most likely to increase achievement." Read more...

May 2010

5/5/10: Partnership of Major Education Associations Supports the Keep Our Educators Working Act

Today, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 17 national education associations representing over ten million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

“The Learning First Alliance strongly supports the Keep Our Educators Working Act, which would create a $23 Billion Education Jobs Fund to prevent layoffs of teachers, principals and other critical school staff. The need for this relief is urgent as states face unprecedented budget shortfalls that could result in massive job losses in our schools.” Read more…

April 2010

4/13/10: Leading Education Associations Urge Stronger Focus on Family Engagement in Education

Today, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 17 national education associations representing over ten million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act should make family engagement a stronger priority. Research consistently demonstrates the importance of family engagement to children’s success in school and the President has strongly and repeatedly endorsed the thrust of this research in his speeches. Yet the President’s blueprint for ESEA reauthorization contains only glancing references to the importance of parents and lacks a compelling vision for how the federal government can support family engagement." Read more…

4/7/10: Leading Education Associations Raise Concerns about Federal Focus on Competitive Grant Programs

Today, the Learning First Alliance, a partnership of 17 national education associations representing over ten million parents, educators and policymakers, released the following statement:

“The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has been a critical instrument in the federal government’s efforts to promote equity in education. The Learning First Alliance (LFA) believes equity must remain a non-negotiable goal of ESEA reauthorization. We applaud the Obama Administration’s proposal to increase federal resources for public schools in 2011. But we urge Congress to avoid provisions that could undermine, rather than support, equity.” Read more…

January 2010

1/21/10: Leading Education Organizations Urge Swift Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Today, an Alliance of 17 national education associations representing over ten million parents, educators and policymakers called for swift reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. “The Learning First Alliance strongly supports the reauthorization of ESEA in the current legislative session,” wrote Alliance Chair William Bushaw in a letter to President Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Read more...

September 2009

9/17/09: Leading Education Associations Propose Comprehensive Approach to Measuring School Turnarounds

Learning First Alliance released principles for tracking efforts to turn around the nation’s lowest-performing schools. Principles for Measuring the Performance of Turnaround Schools outlines how education agencies and communities can determine whether turnaround efforts are leading to both swift improvement and sustained change in persistently struggling schools. Read the document and the press release...

July 2009

7/16/09: Leading Education Associations Support Common Core State Standards Initiative

The Learning First Alliance supports steps taken by the Common Core State Standards Initiative to develop a common core of state K-12 standards in mathematics and English language arts.

“The Common Core Standards Initiative has the potential to move us closer to a compelling shared vision for what students should know and be able to do to succeed in the 21st century,” said Brenda Welburn, past Learning First Alliance Board Chair and Executive Director of the National Association of State Boards of Education. “By benchmarking them against standards in the world’s top-performing countries, states can make the common core standards a critical resource in their efforts to prepare students for a global age.”  Read more...

October 2008

10/13/08: A New Federal Role in K-12

The Learning First Alliance has released a new document outlining principles for a more constructive federal role in K-12 education.

"Transforming the Federal Role in America's Public Schools offers a framework to help a new president, administration, and Congress align federal policies with the needs of America's more than 50 million public school students.” Read more...