MONTPELIER -- Vermont National Education Association President Martha Allen spoke with lawmakers Monday in Montpelier to unveil the association's agenda for student success in the future, a release distributed by the union said this week.

The NEA is the state's largest teachers union, representing more than 11,000 teachers and education professionals throughout Vermont.

According to the release, Monday's agenda outlined a plan to reform how teaching across the state is regulated and evaluated as part of a "success for students" initiative, which will emphasize rigorous standards, effective evaluation and expanded opportunities for Vermont's public schools.

"As teachers and education support professionals, our members work every single day to ensure student success," Allen said in the release. "We know what it takes to motivate students, to help them learn, to push them to their highest potential."

Allen said that she and her colleagues are also aware of what "doesn't work," including "high-stakes standardized testing, cookie-cutter curricula void of creativity, punitive evaluation systems, and a relentless drumbeat about the costs of public education."

According to the release, the union's agenda for the upcoming legislative session includes:

* Embracing rigorous standards that provide teachers with freedom to teach in ways that are most effective for all students

* Recruiting the best and brightest to become educators

* Encouraging effective, rigorous and fair evaluation of work

* Adopting reforms in how the profession is regulated

* Working with advocates, parents and social service providers to address the effects of poverty in schools

The VNEA has also proposed an expanded school day that would create more time for teachers.

"Some schools have been doing that, (an expanded school day)," Allen said Monday. "I think what's important is that teachers have the time to do their professional work during that day, not necessarily with students, but with their colleagues or on their own."

She added, "Educating our children is everyone's responsibility, but it is our job," Allen said in the release. "It is a job we take seriously, and one that has a lasting impact on the children who will grow up to be the future of Vermont."

To read the full agenda, visit www.vtnea.org.