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Leading the Profession: NEA’s three-point plan for reform

5 Jan

The independent Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching released its report via press conference on December 8. The following document is the result of this commission:

Leading the Profession: NEA’s three-point plan for reform


Has the NEA warmed up to Teach for America? – The Answer Sheet – The Washington Post

5 Jan

There is a growing backlash against National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel’s recent collaborations with Teach for America leader Wendy Kopp on the issue of teacher preparation.

Some NEA members have written on blogs that they are furious at Van Roekel, and early childhood expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige just declined an opportunity for her and her son, actor and activist Matt Damon, to be nominated for the Friend of Education Award from the NEA.Damon spoke last year at the Save Our Schools rally in Washington held to protest the Obama administration education policies; Carlsson-Paige is a professor of early childhood education at Lesley University in Boston. They agreed a few months ago to be nominated for the award from the NEA, the country’s largest labor union and professional organization. But Carlsson-Paige just sent a letter to Van Roekel telling him she and Damon would decline any nomination because of concern over his collaboration with Kopp.

The NEA and the American Federation of Teachers, which combined have more than 4 million members, have long opposed the 20-year-old Teach for America. TFA recruits newly minted college graduates who are not education majors and gives them five weeks of summer training before placing them in classrooms in high-poverty schools. Recruits are asked to commit to only two years of teaching. The unions have argued that the country’s neediest students need highly trained teachers committed to the profession. Continue reading

Teachers union leader says battle’s just begun – Washington Times

22 Nov

The head of the nation’s largest labor union says Republican efforts to restrain the power of unions has produced a middle-class backlash across the country that could cost Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and other GOP politicians their jobs.

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel told editors and reporters at The Washington Times that Mr. Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other Republican politicians who have moved to rein in the bargaining power of teachers, firefighters and other public employees instead will galvanize working men and women nationwide. Such a movement is already under way in Wisconsin, where a week-old petition drive to recall Mr. Walker has garnered more than 100,000 signatures.

Mr. Van Roekel said the initiative has a good chance of succeeding. He noted the recent voter repeal of Ohio’s law limiting collective bargaining rights of public employees as proof that a major fight is brewing. More…

via Teachers union leader says battle’s just begun – Washington Times.

Sign Petition to the White House to Repeal Social Security Offsets

14 Oct

A petition to urge the Administration to support repeal of the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is now available on the White House website. The GPO and WEP unfairly cut or eliminate many public employees’ earned Social Security benefits. The petition needs a lot of signatures in order to get the attention of the President.  Sign today Learn moreabout the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. To sign the petition:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Create an Account” on the blue bar at the bottom of the page. Fill in the information and click “Register.”
  3. Check your email for a letter with the links back to the site. It may take several minutes to arrive. Click the link and sign the petition.
  4. Trouble shooting:
  • The site is often swamped. If you can’t get the “register” screen, bookmark and try later.
  • If the link they send you doesn’t seem to work, go to again and try to sign the petition, anyway.
  • If you think you may have signed in and nothing has happened yet, refresh the page and try to sign the petition.

Vote to Save Education Jobs Possible! Tell Congress to put Americans Back to Work and Keep Students Learning

14 Oct

This week, the Senate failed to reach the 60 votes needed to move the President’s American Jobs Act forward.  See how your Senator voted.  But there’s still hope!  A vote specifically to save education jobs and modernize thousands of schools is possible during the week of October 17th.  President Obama has said we shouldn’t take NO for an answer, so let’s make sure Senators know how much students and educators need—and expect—their help.

The need for this funding is evident in communities across the nation:

CaliforniaOur campus was built in 1960, and has had little renovation or improvements since the first graduating class, aside from several portables that have been added in the parking lot. The portables do have air conditioning, and that’s a big improvement, because my classroom often heats up well above 90 degrees on warm fall and spring afternoons. I recall several years ago there was a slow leak in the roof of the art department chairperson’s classroom. Lacking the funds to fix the problem, the maintenance workers hung a large coffee can with some wire under it to catch the drips.

MissouriOne of the buildings in our district dates back to the Civil War. Several were built about a hundred years ago and our high schools date from the 1930s and 40s with some newer additions. None of our buildings are very “green.” Some lighting changes have been made and most recycle, but little else. In the older part of one high school, I saw a class that was so crowded with desks that you could not easily walk through it. Only one building and parts of a few others are air conditioned.

Montana – I am a preschool special education teacher and coordinator for my district. We have three buildings in our community, with the newest building, the high school, built in the late 1960s. Our other two buildings are from the late 1940s and early 1950s. The preschool is in a modular unit near the main building, and has no bathroom or sink. We have drinking water delivered, but we have to walk outside to the main building to use the restrooms. The walls have cracks, the doors leak, and the windows need to be replaced for more efficient energy use—we have a steam heating system that is very hard to regulate.

Read more stories and submit your own.

Take Action Today:

  • Tell your Members of Congress to put Americans back to work and ensure our children the education they deserve by supporting school modernization.  

Share your story — Keep the stories coming. We are using your stories to help put pressure on Members of Congress to do the right thing and focus on creating a great public school for every student.

ESEA Reauthorization Bill Moving: Tell the Senate to Slow Down, Think it Through, Get it Right for our Students

14 Oct

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has released draft legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind.  The stakes are very high for students, educators, and schools.  We are very concerned about what we see.  The draft committee bill:

  • Still relies heavily on outcomes of test scores instead of supporting true multiple measures of school performance
  • Prescribes top-down models of school turnaround that are not based on research, don’t work, and ignore promising locally developed ideas.
  • Takes away teachers’ rights to have a real voice in their own evaluation systems.

We know this is the wrong policy for students and educators.  But there is still time to improve this bill!

The Committee is scheduled to begin consideration of the bill as early as Wednesday, October 19.  It is urgent that educators weigh in now!  Remind Congress that you know what works in classrooms and for students.  Remind them that you know the current flaws of NCLB better than anyone because you’ve been in the classrooms and schools carrying out mandates that don’t work.

Take Action Today:

  • Contact your Senators and tell them to slow down, think ESEA reauthorization through, and do it right for our students!
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