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The Fight for Public Education and Workers’ Rights

It is time elected officials stop to remember how they got where they are (“Educators Must Not Be Silenced,” May/June). No, not the fund-raising, endless campaigning, debates and elections, but the education that got them there. It is time they stop and thank their teachers. It was a teacher who met them at the door on the first day of school.  The teacher knew their names and they were escorted into the building. It was a teacher who taught them to read and write, add and subtract, and memorize the states and their capitals. It was the teacher who made them get up in front of the class to deliver a speech. —Arlene

The ONLY way to change current teacher bashing legislation is by actually going to the polls and voting for State legislators, instead of just voting in Presidential elections. Most voters did not vote in the last election. Therefore, Tea Party and Republicans won, because they ALWAYS vote. As a former precinct committeewoman, I saw this happen too many times. Those teachers who did vote Republican, need to WAKE UP! People, get out there and vote for politicians who care about women and children, not just money! —Judith

Confiscate Cell Phones

Do what our school board does: Attach a fee! (“Help! Driven Crazy By Cell Phones,” May/June). It costs parents $15 to get the phone back the next day. Our school uses the money for a faculty lunch at a local restaurant at the end of the year. We also require that the phones be off during the school day and actually take them all up during high-stakes testing. Safety is important but so is education. —Shawn

Begin Now for a Better Back to School

I have my students write advice to the new sixth-graders that will be coming into my room next fall. We make a bulletin board out of the advice and add pictures taken during the year’s activities. (“Try This: Begin Now For a Better Back to School,” May/June). Once done, I cover the board with butcher paper so it doesn’t fade or get dirty over the summer. Then when school starts I have a great bulletin board to welcome my students and it’s already done for me. —Beth

How Should Teachers Deal With Bullying?

As adults, we should be able to deal with bullying in a professional manner (“Rights Watch – Confronting the Bullies”). When there is talk about school bullying we mean the STUDENTS! I have heard way too many stories about students committing suicide due to bullying. We have to be in the hallways, in the restrooms, in the cafeteria, and visible throughout the day. We may not like the way we are treated but we have a choice. These children don’t. They MUST attend school and face this every day. Let’s be true educators and put the children first. —Janet

What NEA Members are Talking About on NEA Today Facebook

Should Students Be Allowed to Grade Their Teachers?

Oh about a power shift. My principal evaluates me, and I evaluate the students. I foresee chaos if this changes. —Nicola

Yes, students can! As long as they are made aware of the meaning, value, and importance of honest opinions and there is some sort of checks and balance system in place, I think it’s a really good idea. —Karen

I don’t know how I feel about it being used for evaluative purposes, but I KNOW my fifth graders recognize good teaching and good classroom management. My students are constantly trying to “help” me with suggestions of how I should employ strategies used by all of their other awesome teachers to improve my teaching. —Dawn

Does Class Size Really Matter?

In public school classrooms, there are 20-40 different style learners there, many with internal distractions and disabilities, issues to deal with, parents to call, and on and on. The bigger the class, the less individual attention each student gets. —Andy

I am inclined to agree that class size wouldn’t matter IF (and it’s a BIG IF) the teacher/school has other things available. A large class size wouldn’t matter if you also have: A large physical classroom allowing for groups to work separately from each other; teacher aides to keep groups not receiving direct instruction focused and on task; materials appropriate for all levels available at all times (consumables and photocopying without a budget); and  lots of planning time or cooperative planning time within the grade level. No matter how you shake it, larger classes are not money savers if you want success. —Liz

Should high schools require environmental literacy to graduate?

Why do schools need to teach common sense? I agree people should go green, but to place another requirement on teacher's shoulders so we can be criticized for one more item seems ridiculous. —Melissa

Adding more to a teacher's plate will only reduce the quality of education! Common sense does tell us there are only so many hours in the day, and there is only so much a human being can do. I am all for learning about the environment, but where is the support for teachers who are expected to teach and RAISE today's children? —Camille

As an educator I often get the "oh not one more thing" feeling, but this one...I do like. —Jennie

Cursive vs. Keyboarding: Which should we teach?

Cursive is used as a fine motor activity in my second-grade classroom. No grade, just one of many ways to build manual dexterity. Kids are proud when they can write their names and a few words in cursive. —Nicola

Oh, please! Catch up to the 21st-century. Yes, cursive is cool, but it is going away. Deal with it. Language is a living thing that changes with the times. Our times are highly computer driven. If you don't like it, stick with cursive and a pencil. —DeDe

I think it's important to teach both. We all know that all children learn differently—some children take off on the computer while others need to put it down on paper. I will continue to teach cursive, especially to my students with dyslexia because writing in a connected sequence helps them with letter reversals and spelling. —Kimberly

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