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Local Governments—Not The Feds—Should Enforce Accountability


Photo by Jocelyn Augustino

Four out of five Americans agree: It’s not the job of the federal government to hold schools accountable for what students learn. A Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll found 45 percent think it’s the states’ job, and 35 percent say it should be up to local government. Considering all the teacher bashing in the media, it’s heartening to know that 71 percent of those polled say they have “trust and confidence in the men and women who are teaching children in the public schools” and two-thirds would like their own child to choose a career in teaching. That’s up from half who liked the idea of their children becoming educators when the question was posed in 1990. Asked to grade the public schools in their community, half rated them A or B. And those who know the schools best, like them most: When pollsters asked parents about their own children’s schools, 77 percent gave them an A or a B, up from 69 percent five years ago.

Education Progress

Finland is Tops

Many people point to Finland as the world’s top success story in student achievement. In the October/ November issue of NEA Today, Stanford University scholar Linda Darling-

Hammond explained that Finland achieved this status by doing the opposite of what’s done in America. See the story and related posts at:


A Letter to Oprah

After Oprah Winfrey aired a special on education recently, many educators were angry at what they believed was the media mogul jumping on the teacher-bashing bandwagon. Immediately after the show, upset commenters filled Winfrey’s message boards. One letter in particular has received much attention on Britton Gildersleeve, a college writing teacher in Oklahoma who also helms the Oklahoma State University Writing Project, said she wrote “in a white heat, I was so angry.”  Her letter to Oprah wasn’t a personal attack, she said.


Teacher Power

Jefferson High School in Los Angeles was one of 36 schools that the LA school board put up for bid, inviting proposals from charter school operators and others. With help from United Teachers Los Angeles, staff members got together with parents and administrators at each school and drafted their own proposals. Earlier this year, the LA school board accepted proposals for 29 out of the 36 schools.

Justice, Jobs, and Education

One Nation Rally

Tens of thousands of activists, including hundreds of NEA member teachers and education support professionals, gathered last October at the One Nation Working Together Rally to call on Washington for justice, jobs, and education. People from more than 400 progressive organiza-tions gathered at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

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