In Case You Missed It
Bargaining and Agreements: Essential Tools for Reform
Educators and school district leaders met recently at the Advancing Student Achievement Through Labor-Management Collaboration Conference in Denver. Participants agreed to work together on a shared goal: improving student achievement. “Collaboration is such a friendly-sounding word,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “But in practice, nothing is more demanding at the district level than collaborating on issues that take all of you far beyond your comfort zone.” Through NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign, “NEA will lead the way to show that collaboration is the way to deliver for students in America,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. One hundred fifty school district teams (comprised of a teachers’ union president, superintendent and school board leader) from 40 states attended the two-day event. For more information about this collaborative effort, visit:
Standing Up for Pensions
Broken promises by state legislators to fund pension systems, together with Wall Street crashing the economy, have cost the nation over eight million jobs while devastating state budgets. Still, lawmakers are unfairly demonizing teachers and other public employees about their hard-earned retirement funds. Read how pension protection in Kansas started years ago, when troubles with state pensions first began in neighboring states. http://neatoday.org/2011/02/24/standing-up-for-pensions/.
A Benefits-to-BS Ratio
Public education activist Dave Reber discusses the ratio of teaching “benefits” to “bad stuff” in a post to EdVoices, NEA’s new community of bloggers. Reber explains how a high “B-to-BS” ratio will attract and retain people in a career while a low ratio will cause them to leave. How much unpleasantness a person will tolerate depends on the trade-off: pay and prestige. Read more at www.nea.org/home/42313.htm; and share your thoughts at www.edvoices.com/.
In one New Mexico middle school, the “work” begins when the last bell rings—when students work in after-school apprenticeships in fields as far-ranging as Mexican dance and community activism. Learn more about how after-school programs improve student achievement, attendance, and behavior at http://neatoday.org/2011/01/31/after-school-programs-prove-key-to-closing-gaps/.
How One Teacher Integrates Art and Academics
In preparation for frequent musical performances, Dinah Houston’s kids rehearse, write their own music and practice the fundamentals of math, all in sync with the No Child Left Behind law on standardized tests and test preparation. www.nea.org/home/43194.htm