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The Theme Is Green for NEA’s Read Across America


The Lorax movie premiers
March 2, 2012.

NEA’s Read Across America (RAA) is going green in 2012! In keeping with the message of Dr. Seuss’s 1971 classic The Lorax, and in partnership with the new feature film The Lorax movie, this year’s event will be an eco-minded celebration of reading and conservation. Observed on March 2 (Dr. Seuss’s birthday), the nation’s largest reading party is the perfect time to celebrate your love of reading with a grandchild or at a community read-in. NEA’s Read Across America materials, including the popular RAA calendar,  as well as an educators’ guide and Lorax poster, can be found on the RAA website, The Lorax movie, featuring the voices of Betty White, Taylor Swift, Zac Efron, and Danny DeVito, opens March 2.

Are you looking for ways to get involved? Here are some tips from other NEA-Retired members:

  • Hold a read-in for local children and parents and share reading tips. Invite high school students to join you as readers.
  • Show some character! Dress up as your favorite children’s book character and read with students.
  • Help school libraries in need. Organize a Books Across America fundraiser or book drive.
  • Write a letter to the editor or use your blog or social networking profile to help publicize NEA’s Read Across America Day and the year-round Read Across America program.
  • Become a fan of the Read Across America Facebook page and join the Cause page as well. Share your plans on the Read Across America site, then share your photos on Flickr.

 NEA members can go online to pledge their participation on the RAA pledge site.

The Cat in the Hat Is Back Comes Back

Pat Etherton (pictured right) retired as a middle school computer teacher in 2004, but she had a long and fulfilling career as an elementary math, reading, and computer teacher in Nebraska for the 34 years prior to that. Etherton wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. “I thought it would be cool to teach children because I enjoyed school and wanted them to enjoy it, too,” she recalls.

While teaching was always important to her, Etherton was also busy in her local union, where she lobbied for education reform. “It helps you remember why you became a teacher in the first place,” she says. After retiring, Etherton was elected to the NSEA-Retired Board, which allows her to advocate for her fellow retired colleagues. She lobbies senators and attends state hearings on issues related to health care reform and Social Security. “I want Nebraska to be more retiree-friendly,” she explains. 

Etherton is still active in the classroom as a volunteer. She helps her daughter, a kindergarten teacher, at the beginning and end of every year. She is a welcome presence in the classroom, helping students with the alphabet and reading to them, which she especially enjoys.

Her favorite project as a retiree is representing the Lincoln Education Association as the “Cat in the Hat” during Read Across American Week, during which she reads to approximately 2,500 children in Lincoln public schools. Etherton says she often dressed up as book characters when she was at the head of the class. “I created costumes like the Tin Man or Cookie Monster, and we’d have parades in class,” she explains. She loves dressing up and reading to the students as the famous Dr. Seuss character.

When students ask her if she’s the real Cat in the Hat, she says with a smile, “Well, of course!”

Super Committee Deal Could Slash Billions From Education

The Congressional Super Committee failed to reach a agreement on reducing the federal deficit reduction deal by their November 23, deadline. NEA fought hard to prevent the Super Committee from crafting an unbalanced deal that would have cut Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and more discretionary funding without including revenue from the wealthiest in our nation. However, the ultimate failure to reach a deal triggers “sequestration” or automatic cuts scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2013.

These cuts, if unchanged and implemented, could slash billions from education and cost additional loss of jobs across America. In raw numbers the 2013 cuts could total at least $3.54 billion for education, including:

•  A cut of $1.1. billion to Title I that would impact almost 1.5 million students,

•  A cut of $896 million to IDEA that would impact more than a half a million students, and

•  A cut of $590 million to Head Start that would impact more than 75,000 young children.

The cuts to education programs would also result in a projected loss of more than 71,000 jobs in communities across America.


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