Raise Your Hand
Educators agree to provide $6 million in new funds to improve student success
By Brenda Álvarez
The new grants will bolster NEA resources supporting results-oriented actions that will help to equip every public school student with opportunity, equity, and success, and give educators the power they need to improve teaching and learning.
The grants will allow NEA to fund student-centered and educator-led projects and ideas that boost student learning. For example, projects can include developing strong, union-led peer assistance and review programs that will lead to the improvement of teaching and learning. Support staff can benefit from projects providing professional development opportunities on school safety. Higher education members can receive funding for grant projects that improve college and university practices that, in turn, improve student learning.
Grants will be awarded using criteria from key elements of NEA’s new Raise Your Hand campaign: successful students, accomplished professionals, dynamic collaboration, and empowered leaders. What does this mean?
Here is a breakdown:
Assessments of student learning must go beyond unaligned bubble tests administered for political expediency. Educators must receive professional development to enhance their practice. With this in mind, NEA will identify hundreds of leaders to implement the Common Core State Standards and help educators learn from the experiences of early adopters so they are prepared to meet the 2014 implementation date.
To transform the professions, educators must be empowered to define quality and develop systems that support and ensure quality professional practice at every level. NEA will establish at least 50 new peer assistance and review programs. Dozens of new profession-ready residency models will become a part of every educator’s preparation.
The Great Public Schools Network will harness the collective expertise and experience of NEA members and allow affiliates to strategically identify and engage members and locals to help improve public education and student success.
NEA will select at least 200 teachers to participate in a comprehensive leadership training curriculum, including a field-based leadership practicum. This initiative will allow NEA to create a system of teacher leadership akin to what the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has done for the improvement of instruction.
“Good, sustainable change doesn’t ‘just happen,’” NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said. “We need to shift from focusing on what we don’t want to focus on what we do want.”