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Winter 2016

Cover Story

They Are Reading!
Despite the explosion of apps, games, and online videos, kids are still reading. And many are doing it the old fashioned way—with printed books. If we want to keep them reading, we’ve got to find ways to make it fun. In this issue of NEA Today, we’ll show you how. 

Message from the Editor-In-Chief
Our first magazine of the new year has something for everyone.

Lily’s Blackboard
Educators must devote as much time and energy to ensuring ESSA’s success as we did to securing its passage.


A Tablet Strategy that Makes Sense
To successfully integrate technology in the classroom, districts must have a strategy and a vision of the goals they want the technology to meet.

When Teachers Take Charge
Teachers at the Reiche Community School in Portland, Maine, are revolutionaries. When a well-liked principal moved to another assignment, they worked through their union to join the slowly growing ranks of teacher-led schools. 

You Know How Those People Are
Although most educators strive to be fair and impartial, biases creep in—an uncomfortable truth for White educators who consider themselves to be progressive, open-minded and socially conscious.

Unite for Students and Schools
Together, parents, educators, and communities are playing defense for public schools and offense for students.

Challenging Stereotypes of Diversity
Guest columnist Paul Hernandez works with students to improve their understanding of the power of stereotypes and says educators should develop alternative lessons that will help knock stereotypes down.

Strength in Numbers
Did you know that one out of every 100 Americans is a member of NEA? Now, that’s power! As primary and caucus season approaches, we must take action and elect a candidate who stands with public education.

Education Support Professionals

ESPs Keep Students Safe!
Karen Barnes is a school bus coordinator for the Austin Independent School District in Texas. She says, “One of my greatest passions is making sure children with special needs are able to safely ride in our buses.” Driven by the tragic 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., special education paraeducator Jean Fay works today to improve student access to physical and mental health resources, and to push for common sense gun laws. And security officer Victor Marquez (left) and other education support professionals keep the nation’s schools safe.

Special Sections

First and Foremost
10 Jefferson County, Colo., educators oust extremists from school board; teen media use is off the charts; the number of homeless students doubles; good intentions can widen achievement gaps; and more.

Teaching and Learning
17 Tips to help students use technology to share ideas; NEA’s Read Across America turns 19; Member contributor Chad Donohue tells new teachers how to avoid stress, self-doubt, and confusion.

Issues and Impact
22 Education support professionals reject contract that would abolish salary schedule, and the presence of unions is shown to boost students’ economic stability.

People and Places
32 How Jackson, Miss., barbershops are improving the city’s literacy rate; a teacher’s travel helps to bridge an education divide between the U.S. and China; and Wisconsin students and educators get up close and personal with Mother Nature.

Extra Credit

Do you know the difference between defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans? You should! Our handy chart explains the pluses and minuses.

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