Dear NEA members,
I am honored to serve as your president. United, we will reclaim public education as a common good and transform it into a racially and socially just system that actually prepares every student—not one, not some, but every single student—to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world. Onward!
Face to Face With NEA Members
“There’s a party goin’ on right here! A celebration … ” of you! This spring, and at the NEA Representative Assembly in July, we honored the NEA Education Support Professional of the Year and the 2023 Teacher of the Year. Pamella Johnson and Rebecka Peterson are the best of us, but they are also all of us. They’re smart—like you. They’re focused—like you.
But what I love most of all, they’re also joyful—as I hope we all can be. Even in the face of our relentless challenges, Pamella and Rebecka find joy in their work and in their relationships with students and colleagues. For years, Rebecka has blogged daily about “one good thing” that has happened in her classroom. I am inspired by this. Our collective work as educators is important and hard. But we must not forget that this work is also full of joy—and it’s that daily joy that focuses and sustains us.
So, like the man said, ”Bring your good times and your laughter, too.” Congratulations to Pamella and Rebecka—and to all of you!
What I'm Reading
When I began teaching, an estimated 1 in 5,000 students were thought to have autism. Today, it’s 1 in 54. We can debate the reasons why, but I don’t think we have time for that. The urgent question is: How do we support students with autism, and do our systems work for all children? For answers, I recommend the new book, Hidden Brilliance: Unlocking the Intelligence of Autism, co-authored by Stanford professor Lynn Kern Koegel and Claire LaZebnik. It’s full of practical advice for parents and educators, rooted in solid child development research.
I especially appreciated the chapter on how standardized tests are failing autistic children. Of course, they are! Educators have long understood that standardized tests are inaccurate and unfair and don’t measure what students know. (To learn more about building better alternatives for students, check out nea.org/testing.)