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NEA Today Spring 2016

A look at Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that could have stripped bargaining power from workers across the nation; what educators need to know about students suffering abuse; stories of young leaders’ standing up for their rights; members fighting to hold accountable those who are responsible for poisoning some 8,000 Flint children with lead-contaminated water.
Published: March 2016

Cover Story: A Supreme Decision

Rebecca Friedrichs (above) was the lead plaintiff in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case that could have rolled back some of the positive gains for students that educators have made through student-centered bargaining, and stripped bargaining power from workers across the nation.

Broken Hearts, Twisted Arms, Shattered Lives

One in three U.S. adolescents say they’ve experienced some kind of abuse—physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal—in their romantic relationships. We tell you what educators need to know about this growing trend.

Inclusion for Some, Not for All

When it comes to special education services, schools must be able to use methods that are customized to fit each student, and based upon the recommendations of Individual Education Program teams.

Youth Rising

Students are standing up to elected leaders, corporate reformers, too much testing, and substandard facilities. We share some of these young leaders’ stories.

How Dare You Poison Our Children?

NEA members will fight to hold accountable those who are responsible for poisoning some 8,000 Flint children with lead-contaminated water.

Education Support Professionals

ESPs Keep Students Healthy

Carmen Hill (left) is a school nurse in St. Louis, Mo., who doesn’t just treat sick students, she gives them the tools they need to stay well. Custodial and maintenance employees, like Pat Nicholson, keep schools clean and safe for educators and students. Through bites of kiwi, chunks of mango, and forkfuls of arugula, child nutrition manager Donna West helps students acquire healthy eating habits. New York retiree Janis Bianco helped develop the weekend backpack program, which supplies students with healthy food when they’re away from school.


First and Foremost

Doreen McGuire-Grigg named ESP of the Year; Princeton research team finds “influential” kids may be able to stop bullying; and coping mechanisms for introverted teachers.

Teaching and Learning

Climate change comes to life in the classroom; and Makerspaces allow students to create, invent, and build things once thought unimaginable.

Issues and Impact

Florida bus driver receives check for $3.93; school library collections keep pace with new family structures; and educator tax deduction expanded and made permanent. 

People and Places

Transformation to a community school model makes a difference in Austin, Texas, and a high school educator takes social justice into the classroom.

Talk Back

Educators Are Role Models for Reading

I enjoyed reading the article, “Students Do Read for Fun!” (Winter 2016). A lot of good ideas were presented, but what was a glaring omission to this old retired elementary educator was the importance of the classroom teacher reading aloud on a daily basis to students in the classroom. Children will not turn to reading as a leisure activity if all they have done is filled out workbook pages, answered comprehension questions about what they have read, or completed standardized reading tests. The classroom teacher, especially at the elementary level, is a role model for reading—someone who demonstrates a love of literature by reading aloud. This cannot be understated in its importance.

—Richard Johnson

As long as teachers accept the corporate reformers neoliberal ideology, their profession will continue being down graded, and they themselves would continue on the path of becoming expendable commodities in a free-market. “Worldwide, Status of Educators Hammered by Austerity and Political Attacks,” (Winter 2016). Salaries and working conditions are just a sensible part of what is necessary to attract individuals to teaching. Being a teacher is much more than just showing up to teach and analyze data. Being a teacher is about being concerned about students and their communities, and about protecting themselves and their colleagues from ignorance, abuse, and dogmas.

—Sergio Flores

In First & Foremost, “Extremists Ousted From School Board,“ (Winter 2016), we misidentified the candidates who were elected to the Jefferson County, Colo., school board in November 2015. The correct winning candidates in the recall election were Susan Harmon, Ron Mitchell, and Brad Rupert. We regret the error.

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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.