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NEA Today Summer 2017

A look at how educators are helping students with undocumented parents, how a strong sense of community can help to keep students safe, and the importance of mentors to new teachers.
Published: August 1, 2017

Cover Story: Fear Unfurled

Worried, scared and on edge, it’s tough for students with undocumented parents to focus on school. A look at how educators in Austin, Texas, are providing much-needed help.

Educator Confidential

Veteran educators offer back-to-school tips for creating a successful school year.

Preventive Maintenance

How a strong sense of community can help to keep students safe.

Lean on Me!

A recent study indicates that 92 percent of first-year teachers who receive a mentor return to the classroom. We take a look at why.

What’s Next?

As personalized learning becomes more popular, will educators still lead the classroom—or will it be software companies?

Truth in Funding

The bottom line on education spending.

RA Wrap-Up

Delegates to the 2017 NEA Representative Assembly gather in Boston to address challenges and plan for the future. 


ESP—Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student

Read what New Hampshire paraeducators are doing to boost their community’s understanding of mental illness, and meet Saul Ramos, the 2017 NEA ESP of the Year.

First and Foremost

The benefits to be found in later school start times, how the charter school industry resembles the failed Enron Corporation, a look at grade skipping, and more.

Teaching and Learning

Read what author Todd Parr says about great teaching, start earning geek cred, the value of having a solid classroom structure, and Works 4Me

Issues and Impact

Capitol Hill lawmakers introduce bipartisan IDEA Full Funding Act, how voucher schemes harm public schools, and a Pittsburgh school district voluntarily keeps its water clean. 

People and Places

Missouri journalism students win big, and a North Dakota teacher uses hairstyles to hook students on reading.

A Note From the Editor-In-Chief

Every student counts, and it’s up to every educator to make sure students feel welcome and protected.

A Message from NEA President Lily Eskelsen García

Schools must be safe spaces for immigrant children and families.

Extra Credit

What does your school need to succeed?


Talk Back

DeVos Takes Privatization National

“Stormy Weather,”(Spring 2017) was excellent. Unfortunately educators have been passive for too long. The DeVos/Koch/Trump machine is well-oiled. I started protesting charter schools in 1991 and was chastised by my peers for writing letters to the news media. I suggest you profile what has happened in Michigan under right-wing control. Teachers have lost health care, pensions, bargaining rights, etc., and the Trump/DeVos team will make it happen nationally for educators.


Changing Media Makes it Difficult for Students

Forty years ago there were limited options for acquiring information. With a handful of news organizations to sort through, verifying and evaluating information was relatively easy for students. Today students are faced with hundreds of originating sources from the mundane to the most extreme and disturbing news. Back then, the economic competition between news organizations was based on accuracy and exclusivity. Today, news is free and the economic incentive toward accuracy is nearly non-existent. 


Hold the ‘Bless You’

Gwyneth Jones’ teacher tip #6 in the Spring 2017 edition, ends with the assertion that using the term “bless your heart” is always correct and ever so nuanced. At the risk of being called petty, for the almost 25 percent of Americans who are of no particular faith (atheists/agnostics/humanists), this is not correct nor especially welcome. The sentiment is kind, I suppose. But nevertheless, when being wished an unwelcome “bless you” every time I sneeze (when really the onus is on me to say “excuse me”), it is irritating and gratuitous. 


What High-Performing Nations Do Differently

Just a comment on “U.S. Students Still in the Middle of the Pack” (Spring 2017) about the 2015 PISA scores. [I refer to] your quote of Lily Eskelsen García about what high-performing nations have in common. Although her list was accurate and frustratingly clear, she left out significant items that are emphasized in Amanda Ripley’s insightful book on the subject “The Smartest Kids in the World, and How They Got That Way”. These nations share a conspicuous lack of useless, expensive technology in the classrooms, and a significant absence of glorified, highly competitive interscholastic sports programs. Athletes and computers rule a great majority of our public high schools. Until we face this honestly we will continue to channel our students’ precious energies towards the pursuit of dubious values and objectives. Our core business remains the teacher-student relationship: how the former cultivates critical, compassionate, complex thought and the love, respect and passion for learning in the latter. 



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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.