Sunday, September 30, 2007

Quote of the Week

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Urge Senators to Cosponsor Bills on Common-Sense Assessment Systems

September 28, 2007

Two critical bills have been introduced in the Senate that would make a real difference in improving assessment systems and offering meaningful accountability.

Last week, we asked you to urge Senators to sign on as co-sponsors to the Improving Student Testing Act of 2007 (S. 2053), sponsored by Senator Russ Feingold (WI) and Patrick Leahy (VT). Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Ken Salazar (D-CO) have also introduced the No Child Left Behind Reform Act (S. 1194).

Both bills would make significant, meaningful changes to measurement of student performance and school success, including by allowing states to use growth models and multiple measures and ending the over-reliance upon two standardized tests given one day out of the year.
Both bills have NEA's support, but they need the additional sponsorship of your Senators.


Tell your Senators to cosponsor the Improving Student Testing Act and the No Child Left Behind Reform Act.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Update on NCLB in Iowa in 2007-2008

This MEMO from the Iowa Department of Education is intended to provide annual information to public school districts of the requirements included in the federal legislation, No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Although this memo is long, it is important that each section is read carefully because the Iowa Department of Education (DE) continually updates the components. Information for which we have received questions from the field or clarifications from the United States Department of Education (USDE) is added each year.

Iowa’s Plan

The federal government required each state to submit a consolidated state application accountability workbook that details how each state will implement NCLB.

CLICK HERE for the most recent approved version of Iowa’s consolidated workbook..

CLICK HERE to access the ISDOE's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that is available for your questions about NCLB and/or specific programs.


Results of the NAEP 2007 Mathematics and Reading Results Just Released!

NAEP Results from NCES Released Today! Find Out How Iowa and the Nation Scored on this High Stakes Assessment

Results from the NAEP assessments in reading and mathematics part of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) were released today. The Nation’s Report Card: Reading 2007 and The Nation’s Report Card: Mathematics 2007 report national and state-level performance of fourth- and eighth-graders. National data are compared to previous assessments in 2005 in both subjects and 1992 in reading and 1990 in mathematics.

Findings include:


* Fourth- and eighth-graders scored higher than in all previous assessment years.

* White, Black, and Hispanic students at both grades demonstrated a better understanding of mathematics compared to all previous assessment years.

* The White-Black score gap narrowed at grade four when compared to 1990 and at grade 8 when compared to 2005.

* Fifteen states (14 states and DC) improved at both grades, with fourth-graders in an additional eight states, and eighth-graders in 11 states scoring higher.

In READING in 2007

* Fourth-graders scored higher than in all previous assessment years.

* Eighth-graders scored higher than in 2005 and 1992.

* At both grades, White, Black, and Hispanic students all scored higher than in 1992. However, only the White-Black gap at fourth-grade was smaller compared to 2005 and 1992.

* Four states had higher scores at both grades, with 14 additional states (13 states and DODEA) improving in just fourth grade and two states scoring higher in just eighth grade. Two states had lower scores at grade 8 than in 2005.

CLICK HERE for complete results and to download the report.

CLICK HERE to access the Nation's Report Card: Reading 2007

CLICK HERE to access the Nation's Report Card: Mathematics 2007

Come back later to participate in the chat.

$7.5 Million in Grants Awarded to Six States to Study Improved Student Assessments Under No Child Left Behind

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today announced almost $7.5 million in grants to six states to explore ways to implement better assessments of student progress, beyond the testing procedures required under the No Child Left Behind Act.

The congressionally mandated program is especially aimed at upgrading evaluations of students with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency.

"We hope to find ways to enhance the quality of assessment instruments and systems that states use to measure the achievement of all students, particularly those with disabilities and limited English," Secretary Spellings said.

The state grants include:
Iowa, $1.2 million.
Illinois, $1.89 million.
Montana, $1.76 million.
South Carolina, $1.1 million.
Connecticut, $758,052. And,
Pennsylvania $708, 537.

States will use the grants to collaborate with higher education institutions, research facilities and other organizations to improve the quality, validity and reliability of state academic assessments beyond the requirements in the NCLB education reform law.

For instance, states will investigate ways to gauge student achievement using multiple measures from multiple sources. Better methods of charting student progress will be studied. And, the funds will support the development of comprehensive academic assessment instruments, such as performance and technology-based academic assessments.

The one-time grants will last 18 months.

A total of 14 states submitted programs, which were examined by panels of non-federal experts meeting in Arlington, Va., this summer.

The funding was authorized by section 6112 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to support more effective implementation of assessment requirements of Title I of ESEA and the Education Department's emphasis on accountability through measuring results.
Additional information on the grants is available on the Education Department's Web site at

Monday, September 24, 2007

ISDOE Clarifies Teacher Quality Committee Questions

See Deparment of Education Letter Clarifying a Myriad of Questions for TQC's

If you have additional questions, please send them to Deb Hansen at The DE will continue to post answers to questions on our website at under Educator Quality.

CLICK HERE to read the Department of Education's Clarification of TQC Questions Released 9/24/2007.doc

Teacher Quality Committee FAQs

DATE: September 24, 2007

TO: Administrators of Public School Districts
AEA Administrators

FROM: Kevin Fangman, Administrator
Division of PK-12 Education

SUBJECT: Additional Guidance on SF 277 Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program

The purpose of this memo is to provide answers to questions that have been asked since the Teacher Quality Committee Orientation meetings were held the week of August 13, 2007.


1. Are the teacher members of the Teacher Quality Committee (TQC) required to be members of the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) or the local bargaining unit or do they simply have to be chosen for the committee by the local bargaining unit (if one is present)?
Senate File (SF) 277 only states that the certified employee organization needs to appoint the teacher representatives to the TQC. It also states that existing committees can be appointed to perform the functions of the TQC if the certified employee organization and district administration agree.

2. How do we balance area education agency (AEA) teachers and teachers not members of an association in the decision-making process?
It is hoped that student achievement will improve by increasing the engagement of teachers and administrators in participatory decision making. It would certainly be expected that the TQC would solicit input and feedback from others educators who may not be association members.


3. How are other districts using teacher quality (TQ) funds at the building (attendance center) and district level? I would like ideas/samples that do NOT involve bringing in a one-time speaker.
The law allows for the following use of funds - salaries beyond the normal negotiated agreement, substitute teachers, professional development (PD) materials and speakers, and PD content. Examples of how districts are using professional development funding include:
• Collaborative meeting time for teachers to engage in collective learning;
• Developing lessons that support and extend their learning from professional development experiences;
• Time to analyze student and teacher data related to the learning occurring as part of the district and building PD; and
• Hire substitutes to create release time for teachers to observe in each other's classrooms (peer coaching). The goal is for PD to be focused and ongoing throughout the school year so teachers develop the necessary skills that will transfer to the classroom.

4. Can we use money to hire substitutes when scoring Six Trait Writing or to pay teachers for Six Trait Writing training?
Senate File 277 does not give the TQC the authority to select the content of the PD. When the individuals who make the decisions about the content of PD plans determine that the Six Traits of Writing is the focus of district or attendance center plans, then SF 277 funds may be used to support the district or attendance center plans, as determined by the TQC.

Scoring papers is not an appropriate use of funds if it is routine scoring/grading. However, analysis and scoring of student work can be part of a professional development experience if it is a part of a PD program that follows the Iowa Professional Development Model (IPDM).

5. Are we locked into paying out certain percentages of the money?
Once the TQC decides on the distribution of the funds allocated in SF 277 the district has to disperse the funds according to the percentages outlined by the TQC.

During the Teacher Quality Committee Orientations held the week of August 13-17, it was recommended by all three organizations (Iowa Department of Education [DE], ISEA, School Administrators of Iowa [SAI]) that a majority of the money go to district and attendance center plans. This is based on the research that shows the professional development most likely to improve student achievement is a collective-team effort, data driven, frequent and sustained over time and connects pedagogy, content and students. Funds not spent the first year can be carried over to the next year.

6. Can PD money in SF 277 be used to pay for travel time between buildings in a school district?
No. Current district policies should be followed for reimbursing indistrict travel.

7. Does what we do need to be “researched based”?
Yes. Senate File 277 does state that all professional development plans, including district, attendance center, and individual plans, must follow the IPDM as outlined in Iowa Code Chapter 284.6. Per Iowa Code the PD must contain research-based instructional strategies aligned with the school district’s student achievement needs and the long-range improvement goals established by the districts.

8. If the TQC agrees to recommend equal distribution for funds and administration agrees, will this be legal?
Yes. The TQC can recommend equal distribution of funds between the three groups. Senate File 277 states, “…the use of funds shall be balanced between school district, attendance center, and individual professional development plans, making every reasonable effort to provide equal access to all teachers.” During the Teacher Quality Committee Orientations held the week of August 13-17, it was recommended by all three organizations (DE, ISEA, SAI) that a majority of the money go to district and attendance center plans. This is based on the research that shows the professional development most likely to improve student achievement is a collective-team effort, data driven, frequent and sustained over time and connects pedagogy, content and students. Funds not spent the first year can be carried over to the next year.

9. Can TQC funds be used to pay teachers for curriculum writing or to hire substitutes to release teachers during the workday to write curriculum?
Curriculum writing by itself is not considered PD. When the individuals make the decisions about the content of PD plans, they need to be aware that the research shows the need for a guaranteed and viable curriculum. However, PD should be focused on the skills and strategies that educators need to implement the curriculum in the classroom. The IPDM and rules for district and attendance center plans require that professional development include student achievement data and analysis, theory, classroom demonstration and practice, observation and reflection, teacher collaboration and study of implementation and coaching. The analysis of curriculum and the analysis of instructional strategies used in the classroom may be a part of the planning cycle as described in the IPDM. Committee work to adopt, map, or maintain curriculum should not replace the time needed to learn new instructional practices. Other district funds should be used to support these efforts.

10. If a district decides to pay for a PD day on a per diem basis and the district is short TQ funds to pay for the whole day, is it appropriate for teacher compensation funds to be used to cover the shortfall?
No. It would not be appropriate to use teacher compensation funds in this manner. The funds would need to be taken from the district’s general fund or some other eligible funding source such as Title II or Title V.

11. Is it appropriate to use TQ professional development funds to reimburse TQC members for travel to and from the TQ orientation meetings?
Yes. This would be an appropriate use of PD dollars.


12. How does this impact our AEA evaluation system?
The process of evaluation is not impacted. The teaching standards must be the basis of the evaluation process. The alternate criteria for the Iowa Teaching Standards will be developed this fall and noticed by the State Board.

13. Will newly employed AEA staff members such as school psychologists. occupational therapists (OTs), physical therapists (PTs), social workers, etc., be eligible for mentoring and induction? Can SF 277 funds be used to pay mentors for these groups?
“Beginning teacher” is defined as an individual serving under an initial or intern license issued by the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) under Iowa Code Chapter 272. Because school psychologists, OTs, PTs, and social workers are not licensed with an initial license from the BOEE, they are not eligible for mentoring and induction funding.


14. Is using the SF 277 money for PD to pay for an additional day of PD this year, considered supplanting the money that was formerly Pot 1 and 2?

15. In the past, some districts have dispersed part of their PD funds on a per diem basis/not tied to any PD activity. Under the new legislation, would this be acceptable?
No. The funds must be used for professional development.

16. Can the PD funds be carried over from one year to another?

17. When a district participates in whole grade sharing, which district pays a teacher who is employed by one district and engages in PD in the other district?
The district that holds the contract would pay the teacher for hours beyond the contract for PD.


18. Who decides or approves the PD plan?
The district PD plan is part of the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) and the procedures for approving the CSIP must be followed. The school district is responsible for ensuring that the attendance center plans and individual professional development plans are aligned with the district plan.

19. If the TQC doesn’t decide on the individual plans, how can we make decisions about the distribution of funds for the three levels of plans?
Individual professional development plans are developed between the evaluator and the educator. These plans can be developed individually or with a team of teachers. The content of these plans is not public and TQC meetings are subject to open meeting laws.

During the Teacher Quality Committee Orientations held the week of August 13-17 it was recommended by all three organizations (DE, ISEA, SAI) that a majority of the money go to district and attendance center plans. This is based on the research that shows the professional development most likely to improve student achievement is a collective-team effort, data driven, frequent and sustained over time and connects pedagogy, content and students.

20. Does the TQC make decisions about the salary component that is awarded to districts as per SF 277?
No. The TQC has no authority over this funding.

21. Can the association members on the TQC block an additional PD day that was already planned from the year before?
The intent of SF 277 was not to disrupt professional development plans that are already in place, but to give teachers and administrators a voice in district professional development activities. The association members do not make unilateral decisions for TQC. The committee should work together to reach consensus about how the funds should be distributed across the three plans.

22. Is it okay for the TQC to become the PD committee within the district?
A district may choose to do this. This would increase the time commitment and expand the role of the teachers and administrators who agreed to serve on the TQC.

23. What happens when the TQC is at an impass on how to distribute the funds?
The TQC should strive to reach consensus rather than voting. If your committee is having a hard time reaching consensus, then it may want to obtain some technical assistance on consensus building and decision making. If no decision is made, then the money needs to be carried over to the next year.


24. How will the work of the TQC be monitored?
The district plan is monitored via the CSIP process. Attendance center plans are monitored during the site visit process every five years. The distribution of PD funds is reported on the Basic Educational Data Survey (BEDS).

25. Is there a timetable for implementation?
There is no specific timetable outlined in SF 277 for the PD component.

26. Do teachers have to attend PD when it is held beyond the contract day?
No. Teachers cannot be required to attend PD when it is beyond the work day as per the master contract.


27. Can we use Market Factor funds to address racial or ethnic diversity?
Yes. Market Factor funds can be used to improve the racial or ethnic diversity on a local teaching staff.

28. Does the TQC make decisions about how the Market Factor funds are used or distributed?
No. The TQC has no authority over this funding. The committee only makes recommendations.

29. Can districts pay for advertising for unfilled vacancies with the Market Factor funds?
Funds can be used to support activities for positions in an identified shortage area.

30. What are possible options for use of Market Factor?
Market Factor funds from the 2007-08 school allotment can be used for “salaries, educational opportunities and support, moving expenses, and housing expenses for the recruitment and retention needs of the school district in such areas as hard-to-staff schools and subject-area shortages, improving the racial or ethnic diversity on local teaching staffs, funding to prepare a teacher to attain a license or endorsement in a shortage area, or funding to support educational support personnel in pursuing a license in a shortage area.


31. If a district serves K-12 students in one building, is one building level plan required or can districts have a K-6 and a 7-12 attendance center plan?
Having one plan for elementary and one plan for secondary would be appropriate.

32. Is there a required form or document for attendance center plans?
No. There will be additional guidance on how to develop attendance center plans. Watch the School Leader Update for more information.

33. Do we have to call our plans attendance center plans? Or can we use term building plan.
The use of either term is okay. “Attendance center plan” comes directly from the legislation.


34. What happens to plans put in place prior to the legislation?
The district and individual plans put in place prior to SF 277 should continue as designed. The requirements for these plans have not changed significantly. Attendance center plans are newly legislated and the rules for these plans will be completed this spring. It is anticipated that the requirements for the attendance center plans will be similar to what is required for the district plans, but with a focus on attendance center data and goals. The TQC will have an opportunity to provide recommendations to improve these plans, but they do not have the authority to make decisions about these plans.

35. How is the portfolio impacted? Does the TQC develop evaluation forms?
The TQC is charged with monitoring the procedures for teacher evaluation. Technically the TQC has no authority over a portfolio system, but suggestions for improving the process would be within the role of the TQC.

There is nothing in rules or guidance from the DE that indicates that a portfolio system is a required process for organizing evidence for teacher evaluations.

36. Do we need to publish our minutes in the paper to meet the requirements for open meeting laws? Would posting minutes be adequate?
Posting the minutes would be in compliance with the open meeting law requirement. It is not necessary to publish them in the paper.

37. Is it okay to buy equipment such as projectors, Smart Boards, etc., with PD funds?
No. That was not the intent of this legislation.

38. Once the TQC determines how the PD funds will be distributed, does the school board need to approve?
No. The statute says this committee is to “determine” use and distribution of funds, not “make a recommendation” about use and distribution of funds.

39. Can the building administrator determine the individual teacher professional development plan goals?
All goals are to be based, at a minimum, on the needs of the teacher, the Iowa Teaching Standards, and the student achievement goals of the attendance center and the school district. There is a provision in the Teacher Quality Act that the individual plans are to have goals beyond the attendance center PD plan. The goals are to be set in cooperation with the career teacher and the teacher's evaluator.

The individual plan should align with the attendance center and district plan. It is clear that the plan needs to be developed in cooperation with the teacher and evaluator (with consultation with the supervisor if the evaluator is not the supervisor.) It is appropriate for the individual plans to be a team plan, and it is possible for all plans to be the same or similar if teachers have cooperatively developed similar goals as part of a collaborative process.

40. What professional development for nurses will meet the requirements for the Teacher Quality Act?
School nurses who are eligible for the TQ program must complete an Individual Teacher Professional Development Plan, including the requirement that professional development be based on the Iowa Teaching Standards. When determining how to apply the Iowa Teaching Standards to the learning of a nurse, school nurses are encouraged to focus on the standards and consider nursing practices that align with the standards rather than focusing on the criteria statements that describe teaching practices. The individual plan also needs to address:
• the needs of the "teacher" – (replace “teacher” with “nurse”)
• the student achievement goals of the district - consider professional development related to the health and well-being of students that school nurses need to know and be able to do that will contribute to student learning. Developing learning opportunities for nurses may be best accomplished through collaboration within AEAs or cross-district collaboration.

The DE is currently developing alternate criteria for the Iowa Teaching Standards for professions other than teachers. These alternative standards will be useful to nurses.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tell Congress: SLOW DOWN and Take the Time to Get ESEA Reauthorization Right!

September 19, 2007


The House of Representatives is moving forward with very troubling legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind. The draft under discussion:

(1) Continues to measure school success overwhelmingly on just two (reading and math) low-quality statewide standardized tests;

(2) Fails to take into account adequately the unique needs of English Language Learners and students with disabilities for educationally appropriate assessments;

(3) Ignores the critical issues of class size reduction, access to quality early childhood education, and adequate resources for school facilities and materials;

(4) Contains pay for performance plans that link standardized test scores to teacher pay without the agreement of impacted teachers;

(5) Eliminates the High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE) through which teachers can demonstrate that they are "highly qualified;" and

(6) Imposes many additional mandates and requirements on schools without any guarantee of additional funding.

(7) Instead of rushing to pass legislation that will offer more bureaucracy, more mandates, and less help for students and educators, Congress should take the time to craft a bill that will truly help ensure great public schools for every child!

Send a Message to Congress Today!

Tell your Representative in Congress that you do not support the ESEA reauthorization draft currently under discussion. Urge Congress to take the time necessary to get ESEA reauthorization right! A copy of your message also will be sent automatically to House Education and Labor Committee Chair George Miller.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WIN $25.00 or ISEA Prizes


In the book FISH! by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen, one of the keys of a successful organization is to "PLAY." So, here's our attempt to do some play with a purpose. We hope to give you a little competitive fun.


We're challenging any interesting members (and buildings) to complete our LCEA INSIDER Scavenger Hunt for your chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate or cash. It's easy to do. There's only 10 questions and most of them have easy links (point and click here or control and click for the Word version) for you to find the answers. You can also learn about our LCEA site. IT SHOULD ONLY TAKE MINUTES IF YOU USE THE EASY ACCESS LINKS. Your chances of winning are greater than Kathy Dorsey's were when she won $50.00 on our opening day.

We'll provide treats to the building with the largest number of entries too!


So, here's how it works. One of your building representatives will be sending you a LCEA Scavenger Hunt form or you can find one on-line by CLICKING HERE.

Any member is eligible to win the prizes we're offering. Everyone who fills out the Scavenger Hunt will have his/her name dropped into a "hat" and we will draw a winner for our grand prize and several other cool ISEA prizes. All entries are due by Friday September 21, 2007 by 4:30 p.m. We'll send out an email to everyone to announce the winners. Entries should be sent to .

We hope this is a great way for you to get to know your LCEA INSIDER site. Have fun.

ACTION ALERT! Flawed ESEA/NCLB Reauthorization Needs Your Voice

ESEA/NCLB Reauthorization Drafts Needs Member Action!

As this reauthorization may very well be with us through 2012 or 2014, the action we take now OR the inaction that we practice now are likely to have a major impact on our daily lives in the classroom.

Take Action

Sunday, September 16, 2007

NEA's "Positive Agenda" for NCLB

NEA's position on NCLB does not come from our leaders in Washington, D.C. Our position has been formed by members. Member leaders chaired a committee on this issue, hearings wereheld at each of the NEA Regional Conferences, NEA Regional Conference attendees reported back to their states and members, ISEA Delegates took a substantial block of time to have delegate table conversations at our delegate assembly. It is membes who decide what the NEA position on NCLB and other important issues will be.

Iowa Department of Education Releases Total Quality Initiative Amounts

LCEA Total Quality Committee to Meet Again September 5, 2007

This was originally posted on the LCEA Insider Site on 8/29/2007. It has been reposted on this date to place it higher on the front page for LCEA members and to include LC Total Quality Committee minutes.

CLICK HERE to read the Total Quality Committee "Unofficial Minutes" 9-5-2007 Meeting

You've read about the ISEA's success in securing the historic Teacher Quality monies for Iowa's educators. We can now share the amounts with you and will be able to share more with you as the process develops. Your voice continues to be important in this process.

ISEA SWUU Director John Phillips created the "Three Buckets Total Quality Facts Sheet" to help communicate the fact that the money is designed to be distributed in three specific ways. The largest amount is ear-marked for salaries, the second amount is a sizeable amount for professional development and the third designated amount is a small amount for "Market Pay Initiatives."

As SWUU Director Pat Shipley put it last night, "...there's the daddy bucket, the momma bucket and the baby bucket." These monies must be spent in the areas that they are designed to support.

Please take the time to check out the "Three Buckets Total Quality Monies Fact Sheet" handout below developed by John Phillips. This has been picked up by ISEA and will be used in continued training throughout the state.

In terms of distriubtion, the Total Quality Committeee does not decide how the monies are distributed on the salary schedule. Those monies are handled by the negotiation's team of LCCS and the LCEA. Allocating the professional development monies is one of the tasks that the LC Total Quality Committee is charged to accomplish.

Your dues dollars and contributions to ISEA's PAC made this reponsible. We now have a voice in how professional development plans are handled at the district and attendance centers. Our dues dollars underwrite our staff members who lobby the legislature on our profession's behalf. Our PAC dollars that elect "pro-public educaton" candidates also played a huge role in us being successful in turning the Teacher Quality bill into law.

Please feel free to check out the spreadsheets provided to us courtesy of ISEA and the IDOE. Please feel free to contact members of the LCEA Total Quality Committee with questions, concerns, issues to clarify and information.

Our committee will be meeting Wednesday September 5, 2007 to begin the important discussions of how monies are distributed and how we should focus new professional development endeavors funded by the state.

CLICK HERE to read the Three Buckets of Total Quality Fact Sheet

CLICK HERE to read the Teacher Quality Monies: Educator Quality Salary Allocations 2007-2008.xls

CLICK HERE to read the Teacher Quality Monies: Professional Development Allocations 2007-2008.xls

CLICK HERE to read the Teacher Quality Monies: Market Pay Allocations 2007-2008.xls

CLICK HERE to read the Career Path Electronic Worksheet 2007-08.xls

Featured September Member Benefits

The NEA Member Benefits Web Site is designed exclusively for NEA Members. Sign on often to take advantage of frequent updates, including new services and giveaways! To make your visits easier and more productive, the Web Site provides program information, a search feature, financial calculators, and easy navigation. In addition to getting the information you need, you can even use the Web Site to request free materials and apply for NEA MB products.

This was originally posted on the LCEA Insider Blog on 9/01/2007. It has been reposted to place it higher on our blog for our members. This accompanies the pieces that you received in your mailboxes.

An Overview of NEA Member Benefits

· Features information and resources in areas of interest to NEA members: travel, home living, investments, insurance, credit and health
· Check balances or change investment options on NEA Valuebuilder accounts
· Find current rates on NEA-Sponsored FDIC-Insured Money Market Account and NEA-Sponsored GoldCertificate CD
· Order magazine subscriptions through the NEA Magazine Service online
· Apply for an NEA Credit Card online; register your DUES-TAB beneficiary

Only vendors who meet NEA's strict standards for Member Benefits are given the distinction of being a NEA Member Benefit. Look for the seal of your Association that serves 3.2 million of your colleagues throughout the nation. Also, please take advantage of these benefits that are offered through the NEA. Your membership buys you these great benefits to help you financially while on vacations, in financial planning, with insurance, when renting a car, with your own NEA low-interest Credit Card and more. We'll feature a benefit or two each month. There are way too many to list all in one post. So, please explore and take advantage of your Members Only Benefits.

Click here to get to the NEA Member Benefits Web Site's Home page.

According to financial planning experts, October is traditionally an important month for financial planning as many members have rollover accounts maturing or are considering other year-end investment decisions or purchases. So September is the perfect month to tell your members about the benefits of NEA Financial Services Programs.

NEA MB has everything members need to help secure their financial future: the NEA-Sponsored FDIC-Insured Money Market Account, the NEA-Sponsored Gold Certificate CD, and the NEA Valuebuilder Program.

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Click here explore NEA sponsored Gold Certificates.

NEA Valuebuilder Program

• A variety of investment products, including 403(b), 403(b)(7), 457 and IRA’s designed to help members plan for retirement

• Product flexibility and features designed to meet diverse needs

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• Ability to change variable investment selections anytime at no charge

• Numerous variable investment options available with investment objectives ranging from conservative to aggressive from a group of well-known investment managers

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If you’re ready to start building your retirement plan, contact a financial counselor by calling 1-800-NEA-VALU.

Educators Urge House Committee to Reject NCLB Draft

NEA President Reg Weaver called on members of the House Education and Labor Committee to reject draft language currently under discussion for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. While testifying to the Committee September 10, Weaver urged lawmakers not to miss the opportunity to make a major course correction that will address the needs of public school students. More

URGENT ACTION ALERT!Contact your members of Congress

Contact your members of Congress

ISEA President Flown to D.C. to Lobby for ISEA's Positive Agenda

Iowa ISEA President Linda Nelson was among some 40 state association leaders who rushed to the nation’s capital on Sunday to voice their opposition to draft language currently under discussion for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. Chief among their concerns is the continued focus on high stakes testing, punishments, labeling of children, and unfunded federal mandates.

NEA President Reg Weaver took center stage on Monday when he testified before members of the House Education and Labor Committee. "The draft that has been provided for discussion makes only minor tweaks in the divisive and dysfunctional law that parents, teachers, and public schools have been saddled with these past five years," Weaver said.

the following excerpt is taken from ISEA President Linda Nelson's Blog entry on her trip representing ISEA. CLICK HERE to read more.

House Committee Chairman George Miller (at left) has put a process in place for the reauthorization of ESEA on a very quick timeline. NEA also learned that this may be the only hearing on over 1000 pages of the new statutory language before a full committee mark-up on the bill later this month. The committee posted draft language for Titles 2-9 (over 600 pages) late last night on their website and it is unclear if they will hold another hearing on those titles. NEA staff worked round the clock to analyze this very complicated and complex draft legislation.

NEA asked states to bring into DC one key person for each Member of Congress on our House Education and Labor Committee target list. We all attended the Sunday night briefing at NEA and were able to carry the NEA message about the serious problems with the ESEA draft to their Member of Congress on Monday. I represented Team ISEA with our targeted member of Congress, Congressman Dave Loebsack (CD 2).

The draft language also makes an assault on labor. If this proposed language should become law, local school districts would be allowed to impose pay plans on school employees while bypassing existing state collective bargaining laws. One draft provision would mandate that local districts use student test scores as the basis of determining teacher pay. Still other provisions would curtail employee protections against arbitrary transfers and reassignments.

Rep. Dave Loebsack from Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District who serves on the House Education and Labor Committee assured President Nelson that he is opposed to this draft. ISEA members should contact Loebsack immediately and thank him for his support of our position. Members in other districts should contact your Representatives and urge them to tell their colleagues on the committee to reject this draft language and focus on the things that will truly make a difference for children and public education -- reduced class size, increased training for teachers, expanded access to early childhood education, and adequate funding for school facilities and materials.

A Different Take on No Child Left Behind

Coalition including NEA, NSBA would reduce focus on testing.

The Forum on Educational Accountability, a coalition of numerous education and other groups, last week issued a report calling for a shakeup of the No Child Left Behind Act, including less reliance on tests and penalties and more emphasis on teacher training and parent involvement. Among its key recommendations:

• Provide time for staff discussion and collaboration during the school day.

• Offer intensive induction and mentoring support for beginning teachers and mentoring for experienced teachers.

• Relieve school districts of the requirement to spend any Title I funds on student transfers or tutoring. Instead, require districts to spend at least 20 percent of their Title I funds on implementing professional-development requirements.

• Require every Title I-financed “high-needs school” to provide literacy, family-skills, and other programs to families to empower them to help in their children’s learning at home.

• Replace the current system of escalating penalties for schools and districts that do not achieve adequate yearly progress with required implementation of specific systems focused on increased parent involvement and teacher training.

Click here to read the EDUCATION WEEK article on overhauling ESEA/NCLB to make it a valuable tool for educators.

The report seeks to implement the principles of the “Joint Organizational Statement on the NCLB Act,” which has been signed by 106 education, civil rights, religious, disability, and civic groups, including:

• American Association of School Administrators
• Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
• Council for Exceptional Children
• FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing
• International Reading Association
• National Alliance of Black School Educators
• National Council for the Social Studies
• National Council of Teachers of English
• National Education Association
• National School Boards Association

Elephant Educators for our Republican Members

We want to let you know about a new resource( that has been set up for you by one of our members, Jerome Hoynes of Illinois. The website is an outgrowth of the first NEA Republican Leaders Conference held this August in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Approximately 80 NEA members from 40 states attended the Republican Leaders Conference to undergo political and communications training and share ideas and experiences as Republican members of the NEA. At the end of the conference, participants brainstormed how to move forward in recruiting other Republican NEA members to become more active in the Republican Party. Some of them may have already contacted you to discuss ways to expand outreach to Republican members in your state.

One of the most exciting initiatives launched after the conference is the new Elephant Educators website. The site is an on-line advocacy group dedicated to improving American public education through increased cooperation and understanding between Republican Party organizations and members of the NEA.

Please take a minute to look at and share this information with other members who are interested in Republican issues.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Poll Shows Public Concerned that NCLB Narrows Curriculum

A new national poll shows most Americans continue to believe the federal No Child Left Behind Act is limiting what children are taught in school. NEA President Reg Weaver says the public "understands that a good education is more than a standardized test and a student is more than a test score." More

Thursday, September 13, 2007

LCEA Executive Board Meeting Minutes September 13, 2007

LCEA Meeting Minutes
Date: 9/13/2007
Place: High School—Room 403
Time: 4:15

Roll Call: Sharon Crawley, Kim Muta, Jennifer Doorlag, Maggie Bennett, Dave Bergman (absent)
HS Reps: Tom McLaughlin, Allison Towne
MS Reps: Margot Argotsinger (absent), Beth Frank, Al Lorenz, Barb Motes
TH Reps: Susan Drustrup (absent), Maggie Miller, Jennifer Hake
Kreft Reps: Kathy Moe, Melinn Ruzicka, Tara York

Approval of Agenda:
Barb Motes moved that the agenda be moved as amended (adding flashdrive and blog to new business), Allison Towne seconded the motion, and the motion passed.

Secretary’s Report/ Approval of Minutes: Kim Muta
* First meeting—no approval needed.

Treasurer’s Report: Jen Doorlag/Bill Agan
• Jen Doorlag still needs a signature card. She’s waiting for the bank to send forms. Beth Frank and Bill Agan can sign things. Barb Motes moved that the report be accepted, Allison Towne seconded the motion, and it passed. (See attached report.)
• Receipt from Sharon Crawley for treats. It did not require action.
• Beth Frank said that Sharon Crawley should get an envelope about the treasurer’s report needing to be audited. It usually needs to be done by November.

Negotiations: Beth Frank
* Meeting for training is at the end of this month. After that we’ll send out surveys. November is when things really take off.

TQC: Barb Motes
• Barb Motes shared what happened at the first meeting, which consisted of procedural issues. She explained what the October meetings would focus on.
• Barb Motes explained the compensation of teachers, which requires a memorandum of understanding.
• Al Lorenz mentioned that we (LCEA) might be asked to help cover cost of secretaries to take minutes at meetings.
• Tom McLaughlin thanked Barb Motes for her work on this committee.

President’s Report: Sharon Crawley
• Open houses have been scheduled on top of LCEA meetings—three times this year. She’ll talk about this with Dr. Schweer.
• Everyone should have access to the master contract on the server, but the drive varies from building to building.
• Sharon Crawley asked if there is a policy about making minutes available to membership. Beth Frank noted the relevant info (agenda and minutes) in the LCEA Exec. Board policies. (Kim Muta will attach POST/DO NOT POST on materials sent to the Exec. Board members.)
• Sharon Crawley wants us to brainstorm ways to get non-active members more involved.

Committee Reports:
• High School: We have cameras in the computer labs. We like Mike Hale—our new athletic director. Kim Jones is doing a good job in her new position.
• Kreft: They met with their building administrator and will continue to do so once a month. The first meeting went well. Action was taken very quickly on some of the items.
• Middle School: There is a mold problem in the auditorium. Al Lorenz wants to know if that should be raised with Dr. Schweer. Tom McLaughlin said that conversation has begun because it is such a huge issue for Pam Ryan in particular. Al Lorenz asked Sharon Crawley to address it with Dr. Schweer also.
• Titan Hill: The reps had to leave for their open house.

Old Business:
• Discuss membership—Kim Muta sent out membership lists to each Exec. Board member.
• Committee for negotiation of Teacher Quality Money—Barb Motes and Beth Frank met with Pat Shipley—don’t need to approve new monies if we use the same method of distribution. Then Art Hill sent something about needing to arrange a new agreement. Beth Frank and Barb Motes plugged in the numbers according to past distribution. (See attached blue sheet.) Cells with $0.00 indicate no teacher in that cell.

New Business:
• Reps setting up monthly meetings with individual building principals—This would be a helpful thing to do to keep communication open.
• Ten minute meetings with members—This would be a good way to keep members informed about a variety of things.
• Flash drives and blog—Tom McLaughlin explained the flash drive pilot project. Then he explained the blog—

Beth Frank moved that the meeting be adjourned, Allison Towne seconded the motion, and the meeting was adjourned at 5:30.

CLICK HERE for a WORD version of LCEA Meeting Minutes 09.13.07

If Not Us Who? If Not Now, When?


ESEA/NCLB Draft Flying Off the Presses with Plenty of Bad News from Our Friends

Word from the D.C. caucus of NEA and State leaders is that there are major problems in the Title II Re-Authorization. As education has fallen off the radar as a top-three issue with almost all of the presidential campaigns, we MUST be on the front-line in this issue. Please forward this post to members in your unit, local and building. We need our people to be informed.

Read our September 8th post on the Title II Reauthorization titled Tell Congress to Respect Educators.

Vicki Goldsmith, Alan Young and Dave O'Connor represented our profession well in this article in the September 2, Des Moines Register titled Iowa Should Lead in Learning Not Follow.

Our Iowa state leadership--which represented us well on the national stage--has delivered reports back to constituents that says the draft is going from bad to worse. Please read Reg Weaver's letters to the players on the House side of this issue. Our friends aren't behaving that way with the flawed idea of Merit Pay.

President Weaver's August 16th, 2007 Letter to the House Committee on Education and Labor

President Weaver's September 11th Letter to Speaker Pelosi on Merit Pay

President Weaver's letter to Chair Miller on Merit Pay.doc

Check out this great site by Wisconsin teachers on Merit Pay. Some good work here.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


to Help Us Make Our Blog Site a Success


Have some good pictures of your open house?, a school game?, a choral event?, a field trip?, a class play?, Grandparent's Day? another cool class project? Did your studentss do something great? Do you have a colleague that's doing great stuff in her or his classroom? Do you have a colleague who deserves a public pat on the back?

This is a spot for you to share a SHORT BLURB and send your information for all of us to share. We're a Pre K-12 Team.

We are looking for one or two of our members in each building to help us make our new Blog work. This doesn't require tons of time. We need folks who can help us locate great information to share.

Blogs are supposed to be On Line Communities. That means we want our members to visit occassionally, to share comments, thoughts, ideas, etc.

We also hope to post information for our members on lots of issues. District policies, accounts of board meeting, information on our various committees and their work. We can share photos, agendas, quickly respond to lobbying and legislative action.

Please click here to contact Tom McLaughlin if you'd be willing to help us by reporting great things happening in your building, department, grade level, our school or in the community. We'll add you as an official blog author or editor.

We want this to be a valuable resource for our local and we need everyone to contribute a little. We need readers, we need people to forward interesting emails or documents and we need folks who like to share good news about their colleages.

NEA President Reg Weaver to Testify Before Congress on ESEA Reauthorization

Read about the problems with the Title I Reauthorization Discussion Document and the Process for Seeking Input in NEA's Letter to the Committee

NEA President Reg Weaver will testify at 10 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, September 10, before the House Education and Labor Committee on reauthorization of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind. The hearing will solicit comments on the Committee’s draft bill to reauthorize Title I of ESEA.

NEA has already submitted a letter to the Committee outlining major concerns with the draft, including the continued focus on measuring schools based on two test scores, and the imposition of many additional mandates and requirements on schools and states without any guarantee of additional funding to meet them. The letter also expresses NEA’s deep concerns about the extremely limited amount of time that was made available for a substantive and thorough review of the 435-page document.

To watch President Weaver's live testimony on Monday morning, go to the Committee Web site ( and click on the "live webcast" link on the right-hand side.

More NCLB Drafts Released; Your Comments Needed

The House Committee on Education and Labor has now released “discussion drafts” for reauthorization of all the other parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind.

Your Help Is Needed!

We urge you to review the drafts, which are posted on the Committee Web site and share your feedback with us so that we can include your voice in our comments to the Committee. The deadline for submission of comments to the Committee is September 14, so please send comments to as soon as possible.

Tell Congress: Respect Educators – Reject “Performance Pay” Based on Student Test Scores

The House Committee on Education and Labor has released a reauthorization draft for Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind (the teacher quality title) that contains provisions that could result in the imposition of test-based pay programs on teachers without their agreement.

NEA and ISEA oppose these provisions and believes they must be changed to ensure that any such program is either agreed to through collective bargaining or, where bargaining doesn’t exist, through a 75 percent majority vote of affected teachers.

Send a Message to Congress Today!

Tell your Representatives in Congress to oppose imposing test-based pay programs on teachers without their agreement.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Teacher Quality Meeting Agenda Septemeber 5, 2008

It's time to get started with our work for this year. Barb Motes and Dave Black have built the following schedule for the year.

Sept 5 Sept 26
Oct 10 Oct 24
Nov 7 Dec 5
Jan 9 Jan 30
Feb 20 Mar 19
Apr 2 Apr 16
May 7 May 21

We may not need all of these meeting dates and we may not want to meet for two hours each time. This will be part of what we decide on Wednesday. The agenda for this first meeting (September 5 from 4:15-6:15 at the ERC) will include:

1. Review the requirements of Senate File 277 with regard to this Committee
Establish the committee
Ensure that the negotiated agreement determines the compensation of the teachers on the committee
Function within the Open Meetings Law
Monitor PD plans
Determine the use and distribution of 277 PD funds
Monitor implementation of SF277 with regard to Chapter 20 (negotiated agreement)
Monitor teacher performance evaluation requirements and develop model evidence
Recommend market factor incentives to the Board and LCEA
2. Formalize the committee structure/facilitation
3. Establish ground rules for committee operation
4. Determine calendar for the year and procedures for adding or deleting meetings
5. Establish agenda communication and posting procedures
6. Determine procedures for documenting committee meetings (minutes) and the distribution of minutes
7. Determine decision making process(es)
8. Establish and forward a recommendation for compensation rate and compensation procedures for the teachers on the committee
9. Identify procedures for studying the IPDM and LC Professional Development plans

I hope you can all make this important first meeting.

Teacher Quality Committee Minutes September 5, 2008

LEWIS CENTRAL Teacher Quality Committee—Official Meeting Minutes Educational Resource Center Wednesday, September 5, 2007

1. Call to order and roll call
Present: Dave Black, Jeanne Bartholow, Chuck Story, Laurie Thies, Kim Jones, Kim Muta, Tom McLaughlin, Barb Motes, Pat Thomas, Al Lorenz, Linda Hahn, Barb Grell
Absent: Sean Dunphy, Kent Stopak, Marilyn Wandersee, Mark Schweer

2. Approval of the September 5, 2007, agenda
Tom McLaughlin moved that the agenda be approved, Chuck Story seconded the motion, and it passed.

3. Review the requirements of SF 277 with regard to this Committee
* Establish the committee—This appears to be done.
* Ensure that the negotiated agreement determines the compensation of the teachers on
the committee
* Function within the Open Meetings Law
* Monitor PD (Professional Development) plans
* Determine the use and distribution of 277 PD funds—For our information, Dave Black
shared that one day of District PD costs more than $53,000.
* Monitor implementation of SF277 with regard to Chapter 20 (negotiated agreement)
* Recommend market factor incentives to the Board and LCEA—With last year’s
money, the total for this pot of funds is approximately $34,000.

4. Formalize the committee structure/facilitation
The taking of the minutes is a question mark at this point. By consensus, the Committee agreed that the administrative members will investigate the use of classified staff (specifically, District office personnel) for this purpose. Compensation for the classified staff will have to be determined.

5. Establish ground rules for committee operation
Open Meetings Law allows for the possibility of an audience. By consensus, the Committee agreed to handle audiences as the Board does. The agenda will include an opportunity for audience members to speak, and audience members will be limited in how long they may address the Committee.

6. Determine calendar for the year and procedures for adding or deleting meetings
By consensus, the Committee decided to delete the September 26 meeting. In order to study the IPDM (Iowa Professional Development Model) and hear from building administrators about their plans for PD, the Committee agreed to meet on October 10 at 4:30 for the purpose of studying the IPDM, to attend the Board meeting on October 15 at 6:30 for the purpose of hearing the building principals’ presentations on PD, and to meet on October 17 at 4:30 to discuss the building PD plans in relationship to IPDM. The Committee also decided to finalize the meeting schedule as the year progresses rather than trying to set a year’s worth of meetings right now. The nature of the work will affect how often, when, and for how long the Committee will need to meet.

7. Establish agenda communication and posting procedures
By consensus, the Committee agreed that Anna Boehm in the District office will distribute agendas for upcoming meetings to the same media outlets the Board uses. Copies of agendas will be distributed for in-building posting within the District, and the agenda will be posted on the LCEA website.

8. Determine procedures for documenting committee meetings (minutes) and the distribution of minutes
By consensus, the Committee agreed that the same posting procedures for agendas would be followed for minutes, with the exception of distributing minutes to the media.

9. Determine decision making process(es)
For procedural matters, the Committee will make decisions by consensus, with the understanding that a Committee member may request a vote. For matters involving resources, the Committee will vote. In the event of absences that create an imbalance, member/s will agree to sit out during the vote in order to create a balance. In that case, a roll call vote will be taken.

10. Establish and forward a recommendation for compensation rate and compensation procedures for the teachers on the committee
Tom McLaughlin moved that the Committee recommend a letter of agreement between the Board and LCEA that would compensate the teachers on the Committee by paying them $22.50 per hour for work beyond contract hours and paying them a per diem rate for work during non-contract days. Kim Muta seconded the motion. A roll call vote was unanimous: Dave Black, yes; Jeanne Bartholow, yes; Laurie Thies, yes; Kim Jones, yes; Kim Muta, yes; Tom McLaughlin, yes; Linda Hahn, yes; Barb Grell, yes.

11. Identify procedures for studying the IPDM and LC Professional Development plans
By consensus, the Committee agreed that Dave Black will contact AEA 13 about having an expert on IPDM to be available on Oct. 10 for the committee’s study and discussion of IPDM.

12. Adjournment
Al Lorenz moved that the meeting be adjourned at 6:20.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

NEA President Reg Weaver's NEA Member Poem


LCEA Insider Scavenger Hunt

Have some fun, enter to win a prize, learn something & get to know your local Association’s On-Line Site

Most of these answers can be found by putting your cursor on the link and clicking of your mouse. HOW'S THAT FOR EASY?? You can do this for seven of the ten questions. Our goal is that you know what’s available for you.


Your Name:


(1) What is the address to the LCEA Insider?


(2) In ten words or less, what is NEA MB DUES TAB?

(3) Who is the famous author is on a hunger strike until NCLB/ESEA are fixed?

(4) Who are two LCEA members on the LCEA Total Quality Committee from the “unofficial minutes” of the Total Quality September 5, 2007 meeting?

(5) What is the 800 number for the ISEA's Southwest UniServ Unit?

(6) What is the total amount of money that Lewis Central teachers will get for salaries?


(7) No easy link here. Click on the link. Where was this article originally published?


(8) No easy link here. Click on the link. What is the name of the punctuation song listed in the short article?


(9) The board believes that complaints should ideally be resolved at what level?


(10) No easy link here. Enter “Linda Nelson” (our ISEA President). What is the title of the article that comes up first on the search?