Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or treat. Voters to decide which our students and schools are to receive in Election 2008

Obama campaign broadcasts historic prime time infomercial

Sen. Barack Obama's multimillion dollar 30-minute infomercial was simultaneously broadcast on major television networks and cable channels on Wednesday, October 29, a move that many advertising and political experts say has no precedent.

During the 30-minute program, Barack Obama: American Stories, Obama told stories that he said "reflect the state of our union." He spoke on a range of issues that affect all Americans, including education. He said, "I will recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries, and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability." He also said, "Just as everyone has a right to an affordable higher education, every American has a right to affordable health care." View the entire program below

Anti-education ballot initiatives must be defeated

NEA members across the country will take to the polls Tuesday to secure key victories against anti-education ballot initiatives in states across the country including:

  • A gag law proposal in South Dakota that would impose tight restrictions and outright bans on lobbying and political contributions by various groups, including NEA.
  • Proposals in Massachusetts and North Dakota that would eliminate or reduce state income taxes. Such reckless proposals would jeopardize vital education programs and public services. In Arizona, voters must reject a proposal requiring that any initiative resulting in a tax or spending increase be approved by a majority of registered voters, not just a majority of voters casting ballots on the initiative.
  • Oregonians must once again reject proposals by prolific initiative author Bill Sizemore. Sizemore proposes banning the use of seniority in teacher pay and hiring, and limiting non-English school instruction to two years. Sizemore also proposes full deduction of federal income taxes on state returns, a measure that will reduce state revenue by some $600 million a year. And for a fourth time, Oregon voters must say no to Sizemore's proposed ban on public employee political contributions through payroll deduction.
  • A high-stakes, high-profile attempt to undermine worker rights in Colorado includes a "right-to-work" measure and two other amendments targeting unions. The amendments would restrict the right of workers to collectively bargain and participate in politics.

"Got Tuition?" working to make college affordable and get young voters to the polls

When Benjamin Redmond heads to the polls on Election Day, like many voters, he plans to vote for the presidential candidate he believes will help him manage his student loan debt. Redmond owes more than $24,000 and is facing a student loan payment that will be more than his car note - $400 a month. Redmond has plenty of company; almost two out of three college students owe an average of more than $19,000 in student loan debt.

But the president isn't the only elected official who makes decisions affecting college affordability. That's why Redmond and young voters like him are challenging their peers to head to the polls and vote their entire ballot.

Redmond joined representatives from "Got Tuition?", Rock the Vote, Campus Progress Action, and the League of Young Voters, to hold a teleconference on October 28 highlighting college affordability, the youth vote and the potential impact of Tuesday's election on these issues. "Got Tuition?" continues to mobilize young voters on campuses across the country and educate them on the importance of voting and participating in the political process. Visit to learn more about the campaign, blog on the subject of college affordability, or learn how to arrange a "Got Tuition?" rally for your school or alma mater.

On the campaign bus with Joe Biden

NEA Executive Committee member Carolyn Crowder took the ride of a lifetime earlier this month when Colorado UniServ Director John Chase got her a seat on the campaign bus of the Democratic candidate for vice president Joe Biden. Crowder attended a campaign event in Greeley, Colo., and rode the bus with Biden and his staff to another event in Denver. Following is Crowder's account of her experience:

"I arrived in Greeley around 10 a.m. and stood in line for four hours with a group of other Obama/Biden supporters waiting for the event to start. I got to know a woman who had been waiting in line since 6:30 a.m. She was married to "Tom the Plumber", a licensed plumber who pays his taxes and is supporting Obama/Biden. Even though we were all tired by the time Biden spoke - no one complained - it was worth the wait.

"After the event, I was ushered backstage where I had my picture taken with Joe Biden. And then, I boarded a bus with Frederico Pena, former Transportation and Energy secretary and former mayor of Denver; Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien of Colorado; and Andy Stern, SEIU's national leader, to accompany Sen. Biden to his next event. The five of us spent nearly an hour discussing campaign strategies and our thoughts about what was going to happen in the final weeks of the campaign. Sen. Biden shared stories about his family, and he even took a call from his son, Beau, who is in boot camp preparing to go to Iraq.

"The bus itself was amazing, and in front of us - all the way to Denver - there was a motorcade of flashing police cars. Behind us was another bus filled with press representatives.

"I will never forget my time on the bus, but the best part about the entire experience came after we arrived at the Denver event. The other bus occupants went on stage to give short speeches prior to Sen. Biden's speech. I was left backstage alone with Joe Biden (not counting the anxious-looking Secret Service agents and campaign aides).

"I went up to the senator and said, 'I want to thank you for doing this. And I'm not talking about the bus ride - that was great - but I really want to thank you for agreeing to run for vice president - we needed you!'

"Sen. Biden looked at me and said, 'I didn't want to do this. But Barack convinced me that he needed me - and that he would use me in a significant way in the campaign and in his administration. And I care too much about what's been happening to our country - to not serve where I'm needed. A lot of people think I did this because of my foreign policy experience. And - I will certainly be giving advice and counsel on that issue. But I want you to know that my main emphasis will be education. I believe that in order to jump-start our economy - to prepare our country for defense - to become competitive with the world - we need to put a bigger emphasis on, and a bigger investment into, public education.' The senator continued, 'I'm talking early childhood education, lowering K–12 class sizes, and investing in the professionals who work in our public schools. We must get teacher pay up to comparable levels with other professions.'

"I told Sen. Biden that other professions with the same higher education preparation requirements currently make 50 percent more than teachers - which is why NEA is involved in a national teacher salary campaign - as well as our campaign to raise education support professionals' salaries to a living wage. Sen. Biden said he agreed that we have to change these low wage statistics for all educators. 'You can tell what a nation's priorities are by looking at their budget - and America's budget has never reflected the priority that we should have regarding public education.' The senator then took hold of both my arms and said, 'If I get to be the vice president of the United States - you won't just have an advocate - you will have a believer!'

"I have never heard a more sincere pledge of support - and as far as believers go, Joe Biden has a true believer in me - I hope he gets the chance fulfill his promise."

The North Star points the way

True to Alaska's state motto, "North to the Future," NEA Alaska Retired member Cheryl Lovegreen is an Association member who is pouring her all into making sure Alaska's future is secure and prosperous. Cheryl Lovegreen and her colleagues are working to contact every education professional and retiree in the state, encouraging them to get out and vote Tuesday.

Lovegreen is a 21-year member of NEA-Alaska, teaching in Anchorage before her recent retirement. She joins retired and/or education support professional members in six targeted states including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida, Minnesota, and New Hampshire, in a program coordinated by NEA Campaigns and Elections to organize state affiliate members in support of Association- recommended candidates for federal offices.

The NEA-Alaska members' work is part of a larger effort with labor unions under the umbrella of Alaska's AFL-CIO. This coordinated campaign is called "Alaska Labor 2008." It is a groundbreaking move. The goal is to mobilize Alaska's union households—with the potential of reaching nearly 100,000 eligible voters. "This is our first year collaborating with the AFL-CIO, and I think it is going well," Lovegreen said. "We've learned each other's culture and how to complement our work together. As coordinator for all NEA-Alaska campaign volunteers in this election, Lovegreen and her colleagues were responsible for finding members to make phone calls and distribute election information to other union members. "We've had over 3,300 directs contacts," she said. "That doesn't count direct mailings either, which go to most members." Read more about Cheryl Lovegreen at

In these last few days of the campaign, Lovegreen and the other seven member-organizers are working closely with locals on a whirlwind of GOTV activities. Click here to learn more about Labor 2008.

NEA members voting early

Americans across the country are voting early in record numbers this year, and NEA members are joining them to cast their votes before Tuesday, November 4. As of October 29, seven of the 11 battleground states were reporting that 10 percent or more of the potential early voters who are NEA members, or their family members, have cast their ballots. Looked at it another way, more than 184,000, or 15 percent, of those nearly 1.6 million potential early voters who are local members, along with their eligible family members, have cast their ballots. This level of activity might raise suspicions and result in questions or challenges to early voters. Some opponents may take inappropriate or illegal actions to steer citizens away from voting opportunities in the next few days. If you experience an act that you'd consider unfriendly toward your efforts to vote leading up to the election or on Election Day, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or click on

Let's not be fooled again

From all indications, there will be record-breaking voter turnout for the 2008 election. However, there are some people in the country who want turnout to be low, not high.

A new report, "Voting in 2008: 10 Swing States," by Common Cause and The Century Foundation, indicates that voting preparedness in 10 swing states shows significant problems. The states are Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico and Virginia. The report examines problem areas, including voter registration, voter ID, caging and challenges, deceptive practices, provisional ballots, voting machine allocation, poll worker recruitment and training, voter education and student voting rights. For a look at the report and a state-by-state breakdown, go to

We must keep our eyes on the prize—the prize of successfully electing pro-public education officials. If we don't get out the vote, these officials won't get into office. On Election Day, the opposition will work hard to get their folks to the polls. They will know poll locations, opening and closing times, and peak hours. We need to be equally competitive and motivated and organized. Go to NEA's Education Votes for assistance and guidance on helping to get out the vote on Tuesday. Running a get-out-the-vote effort requires a lot of work, but don't worry-you are not alone in attempting this work. There are thousands of busy people just like you who are finding ways to make a difference this year and help elect pro-public education candidates.

The real Halloween horror: John McCain's 'free' market school system

Under John McCain's plan to apply free market theories to public education, teachers, subjects, and school services, all would disappear. Learn more about McCain's plan to deregulate our education system at

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teacher Quality Committee Minutes--10/30/2008

Lewis Central – Teacher Quality Committee Meeting Minutes
October 30, 2008

TQC was called to order at 4:33 by Dave Black.

Members present: Barb Motes, Dave Black, Al Lorenz, Pat Thomas, Kim Muta, Kim Jones, Jeanne Bartholow, Chuck Story, Barb Grell, Linda Hahn, Kent Stopak

Members absent: Tom McLaughlin, Sean Dunphy, Mark Schweer, Laurie Thies

Motion by Chuck Story, seconded by Barb Motes, to approve the minutes of the September meeting. Motion carried.

Implementation of Teacher Supervision and Evaluation Process

Administrators for Titan Hill, Kreft, and the High School presented how they monitored the staff: who is where on the three year cycle, an overview of what the process looked like in each building, and where they were in the process of evaluation those on cycle this year. Middle School’s presentation will be at the next meeting.

Titan Hill – Kent Stopak

Stopak explained that Genie Wickham and he divided staff on cycle into two groups. Wickham works with the first and second year teachers, while he does the others. They have 4-5 meetings scheduled for all staff. Those on cycle meet with the administrators while the others meet with peers to discuss their Career Development plans. All staff members have Career Development plans. All teachers on cycle turn in a week’s worth of lesson plans four times a year. Administrators are on track to have all the first observations completed by December. Dave Black asked if all new teachers had mentors and if every staff member was on the right stage of the cycle. Stopak affirmed that was true.

Stopak explained that he uses the pre-observation form but modifies question eight, which asks what data the principal could collect. He rephrases it during the discussion with the teacher to “What information can I collect for you that will help you reflect on your teaching?” He explained that this is to move the question information from data on students to data on how a teacher works with students. Barb Grell explained that she also had her staff talk about this question in a similar way to Kent’s question.

There was discussion on whether the evaluation document should be changed to reflect this new question. If administrators thought that is provided better information than the current phrasing, shouldn’t it be in the document? It was decided to leave it for now, with the option of returning to it at a later date.

There was discussion on the two groups, Wickham’s group and Stopak’s group. Muta asked if this was two different systems with different forms. Motes spoke about how the process was supposed to be the same in each building, including the forms used. Stopak explained that he and Wickham used the pre-observation form in the Evaluation Handbook. There was not a second form. Muta asked about the lesson plan requirement. Did teachers have to fill in form? Stopak explained that Wickham had tried working through the form with a few teachers, but it didn’t provide them with the information they thought it would. Now teachers on cycle turn in a copy of their plans. There is not a form required. Muta clarified that the Stopak was saying that the discussion occurring were more valuable than the form used and teachers were not evaluated. Stopak agreed.

Muta asked about the process Stopak mentioned when explaining what Wickham was doing with her on-cycle group. He explained that Wickham works with the first and second year teachers using the Explicit Instruction Model. This is from the Every Child Reads initiative. Wickham meets individually with a teacher to work through a process to create the teacher’s lesson plan. Muta wanted to know if teachers were evaluated on this process. Motes asked if it was a different path. Stopak explained it was more like a professional development piece. Wickham is teaching them a method for creating lesson plans. Motes asked it teachers would have to do it once they were past the second year and Stopak said not at this point. Lorenz stated that professional development is overwhelming as it is. Was this explicit instruction just another thing to do? Stopak explained that it is a support to a new teacher. The administrator talks through designing a lesson with the teacher, coaching them, rather than having a new teacher do it cold and on their own. Motes clarified that the evaluation piece was still the pre-observation form and not this lesson discussion. She wondered if Wickham could show the TQC how this worked. Stopak reported that the staff response was favorable. Thomas wanted to know if this explicit instruction was new so it wasn’t reasonable to expect new teachers how to do it. Stopak replied that colleges were not giving new teachers enough instruction. Black said it is professional development; one more way that we can help teachers. Stopak said it fit with the current building professional development. Muta asked if the plan was for everyone in the building to do it this way. Stopak said no. Black said it is just one more strategy a teacher can use. Grell said that information about explicit instruction was available on the Every Child Reads website. Thomas mentioned that is was similar to what teachers in Second Chance Reading do.

Kreft – Barb Grell

Grell presented a list of where all the staff was regarding the evaluation cycle. She mentioned this may change if staff changes occur. She explained that she meets with all her staff for an overview of the evaluation cycle. She speaks with all the staff currently on-cycle again to go over the document and the standards. She also modifies question eight as she goes over pre-observation forms with teachers. She stated that all on-cycle people will be observed once by the end of November. She explained that for those teachers whose time is split between buildings are observed by administrators at both buildings. Information is shared and the summative is then the responsibility of one building administrator.

Black asked several questions. Have all Career Development plans been turned in and are they aligned with building professional development? Was anyone accelerated? Did all new staff have mentors? Grell said yes, but technically Career Development plans aren’t due until Oct. 31. Motes asked how important was it that all staff be evaluated every three years. Black explained that it was a priority for Dr. Schweer and that they were trying to ensure that no one was missed. Motes pointed out that Grell is the only administrator in her building and other buildings had at least two. Who did Grell talk to when she had questions? Grell explained that she spoke to Black and Schweer, as well as some other building administrators.

High School – Chuck Story

Story provided a sheet with his staff broken down into groups with one of the four administrators assigned to each group. When assigning the administrator, the High School administrative team looked at the curricular strengths of the administrator, how many observations need to be done each year and the amount of time needed to complete those observations. Story expects to have most of the first observations done by winter break. He is working with the staff to develop smart goals that tie to building and district goals. He stated that it has taken three years to get all staff on the evaluation cycle in the right spot. He reported that he ensures the original of the summative is filed at ERC while the teacher and he get a copy. He explained that the spotlight is a program at the High School where a different teacher is chosen each month and the students write about that person for a wall display.

Black asked his questions about mentoring and first year teachers. Story responded that all were matched. He also explained how they work with teachers who share time between buildings and how it is similar to the elementary schools. Kim Jones explained that she meets 1:1 with her people since it is hard to get everyone together at one time. They go through all the forms and steps together.

Muta asked Story to explain what the evaluation for activity people looks like. Story deferred to Motes. She said they discuss goals, strengths, areas to work on, budget, equipment needs, supplies, and the like. Story said its purpose was to see what could be done to make things better for the students and the teacher. Motes praised Mike Hale, the administrator doing activity evaluations, saying he puts in lot of face time; more than she has seen anyone do before. Black said that there needs to be an instructional attachment so this was a good approach. Story said they were looking into ways to help Hale by using off season coaches to help with some areas of coverage at events. Al Lorenz asked if the forms Hale uses should be in the document as an addendum. Black said they never have been. Since the contracts are separate, the state doesn’t require it.

Jones explained how they do observational walk-throughs. She said they had divided the building into pods and each administrator rotated through them. That kept a teacher from having several people walk through her room because they didn’t realize others had done so previously. Muta said that was helpful. She also said that the more often administrators do it; the less disruptive it will be for students. It won’t be such a big deal to have the principal in the room.

Middle School – no administrator present, will hold until November meeting

Iowa Core Curriculum

Dave Black provided a financial breakdown to show how much money was in the fund for this item. He also provided a form that explained how the money may be used LC to carry out the expectations of Iowa Core. He explained that unused monies would be rolled over into the next year’s fund to take care of the next stage of implementation.

There was also a document that explained the vision of Iowa Core. Black explained that this will change the way we do curriculum development and refinement in the district. Muta asked when teachers would get access to the real core curriculum. Black replied that the website does not yet have it. Right now there are standards for reading, math and science at the 9-12 level. The benchmarks are broad and vague. The plan is to create grade level bands (primary, intermediate, middle, high), but they are not completed. State level teams are working on this. Amy Higgenbotham (writing), Nancy File (math), and Trudie Kimball (reading) are some LC people on those teams. There are not yet documents that show what is in the core.

Black explained that this year is about processes and solid design methodology, not the actual curriculum. The State has created a unit planning form and is working on creating models, samples, and processes to assist school districts. The purpose this year is to train LC staff to do this for our district. The District Leadership Team (DLT) will be involved at this level. He explained that there would be six morning sessions that the DLT would attend. Funds would be used to pay for food, transportation and substitutes for the teachers on the DLT to complete this work.

Black then proposed a motion to approve the use of Teacher Quality money for the Iowa Core Curriculum to pay for teachers on the DLT to develop the needed portions of this plan. Motes moved, and Muta seconded, to take a vote. Bartholow did not vote since there was one more teacher than administrator at the meeting.

Lorenz – abstained, Motes – yes, Thomas – yes, Muta – yes, Jones – yes, Story – yes, Grell – yes, Hahn – yes, Stopak – yes, Black – yes

Motion passed.

Review Membership

Black asked if there had been any response to the request for new members for the TQC. Muta said she hadn’t heard from the elementary school representatives yet, but would put it on the LCEA agenda. Black said if they knew who it was, to let him know and he would add it to the Board agenda. He also said the new member could attend meetings, but not vote, prior to Board approval.

Next Meeting

The meeting will be November 19th, at 4:30. Items to discuss include: reflection on the October PD days, the Middle School Evaluation plan, and membership.

Muta moved to adjourn. Seconded by Grell. Motion passed and meeting adjourned at 5:47.

Minutes submitted by Jeanne Bartholow

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Together, we can make a difference for students and public education!

ISEA members played a key role in kicking off the 2008 Presidential race and now you are uniquely poised to play a role in determining who is elected on Nov. 4.

Public school educators have been near the top of the list of America's most admired spokespersons for decades; and according to the Harris polling firm, teachers' grades among the nation's "most admired professions" have improved by an average of 23 percentage points over the past 15 years. Our Association's 3.2 million members (more than 33,000 right here in Iowa) live in every state, in every Congressional district, and in every precinct. In fact, there is one Association member among every 100 Americans.

Remember what is at stake in this election. No Child Left Behind at the national level, making sure the promises to reaching 25th in salaries for K-12 teachers are kept, that community college faculty get to 25th and that support professionals are allowed to use the recently enacted Iowa law to fight for a competitive living wage.

You can truly make a difference. That's why it's time once again for ISEA members to take the lead and do their homework to find out how the candidates stand on education issues. Click on the links below to get started.
Compare each parties platform on education to see who best supports you:

Iowa Republican Party plaform
Iowa Democratic Party platform

Download a listing of ISEA's recommended candidates
Iowa Secretary of State voter information
Visit NEA's Education Votes Web site and Blogs

ISEA members should login to our Members-Only Education Votes Web site for even more information about how you can make a difference on Election Day!

Vote early!
One of the benefits of voting early is that your name will be removed from phone lists and you won't receive election-related phone calls from now until November 4. In addition to voting by mail, a number of counties have early voting at satellite locations open most of October. You can also go to their local auditors office and vote. Check the Web pages below for evening and Saturday hours.

Copy of the official absentee ballot that may be reproduced
County Auditors List

Absentee Ballot Information
Voter/Election Information is a new, one-stop, voter registration site that lets you do it all--check your registration status, register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and find your early voting site or polling location. Please take the time to check it out and encourage your family to do the same.

House races are key to control of legislature
Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a district-by-district fight in their quest for the majority in the closely divided Iowa House. Democrats currently hold a 53-47 advantage in the House. With all 100 House seats on the ballot this year, Democrats have 49 members seeking re-election; Republicans have 38 incumbents running again. In the Senate, Democrats hold a sizable 30-20 margin, with half the Senate's seats on the ballot this year. To see how candidates voted on issues related to education go to:

2008 Iowa House Vote Record
2008 Iowa Senate Vote Record
2008 Iowa Vote Record Key

Senator Harkin requests input on school nutrition program
In 2009, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will write legislation to update and extend federal child nutrition programs such as the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and the Summer Food Service Program. In preparation for this effort, Senator Harkin seeks the advice and expertise of those who interact with federal school nutrition programs every day. Please send your ideas to Derek Miller on the staff of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry by e-mail at or by mail in care of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry at 328A Russell Office Building, Washington DC 20510.

Volunteer for ISEA-recommended candidates
Did you know you can win prizes for working just a few hours for ISEA-recommended candidates? Prizes like an gift certificate, a DVD player, or Des Moines theater tickets and a hotel package.

Join the Grass Roots Education Action Team (G.R.E.A.T.). Work three or more hours for an ISEA-recommended candidate. Then submit an "I HELPED" card or report your hours using our online form--the more hours you volunteer, the greater your chance of winning prizes! A drawing will be held December 2nd. As an added bonus the first 200 members to sign up will receive a free gift!

Texas Hurricane Ike relief fund
During our time of need, individuals and state affiliates from around the country generously gave to ISEA's Disaster Relief Fund and we are grateful for their support. Now it's our turn to give back. Over 9,000 Texas State Teacher Association (TSTA) members are in areas hit by Hurricane Ike. Anyone wishing to send a contribution to help members in Texas may do so by sending a check to the TSTA Hurricane Ike Relief Fund, 216 W. 12th Street, Austin, TX 78701.

ISEA awards nominations open
The ISEA sponsors a number of awards to honor members and others who work to make a difference for public education. Applying for our awards is easy. Download a nomination form or flyer here.

Plan now for American Education Week Nov 16-22
American Education Week spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from kindergarten through college, and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great. Use the online tookit at to plan and promote each day of the week.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

LCEA Executive Board Meeting Minutes 10/16/2008

Place: Middle School Library
Time: 4:15

CLICK HERE for a Word version of the LCEA Executive Board Meeting Minutes from October 16, 2008.

Roll Call: Dave Bergman, Kim Muta, Jennifer Doorlag, Sharon Crawley, Barb Motes (absent)
HS Reps: Tom McLaughlin (absent), Allison Towne, Brian Johnson (absent), Ruth Kreger
MS Reps: Margot Argotsinger, Beth Frank (absent), Al Lorenz
TH Reps: Susan Drustrup, Lisa Scieszinski, Jennifer Stroup (absent), Joanna Stenlund
Kreft Reps: LoriAnn Brougham (absent), Mary Broughton, Lee Dwyer

Approval of Agenda (Dave Bergman)
• Susan Drustrup moved that the agenda be approved, Ruth Kreger seconded it, and the motion passed.

Secretary’s Report (Kim Muta)
• Kim Muta forgot to bring copies of the September minutes for approval.

Treasurer’s Report (Jen Doorlag)
• We have an audit team ready to begin: Cheryl Casey, Kathie Lincoln, Ann Logan.
• The $700 from ISEA is for the new teachers/new members--$100 cash back.
• We are thinking about switching banks since the current bank is no longer affiliated with ISEA. We would like a bank that is more accessible.
• Allison Towne moved that the report be approved, Sharon Crawley seconded it, and the motion passed with one abstention.

President’s Report (Dave Bergman)
• There was no September meeting because of conflicting schedules. Dave Bergman and Barb Motes will meet with him next week. There is a list of discussion items for that meeting, some from the list for last month’s meeting.

Negotiations: (Beth Frank)
• Please gather the blue sheets at your building and get them to Beth Frank. Please note specific concerns in addition to ranking items.
• There are training sessions for negotiations, provided by ISEA.
• Approval of letter granting the team the power to negotiate for us: Sharon Crawley moved that the team be approved as such, Allison Towne seconded it, and the motion passed.

Building Reports
• High School: Sharon Crawley and Dave Bergman talked about the literacy cadre beginning to meet with AEA reps and administration.
• Middle School: Al Lorenz talked about having met with Sean Dunphy and the air quality, and were assured that there would be a reading taken soon. Sean Dunphy also said that he would raise the issue with the school board. There was also a discussion about needing more associates for special education, and the response is to move students around.
• Titan Hill: The problem with the requested lesson plans is raising its head again. Genie Wickham and Kent Stopak said that it is mandatory, and the lesson plans have to be in a particular format. The format is not one that has been used in the past. We thought that it had been taken care of, but it apparently has not. The fourth grade classes are at 28-29, and there are not enough materials. One class has no social studies textbooks at all. Kent Stopak has refused to purchase more textbooks. Teachers are being required to teach sections of Title 1 reading. There is a question about whether the teachers are certified to teach this. There are also special education teachers who are volunteering to work during their duty-free lunch in order to accommodate the scheduling of this Title 1 reading.
• Kreft: No report.

Old Business:
• Title 1 issue at the elementary: See the Titan Hill report above.
• Middle school mold: Since Al Lorenz went through the chain of command about this, so it should now be raised in the monthly meeting with the superintendent.
• Key chains for members’ birthdays: These are ordered.
• Special education associate: See the middle school report.

New Business:
• TQC representatives needed—We need to fill two spots, and we need a new co-chair.
• Chain of command—There is a question about chain of command within the buildings. Kreft has a posted list, but there are questions about it.

• Sharon Crawley moved that the meeting be adjourned, Mary Broughton seconded it, and the meeting adjourned at 5:05. Al Lorenz did vote nay, however.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mark Your Calendars for the Obama & McCain Debates

Want to know where the US Presidential candidates stand on education and issues that impact our students? Don't miss one of the four presidential debates coming to US citizens this fall.

The Obama and McCain campaigns released the following statement on the Presidential Debates:

The Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns have agreed to hold three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate in September and October sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The campaigns have come to the earliest agreement on presidential debates reached in any general election in recent history. This announcement reflects the presidential campaigns' agreement on dates, locations, and the formats for the fall debates. Campaign-appointed debate negotiators House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said they were pleased to have reached an early agreement to provide the American people with the opportunity to see and hear the candidates debate the critical issues facing the country. The two campaigns have accepted sponsorship of the debates by the Commission on Presidential Debates, subject to the debates being conducted under the terms of their agreement.

Summary of McCain-Obama Debate Agreement

The two campaigns agreed today on a framework for four General Election debates, to be sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Key elements of the agreement are:

1. First Presidential Debate:

* Date: September 26
* Site: University of Mississippi
* Topic: Foreign Policy & National Security
* Moderator: Jim Lehrer
* Staging: Podium debate

Answer Format: The debate will be broken into nine, 9-minute segments. The moderator will introduce a topic and allow each candidate 2 minutes to comment. After these initial answers, the moderator will facilitate an open discussion of the topic for the remaining 5 minutes, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment.

2. Vice Presidential Debate

* Date: October 2nd
* Site: Washington University (St. Louis)
* Moderator: Gwen Ifill

Staging/Answer Format: To be resolved after both parties' Vice Presidential nominees are selected.

3. Second Presidential Debate

* Date: October 7
* Site: Belmont University
* Moderator: Tom Brokaw
* Staging: Town Hall debate

Format: The moderator will call on members of the audience (and draw questions from the internet). Each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond to each question. Following those initial answers, the moderator will invite the candidates to respond to the previous answers, for a total of 1 minute, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment. In the spirit of the Town Hall, all questions will come from the audience (or internet), and not the moderator.

4. Third Presidential Debate

* Date: October 15
* Site: Hofstra University
* Topic: Domestic and Economic policy
* Moderator: Bob Schieffer
* Staging: Candidates will be seated at a table

Answer Format: The debate will be broken into nine, 9-minute segments. The moderator will introduce a topic and allow each candidate 2 minutes to comment. After these initial answers, the moderator will facilitate an open discussion of the topic for the remaining 5 minutes, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment

Closing Statements: At the end of this debate (only) each candidate shall have the opportunity for a 90 second closing statement.

All four debates will begin at 9pm ET, and last for 90 minutes. Both campaigns also agreed to accept the CPD's participation rules for third-party candidate participation.