Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Works4Me: Tips for Teachers by Teachers

Token Behavior
From Gayla Morstorf (morstorf@sbcglobal.net), a first grade teacher at Geronimo Road School in Lawton, Oklahoma:

"I reward good classroom behavior by giving my students ten small tokens on Mondays. They keep the tokens in baggies until Friday when they can trade them in for prizes. They can earn more tokens for good behavior, but they can also lose tokens for unfavorable behavior throughout the week. My rule is they need to have the same amount I gave them on Monday in order to trade. Students work hard to practice the desired behaviors and learn about consequences when they make bad choices. If someone takes another student's tokens, they give up all of their tokens and give them to that person!"

CVC Story
From Betty Klein (bjklein6957@yahoo.com), a first grade teacher at Cleveland School in Lawton, Oklahoma:

"This may seem like a silly tip, but it sure helped my talkative first graders understand the reading skill CVCe. When my students could not grasp it in adult terms, I told my students the following story. CVC and the vowel talked quietly making the short vowel sound. Then along came the vowel’s friend silent e and stood at the end. Although he didn't talk, he made a funny face that caused the vowel in the middle to talk loudly (the long vowel sound), which got him in trouble. The children all started laughing because they could identify with getting in trouble for talking or making someone get in trouble for talking. The skill CVC and CVCe are no longer a problem for them. This story helped my students sound out new words with these vowel patterns."

Question of the Week: Extended Leave
From the Works4Me Worker Bees:

"Sometimes teachers are forced to take extended leave for medical or personal reasons. How do you plan for this extended leave? You must plan for weeks at a time while you are still teaching and holding down a regular schedule. How do you fit time in for planning ahead and make these plans meaningful?"

Send Us Your Answer
View Replies & Post Your Tip

Social Networking
Heard Last Week in the Works4Me Lounge:

"Forget MySpace and Facebook -- lots of teachers are now networking with each other on educator-specific social networking sites like Classroom 2.0 or
NextGen Teachers. Have you joined any social networks specifically set up for teachers? What are the benefits?"

Comment on This Tip
More Professional Tips

Submit a Tip
We couldn't do it without you! Click here to submit a tip. Please contribute your own brief, practical, broadly applicable classroom tip to Works4Me. When submitting a tip, please include your full name, school, specific assignment (grade/subject), city and state. This newsletter is only as good as the tips we receive, so send your ideas today.

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DISCLAIMER Works4Me is a vehicle for instructional staff to share their ideas with other instructional staff. As such, it does not constitute an endorsement of any particular curriculum or teaching method by the Lewis Central Education Association, the Iowa State Education Association or the National Education Association or any of its affiliates.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reading First Impact Study Final Report

Reading First Impact Study Final Report

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 created the Reading First program to help ensure that all students can read at or above grade level by the end of third grade. The law required an independent, rigorous evaluation of the program. The Reading First Impact Study Final Report provides an update of previously released impact findings on student reading comprehension and classroom reading instruction using an additional year of data (2006-07). In addition, the report includes information on the impact of the program on first grade students’ decoding skill in 2006-07 as well as an examination of the relationship between classroom instruction and student reading comprehension.

The results indicate that Reading First produced statistically significant positive impacts on multiple reading practices promoted by the program, such as the amount of instructional time spent on the five essential components of reading instruction and professional development in scientifically based reading instruction. Reading First did not produce a statistically significant impact on student reading comprehension test scores in grades one, two or three. However, there was a positive and statistically significant impact on first grade students’ decoding skills in spring 2007.

PDF File View, download, and print the full report as a PDF file (1.8 MB)
PDF File View, download, and print the Executive Summary as a PDF file (710 KB)
PDF File View, download, and print the body of the report as PDF file (1 MB)
PDF File View, download, and print appendices A-F as a PDF file (994 KB)
PDF File View, download, and print Appendix G through the exhibits as a PDF file (343 KB)

ISEA SuperRep--December/January 2009 Issue

In an effort to cut costs and lighten the load on our environment, the ISEA is now sending the SuperRep out via your e-mail. If you would still like to receive the SuperRep via snail mail, please send Cheri Swanson your address and she will place you on a permanent mailing list to receive the publication in the mail. We will still have the same handy PDF flyers available on our Web site. We encourage you to forward this publication to ISEA members in your building and your local or you can continue to print a hard copy of our flyers and post them in your building or put them directly in mailboxes. Either way, we're still getting you the same member information only now we're saving money and helping the environment, too!

ISEA is holding its annual Legislative Conference January 9-10. Don't miss this event which provides an overview of legislative issues and lobbying strategies for the 2009 legislative session. The ISEA fully funds members of the Building Support for Public Education Standing Committee. There is a $65 registration fee per member to help cover the cost of hotel and meals for all others who wish to attend. The registration is halved ($32.50) if no sleeping room is requested. Reservations must be received by Friday, December 19, 2008--after that date, rooms are subject to availability. Go to http://news.isea.org/UM/T.asp?A2914.39555.314.6.39132 to download a registration form.

The ISEA will once again host a statewide education Lobby Day, Wednesday, February 18, 2009, at the Jesse M. Parker Building, 510 12th Street, Des Moines. An introduction and orientation will begin at 10 a.m., then at 11:45 we'll proceed to the Capitol for lunch and meetings with legislators.

Join the ISEA's Rapid Response Team and be a part of the front lines of communicating our positions to decision makers throughout the year. Once you complete the Rapid Response Team agreement, your contact information will be entered into our special database for timely notifications and quick action. Join this important part of shaping your profession and let your voice be heard!

ISEA members interested in becoming State Delegates to the 2009 NEA Representative Assembly to be held July 1 - 6 in San Diego, CA, will find nomination forms in the October/November ISEA Communique. Nomination forms can also be downloaded from the Leader Toolkit area of the ISEA Web site. Just go to the members-only area at http://news.isea.org/UM/T.asp?A2914.39555.314.9.39132 and log in. Voting for this year's delegates will take place via our members-only Web site beginning in mid-February, but paper ballots will also be distributed upon request. Watch for more details as they become available. ISEA provides up to $1,300 for each State Delegate. Reimbursement is made within 30 business days of receipt of a voucher following the Assembly. ISEA-funded delegates shall receive payment for actual expenses not to exceed the budgeted amount.

The ISEA is offering $1,000 scholarships to help sons or daughters of Association members who want to become teachers. The deadline for applications is January 15. To download guidelines and an application form, visit the ISEA Web site.

Custodians are invited to participate in the inaugural National C.L.E.A.N. Awards Program--recognizing the contributions that custodians make to public health in their schools, communities, and their profession. Completed application packages must be postmarked on or before December 10, 2008. Contact Jennie Young or call 202-822-7481 for more information.

How does your newsletter measure up with others published in the state? Does it merit special recognition? There's only one way to find out--enter the annual ISEA Newsletter Recognition Program! Click here to download a registration form to enter.

The Iowa Department of Education has an agreement with the Ministry of Education in the Republic of China (Taiwan) that offers experienced and newly licensed Iowa elementary teachers the opportunity to teach in Taiwanese schools for one academic year. Participants work with local Taiwanese teachers to develop curriculum and teach English to elementary students. Recent participants have found the experience extremely fulfilling and worthwhile. The application and a frequently asked questions document are available at the DE Web site. Applications must be postmarked by April 24, 2009. Contact Brianne Munoz at 515-725-2067 or brianne.munoz@iowa.gov for additional information.

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 Derek_Miller@agriculture.senate.gov or by mail in care of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry at 328A Russell Office Building, Washington, DC, 20510.

The Iowa College Aid Commission provides applications and criteria for teacher loan forgiveness. Three of the loan forgiveness programs are listed below. The Web site is http://news.isea.org/UM/T.asp?A2914.39555.314.14.39132. Teacher Shortage: maximum award is $6,420. Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness: maximum award $5,000. Teachers may qualify for up to $17,500 if they meet the criteria for Federal Loan Forgiveness and teach in the area of math or science. Federal Perkins Loan Program: Some teachers may be eligible for Perkins Loan cancellation for full-time teaching at a low-income school or in certain subject areas.

The ISEA is committed to helping local associations be the best they can be, which is why we offer our unique Five Star Local Recognition Program. Local associations submitting a Five Star Local Program application form will be eligible to win a $100 gift certificate to the ISEA Store. Applications are available at http://news.isea.org/UM/T.asp?A2914.39555.314.15.39132

Applications for the student member to the State Board of Education will be available on the Iowa Department of Education's Web site within a few weeks. The term of the student member starts May 1, 2009, and ends April 30, 2010. The Board meets at least nine times during that term, with most meetings taking place in the Grimes State Office Building in Des Moines. Besides being a full-time, regularly enrolled, tenth- or eleventh-grade student in a public high school, the student must meet these requirements: has a GPA of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale) or 3.75 (5.0 scale); has attended his/her present high school at least the past two consecutive semesters (or the equivalent thereof); demonstrates participation in extracurricular and community activities, as well as an interest in serving on the board. More information is available at http://news.isea.org/UM/T.asp?A2914.39555.314.16.39132

Give a gift that educates, informs, and entertains--at a great price! For a limited time, order a year-long subscription to Instructor, Woman's Day, Parents, Better Homes and Gardens, or more than 45 other titles and pay only $10 or less! Plus save 75 percent on The Economist, 80 percent on Smithsonian, 93 percent on Newsweek, and up to 85 percent on more than 1,000 magazines with your NEA Member discount. Treat yourself, your family members, and friends! Visit neamag.com/take5 or call 1-800-YOUR MAG to place your order!

NEA members can register anytime during the month of December 2008 in the Free Giveaways area of the NEA Member Benefits Web site for a chance to win one of three $100 Best Buy Gift Cards! Extra buying power could come in handy during the post-holiday season! Giveaway entry begins at 12:00 a.m., ET, December 1, 2008, and ends at 11:59:59 p.m., ET, December 31, 2008. No purchase necessary to enter.

Access, the ISEA's discount provider, offers savings at hundreds of online stores for everything from clothing and books to furniture and vacations--all available with the click of a mouse. Avoid crowded malls and long lines and take advantage of easy discount shopping online. (Available to ISEA members only.)

The ISEA sponsors a number of awards to honor members and others who work to make a difference for public education and applying for our awards is easy! Download an informational flyer and an application form.

Friday, November 21, 2008

ESEA & NCLB Post Election 2008 News for Teachers to Use

Visit the NEA ESEA/NCLB Query Master to check out the most current discussion and research about this impactful legislation on our schools.

Read more about ESEA/NCLB at the national level
  • How will the financial crisis affect local education budgets?
  • Report questions spending of federal teacher quality funds
  • ED report finds Reading First does not improve comprehension
  • Darling-Hammond heads education policy team for Obama transition
  • CEP holds 2 more forums on federal role in education
  • ED issues more details on Title I regulations
  • No Child…' play shows struggles by students, staff to meet NCLB goals
Read more about ESEA/NCLB in the states
  • Some WV schools ask for time out on NCLB
  • NC raises standards; more schools miss AYP targets
  • Voice from the classroom:Michigan City, Indiana
How will the financial crisis affect local education budgets?

The deepening financial crisis on Wall Street is already starting to play out at the school district level. School superintendents across the country say the struggling economy is threatening to reverse progress they have made in closing historic achievement gaps. Districts are facing budget cutbacks now -- and the outlook for next fall is certainly dim.

A study by the American Association of School Administrators finds superintendents already have begun instituting belt-tightening measures in response to shrinking budgets. Nearly half of those surveyed are reducing hiring and cutting back on supplies, while 20 percent already have laid off staff. Another 31 percent are considering layoffs as well as other measures.

So what happens if/when the next Congress passes a stimulus bill? How is education likely to fare? If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd have their way, education will definitely get a boost.

The new stimulus bill unveiled this week is a $100 billion package that includes $2.5 billion for school construction repairs, as well as $600 million for youth training and dislocated workers, $200 million for the Community Services Block Grant, and $36 million for homeless education. Job training funds would provide 160,000 dislocated workers and youth with education, training, counseling, and job search assistance.

It also includes other funding important to NEA: $37.8 billion to reduce the states' share of Medicaid costs by increasing the federal share by 8 percent. That directly helps reduce the strain on states' budgets from increasing Medicaid costs.

Unfortunately, opposition by President Bush and Senate Republican leaders prevented consideration by this week's lame duck session of Congress, so that means any stimulus bill will not be acted on until President-elect Barack Obama takes office. At that point, the stimulus package would likely be even larger.

A footnote: The House in September passed a smaller package of $63 billion which included $3 billion for school construction.

Report questions spending of federal teacher quality funds

Under NCLB, the federal government spends some $3 billion each year on Title II teacher quality programs under NCLB, but a report released this week concludes that no one really knows if the funds are making a difference.

The program generally "is not especially aligned with leading-edge [teacher-quality] efforts, and it's the federal government's big entry in this sweepstakes," says Andrew Rotherham, the co-director of Education Sector who authored the report. He argues that Congress and the Obama administration have a chance to reshape federal policy to better support leading-edge human capital reforms in education.

"…public school systems continue to approach the teacher workforce as they did a generation ago," he writes. "Teachers enjoy little opportunity for professional growth or advancement without leaving the classroom, creating a disincentive for those who want to take on additional skills and responsibilities. And there is little sensitivity to teacher talent or effectiveness: From recruitment and training to compensation, low-performers and high-fliers are treated much the same, and poor and minority students are less likely to get the most effective teachers. While American society and what's expected of public schools has changed a great deal, our approaches to human capital in education have not."

Title II is the federal government's second-largest K-12 investment, after the Title I grants for disadvantaged students.

Rothertham also recently offered advice to President-elect Obama -- Education needs to be on the to-do list -- as part of NPR's "Dear President-Elect" series.

NEA notes that Title II also funds class size reduction programs. NEA is advocating that the ESEA reauthorization include a separate funding stream for class size reduction efforts, and that it also provide increased investments for high quality mentoring programs for new teachers and job-related professional development for all teachers.

We would oppose any provisions that require the use of student test scores in determining teacher compensation.

ED report finds Reading First does not improve comprehension

A new Department of Education report on Reading First finds that students enrolled in the $6 billion program on average made no more progress in reading comprehension than their peers in first, second, and third grade outside the program.

This congressionally mandated report, a follow-up to April's interim study, presents an additional year of data (from 2006-07) on student reading comprehension and classroom instruction in 248 schools (125 Reading First schools and 123 non-Reading First schools) and information on the impact of the program on first-grade students' decoding skills. While the report found no statistically significant difference in reading comprehension, the program did have a significant impact on students' decoding skills, one of the basic components for reading.

"It is a program that needs to be improved," said Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst, director of department's research branch, who is quoted in a Washington Post article. "I don't think anyone should be celebrating that the federal government has spent $6 billion on a reading program that has had no impact on reading comprehension."

While the report is somewhat more positive than a much-criticized interim version of the findings, it is not expected to sway Congress, where two panels have recommended eliminating funding for the program.

Darling-Hammond heads education policy team for Obama transition

Some good news for the education community: Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond -- highly regarded for her work on school reform, teaching quality, and educational equity -- is heading up President-elect Barack Obama's transition team at the Education Department. She is expected to make policy recommendations to the new administration on a host of issues, including ESEA/NCLB reauthorization. Education Week's K-12 blog, among others, reports the news.

Curious about what Darling-Hammond has said about NCLB? You can check out her May 2007 article in The Nation as well as her testimony to Congress (September 2007).

The other members of Obama's transition education team are:

Joan Baratz-Snowden, former Director of Educational Issues for the AFT;
Maria Blanco, Executive Director of The Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at the University of California at Berkeley;
Juliet Garcia, President of the University of Texas at Brownsville;
Eugene Garcia, Vice President for Education Partnerships, Arizona State University;
Goodwin Liu, co-director of the same Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity;
Ann O'Leary, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Executive Director of the newly founded Berkeley Center for Health, Economic & Family Security (CHEFS) located at University of California-Berkeley School of Law;
John Polidori, Director of Legislation & Political Organizing for the Delaware State Education Association;
Jonathan Schnur, founder and Chief Executive Officer of New Leaders for New Schools; and
Jon Weintraub, director of the Office of Policy Analysis for the Assistant Secretary of Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

CEP holds 2 more forums on federal role in education

The Center on Education Policy (CEP) has held two more forums on rethinking the federal role in education. One of the topics addressed at yesterday's event was the federal role in standards-based reform.

Dr. Brian Stecher and Dr. Laura Hamilton, both with the RAND Corporation, say research shows that the effectiveness of standard-based reform is inconsistent, particularly given the difficulty in determining the validity of test scores. They said that when a punishment or reward is attached to a specific outcome, such as meeting AYP, the behavior of teachers does change. They also recommended that "Accountability should include non-test outcome measures, including a blended indicator system (some outcomes measured annually and some less frequently, and some outcomes measured at the student level and others measured at the classroom or district level)."

The November 20 forum also included a presentation on educational assessments by Dr. W. James Popham. The November 19 forum highlighted the work of Dr. Heather Weiss of the Harvard Family Research Project and Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan of Columbia University. The Weiss paper addressed the federal role in out of school learning, while Kagan's paper focused on early childhood education.

The papers from all of the forums eventually will be posted on the CEP Web site.

ED issues more details on Title I regulations

On November 13, ED hosted a Technical Review National Teleconference to discuss the Title I regulations announced on October 28, 2008. The PowerPoint used is available on the ED's Web site.

'No Child…' play shows struggles by students, staff to meet NCLB goals

A former New York City visiting artist working in a tough school in the Bronx has written a play called "No Child…" that has won the hearts of educators and others. Nilaja Sun, who wrote and performed her award-winning one-woman show, says the play is based on her own experiences as a drama teacher. She plays 16 distinctive characters -- students, teachers, administrators, and a visiting teaching artist very much like herself -- and through them tells a story that we know only too well about the foibles and pitfalls of NCLB.

She created the play as a snapshot from the trenches -- "something entertaining and provocative that'll get people talking about the state of our public schools."

If you've seen or heard about the off-Broadway hit, you may be happy to hear that it has been licensed to run in eight places around the country next year. If you haven't heard about Sun's successful run in New York, Boston, and other places, listen to the recent NPR piece where she discusses the inspiration behind the project.

Some WV schools ask for time out on NCLB

The superintendent of Marion County, West Virginia, has asked federal education officials for a year's reprieve from federal accountability standards while students and teachers adjust to a new and more rigorous standardized test and curriculum. And the Charleston Daily Mail reports Superintendent James Phares is urging his counterparts across the state to make the same request.

Phares says counties should have a year or two to adjust to a new statewide test of student achievement, the WESTEST 2 so that schools do not end up getting penalized for raising standards.

NC raises standards; more schools miss AYP targets

Members of North Carolina's State Board of Education say they fully expected more schools would miss performance targets under NCLB when they decided to raise standards for the state's students. And that's exactly what happened. Nearly half of North Carolina's students failed both the reading and math exams they took last spring, and more schools and districts are facing sanctions because of poor performance. But Gov. Mike Easley and state officials are praising the higher standards and largely ignoring the fact that many students failed to meet them. The News & Observer sums it up succinctly: Push for higher levels stings.

According to NEA's latest analysis of state AYP data, more schools in 35 states failed AYP this year.

Voice from the classroom: Michigan City, Indiana

"I am a Title I assistant in an elementary school. I assist in giving NWEA testing to special needs children. (NWEA tests are computerized tests that assess language, reading, and math skills of students in grades three to five.) My observation is that it truly frustrates these children who can't even read the test questions but who are so brilliant in other ways. Please stop standardized testing with these children and test them in other ways, if necessary!"

Robin Endris, Paraeducator
Michigan City, Indiana

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Effect on Comprehension Seen From 'Reading First'

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

The $6 billion funding for the federal Reading First program has helped more students “crack the code” to identify letters and words, but it has not had an impact on reading comprehension among 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders in participating schools, according to one of the largest and most rigorous studies ever undertaken by the U.S. Department of Education.

While more time is spent on reading instruction and professional development in schools that received Reading First grants than in comparison schools, students in participating schools are no more likely to become proficient readers, even after several years with the extended instruction, the study found.

Among both the Reading First and comparison groups, reading achievement was low, with fewer than half of 1st graders, and fewer than 40 percent of 2nd and 3rd graders showing grade-level proficiency in their understanding of what they read. On a basic decoding test, however, 1st graders in Reading First schools scored significantly better than their peers in the comparison schools.

The final report of the Reading First Impact Study, released today by the Institute of Education Sciences, is part of the $40 million evaluation process for the program, which was rolled out in 2002 as part of the No Child Left Behind Act.

“Advocates for the program will be pleased that it’s shown a positive correlation on [improved] decoding skills ... the focus of the program,” said Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, the outgoing director of the institute, the Education Department’s research arm. “I don’t think anyone should be celebrating the fact that the federal government invested $6 billion in a reading program that has shown no effects on reading comprehension.”

The study compares Reading First schools with similar schools in the same districts that are not part of the program to determine the effect of the additional funding on reading instruction, students’ reading proficiency, and the relationship between reading instruction and students’ comprehension.

Between 30,000 and 40,000 students in grades 1, 2, and 3 were given a reading-comprehension test four times between fall 2004 and spring 2007. The students attended nearly 250 schools in 17 districts and a statewide jurisdiction, none of which is identified in the report. Half the schools were taking part in the Reading First program and were compared with similar schools within their districts.

The study was also based on extensive classroom observations to identify the instructional practices in both types of schools, as well as surveys of teachers, principals, and reading coaches.
Different Approaches

Some federal officials chose to highlight the positive aspects in the report, while acknowledging the lack of improvement in reading comprehension.

“Reading First helps our most vulnerable students learn the fundamental elements of reading while helping teachers improve instruction,” U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in a statement. “Instead of reversing the progress we have made by cutting funding, we must enhance Reading First and help more students benefit from research-based instruction.”

An interim report on the findings, released in May, drew scathing criticism from supporters of the program, who suggested the design of the study was flawed because it did not consider the likelihood that Reading First principles and practices had spread to schools outside the program. ("Reading First Doesn't Help Pupils 'Get it'," May 7, 2008.)

Other studies have found that a significant proportion of schools serving struggling students have incorporated explicit instruction in the basic reading skills that have been found to be essential in learning to read—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension—and are the foundations of the Reading First program.

But Mr. Whitehurst dismissed those claims yesterday, saying that although there may be some “bleed over” into non-Reading First schools, the classroom observations and survey data show that the schools are not so similar.

“The schools were not doing the same thing,” he said. “There were differences in professional development, there were differences in their use of reading coaches, ... and there were significant differences in classroom practices.”

The program came under scrutiny for management problems at the Education Department during implementation, and later lost nearly 62 percent of its $1 billion annual allocation in the fiscal 2008 federal budget. Two congressional panels have recommended that funding be eliminated altogether in the fiscal 2009 budget, which has yet to be finalized in Congress.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Works4Me Ideas and Tips for Teachers by Teachers

Balanced Behavior

From Pam Carroll (pcarroll2@wsfcs.k12.nc.us), a third grade teacher at Marvin Ward Elementary School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina:

"I use a balance scale, along with the small blocks that come with our math kit, to reinforce positive group behavior. When students receive a compliment from another teacher or when I see them following directions, I give them a positive block on the left side of the balance scale. When students misbehave as a group, I drop a negative block on the right side of the balance scale. When the positive side touches the table, we have a Positive Party. Recently my students voted to have a Teddy Bear party. I was surprised that the boys voted for this type of party but it was a hit! To make sure this party was not a distraction to the curriculum, I had the students read to their bear during reading, make flash cards for their bear during math, and write a letter to their bear during writing. When the negative side hits the tabletop, we just empty the bucket and start again. It does not take the students long to see that when they misbehave, it takes longer to make the bucket drop the positive side all the way down to the tabletop."

Relating to the Text
From Kyla Ward (kyla.ward@mps.k12.al.us):

"Sometimes small connections can make a world of difference in gaining students' interest. If it's a literature text with older language, try using a modern song that expresses the same sentiment as a pre-reading journal topic. If it's grammar, replace the sample sentences from the book with sentences that use the students' names; they love to hear about themselves! Sometimes I even make references to college football games in the sentences. Use anything to get their attention and keep interest while developing a skill. They may not care about a sentence about John Doe going to the movies, but watch how they perk up to see their names, school activities, etc."

Recommended Read
From (gailmh12@verizon.net):

"I recommend the book Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. I checked this book out from the town library this summer as a fast read because it was on the bestseller list. I couldn't help thinking about some of my former fifth grade students as I read this book. This is certainly a book that most classroom teachers can relate to. Many of us have had students like the ones in this book, which makes it seem very real."

Question of the Week: Block Scheduling?
From the Works4Me Worker Bees:

"Block schedules versus timed periods. Which do you prefer and why? How do you make your school’s prescribed schedule work for you?"

Send Us Your Answer
View Replies & Post Your Tip

Exiting Students
Heard Last Week in the Works4Me Lounge:

"Prior to school starting, my colleagues informed me that I was getting the worst of the fourth grade students. Since school began, I have had six students withdraw from my classroom to go to another. The students tell their parents they simply want another teacher. Parents think their child is gifted when he/she is not, or parents want more attention given to their child. I have at least six challenging students with ADHD in my class. I need helpful insight as to how to deal with the difficult parents that I have learned will lie to get their children what they want. I am not getting help from the administration or staff at my school. I am a new teacher and am the first African American general education teacher this elementary school has had since its opening in 1990. Any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated."

Previous Newsletters
Catch up on the ones you missed.

Tips Library
Browse hundreds of tips we've gathered over the years.

Works4Me Lounge
Meet other teachers and share classroom tips on our online discussion board

Send Us Your Tips
We couldn't do it without you!

DISCLAIMER Works4Me is a vehicle for instructional staff to share their ideas with other instructional staff. As such, it does not constitute an endorsement of any particular curriculum or teaching method by the Lewis Central Education Association, the Iowa State Education Association or the National Education Association or any of its affiliates.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tell Congress: Help Struggling Families

The Senate will return to Washington, DC on November 17 for a short "lame duck" session. It is critical that the Senate use this opportunity to pass an economic recovery bill that helps families in need. Across the nation, people are losing their homes, and finding it increasingly harder to buy even basic necessities such as food and fuel. At the same time, a majority of states are facing significant budget deficits and will likely cut funding for education, health care, and other priorities.

The votes of 60 Senators will be needed to prevent millions of people from losing their jobs, exhausting unemployment benefits, going without food, and becoming homeless.

Call your Senators TODAY!!. You can call toll-free at 800-473-6711 to be connected to the Capitol Switchboard. Ask to speak to one of your Senators. (Don't know their names? Find out at http://www.senate.gov/). Relay the message below. Then call back and ask to speak to your state's other Senator.

  • I'm a constituent and an educator, and I want Senator ___ to know that our state desperately needs an economic recovery package that includes help for people being hurt now.
  • People are struggling. In schools, we are seeing record numbers of homeless students and students poor enough to qualify for free school meals.
  • We need unemployment benefits and food stamps for struggling families.
  • We also need investments in school construction to create immediate jobs and help boost our local economy.
  • And, we need state aid to prevent health care and other cuts.
  • This is not the time for partisanship or for further delays. We need your vote now for recovery that works - for our people and for the economy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NEA, ISEA & LCEA Impact Election 2008

Obama wins and so does public education!

The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is historic. Americans, young and old, have shared heartfelt accounts of the significance of this election in their lives. Volunteering to canvass neighborhoods in battleground states, making telephone calls to fellow Association members, talking about the importance of electing pro-public education candidates nationally and locally, and discussing pocketbook issues with family members and friends-NEA members across the country can be proud of theirpivotal role in helping to elect a president who has said that education means "more to our economic future than anything."

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel joined thousands of joyous Americans in Grant Park on election night to hear Barack Obama claim a victory that he said belongs to the countless men and women who still hope and believe in the promise of America's greatness. "This is a major victory for students and educators, and NEA's 3.2 million members and their families should be proud of the role they played in this historic election," Van Roekel said. "This is an incredible opportunity to begin to correct the failed education policies of the Bush administration and prepare our students to compete in a 21st century economy. It's a new chapter in American history and an exciting and unprecedented time for educating the next generation of American leaders," he said.

Public education victories across the country

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel (last row) joins HSTA members in supporting Obama. The president-elect was born in Hawaii
NEA leaders are calling November 4, 2008, a "great day for public education in America." In addition to President-elect Obama, NEA members worked to get out the vote in support of issues that help to advance public education and help working class Americans. NEA recommended candidates across the country for Senate, House and gubernatorial races. As a bipartisan organization, NEA was pleased to help return members from both sides of the aisle to Congress and help elect new 'friends of education' to public office. The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, NEA's political action committee, contributed human and financial resources to elect United States senators in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, and Colorado. The Association's strength also was evident in the election of pro-public education governors in North Carolina and Missouri. As lieutenant governor, Bev Perdue made education a priority and she promises to do the same as North Carolina's next governor. Democrat Jay Nixon won his bid for governor of Missouri. Nixon opposes school vouchers and his plan for public education in the "Show Me" state includes recruiting more talented teachers.

In addition to celebrating the election of pro-public education candidates, NEA members are savoring victories in several critical ballot initiatives. For example, NEA worked on measures dealing with unions and worker issues in Colorado, Oregon, and South Dakota. In Colorado, it was a triple threat with Constitutional Amendments 47, 49, and 54. These deceptive measures would threaten jobs and paychecks and silence the voices of workers and their families. Protect Colorado's Future, a nonprofit coalition of local businesses, unions, progressive groups, faith-based organizations, and community allies, successfully fought two of the three amendment battles. Amendment 54, which narrowly missed defeat, is likely to be challenged on constitutional grounds. NEA provided financial and human resources to defeat these deceptive amendments in Colorado.

The outlook for education under President-elect Obama looks positive

NEA members across the country volunteered and worked hard to help ensure the election of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president because they believed he would be a strong supporter of public education. As a candidate, Sen. Obama addressed the Representative Assembly in 2007 and 2008, promising to partner with NEA to advance public education. He is committed to engaging educators and seeking their input when critical decisions are made relative to education. He promised to work to repeal GPO/WEP and protect Social Security. Obama applauded NEA's Great Public Schools 2020 report released earlier this year, saying that the report provides "a roadmap for all who care deeply about the future of our children." He has indicated that he is willing to consider a different role for the federal government in education as a starting point for a discussion on education reform.

And while it's still too early to tell exactly how the new president will approach the all important task of education reform, it seems certain that he will advance an education agenda that moves beyond party and ideology to focus on what will make the most difference in the lives of America's children and students. His plan for education calls for:
  • giving every child a world class education from the day they're born until the day they graduate from college;
  • investing in early childhood education because children in these programs are more likely to do better academically, more likely to graduate high school and attend college, more likely to hold a job and earn more in that job;
  • putting a college degree within reach of anyone who wants one by providing a $4,000 tax credit to any middle class student who's willing to serve his or her community or country
It is certain that NCLB will be reformed under the Obama administration and more importantly, we know that his administration will not focus on identifying "failing schools"; it will no longer focus on teaching children to fill in bubbles on a standardized test; and it will not starve schools of the resources they need to help students succeed.

  • advocate for assessments that can improve achievement by including the kinds of research, scientific investigation, and problem solving that children will need to compete in a 21st century knowledge economy;
  • push for the appropriation of funding promised for NCLB, and give states the resources they need;
  • honor IDEA's commitment to fully fund special education;
  • support innovative models in the public school system; and
  • expand mentoring programs that pair experienced, successful teachers with new recruits.
"Got Tuition?" campaign to continue

Youth voters flocked to the polls in record numbers on Election Day and played a key role in President-elect Obama's victory. Young Americans worked tirelessly to elect a president who offered hope and the promise of change. And if you're wondering how we're going to keep those young voters engaged or how we're going to maintain that energy and enthusiasm, NEA has the answer - college affordability and "Got Tuition?". The "Got Tuition?" campaign galvanized young voters to text, blog, film, and rally in ever growing numbers and plans are to continue to organize and mobilize young people on campuses and in communities around college affordability and other issues of concern to them. The key to success is to keep the momentum going, just as Whitney Ripley did. Ripley, a "Got Tuition?" team member, took advantage of the euphoric moment on election night to urge Congressional leaders, including Education Committee chair George Miller (D-CA) and Democratic Chief Deputy Whip Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to keep the issue on the front burner when Congress reconvenes. Check out the photos on the "Got Tuition?" Web site, and make sure the "Got Tuition?" campaign visits your college campus or one near you.

NEA organized for victory and change

The 3.2 million members of NEA live in every precinct, county, congressional district, and state. This year, the Association spearheaded an unprecedented effort to mobilize its members and their families to elect friends of public education at the national, state, and local levels. NEA started preparing for the 2008 election right after the 2006 midterm elections and for more than a year, NEA organized members throughout the country, educating them about the importance of supporting candidates and issues that advance public education and help working families.

Jennifer Tacconi, a high school history and government teacher and member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, is just one example of an NEA member who sacrificed and helped to ensure that the power of the education vote is recognized and respected. Tacconi finished her master's degree in political science by attending the Democratic National Convention - and then volunteered to hit the streets to get Obama elected. Tacconi, along with about 400 other students, arrived in Denver the week prior to the convention for a rigorous academic experience. She attended lectures and discussions nonstop for the first week prior to the convention. During the week of the convention itself, she did assigned field work.

But Tacconi's story didn't end there. When she returned from the convention, Tacconi was inspired to continue her involvement. Despite a full-time job teaching 9th and 11th grade students, a part-time job as a bartender, and the responsibilities of being a single mother, Tacconi volunteered to work for the Obama campaign. She went door-to-door in Greensburg canvassing for Obama, often taking along her 11-year-old son Sage. Their participation continued through Election Day.

In addition to other class work focusing on the election, Tacconi held a non-partisan debate watch party after school for her 9th and 11th grade students. "I had a turnout of 40 students, and it was a rewarding experience for me and a great opportunity to emphasize the importance for them of always keeping informed on the issues," Tacconi said. Despite working two jobs and raising a child on her own, Tacconi doesn't see herself as special. "It's just what teachers should do. By participating ourselves, teachers can demonstrate how important and how rewarding it can be to be involved in a cause that you believe in and are passionate about. Students seem too often to believe that the political process has no direct influence on their lives. Being involved and informed gives them a different perspective."

PSEA member Monica Mixon is another example of how NEA members helped to raise the profile and affect of the education vote.

No one has to remind Mixon, who works as an education support professional, that time is precious. Modestly and quietly, she'll admit that she spent some long days as a volunteer to make sure candidate, now president-elect, Barack Obama got his chance to make a difference on America's political landscape. During the weeks leading up to the election, every day after school Monday through Thursday, Mixon left her job with the Lower Merion School District and took a bus to the train. She then took a train to Center City Philadelphia where she caught a suburban train to NEA's Mideast Regional Office. She took a cab from the train station to the regional office where she worked the phone banks calling members until 8:00 p.m., when she followed the same routine for the long return trip home. "I was accepted into the NEA ESP Leaders of Tomorrow program, and one of our classes focused on politics and how it affects ESPs and their professions," Mixon said. "I thought it was very crucial that I spend my time on those phone lines to make sure that educators were thinking about how this election affects them. I explained to cafeteria workers and ESPs that they are educators and their participation in the election was important."

Mixon said she also volunteered because she wanted to try something new. "At the NEA training, they told us that leadership involves doing something that you don't always know how to do," she said. "I got a chance to speak with people about why this election mattered to them. With my NEA training, I was able to really explain the issues and why ESPs are so important in the political process. When you're calling members from PSEA, they think you're a teacher, but I think it's important that ESPs also are talking to other members about why it's important to get the right people into office. I believe that you really have nothing to say if you don't vote. If you really believe in something and care about your job, you need to step up to the plate and speak up for those who support education. I really care about my job and my colleagues, so I will step up and volunteer for pro-public education candidates. Any time you can give is important," Mixon said.

No time to rest

NEA members across the country can be proud of the impressive list of wins they helped to make possible in the 2008 election; but Association leaders and NEA Campaigns and Elections staff are already looking forward to 2009 and 2010 when there will be key races for governorships and the U.S. Senate. NEA was actively engaged with its members in targeted races throughout the country in the 2008 election cycle, including work in 15 presidential battleground states, 11 Senate races, 54 congressional races, four gubernatorial races, and 20 ballot measures. The Association distributed more than 21.3 million pieces of mail; sent 4.5 million emails in battleground states, and made more than 2.1 million phone calls. NEA played a crucial role in educating and engaging millions of people from working class families about important issues in the 2008 election. And even as victories are enjoyed and the celebrations continue, work is already underway to make sure that NEA members are ‘fired up and ready to go' in 2009 and 2010. Stay tuned… to learn how you can be a part of this work moving forward.

Inauguration 2009

Not many details are available yet for the inauguration of the nation's 44th president, Barack Obama, but it is certain that the historic event will take place on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 on the West Front of the United States Capitol. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced the theme of the 56th Presidential Inauguration, "A New Birth of Freedom", this past week. Tickets to the inaugural ceremonies will be provided free of charge and distributed by Members of the 111th Congress. If you're interested in attending, contact your member of Congress or U.S. Senator to request tickets. It's worth noting that hotels in Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas are already completely booked. It is anticipated that the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama will be unlike any in history, with events that allow large numbers of Americans to participate. Smaller celebrations in communities across the country for those who can't come to Washington also are being considered. Currently, NEA leaders are trying to determine the Association's inaugural plans, but you can visit www.inaugural.senate.gov for accurate and up-to-date information on the 2009 Inaugural.

Works4Me: Tips for Teachers by Teachers

Make-Up File
From Barb DeWeese (ponderosabarb@gmail.com), a math teacher at Payson High School in Payson, Arizona:

"I make about five extra copies of every worksheet or test and keep them in one large file folder (per subject) each semester. Whether a student has been absent for two days or a week, or a new student shows up mid-way through a chapter, it's easy to locate all the worksheets. They're arranged chronologically in the one file. If I have a key, I put it in the file too, so that students legitimately turning in the assignment long after the due date may still check the work. I keep the file in a small portable file box at the front of the classroom, easily accessible when a student says, ‘I was absent Monday, may I have a worksheet?’ or ‘My backpack was stolen, I need another worksheet.’ I don't give students access to the file, but a teacher could put a student in charge of makeup work."

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More Absence Tips

Love and Logic
From Marci Bartu (bartuma@d25.k12.id.us), a teacher in Idaho:

"A discipline program called Teaching With Love and Logic has many great techniques to deal with most discipline problems. It is a program that grew out of Parenting With Love and Logic founded by a school principal and a psychologist in Golden, Colorado. I have been using it for the past 8 years, and it seems there is always an answer to the problems kids throw at me!
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More Behavior Management Tips

Club and Pep Rally Time
From Laura Granger (phidex77@hotmail.com), an English teacher at Audubon High School in Iowa:

"My high school has an extra fifteen minutes added to the last period of the day so students can attend club/organization meetings, sports meetings, drama, etc. Students read for the fifteen minutes on days they don’t have a meeting to attend. Those fifteen minutes are also used for pep rallies so we don’t have to change our class schedules nor lose instruction time."
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More Group Organization Tips

Question of the Week: Boring Texts
From the Works4Me Worker Bees:

"Some classroom textbooks are bland, boring and behind the times. How do you update the text you are given and add some ‘oomph’ to the mundane?"
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Friday, November 7, 2008


Visit the NEA ESEA/NCLB Query Master to check out the most current discussion and research about this impactful legislation on our schools.

Read more about ESEA/NCLB at the national level
  • Obama presidency a victory for students and educators
  • ED releases sweeping Title I regs
  • NEA objects to piecemeal approach to dropout issue
  • You can offer advice on education to the new president
  • Rothstein book offers new route for improving education accountability

Read more about ESEA/NCLB in the states
  • ED continues its review of states' standards, assessments, and accountability plans
  • Voice from the classroom: Delta Junction, Alaska
Obama presidency a victory for students and educators

November 4, 2008, was a great day for public education in America. The election of Senator Barack Obama as the next President of the United States is a major victory for students and educators, said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

"Obama has said that a cornerstone of any long-term economic plan must be an investment in quality public schools," Van Roekel said in a public statement. "His education plan, focusing on early childhood education, professional pay for educators, and college affordability, could not have been more different than Sen. John McCain's vision and plan.

"This is a major victory for students and educators.... This is an incredible opportunity to begin to correct the failed education policies of the Bush administration and prepare our students to compete in a 21st century economy. It's a new chapter in American history, and an exciting and unprecedented time for educating the next generation of American leaders."

The inspiring victory of Barack Obama was accompanied by key victories in congressional and gubernatorial races across the country that will mean positive changes for both students and educators.

ED releases sweeping Title I regs
The Department of Education last week issued the long-awaited final regulations on Title I of NCLB. These sweeping regulations make significant changes to several areas of NCLB: graduation rates and adequate yearly progress (AYP), Supplemental Education Services (SES) and school choice, reporting of NAEP data, school restructuring, growth models, multiple measures, and more.

But despite the complexity and length of the new regs, they still adhere to the test-punish-label framework established by the federal law when it was passed nearly seven years ago. And the law remains woefully underfunded - to the tune of $15 billion this year alone. To make matters worse, says NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, the regulations effectively impose additional mandates on states and schools already struggling to stay financially afloat or avoiding laying off staff in this time of budget cutbacks.

"These changes will force states and school districts - which are in the middle of carrying out their plans for the 2008-2009 school year - to scramble to revise major procedures and systems two school years in a row," Van Roekel says. "They deserve better than that unwelcome early holiday gift the Bush administration is leaving behind."

After Education Secretary Margaret Spellings issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in April, NEA submitted detailed comments in June, opposing the regulations and urging that they be withdrawn, arguing that Title I regulations will have to be changed again when the law is revised and reauthorized, probably next year.

The final regulations do make several changes to the NPRM, in some cases providing a bit more flexibility, such as pushing back by a year when the new graduation rate goals go into effect for accountability purposes, though the new mandates contained in the regs remain largely unchanged. (Note: The final regulations include a summary of the changes between the proposed
NEA objects to piecemeal approach to dropout issue

One of the requirements spelled out in the new regulations is that states use a uniform calculation for determining every high school's graduation rate. While NEA agrees that states should use uniform methodology to calculate graduation rates, NEA President Van Roekel says the new regulations deal with the dropout problem in a piecemeal fashion.

In an opinion piece in USA Today, he wrote, "They offer no resources or programs to keep kids in school, and they place more unfunded mandates on local school systems at a time when they're already struggling to make ends meet. The Education Department has acknowledged that it will cost state and local governments $30 million just to meet these new reporting requirements."

Despite the length and complexity of the regulations, Van Roekel adds, "they fail to answer many important questions, such as how to count students who graduate in five years. The rules are so confusing that the Education Department has already said it will issue more documents by the end of the year, just to explain them."

Additional materials about the regulations, including a summary, fact sheets and Secretary Margaret Spellings' remarks in releasing the regs, are available on the Education Department

You can offer advice on education to the new president
Our country has voted for change and elected a new leader. Come January 20th, President-elect Obama will have to do something about education, from pre-K to higher education, but what? What should he do? What can he do?

Since September, a version of that question has been put to educators, students, parents and policy makers in a "Education Advice to the Next American President" podcast series. So far the site has recorded the advice of Margaret Spellings, Jonathan Kozol, Deborah Meier, NEA Executive Director John Wilson, and dozens of others. (To listen to Wilson's post, click on the "Hear education advice" link at the top of the page and scroll down to his entry on September 17.) In addition, the site now accepts written comments.

The project is produced by Learning Matters, a production company founded by veteran education reporter John Merrow. The site contains lots of comments about NCLB sprinkled throughout - so feel free to submit your advice too!

Rothstein book offers new route for improving education accountability
Education policy expert Richard Rothstein's new book takes aim at the failures of accountability under NCLB. So in Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right, he proposes a new kind of accountability plan for public education that relies on both higher-quality testing and professional evaluation.

"No Child Left Behind has backfired on the very children and schools we set out to help," Rothstein says in a press statement promoting the book. "Its most important shortcoming is that it forces schools to focus almost exclusively on just one goal, basic skills in math and reading, while abandoning other equally important goals that are essential for a good education. A high-quality education system must include a workable accountability component. But NCLB is so fundamentally flawed that it is unfixable. It is time to admit our mistakes and go back to the drawing boards to create an accountability system that will support, not undermine student achievement."

In the introduction to the book, Rothstein explains one of the fatal flaws in NCLB: "One reason, perhaps the most important, why No Child Left Behind and similar testing systems in the states got accountability so wrong is that we've wanted to do accountability on the cheap. Standardized tests that assess only low-level skills and that can be scored electronically cost very little to administer - although their hidden costs are enormous in the lost opportunities to develop young people's broader knowledge, traits, and skills. A successful accountability system, such as this book proposes, will initially be more expensive, requiring a sophisticated national assessment of a broad range of outcomes, and a corps of professional evaluators in each state that can devote the time necessary to determine if schools and other institutions of youth development - early childhood programs, health and social service clinics, for example - are following practices likely to lead to adult success. But while such accountability will be expensive, it is not prohibitively so. Sophisticated school accountability could cost up to 1% of what we now spend on elementary and secondary education. If we want to do accountability right, and we should, this level of spending is worthwhile.

"In the long run, accountability is cost-effective. We now waste billions of dollars by continuing to operate low-quality schools, because narrow test-based accountability can neither accurately identify them nor guide those it identifies to improve. And we waste billions by forcing good schools to abandon high-quality programs to comply with the government's test obsession. We cannot know how much money could be saved by more intelligent accountability, but it is probably considerable."

NOTE: In researching this book, Rothstein asked NEA for names of teachers he could talk to about their views of NCLB, and we shared information from our Voices From the Classroom project. This book has an appendix, "Teacher accounts of goal distortion," that uses stories from seven teachers in the Voices publication.

ED continues review of states' standards, assessments, and accountability plans
The 2007-08 school year was the first year in which all states are required by NCLB to test students in at least three grades in science (though the results of the science tests do not count toward determining schools or districts AYP standing). ED had required states to submit evidence that their science standards and assessments meet the NCLB requirements, and has been issuing its determinations on a state-by-state basis. Each state was required to: "(1) have approved content standards in science; (2) administer a regular and alternate science assessment in each of three grade spans; (3) include all students in those assessments; and (4) report the results of the regular and alternate science assessments on state, district, and school report cards."

ED recently issued decision letters for nine states (AL, AK, CT, DC, ID, MA, NJ, ND, and WA) and determined that all but Washington had not yet met all the statutory and regulatory requirements. Washington received approval of its overall system of standards and assessments. ED also gave final approval to South Dakota's overall system of standards and assessments.

Voice from the classroom: Delta Junction, Alaska
"As an elementary school physical educator, I know that physical education is the most important subject in school. A healthy body is key to a healthy mind. Unfortunately, NCLB's unintended consequences are the lack of time and importance placed on physical education in our schools. Our country is already witnessing an increase in childhood illnesses, such as juvenile diabetes and childhood obesity.

"With the emphasis on high-stakes testing in reading, math, writing, and (soon) science, schools have been forced to cut programs that ensure the health of our nation's future to create more time to study for the tests. This is a crime.

"We owe our children a healthy future. We owe our great country a healthy future. Please revise NCLB to accomplish this. Thank you."

Cindy Lou Aillaud, elementary physical education teacher
Delta Junction, Alaska

Read more Voices from the Classroom stories on NEA's Web site.

Take action: Savor the victories!
Take a moment to enjoy the sweeping victories for pro-public education candidates elected Tuesday night, starting with President-elect Obama, many new Senators and Representatives, and state legislators. Check out NEA's Web site for all the details on our victories and the reaction from NEA President Van Roekel.