Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Branstad names Glass to head Iowa education agency

Posted: 12/29/2010 12:22:53 PM MSTUpdated: 12/29/2010 04:30:30 PM MST

Statement on the appointment of the new Director of the Iowa Department of Education Chris Bern President of the Iowa State Education Association

On behalf of the members of the Iowa State Education Association, we hope that Governor Branstad will continue recent, bipartisan efforts to move teachers’ salaries to 25th in the nation and continue to work with us in helping make quality public education a top priority for all of Iowa’s schools and community colleges. We also hope that Governor Branstad and Jason Glass will carry on Iowa’s commitment to excellence in our public schools by ensuring sufficient basic funding over the next four years. We look forward to working with Governor-elect Branstad and Jason Glass.

URBANDALE, Iowa—Gov.-elect Terry Branstad announced Wednesday that an Ohio education consultant will be the next director of the Iowa Department of Education.

Jason Glass, 39, was introduced by Branstad at the incoming Republican governor's campaign office.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Iowa Pre-School Under Attack

Preschool has limited benefits, Republican legislative leaders said Wednesday, and they aren't convinced the state's taxpayer-funded preschool program is the way to use scarce tax money.

"It's very, very questionable whether there is any benefit," Senate Republican leader Paul McKinley said at a legislative forum Wednesday sponsored by "Frankly, it doesn't do any good. It has been shown not to have any impact on student achievement past third grade."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NEA MB Holiday Savings

Treat someone special — including yourself — to the best vacation ever in 2011.

We have dozens of fun and unique vacations for you to choose from. For a limited time only, you'll save $200.00 per person on your 2011 trip! Just book your tour by December 17, 2010 and use Promotional Code E580 to claim your savings.  CLICK HERE TO SAVE.

HURRY! Offer expires December 17, 2010
*New bookings only. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

Educators under Attack: States Moving to Silence Educator Voices

Anti-public education forces are threatening the rights of educators and seeking to silence organizations that fight for educators’ rights.

· The Alabama State Senate has passed legislation (SB 2) under the guise of “ethics reform” that is really a thinly veiled attempt to undercut public educators.

· The bill would prevent associations like the Alabama Association of Educators from collecting any funds, including membership dues, through payroll deduction.

· The bill contains very restrictive language that essentially renders the Alabama Association of Educators and their members voiceless in debates on issues that impact their schools, their students, and their personal pocketbooks.

· In fact, vague language in the bill appears to prohibit any collection of membership dues or other funds by any means – which would essentially put the AEA out of business.

· Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker has called for rescinding the right of government employees to collectively bargain. The Republican-controlled legislature will likely support this idea.

· Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty published an op-ed in the December 13 Wall Street Journal calling for a large-scale confrontation with public employee unions, including “bring[ing] public employee compensation back in line with the private sector and reduc[ing] the overall size of the federal civilian work force," and “end[ing] defined-benefit retirement plans for government employees. “

These are just the tip of the iceberg. More states are sure to follow with similar anti-education, anti-union initiatives.

We need to fight back! Educators have a right to organize and advocate for policies that affect their jobs and the students they serve.

Help us fight back by signing up to volunteer at! If educators in your state are under attack now, we will connect you with advocates fighting for public education. If not, we will contact you about actions you can take today to stop these attacks from spreading.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

LCEA Honors "First Annual" Friends of Education

by Dennis Friend, Nonpareil
November 23, 2010

The Lewis Central Community School District used American Education Week to honor some of its volunteers.

Five volunteers became the Lewis Central Education Association’s first Friend of Education, receiving the awards Thursday afternoon at an informal ceremony at the high school.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A New Take on Waiting for Superman

After months of intense marketing and promotion for “Waiting for ‘Superman,’” and six weeks after it opened to the general public, the initial buzz around the film, in part created by the media, has given way to a more sober and accurate analysis. This is underscored by three recent articles in the New York Review of Books, the Columbia Journalism Review and the New York Times—which are all linked below.

LynNell Hancock, author of the Columbia Journalism Review article, scolds the press for rushing to judgment on the film, and for not having enough background in education issues to know that the film’s solutions are “seductively simple.” Hancock writes that the filmmaker, Davis Guggenheim, does not examine good public schools or public school teachers, and vastly inflates the significance of charter schools by

Saturday, November 6, 2010

California Casualty Policyholders: Find Out What Happened to Cameron...

Have you or anyone you know ever been the victim of identity theft? Did you know as a policyholder you are automatically enrolled in our ID Defense service?

Watch Cameron's story about what happened and how he took advantage of this service through California Casualty to help restore his name and defend himself in the future.

You can also take advantage of our easy referral tools to help inform your friends and peers who are eligible for our insurance.

Who remains the powerbroker? Gronstal

KATHIE OBRADOVICH • • November 4, 2010
There's been a huge party shift in the Iowa Statehouse, but the power center may not have moved very far at all.

There are still a few races left undecided. But if Democrats still hold the Senate majority after the dust settles, Sen. Mike Gronstal, a Council Bluffs Democrat, will remain the most powerful leader in the Legislature.

There are a lot of reasons why he's often been called the de facto governor over the past four years. That comes to an end with the return of Republican former Gov. Terry Branstad. But Gronstal will still have more juice than the victory-flush Republican House leadership. The reason comes down to one little word: no.

What the Election Results Mean for Public Education

The 2010 elections featured 37 Governors races, 37 U.S. Senate contests, 435 U.S. House races, dozens of ballot measures and initiatives, 6,118 state legislative seats in 46 states and myriad local elections across the country. As of this writing, Republicans have picked up at least 60 seats in the House. Republicans also picked up significant seats in the U.S. Senate, but Democrats still have enough seats to control the chamber. There are several races too close to call/likely recounts in both the House and Senate, thus, the ultimate makeup of the 112th Congress will not be known for several more weeks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Should Teachers Have Tenure?

“The following was written by and is posted here with’s permission.” 

Tenure gives teachers job security. But critics say tenure makes it hard to get rid of underperforming teachers. Is it the best way to attract talent to the profession, or something that prevents principals from giving kids their best chance at success? We've got two heavy hitters in the education field weighing in on the pros and cons. Read what they have to say, then join the discussion!  Read the point/counter-point and then vote at the bottom of the article.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why aren't our teachers the best and the brightest?

By Paul Kihn and Matt Miller

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why aren't our teachers the best and the brightest?Why don't more of our smartest, most accomplished college graduates want to become teachers?

People trying to improve education in this country have been talking a lot lately about boosting "teacher effectiveness." But nearly all such efforts focus on the teachers who are already in the classroom, instead of seeking to change the caliber of the people who enter teaching in the first place.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

ESEA Reauthorization & ESEA Update

Promise Neighborhoods placed on the map
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced this week that 21 nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education will receive Promise Neighborhood planning grants of up to $500,000. The one-year grants are designed to help recipients create plans to provide services that support the whole child and support the healthy development of students. The Center for Community Schools, a coalition NEA participates in, applauded the inclusion of seven members of its network that embrace community schools strategies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Obama's ESEA Plan Short on Research, Authors Allege

Published September 29, 2010

By Dakarai I. Aarons

The Obama administration's education plan lacks a solid research basis for its proposals, a new book says.

The Obama Education Blueprint: Researchers Examine the Evidence is the first major effort from the National Education Policy Center, a university-based research organization in Boulder, Colo., that critiques the work of prominent think tanks. ("Think-Tank Critics Plant a Stake in Policy World," this issue.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Media's War on Teachers

By Anthony Cody on September 28, 2010 7:38 PM

Monday I was the lone teacher at an afternoon forum entitled "Grading the Teachers," hosted by the Graduate School of Education at Berkeley. The focus was on the use of so-called Value Added Measurement (VAM) and the series of articles which ran in the Los Angeles Times this summer. I was on a panel focused on the media, which given the tremendous role the media is playing in driving the agenda for education reform, seemed appropriate. Also on the panel with me were Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute, Susan Rasky of the UC School of Journalism, and Jason Felch, one of the authors of the LA Times story.

Adopt a Classroom Program Might be for You

Calling all Bloggers

NEA Member Benefits has launched the first social networking website designed specifically with educators and Education Support Professionals (ESPs) in mind. The NEAMB Community is in partnership with TeachAde and can be found at
My personal favorite blog is called “Money Talk” and is written by my colleague Elizabeth Schruefer, who not only works at NEA Member Benefits but is also a Certified Financial Planner. Elizabeth updates her blog every Wednesday with a new posting.
I encourage you to register (it’s EASY!) at and then check out Elizabeth’s blog (and the others on the site). If you have suggestions for other blogs or communities, go ahead and get them started as it is something you are able to do on TeachAde.

Monday, September 27, 2010

NEA & Your Parent Teacher Conferences

NEA/PTA Brochures to Address Specific Parental Concerns
Practical Information that Parents Can Put to Use for Your Students

Developed through a joint effort between NEA and National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), these guides provide parents and caregivers with fundamental tools to encourage their children's success in school.  Please feel free to use these as a resource as you visit with parents about our partnership.  Click the READ MORE tab to see all of the brochures that are at your fingertips.

Download Brochures or Order by Phone

Download PDF versions below, or if you prefer, order hard copies of each 4-color brochure at no

Call toll free 800-717-9790 or visit to order.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Digital Tools Expand Options for Personalized Learning

Published Online: January 29, 2010
Published in Print: February 3, 2010, as The Personal Approach

Digital tools for defining and targeting students' strengths and weaknesses could help build a kind of individualized education plan for every student.

Teachers have always known that a typical class of two dozen or more students can include vastly different skill levels and learning styles. But meeting those varied academic needs with a defined curriculum, time limitations, and traditional instructional tools can be daunting for even the most skilled instructor.

The Misuse of Professional Development

Published Online: September 20, 2010
Published in Print: September 22, 2010
By Hayes Mizell, Education Week

As students throughout the nation settle into another school year, it's time to have a serious discussion about what it takes to develop and sustain great teachers.

Works for Me Starting School Tips by Teachers for Teachers 9/22

Whisper Reading

From Susan L., a retired teacher from Washington Unified School District:
“I have found that kids of all ages love "whisper reading" into a homemade "phone." Take a PVC plastic elbow shape and attach a 6" straight piece of PVC to each end. The lower part is for the student to talk in to. The upper part is either directed toward the student's ear so he can hear only himself reading or outward so others can hear him. This gives them a choice (which most kids love) and a fun way to read without being put on the spot. A whole class set cost me around $10-$15, or less if you have extra PVC from a past home improvement project. I spray mine with Lysol once in a while, or you can put them in the dishwasher.”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tell NBC What Real Educators Know

On September 26, NBC will kick-off their weeklong Education Nation program with a Teacher Town Hall to discuss what works in the classroom and the challenges facing educators. We have a unique opportunity to make our voices and issues heard before a national audience, so we encourage all NEA members to register for this event and participate from home via live chat.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Take the LCEA Local Program Survey to Help Us Design Meaningful Program for You

WE NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU TO BETTER SERVE YOU, YOUR BUILDING & OUR LOCAL.  We've designed a quick and short survey for our members to take.  So, please take a a few minutes and help us serve our local members better in a more effective way.

Click here to take survey

Ease Into Back to School with The United States Mint: New America the Beautiful Quarters® Program lesson plans

The America the Beautiful Quarters Program, new in 2010, brings selected national sites to this popular circulating coin. Fifty-six different designs make up this series (one for each state, the District of Columbia, and each of five US territories).

Monday, September 20, 2010

LCEA Mega-Vote 9/20/2010--Iowa 5th

Recent Senate Votes

Confirmation of Jane Branstetter Stranch, of Tennessee, to be US Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit - Vote Confirmed (71-21, 8 Not Voting)

The Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Jane Branstetter Stranch, a Nashville attorney, to the federal bench.

Sen. Charles Grassley voted NO......send e-mail or see bio
Sen. Tom Harkin voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

College Board President Says "Waiting For Superman" Could Be Education Reform Catalyst.

A wise person once said, "Keep your friends close, keep your enermies closer."  The documentary WAITING FOR SUPERMAN is likely to prompt lots of discussion about addressing concerns within public education.

College Board President Gaston Caperton wrote in a blog for the Huffington Post (9/7), "I had the opportunity recently to watch Waiting for Superman, a provocative new documentary that offers an incisive look at the dire state of public education in America today. ... Waiting for Superman is so moving because it depicts the profound effect a good school and a great teacher can have on a child's entire life, along with ultimate high-stakes loss for those who don't get a lucky lottery number." According to Caperton, "One of the best parts of my job with the College Board has been the chance to reward great schools through our Inspiration Schools initiative," recognizing public high schools across the US "that defy the odds by opening the doors of higher education to students facing economic, social and cultural barriers."

See the controversial movie trailer.

Pay for Your Dues with LCEA's Featured September NEA MB

Still not registered for NEA MB?  IT'S TIME!  Let's help you earn some money now that the dust has settled, we're up and running and you should check into all of the savings.  Scroll down the blog to check out "HOW TO" register.  Also check out LCEA's featured NEA Member Benefits.
Click the "READ MORE" tab right below this and follow these steps:

Analysis Notes Virtual Ed. Priorities in RTT Winners

by Ian Quillen

While public education experts have for weeks debated which priorities weighed most heavily in the second round of the federal Race to the Top grant competition applications, a review by an online education organization shows most of the 10 winning states submitted strong online learning proposals.

Susan D. Patrick, president of the Vienna, Va.-based International Association for K-12 Online Learning, or iNACOL, said a wiki document released by the organization highlighting the virtual learning components in all 19 finalists’ applications shows the winning states were ready to use RTT funds to offer more online opportunities and make needed state policy revisions.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

LCEA Works for Me September 7, 2010

LCEA Teaching Tips for Teachers by Teachers

Teaching Techniques

Take It Apart Party

"I run an after school club for my students. I want to use this valuable time on academics, but also know it's important for students to get to know one another. So, once a month to have an after school gathering; this month we had a 'Take It Apart Party.' We collected broken small appliances and on the appointed day, we took them apart. We found the insides of various hair dryers are similar, toasters have springs all over the place, and gears are a wonder in old telephones and mixers. We had such a great time taking things apart that we got back together the next two days to nail our findings together into free form sculptures."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Register for NEA MB & Check Out Our August Savings

Thanks to all of you who continue to support the profession with your membership and involvement.  Now that some of our opening dash has slowed down a little bit, it's time for us to help you start saving money using your membership.

So, let's get you signed up if you're not already signed up.  You'll have to click the "READ MORE" tab right below this and follow these steps:

LCEA Works for Me Tips for Teachers by Teachers August 31, 2010


Smack It!

"Here's a fun way to review vocabulary. Write a variety of vocabulary words all over the board. Divide the class into two teams and choose one representative from each team to come up to the board. Give them a fly swatter with which they are to 'smack' the correct vocabulary word upon the teacher's prompting. Whoever smacks first wins a point for their team. Prompts may be English translations, complete the sentence, opposites, synonyms or any other creative question the teacher can make up. This game gets the kids moving! In the event the 'smackers' don't know the answer, the other students (who have been paying close attention) have an opportunity to answer it for the point!"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nominate an LCEA Teacher for the Excellence in Education Award!

Each year, the Iowa State Education Association in partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau, WHO News Radio, KDSM FOX 17, and STAPLES, awards one winning educator and four runners-up with our Excellence in Education award. Awardees are honored for their outstanding contributions and going the extra mile to make a difference in the lives of their students each and every day. This year’s banquet will be held on Thursday, November 18 in Des Moines. We are asking for your help in nominating a special educator for the Excellence in Education Award, or by passing the nomination form along to someone else who would like to nominate a special educator who has helped their child. Deadline for submission of nomination forms is October 8th.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Lewis Central Education Association Welcomes Our New Colleagues to Lewis Central

Originally post July 25, 2010

The Lewis Central Education Association is excited to welcome our 15 new colleagues to LC.  We know that you will do your best to help them in their transition and know that you will do whatever you can to make their transition to LC a pleasant and uneventful one.  We have contacted our new teammates and look forward to them joining "Team LCEA."

  • Nicole Baker, Special Education;
  • Jim Duggan, Head High School Football Coach;
  • Sally Dunn, Vocal Music;
  • Gerald Kreber, Special Education;
  • Daniel Pantoja, Half-Time High School Spanish;
  • Sharon Phelps, Spanish;
  • Andrea Werger, Math.
    • Jim Duggan, Physical Education/Head Football;
  • Kayla Hendrix, Science;
  • Daniel Huntley, Special Education;
  • Marisha Lenz, Literacy & Language Arts;
  • David Pantoja, Half-Time Middle School Spanish.
    • Tressa Cooper, Fifth Grade;
    • Jami Devine, Fifth Grade;
    • Carrie Arnett, Special Education;
    • Natalie Hearn, Vocal Music.
    • Tanya Massey, Special Education.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    LCEA Minutes--May 13, 2010

    LCEA March Meeting Minutes
    Date: 5/13/2010
    Place: High School
    Time: Meeting 2 for 2010-2011--4:55 PM

    Officers: Barb Motes, Jennifer Doorlag, Tom McLaughlin, Angie Tucker
    HS Reps: Dave Bergman, Allison Towne, Ruth Kreger (absent) , Kim McLaughlin, Sharon Crawley
    MS Reps: Margot Argotsinger, Beth Frank, Al Lorenz, Dot Sillau
    TH Reps: Lisa Scieszinski (absent), Joanna Stenlund, Kathy Dorsey, Farah Guetter
    Kreft Reps: LoriAnn Brougham, Lee Dwyer

    RACE TO THE TOP: The deadline to sign on as “partners” with the LCCS is Friday, May 14, 2010. There was substantial discussion on whether or not our group’s signature would endorse one of the four options for persistently low-achieving schools. That provision is not part of the second phase of Race to the Top. Phase II has vague language that at the end of the phase, those districts that take the money have to report student growth & that their pay is based on those numbers.
    Concerns about tying pay to student performance was discussed. If we sign on are we saying ok to pay for performance. Although that’s not what the language says, some feel that that “is” what it says. ISEA state representatives on the different state committees for RTTT represent our members well, and there is confidence in the group in the people that represent us at the state level (T. McLaughlin). We need to send the message that we want to be involved, politically. What message do we send if we “refuse" to sit at the table after punitive measures are gone? We should make it clear that we sign on as “partners” with the board.

    Bergman moves that the LCEA sign the Round II Race to the Top application, Sillau seconds. MOTION PASSES.

    ISEA NEWS: ISEA argued last Friday in Polk County District Court that TSS/TQC funds that were stripped should be reinstated retroactively. The Polk County District Court Judge is giving ISEA/IASB and others until June 1st to file additional briefs in support of their respective arguments. A ruling is pending.
    NEW TEACHER T-SHIRTS: Giving new teachers shirts on opening day was discussed. There was discussion about a “disconnect” with the Booster Club. There was a suggestion that LCEA work with the PTA on this (Stenlund).

    Dorsey moves that LCEA give shirts to new teachers, Frank seconds. MOTION PASSES
    LCEA SHIRTS: Shirts will be ordered by many of the LCEA Board members for 2010-2011. The plan for shirts is to make white cotton T-Shirts with the ISEA/LCEA logs on the upper left hand breast pocket. We hope to have these by our August AR Training.

    2010-2011 LCEA MEMBER BENEFITS PROGRAM: Mary Grace Lee of NEA MB has been contacted and will assist us in our LCEA Member Benefits program each month. Some materials will be electronic; others will be in “paper” form. The plan starts in August runs through May. Building representatives will be in charge of distributing materials on specific calendar dates.

    Bill Haigh, NEA Member Benefits/Valuebuilder/Annuities visited with the Board about assisting us in reaching financial goals. A packet was distributed that addresses different strategies to build a strong and healthy retirement. (pink packet)

    LOCAL PROGRAM DIAGNOSIS: A checklist of effective local characteristics was passed out to the LCEA Board to consider as we plan program for next year. As time was late, the Executive Board will look through it on their own time and consider how we might improve program. A survey will be distributed to members and the response of the board and our members will prompt what we do at beginning of next year.

    LCEA CONSTITUTION, BYLAWS & POLICIES: Our current Constitution, Bylaws and Policies do not reflect current practices. These must be revised as these documents govern the Association. The Constitution and Bylaws Committee will review these in small sections to that they review our current practices and more. The committee will be made up of T. McLaughlin-Ex-Officio, Brougham & Tucker--Kreft, Guetter—Titan Hill. We would like another representative from the Middle School.

    2010/2011 PROGRAM: ISEA & NEA have many resources in unit offices and on the website to direct us in developing local program. There are several “to do” lists and packets of information on the NEA, ISEA website and in the offices to help local leaders make local decisions. ISEA also produces a monthly “Super Rep” packet that is sends out electronically. Several expressed concerns that the list arrives “too late” to use meaningfully. We will work to compile these in advance of next year. We are encouraged to “identify” one or two emerging leaders to assist us in active committee work for the upcoming year. We must begin building our future leaders.
    NEW COMMITTEE: Barb Motes and Margie Argotsinger will head up our “Monthly Do-Dads Committee.” The committee will be take on the responsibility of providing members a “monthly” and “visible” LCEA thank you and visibility piece.
    SUMMER CONTACT: Please provide Tom with your contact information and check your email.

    SUMMER CONFERENCE: Will be held in Storm Lake, Iowa on August 3-5, 2010. Stenlund, T. McLaughlin & K McLaughlin will attend. SWUU Scholarships are still available. Let us know if you’d like to participate.

    COMMITTEE & EXECUTIVE BOARD VACA3NCIES: We have two vacancies on the Teacher Quality Committee. Although we appoint members, we will seek self-nominations from the membership. We will use the vacancies to make the Teacher Quality a little more balanced in terms of building and grade level representation. Building Representatives are encouraged to send out email to general members to gauge interest. Questions on criteria to make our appointments was discussed. This was tabeled pending volunteers. We also need a new chair for Teacher Quality Committee.
    Jennifer Doorlag’s LCEA Treasurer office is vacant next year as she has taken another position. Bylaws indicate that we need to hold a special election. Beth Frank volunteered to serve as interim LCEA Treasurer.

    Mary Bleth has also taken another position. The board will approve an appointed replacement.

    Titan Hill: There were several concerns voiced about the process of moving teachers around for next year. Each person needs to fill out a “LCEA Incident” form to share concerns about concerns, professional behavior and to document complaints. If there is no response at the lowest possible level of intervention, we will move forward to next step. LCEA must follow the chain of command if we expect the administration to respect the same process. Teachers need to document specific behaviors.
    LoriAnn Brougham will check into our issue about payment for professional development and curriculum writing outside of the contract year.

    ISEA offers free membership now until August 31st for all people who are not non-members. See sample message on the handout (orange sheet). Please forward to potential members in each building with the sample language or a short note.
    FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS: None were submitted.

    MATERIALS TO DISTRIBUTE IN EACH BUILDING WASD DISTRIBUTED: ISEA cards, stuff to put on lunch tables, folders…Penalties for Public Service folder.
    Motion to Adjourn: Motion—Bergman moved adjournment, Brougham seconded. Motion passed.

    Submitted respectfully,
    Angie Tucker

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010


    GREAT NEWS!  We won!  I just received an email from Dennis Van Roekel and the Jobs Bill passed.  Thanks to everyone of you who helped us win for students, teachers, schools and our country.  Here's the scoop from Dennis.

    Dear Delegates,

    You did it! Just moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed $10 billion in education jobs funding that the U.S. Department of Education estimates will save 161,000 jobs in public schools across the country.

    This funding, which was approved by the Senate last week, will be signed into law by Pres. Obama, and will help many schools throughout the country decrease class sizes and restore critical programs our students need to be successful.

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Celebrating the Accomplishments & Benefits of Your LCEA Membership

    Although our most important work is in the classroom, it is only a part of our job.  Advocating for our students, programs in our schools and our schools is also hugely important.  As long as local, state and national policy-makers impact our students and our classrooms, we must be at the table and be the voice for education.  As NEA President Dennis Van Roekel recently said, "if you're not at the table, you're on the menu."  We are thankful that you have taken the responsibility to be a professional in your membership.  Together we can!

    Advocating for you and your career

    We're in the business of advocating for you and your career. When you join the National Education Association, the Iowa State Education Association and the Lewis Central Education Association, you'll immediately have access to advocates and programs to help you reach your professional and financial goals. You'll automatically be protected with professional liability insurance. But that's just the beginning. Take a look at the multitude of other valuable programs and services that membership will bring you.

    Promoting excellence in education through:
    * Professional advice, training and other assistance related to current issues of instructional quality such as teacher evaluation, teacher mentoring and benchmark tests and high school qualifying exams
    * For Education Support Professionals (ESPs), professional advice, training and other assistance related to current issues such as evaluations and job descriptions, combating privatization, contracting out, pay equity and inclusion of special needs students
    * Employee-determined career development and training opportunities

    The Senate has passed legislation to save over 138,000 education jobs!

    LCEA POLITICAL INSIDER--August 5, 2010

    We did it! The Senate has passed legislation to save over 138,000 education jobs! For Iowa this will mean more that 90 million dollars that will save over 1400 education jobs that impact the learning of Iowa's students.

    On August 5, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 61-39. This victory for educators, students, and our nation was a direct result of your calls, letters, e-mails and personal visits to Senators. Thank you for your incredible efforts!

    LCEA Member Benefits August Featured Benefits: Complimentary Life Insurance & Auto/Home Insurance

    Register to use the NEA Member Benefits website  If you haven't been on the site since August 14, 2009, you will need to re-register to re-access the site.  You can also retrieve lost usernames and passwords here too.

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

    Suggestions for a Worry Free Year


    As a new school year is about to begin, there are a number of things that our members should review. Whether a first year teacher or a seasoned veteran, these suggestions are intended to help make your school year worry free. Here, in no particular order of importance, are some items to stop and think about.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Governor Culver Seeks Four Percent Increase In Education Spending In 2012.

    Staci Hupp posts at the Des Moines (IA) Register (8/4) "Iowa Politics Insider" blog that Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) announced Wednesday that he wants to increase school spending in 2012 by four percent. The increase "could add up to more than $100 million." Culver also "repeated his plan to expand public preschool to every Iowa 4-year-old whose family wants it."

    The Quad-City (IA) Times (8/5, Boshart) reports that in a speech to the Iowa State Education Association and others Wednesday, Culver "also pledged support for...raising graduation rates for minority students, eliminating the so-called 'achievement gap' by improving curriculum, programs and instruction, boosting professional development, and emphasizing money management for Iowa students." He also noted that the four percent "in 'allowable growth' funding for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2011" would have a price tag ranging "between $300 million and $400 million." The Mason City (IA) Globe (8/5, Boshart) also covers the story.

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    LCEA Megavote--August 2, 2010

    Recent Senate Votes

    Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act - Vote Rejected (57-41, 2 Not Voting)

    The Senate rejected ending debate on this campaign finance disclosure legislation. The bill will likely not return to the Senate floor until September.

    Sen. Charles Grassley voted NO......send e-mail or see bio
    Sen. Tom Harkin voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    Iowa Teaching Standard 1: Student Achievement

    Demonstrates ability to enhance academic performance and support for implmentation of the school district's student achievement goals.


    •Provides evidence of student learning to students, families and staff.
    •Implements strategies supporting student, building, and district goals.

    Iowa Teaching Standard 2: Content Knowledge

    Demonstrates competence in content knowledge appropriate to the teaching position.d


    •Understands and uses key concepts, underlying themes, relationships, and different perspectives related to the content area.
    •Uses knowledge of student development to make learning experiences in the content area meaningful and accessible for every student.

    Iowa Teaching Standard 3: Planning & Preparation

    Demonstrates competence in planning and preparing for instruction.


    •Uses student achievement data, local standards, and the district curriculum in planning for instruction.
    •Sets and communicates high expectations for social, behavioral, and academic success of all students.

    Iowa Teaching Standard 4: Instruction

    Uses strategies to deliver instruction that meets the multiple learning needs of students.


    •Aligns classroom instruction with local standards and district curriculum.
    •Uses research-based instructional strategies that address the full range of cognitive levels.

    Iowa Teaching Standard 5: Assessment

    Uses a variety of methods to monitor student learning.


    •Aligns classroom assessment with instruction.
    •Communicates assessment criteria and standards to all students and parents.

    Iowa Teaching Standard 6: Classroom Management

    Demonstrates competence in classroom management.

    •Creates a learning community that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement, and self-regulation for every student.
    •Establishes, communicates, models, and maintains standards of responsible student behavior.

    Iowa Teaching Standard 7: Professional Development

    Engages in professional growth.


    •Demonstrates habits and skills of continuous inquiry and learning.
    •Works collaboratively to improve professional practice and student learning.

    Iowa Teaching Standard 8: Professional Responsibilities & Ethics

    Fulfills professional responsibilities established by the school district.


    •Adheres to board policies, district procedures, and contractual obligations.
    •Demonstrates professional and ethical conduct as defined by state law and district policy.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    18 States & D.C. Named Race to Top Round 2 Finalists

    By Michele McNeil on July 27, 2010 12:20 PM | 10 Comments | 1 TrackBack

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan picked 19 finalists, including Hawaii and Arizona as surprise picks, to compete in the interview portion of the Race to the Top Round Two competition. That means each state will assemble a group of five people to come to Washington the week of August 9 to make their final, last-ditch pitches for a portion of the $3.4 billion in federal money still left in the pot.

    Saturday, July 24, 2010

    LCEA's NEA Yearlong Member Benefits Plan—JULY—Building a Blueprint for Success

    Register to use the NEA Member Benefits website  If you haven't been on the site since August 14, 2009, you will need to re-register to re-access the site.  You can also retrieve lost usernames and passwords here too.


    The exclusive services and programs of NEA Member Benefits (NEA MB) are some of our most powerful tools for recruiting and retaining members. By educating members about NEA MB programs we’ll help them save time and money while enjoying the added value of Association membership.

    Works for Me: Tips for Teachers by Teachers--Making Math Fun July 14, 2010

    Directly subscribe to Works for Me
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    Tips!Three Dimensional Math Project
    From Ben James, a math teacher:

    “After my geometry class completes surface area and volume lessons, I give them eight sheets of construction paper and they construct a 3D person. They complete three categories: maximized surface area, maximized volume, and creativity. The kids really enjoy being their own boss in completing this project, and it does get quite competitive. I also take this opportunity to be the one time per year that a math class puts something in the display case!”

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    Browse Tips on: math, geometry, models

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    A Letter from Senator Harkin Concerning Education in Iowa

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the Iowa education budget. This is an important issue and I'm always glad to hear your thoughts.

    In the wake of a serious recession, schools in Iowa and across the country face a crushing budget shortfall in the approaching school year. While the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has been successful in sustaining more than 6,000 education jobs in Iowa, school systems across the board are on the edge of a "funding cliff" as these funds expire. Education Secretary Arne Duncan predicts that school systems nationwide could eliminate as many as 300,000 education jobs, from teachers and librarians, to bus drivers and support staff.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    ISEA Recommendes Governor Culver for Re-Election

     LCEA Members Join Educators from around the State t0 Recommend Political Candidates(originally posted 6/17/2010)

    Democracy in action best represents the extensive process that the ISEA uses to recommend candidates--including Chet Culver for Re-Election as Governor.

    All of ISEA's recommendations are based on answers the candidates give to interview questions that deal with a wide range of questions focusing on our students, our schools and our members in pre-K through higher education.

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Learning Teams and the Future of Teaching

    by Tom Carroll & Hanna Doerr

    Learning is no longer preparation for the job, it is the job. In a world in which information expands exponentially, today’s students are active participants in an ever-expanding network of learning environments. They must learn to be knowledge navigators, seeking and finding information from multiple sources, evaluating it, making sense of it, and understanding how to collaborate with their peers to turn information into knowledge, and knowledge into action.

    What does this mean for teachers? It means that they should be constantly learning with and from accomplished colleagues and experts in the field, modeling for their students the collaborative learning and knowledge construction that is at the core of 21st-century competencies.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Teaching Secrets: Phoning Home

    By Kenneth J. Bernstein

    With the school year just ended, it may seem odd that I’m already thinking of the beginning of the next. As a teacher, I can’t help but look forward, wanting to apply what I‘ve learned in the past year and make changes to be more effective for my students.

    Yet there’s a regular part of my teaching routine that I know I will not change. By the end of the second week—earlier, if possible—of school, I call the parents or guardians of every one of my students. I teach high school, and I often start the year with more than 180 students, so calling home is a time consuming process. It’s also one of the most important things I do as a teacher. Let me explain.

    NEA Education Insider Urgent Alert: June 23, 2010


    The House of Representatives is expected to vote very soon on funding to save educator jobs. We need your help TODAY to make sure this urgent relief passes. Several of us have called Representative King's office to let him know that "education is the best form of economic development" in our state. When our country was in a Depression, we sent our students to school each day. Now is not the time to forsake our commitment to the cornerstone of democracy.

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Works for Me: Tips by Teachers for Teachers 6/21

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    Making Vocabulary Come to Life
    From Barb B.:

    “This year, I borrowed an exercise from the drama department to use as a vocabulary tool. Students performed improv (drama and comedy) to illustrate new vocabulary words. One prompt was.. ‘You are on an airplane and you meet a new person. As you are sharing your life story, use 10 vocabulary words.’ We also used a round-the-room kind of improv where each successive student had to talk about a vocabulary word. Each new student started the monologue with the next letter in the spelling of the vocabulary word. To me, this exercise seemed just like many of the other activities that we had done during the year, but when we added the dramatic features such as using a sad voice when you talk, pretend you are driving the car while you are talking, etc., it really came alive for the kids.”


    I have been teaching at my school for 18 years. My school is in a poor district that has not passed a levy for new money in 15 years. Professional development was cut by 65% and we also face material budget cuts. A ban on buying new text books is in effect for the next 10 years, and some departments are getting short of books. A levy that could pass this fall will cut all AP and psychology classes, the vocational electives (industrial tech classes, Family and Consumer Science, and career classes), agricultural education, and an award-winning ROTC program. Our school is 10-25% special education, and the special education teachers worry about what their students will take for classes. More students will be in study hall, and the students who do better with hands-on classes are being left behind. All of our jobs could be cut this summer. – Karin from Ohio

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Supreme Court Will Not Hear No Child Left Behind "Unfunded Mandates" Case.

    The AP (6/8) reports that "the Supreme Court has turned away a challenge by school districts and teacher unions to the federal No Child Left Behind law." The lawsuit, School District of Pontiac, Mich. v. Duncan, "questioned whether public schools have to comply with requirements of the law if the federal government doesn't pay for them. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit and a federal appeals court split 8-8, leaving the judge's ruling in place."

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    NEA Education Insider: June 4, 2010


    I work in a rural school district where 60+ layoffs have occurred in the last two academic years. Our children won’t have an opportunity to maximize their potential unless this insanity stops. Children are our future doctors, accountants, brick layers, scientists, auto mechanics, and social workers. The global economy requires that we compete; doing so requires dedication to the task. Dedicated teachers and counselors and paraprofessionals make a difference in the lives of children every day. Don’t allow even one to child suffer because of this economic downturn! – Louise in Arizona

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    N.C.'s Perdue, Obama Official Push for School Funds

    U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned on Thursday that without federal funds, hundreds of thousands of teachers will be laid off in the coming weeks.

    Some 300,000 teacher jobs are at risk nationwide as recession-hit state and local governments struggle to meet requirements to balance their budgets, Duncan said. Layoffs seem likely without federal support, he said during a visit to Southern High School in Durham, with North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue and Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010


    Business Letter Review

    From Judy Perlis, a Works4Me subscriber:

    “My students write to me in business letter format telling me what grade they deserve and why, according to what they've learned. They are required to include all of the steps of the writing process. I post the assignment in the form of a business letter to them at the beginning of the year, so they have the whole year to think about it. Their grades are pretty close to my own, and I count the assignment heavily.”

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Evaluation Procedure, Article I MASTER CONTRACT


    Evaluation Procedure

    A. The responsibility for determining the efficiency and effectiveness of the employee is one of the primary obligations of management, within its larger public duties to insure the optimum efficiency of the educational enterprise.

    Grievance Procedure, Article II MASTER CONTRACT


    Grievance Procedure

    A. Definitions

    1. Grievance. A grievance is a claim by an employee, a group of employees, or the Association that there has been a violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of any provision of this Agreement.

    Grievance Form, Appendix A MASTER CONTRACT




    Level 2: Date Filed

    Employee Hours, Article III--MASTER CONTRACT


    Employee Hours

    A. Length of the Day. All full-time employees covered under this contract shall work eight hours per contract day including a duty-free lunch period. Part-time employees' working hours will be set by the building principal.

    Seniority, Article IV MASTER CONTRACT


    A. Definition of Seniority. Seniority for the purposes of this Agreement shall be based on the date of the beginning continuous full-time employment as an employee in this school district. Part-time employees shall be considered full-time employees, for the purposes of this Article, and seniority shall accumulate on a pro rata basis. If two or more employees have the same number of years of continuous full-time employment within the district, the employee who signed his/her contract of employment first shall be considered most

    Staff Reduction, Article V MASTER CONTRACT

    Staff Reduction

    A. The Board shall have the right to determine when it is necessary to have a reduction in staff and shall have the right to determine which positions shall be reduced.

    B. Procedures. When the Board determines a reduction in staff is necessary, the following procedures shall be followed:

    Leaves of Absence, Article IV MASTER CONTRACT


    Leaves of Absence

    A. Sick Leave

    1. Sick leave shall be that specifically indicated by State law as follows:

    The school district will provide sick leave as directed by State Law--ten (10) days for the first year of employment within the district, eleven (11) days for the second year, twelve (12) days for the third year,

    Transfer Procedures, Article VII MASTER CONTRACT


    Transfer Procedures

    A. Voluntary Transfers.

    1. Definition. The voluntary change or movement of an employee to a different attendance center.

    2. Notification of Vacancies. Teacher vacancies will be posted in the faculty workroom at every attendance center when they occur and updated approximately every two weeks until the close of school.

    Vacations & Holidays, Article VIII MASTER CONTRACT


    Vacations And Holidays

    A. In-School Work Year.

    1. Regular Contract. The in-school work year for employees contracted on a nine month basis shall not exceed one hundred ninety-two (192) days.

    2. Definition of In-School Work Year. The in-school work year shall include days when pupils are in attendance, orientation days and any other days on which employee attendance is required.

    Insurance, Article IX, MASTER CONTRACT



    A. Health, Major Medical, and Disability. The Employer agrees to provide all eligible full-time employees with either full paid single insurance protection or sixty-five (65) percent toward the cost of dependent insurance protection. The employee may choose either a $500 or $1000 deductible. The Employer contribution for employees working 60% time or less will be on a pro-rata basis according to the amount of time worked. The Employer will provide long term disability insurance for all employees. The District may select the carrier, however, if there is a change in carrier the total benefits for health, major medical and disability shall be equal to or better than the total benefits existing in the previous contract.

    Payroll Deduction, Article X MASTER CONTRACT


    Payroll Deductions

    A. Authorization. Any employee covered by the Master Contract may sign and deliver a notice to the Lewis Central Education Association and thereby authorize a payroll deduction of profession dues. Each year the Association shall provide the District Personnel Office with an authorized list of members for whom dues are to be deducted each month and the amount to be withheld for each member.

    Wages & Salary, Article XI MASTER CONTRACT


    Wages and Salaries

    A. Schedule.

    1. The salaries of all employees are covered by the regular salary schedule set forth and attached hereto. The base salary will increase by 325 to $28,060.

    2. A combined salary schedule that will have an operating base of $28,060. The amount of the teacher salary supplement included on each step of this new schedule was determined according to the formula agreed upon by both parties.

    Extra-Curricular Activity Pay, Article XII MASTER CONTRACT


    Supplemental Pay

    A. Extra-Curricular Activities.

    1. Approved Activities. The Board and the Association agree that the extra-curricular activities listed in the attached schedule are official school-sponsored activities.

    2. Rates of Pay. Employee participation in extra-curricular activities which extend beyond the regularly-scheduled in-school day shall be compensated according to the rate of pay or other stipulations as in the Schedule which is attached hereto. Up to nine (9) years prior experience credit may be granted to employees

    Safety Clause, Article XIII MASTER CONTRACT



    A. Compliance: The District has the responsibility to comply with all Occupational Health and Safety laws and regulations in the maintaining a safe workplace.

    B. Notification: Whenever an employee observes or otherwise becomes aware of an unsafe or hazardous condition or circumstance in the workplace, he/she has the responsibility to notify the superintendent of schools or designee immediately.

    MASTER CONTRACT Table of Contents


    NOTE:  The posts that follow are organized in the same order as this table of contents.



    A. Definitions 2
    B. Procedures 2

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Teaching Secrets: Don't Cripple With Compassion

    Late last month, my teaching colleagues and I got to participate in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ national conference here in San Diego. We moved one of our teacher workdays so teachers could attend because our principal did the math (so to speak) and found that it was cheaper to send the entire staff on a professional development day than it was to send the six teachers who asked to go and hire subs for the two days they’d be gone. Pretty smart.

    We are working on creating a constructivist math program at our school, and our philosophy is that everyone, not just the math teachers, has a perspective that will help us revamp our program. So, even though I am an English teacher, I went along and looked forward to learning.

    I attended many great sessions and came away with ideas for my own content area as well as math. I was most excited by NCTM’s process standards that outline the critical thinking required to make meaning of math instead of mimicry as is too often the case.

    In a session on the process standards, though, the presenter made a statement that rocked me to my core and absolutely resonated with me: One of the major issues with American teachers especially is our predilection to rescue kids instead of letting them struggle with the content a bit. In essence, we’re too compassionate.

    Think about it. How often do we see a kid with a cramped look on his face and rush in to show him how to do something? What about when they whine and say it’s too haaaaaard?

    I get how difficult it is to step back and let them struggle, but I also know that it’s in the disequilibrium that kids have to make sense of things and that’s when the learning happens. If we do it for them, why would they be persistent with a problem or give it more than 30 seconds? And how can they become confident, self-directed learners if we don’t ever let them have that experience? Finally, why would they ever believe that they are able to figure it out if we show them by our actions that we don’t believe they can, either?

    I’m not talking about failing to scaffold instruction or give kids input. Of course we want to do that. What I’m talking about is resisting the urge to fix things for them instead of asking more questions to get them thinking. I’m talking about sometimes just telling them, “I know you can do this,” and walking away.

    For example, I recently passed out four interrelated epitaphs from Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters and told the groups to try to piece together the story and figure out the big scandal, using evidence to support their thinking. The scandal is never explicitly stated, but there’s enough evidence in the text to figure it out. Beyond that, there are a number of conclusions that students could make a case for, so there was more than one right answer.

    Groups read each epitaph and discussed it for maybe a minute before they started whining. “I don’t get it!” “What’s the answer? We can’t figure it out.” I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t have any clue,” then told them I knew they could solve the mystery. After realizing I really was going to make them suck it up and keep working at it, they returned to the text and started trying to puzzle through it.

    by Ellen Berg, TEACHER MAGAZINE

    I circulated among the groups and listened. When I did speak, it was usually to ask a question to help kids dig deeper into their own thinking. It took some time, but in each group the light bulb would click on, and the kids would get excited because they were coming up with something plausible.

    Groups shared their conclusions with each other at the end of it and debated the merits of each group’s result. And my whiny kids? To a person, they all said, “Hey, can we do more stuff like this? This was cool!” They did something hard and prevailed; I think that’s pretty cool myself.

    One of my early mentors gave me great advice that speaks to the issue of crippling kids with compassion. She told me, “Don’t do anything for the kids that they can do themselves, and if they can’t do it themselves, teach them the tools they need so they can.” Wise words.

    New Push Launched for Education Jobs Bill

    Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, left, Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Catherine Poff, a teacher from Kentucky who has received a layoff notice, appear a press conference in Washington on May 26 that called for legislation that would provide $23 billion to help school districts cope with a looming layoffs.
    —Andrew Councill for Education Week

    By Alyson Klein. EDUCATION WEEK

    The presidents of both national teachers’ unions joined key lawmakers and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Capitol Hill today to drum up support for legislation that would provide $23 billion to help school districts cope with a looming tidal wave of layoffs.

    Supporters say up to 300,000 education jobs—including teachers, support-staff members, and others—may be riding on the latest version of the bill, which relies on a funding mechanism that supporters say is more narrowly targeted than previous education aid under the federal economic-stimulus program.

    Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he plans to introduce the measure as an amendment to the must-pass emergency-spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that his panel is considering tomorrow.

    The original plan was for the Senate to vote on the language first, but the measure’s sponsor, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said yesterday he didn’t have the 60 votes needed to cut off debate in order to pass the bill.

    But if the language makes it through the House of Representatives, it can be included in a conference report reconciling the two bills. Conference reports can’t be amended, so if Republicans and moderate Democrats in the Senate decided to vote against the measure, they’d also be voting against the entire war supplemental-spending bill and could be accused of defunding the troops in an election year.

    The House passed a similar provision on a different jobs bill back in December. But that vote was very close, and the legislation isn’t a sure bet this time around. Moderate Democrats are concerned that there is no cut to offset the new education spending. And many Republicans oppose what they deem a “bailout” for education.

    Supporters of the bill were quick to point out what they see as the reasons lawmakers may suffer politically if they don’t vote in favor of the legislation.

    Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said that school districts, which have been working to implement changes to improve education, would have to lay off teachers because of problems caused by “financial scandals,” an apparent reference to Wall Street.

    “It will be a scandal on this Congress” if lawmakers fail to act, he said.

    Administration Backing
    Secretary Duncan said that educators play a role in the overall economy, purchasing houses and groceries and contributing to their communities, so the economic impact of massive layoffs could be substantial. He said that the bill’s language has the full support of the White House, and that he has spoken personally to President Barack Obama about it.

    The language Mr. Obey is scheduled to introduce in his committee on Thursday differs from other versions of the bill in a few key ways.

    Earlier proposals were modeled on the $48.6 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—the stimulus program—which let states use their allocations first to restore state cuts to K-12 and higher education and then distribute the rest of the money to districts based on existing formulas.

    Under the lastest bill, money would flow directly to a state’s governor, who would then distribute it right to school districts based on state formulas or the federal formula for Title I aid to disadvantaged students. Districts could then use the money to restore workers, hire new staff, or for compensation, benefits, and on-the-job training. The money could be used for early childhood education and K-12 positions, not higher education.

    The measure would require states to sign off on the same four education-redesign-oriented assurances spelled out in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the 2009 federal economic-stimulus legislation that provided up to $100 billion for education.

    Those assurances—improving teacher quality and distribution, revamping standards and assessments, beefing up state data systems, and turning around low-performing schools—were left out of the bill the House passed in December, but Rep. Miller said the move was necessary to help ensure passage of the legislation.

    The measure includes $5.7 billion to shore up Pell Grants for college students. But, while the stimulus law asked states to restore cuts to both higher and K-12 education, the new legislation is aimed only at K-12 job losses.

    One of the major complaints about the $100 billion in the 2009 aid package was the lack of strong prohibitions on states’ diversion of the money for education to other areas. Joel Packer, the executive director of the Committee for Education Funding, a lobbying coalition of education groups, said the language intended to discourage states from diverting money to purposes other than education appears to be strong.

    Supporters didn’t specify another strategy if this latest legislative tack doesn’t work.

    “You can’t have a Plan B for stupidity,” Rep. Obey said.

    To help win passage of the bill, the National Education Association, with the help of the American Federation of Teachers, is working on a media blitz called “Speak Up for Education and Kids.”

    The effort by the two teachers’ unions includes an NEA commercial in which children dressed in suits and carrying briefcases ask whether Congress would be more willing to save their teachers’ jobs or keep their classes small if the children were Wall Street bankers. The NEA has also established a hotline to help supporters of the bill reach their representatives in Congress.

    NEA ESEA/NCLB Update May 27, 2010

    ESEA reauthorization hearings roundup

    On May 19, the House Education & Labor Committee held a hearing on successful turnaround strategies for low-performing schools. Chairman George Miller (D-CA), clearly reacting to policies implemented by the Obama Administration through the Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants programs, stated, “No Child Left Behind dictated interventions to help these schools but what we’ve learned since the law was enacted is they were too prescriptive and unrelated to the real needs of the schools. What most of these schools need is a fresh start. A fresh start doesn’t have to mean shutting down a school . . . A fresh start doesn’t mean firing all the teachers and only hiring back an arbitrary number . . . A fresh start means buy in from school leaders, teachers, parents and the community. It means a team effort to put together the tools to make that school great.”

    Chu unveils new school turnaround framework

    Speaking of turnaround strategies, in the wake of bipartisan concern over the Administration’s turnaround policies, Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) unveiled a new framework for turning around schools that focuses on collaboration, flexibility and a more holistic approach. NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen spoke favorably about the Chu framework, stating that it was time to put to rest the “one-size-fits-all” mentality in turning around struggling schools. Positive principles of the Chu framework, entitled Strengthening Our Schools (SOS), include: • Flexibility and collaboration as keys to success • Giving schools sufficient time to show progress • Improve learning and instruction by building capacity • School closure and staff firings as a last resort, not a first option

    TIF final rules released

    The Department of Education has released final requirements for the $437 million Teacher Incentive Fund program, a competitive program designed for LEAs to establish performance-based compensation systems (PBCS) based on student achievement data, classroom observations and other measures of teacher performance. The TIF program has two competitions – the PBCS competition and an evaluation competition, in which selected LEAs would agree to have their compensation systems evaluated longitudinally to measure their impact. The deadline for notice of intent to apply is June 1, 2010, and the application deadline is July 6, 2010. Awardees will be notified by September 2010. Technical assistance workshops/webinars will be held in early June. In conjunction with the release of the TIF final rules, NEA joined with the American Association of School Administrators and the National School Board Association in developing a set of guiding principles for affiliates and members who want to apply for TIF grants. The 11 Guiding Principles could be used for to foster strong collaboration at the local level and appropriately implement this federal grant program.

    Study: Parent involvement is important in elementary years
    A new study by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has found that children whose parents were more involved during elementary school had fewer problem behaviors and better social skills, but that children's academics weren't affected. When parents boosted their involvement in elementary school (by increasing visits to the school and encouraging educational progress at home), children's problem behaviors (including both aggressive and disruptive behaviors as well as anxiety and depression) decreased. At the same time, their so-called pro-social skills (such as cooperation and self-control) improved.

    Common core state standards to be released on June 2

    The common core state standards will be released on June 2. NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen will deliver remarks at the release event in Atlanta, Georgia. NEA publicly supported the March draft of the new standards focused on language arts and mathematics , stating that “these [draft] standards are beginning to articulate education goals that encompass high level, complex knowledge and skills.” Two states, Maryland and Kentucky, have already endorsed standards – even before the release of the final version. Starting in June, attention will then turn to adoption and implementation of the standards at the state level. Stay tuned!

    Central Falls agreement reached

    In February, the Central Falls school district garnered national media attention when it announced it would fire some 90 high school teachers and support staff at the end of this school year. After months of negotiations between the Central Falls Teachers Union and the Central Falls School District, an agreement has been reached that will enable current staff to return to their former jobs without their having to reapply for them. The agreement includes a transformation plan for Central Falls High School as well as provisions for extending the school day and tutoring students outside of class. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel applauded the new plan, stating, “Congratulations to all parties involved in the collective bargaining efforts, and to the students who will surely benefit from this strenuous work.”

    Speak Up for Education & Kids Campaign
    Yesterday was the start of NEA's National Speak Up for Education & Kids Campaign. With more than 80 percent of school districts planning to lay off staff, it's time to take action. Call 1-866-608-6355 to call Congress and tell your Representative to protect the future of our children by supporting funding to save education jobs in the emergency funding bill. With 300,000 education layoffs expected, our students are the ones who will suffer -- in overcrowded classrooms, with less time in school, and without the teachers and school staff needed to give them individual attention and help.

    NEA has launched “Speak Up for Education & Kids” to mobilize educators and others concerned about the budget emergency facing public education. At issue is the “Education Jobs Fund,” legislation that would provide $23 billion in emergency funding for education jobs. See the 30-second television spot on the initiative. And don't forget to speak up for education and kids! Tell your elected representative that you want to be sure students' needs come first, even during a fiscal crisis!