NEA President: California ruling allows corporate interests to trump students’ needs

Deeply flawed verdict goes against research proven to enhance teacher effectiveness 

A California Superior Court judge today sided with Silicon Valley multimillionaire David Welch and his ultra-rich cronies in the meritless lawsuit of Vergara v. State of California. The lawsuit was brought by deep-pocketed corporate special interests intent on driving a corporate agenda geared toward privatizing public education and attacking educators.

NEA’s affiliate, the California Teachers Association, and the California Federation of Teachers intervened in the case to ensure schools can continue to attract and retain quality teachers in our classrooms and to give voice to systems that research and experience show are key factors in effective teaching.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“Just like the meritless lawsuit of Vergara v. State of California, the ruling by Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu is deeply flawed. Today’s ruling would make it harder to attract and retain quality teachers in our classrooms and ignores all research that shows experience is a key factor in effective teaching. The National Education Association supports the California Teachers Association in its appeal of today’s decision.

“Let’s be clear: This lawsuit was never about helping students, but is yet another attempt by millionaires and corporate special interests to undermine the teaching profession and push their own ideological agenda on public schools and students while working to privatize public education. Research shows experience enhances teacher effectiveness and increases student productivity at all grade levels, and that ultimately contributes to better outcomes for students. Yet, today’s ruling hurts students and serves only to undermine the ability of school districts to recruit and retain high quality teachers.

“NEA will continue to stand up for students and focus on the ingredients that are proven to help students the most—like supporting new teachers, providing ongoing training, paying teachers a decent salary, and developing reliable evaluation systems to measure teacher effectiveness.”

Should STEM be updated to STREAM?

In a blog on HuffingtonPost.com, Pennsylvania elementary school principal Rob Furman says we must update our emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to include reading and arts and transform the popular acronym to STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math).

Acknowledging that efforts already have been made to add arts to the STEM term, making it STEAM, Furman said it is essential that reading be included as an essential part of the the education formula that prepares students for today’s high-tech jobs.

“Without the ability to read and write, there is not a job to be found for which STEM or STEAM education is going to be enough preparation,” he writes.

“Reading must be in the forefront of every educator’s mind. No matter what subject you teach, you are a teacher of reading. No matter what emphasis your school or the country puts on STEM or STEAM, you, as an educator, must see the critical importance of putting the skills of reading and writing first. It is our fundamental means of communication.”

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STEM Needs to Be Updated to STREAM

Should STEM be updated to STREAM?

In a blog on HuffingtonPost.com, Pennsylvania elementary school principal Rob Furman says we must update our emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to include reading and arts and transform the popular acronym to STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math).

Acknowledging that efforts already have been made to add arts to the STEM term, making it STEAM, Furman said it is essential that reading be included as an essential part of the the education formula that prepares students for today’s high-tech jobs.

“Without the ability to read and write, there is not a job to be found for which STEM or STEAM education is going to be enough preparation,” he writes.

“Reading must be in the forefront of every educator’s mind. No matter what subject you teach, you are a teacher of reading. No matter what emphasis your school or the country puts on STEM or STEAM, you, as an educator, must see the critical importance of putting the skills of reading and writing first. It is our fundamental means of communication.”

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Read the entire blog:

STEM Needs to Be Updated to STREAM

Rep. Fred Clark: It’s time to take a stand for rural schools

In this column, State Rep. Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) writes that Wisconsin is poised to lose a growing number of its rural schools unless our Legislature reverses course.

“In the face of declining enrollment and huge cuts in revenue, rural schools are cutting programs, stretching staff with heavier workloads, closing schools, and surviving on referendums year after year,” writes Clark, who served as vice chair of Legislature’s Task Force on Rural Schools. “In the outright war on public schools that the Republican majority in the Wisconsin Legislature has waged since 2011 with its $1.6 billion in public school funding cuts, our rural schools are becoming the first casualties.”

Clark writes that the growth of taxpayer-funded voucher schools and independent charter schools are one of the biggest threats to the survival of rual public schools.

“Voucher schools alone currently absorb $384 million in this budget that would otherwise be available for public schools,” he writes. “Statewide voucher schools without limits would be a dream come true for private school lobbyists and the Republican Party power base. Unfortunately, it would also be a certain train wreck for our public schools, and the first cars to go off the tracks will be public schools in our smallest communities. Privatization will be the final shove that may force many rural schools into closing their doors. If we allow that to happen, we will be ending a way of life in rural Wisconsin.”

Read the entire column in the Capital Times:

Rep. Fred Clark: Time to take a stand for rural schools

ACTION ALERT: Don’t let special needs voucher proponents amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Stop Special Needs Vouchers Wisconsin has issued a statement opposing S.1909/H.R.4773, the so-called Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education (CHOICE) Act.

Stop Special Needs Vouchers Wisconsin Opposes Federal Special Needs Voucher Funding
(6/4/2014)

The CHOICE Act is the first legislative attempt to support special needs vouchers on the federal level. The bill does several things regarding special
needs vouchers, all of which we oppose:

  1. Provides federal start-up money for new states to create special needs voucher programs (like the proposals we’ve been successfully fighting in Wisconsin).
  2. Amends the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to allow federal IDEA funds to flow into private schools in existing voucher programs, that are explicitly excused from following the IDEA! The amendment also permits such private schools to discriminate against students on the basis of disability.

ACTION ALERT:

Please read the statement, and then contact Senator Baldwin, Senator Johnson, and your Congressional Representative and urge them to oppose S.1909/H.R.4773. Let them know that you oppose special needs vouchers and that IDEA funds must carry IDEA rights and protections!

Sen. Tammy Baldwin: (202) 224-5653, http://www.baldwin.senate.gov/contact

Sen. Ron Johnson: (202) 224-5323, http://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

House of Representatives contact lookup: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/