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Teaching & Learning

Teaching civility and public discourse in the classroom

There’s been a lot of talk lately about what constitutes civility. Much of this debate illustrates why it’s so important to discuss this concept in the classroom—and why it’s critical we frame the conversation about civility with historical context. When we build these connections for students, it’s easier for them to understand current political discourse and to decide how to engage each other.

A Year ago the Supreme Court raised the bar for Special Ed. What's happened since?

A year after the US Supreme Court ruled that schools must offer students with disabilities an education reasonably calculated to enable them to "make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances," what has changed? On the one hand, not much, if evaluating the dozens of special education cases that have cited Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, which was decided March 22, 2017. Around 90 percent of those kinds of disputes between school districts and parents were decided in favor of districts; the notable exception was that of Endrew F. himself, the teenager with autism who was at the center of the Supreme Court case.

NEPC offers monthly education podcast

The National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, is a resource for peer-reviewed education policy information. Each month from September through May the organization releases an NEPC Education Interview of the Month. This month, the interview discusses teacher accountability with Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools and director of the Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College.

More K-12 schools are providing additional services for homeless students

In the 2015-16 school year, the number of homeless students in Texas had increased by 3.5% to 115,676 and there were more than 1.3 million homeless students enrolled in public schools across the nation, according to the National Center for Homeless Education, and that is just the number of students who were identified as homeless. Homeless students are notoriously hard to identify because families or unaccompanied teens are often fearful or ashamed to make their status known. Teachers may be the first to notice signs of homelessness: fatigue, wearing the same clothes, carrying their belongings with them, or hoarding food.

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The National Center for Homeless Education

Push for higher teacher pay has a new starting point: Facebook

The successful West Virginia teacher strike has lit the match for a spate of teacher uprisings across the country. The main place teachers are gathering to strategize? Facebook.

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Trauma and learning in America’s classrooms

Whether working in a rural, urban or suburban district, all teachers should expect to confront issues with children who have experienced trauma — more than half of the students enrolled in public schools have faced traumatic or adverse experiences and one in six struggles with complex trauma (Felitti & Anda, 2009) — and all teachers should understand how trauma affects students’ social, emotional, and academic growth.

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Research-tested benefits of brain breaks

Regular breaks throughout the school day—from short brain breaks in the classroom to the longer break of recess—are not simply downtime for students. Such breaks increase their productivity and provide them with opportunities to develop creativity and social skills.

Read more about brain breaks.

States Confront New Mandate on School-Spending Transparency

A tricky financial-transparency requirement in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has cranked up tensions among state politicians, school district administrators, and civil rights activists over public understanding of how districts divvy up their money among schools. ESSA requires districts to break out school-level spending by December 2019—a first-time federal requirement. It's a level of detail unknown even to most district superintendents. Read more

Schools missing in Trump infrastructure plan

President Donald Trump unveiled his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan Monday. And, probably unsurprisingly, there are no explicit resources for refurbishing, renovating or constructing schools. Read more

When students assault teachers

In the 2015-16 school year, 5.8 percent of the nation’s 3.8 million teachers were physically attacked by a student. Almost 10 percent were threatened with injury, according to federal education data. Teacher victimization has been an understudied and under-publicized area. Read more

Charter schools prolonging segregation

A recent Associated Press analysis of national school enrollment data found that “as of school year 2014-2015, more than 1,000 of the nation’s 6,747 charter schools had minority enrollment of at least 99 percent, and the number has been rising steadily.”

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ESSA requirements will reveal spending disparities within districts

ESSA requires states to report per-pupil expenditures for every local education agency and school in the state on annual report cards. But in the vast majority of districts, spending is accounted for at the district level. Average teacher salaries, average per-pupil expenditures — they’re all calculated districtwide.

To read more:  http://www.educationdive.com/news/essa-reporting-requirements-will-reveal-spending-disparities-within-distric/429504/

Parents stressed by rigor of Kindergarten

Kindergarten, where children were once encouraged to play and adjust to the rhythms of the school day, has long been evolving. But many parents new to modern-day elementary schooling say they have been shocked to find their children in a pressure cooker of rigorous academics, standardized tests, homework and what seem like outrageous expectations.

To read more:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/as-kindergarten-ratchets-up-academics-parents-feel-the-stress/2016/09/25/555fa584-7519-11e6-b786-19d0cb1ed06c_story.html

How do we stop the exodus of minority teachers?

Minority teachers are being driven out of schools by poor working conditions at rates higher than their non-minority colleagues, which only undermines years of recruitment efforts that have targeted minority teachers.

To read more:  http://hechingerreport.org/stop-exodus-minority-teachers/
To read the brief:  https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/sites/default/files/product-files/Minority_Teacher_Recruitment_Employment_Retention%20_BRIEF.pdfOnline Courses

Online Courses

The NEA Foundation courses are intended to develop collaborative skills and content knowledge. The courses promote union-district collaboration as a tool for systems change and were developed by field experts, using a rich selection of resources. Use the course content in whatever way best meets your needs – a whole course, a single session, or just an activity. New courses are in development and will be posted periodically.
To start today, simply register and login! http://www.neafoundation.org/pages/courses

Global Learning: Tools and Approaches

Curious how you can bring global competence to the classroom? This new course, designed for self-study or small groups, introduces participants to key ideas and methods for connecting their classrooms with the wider world. http://www.neafoundation.org/pages/courses

We Connect Now

We Connect Now is a website created in 2008 to connect and serve college students with disabilities. It has been linked to by colleges and universities and groups serving people with disabilities in all 50 states and 10 foreign countries and has been visited by people from 172 different countries. http://weconnectnow.wordpress.com (Also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/We-Connect-Now-National/136925609714725.)

Section 504 guide

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a major physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.  The U. S. Department offers a Disability Rights Reinforcement Guide, a compilation of guidance and data on key issues such as free appropriate public education, discipline, post-secondary, and technology. 

Learn more about Section 504:  http://nichcy.org/laws/section504#info

Download the guide:  http://www2.ed.gov/documents/news/section-504.pdf

Resources on the Holocaust and Genocide

The Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission assists elementary/secondary schools and universities with Holocaust and genocide programs. Classroom resources include lesson plans, posters, and oral histories. They also offer a video contest — the deadline is in March — and grants of up to $1000 for civic/citizenship or social responsibility projects. http://thgc.texas.gov

Bully Free: It Starts with Me

"Bully Free: It Starts with Me" is a groundbreaking NEA initiative to identify caring adults in schools and communities who will pledge to help bullied students. The adults will agree to listen carefully to the student and take action to stop the bullying. NEA will provide adults the resources they need to provide solace and support, ask the right questions and take the appropriate actions.

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Apply for an NEA Foundation grant

The NEA Foundation has a video that provides a guided tour and detailed instruction of the online application for its popular Learning & Leadership Grants and Student Achievement Grants. The deadlines for these grants -- which provide $2,000 for implementing proposals from individuals for Learning & Leadership Grants and $5,000 for team proposals for both -- are Feb. 1, June 1, and Oct. 15. For more information, to apply online, or to watch the video, visit the NEA Foundation Grant website.

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NEA Academy

The NEA Academy website is devoted to supporting the professional development of teachers and education support professionals. The site features web-based lessons, classroom tips, and professional development courses, including the popular classroom management course "I Can Do It" as well as the NEA Teacher Toolkit and career information.

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Are you a first-year teacher?

Get a great start on your new career with our links and resources for first year teachers!

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Teachers in Transition

The Texas Workforce Commission and a statewide network of Workforce Solutions offices will assist all teachers in their efforts to find work. This site offers information to help you better navigate the workforce system including filing for unemployment insurance, registering to look for work, finding a new job and knowing where to go to get additional help if needed.

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