Category Archives: Uncategorized

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NCTE’s Statement on the President’s Proposed Budget for FY18

This spring NCTE’s elected leaders developed a set of federal budget recommendations that align with our organizational values and priorities. The White House’s proposed cuts, announced yesterday, are in direct opposition to those recommendations.

We are deeply concerned about the effect the proposed diversion of Title I funds will have on public schools and the fact that this budget eliminates two programs central to NCTE’s members:

  1. The White House is calling for the elimination of Title II funding that supports teacher recruitment and professional learning.
  2. This budget also cuts funding for the Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) program, which is the only literacy funding available to states that focuses on support for the reading and writing instruction of children from birth to grade 12.

In addition, the White House is proposing cuts that will impact students seeking higher education. These cuts, along with the proposed investment of $1 billion for school choice, go against our policy recommendations. As stated in our recommendations for this year:

“The federal government must help assure access to a quality public education so that all citizens are prepared to participate in a competitive economy and a strong democracy.”

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May #NCTEchat: Planning for Summer Rejuvenation and Learning

We hope you’ll join us tonight as we gather lots of great answers to the following questions:

Q1: How do you rejuvenate over the summer?

Q2: What professional development are you taking part in this summer?

Q3: What online resources will you be exploring this summer?

Q4: What professional reading will you be doing? Share all titles!

Q5: What is one thing/goal you are working on this summer to improve your practice?

What will you share? What will you learn?

4 Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Full view of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DCIn honor and celebration of a writer and orator whose words changed the world, we offer four short quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The links go to the full texts from which these quotes were drawn as well as some resources that you may find useful for the classroom.

“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate.”

From “The Purpose of Education” in the February 1947 edition of the Morehouse College student newspaper, the Maroon Tiger.

This quote and others are also explored in this Answer Sheet blog post from Valerie Strauss.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

From “A Proper Sense of Priorities” delivered February 6, 1968, Washington, D.C.

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

From: Strength to Love (1963)

Explore many more original texts by Martin Luther King, Jr. in this digital archive.

“I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.”

From “Where Do We Go From Here?,” delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention
Atlanta, Ga.  August 16, 1967.

You can listen Dr. King deliver the last 16 minutes of this speech here.

 

 

Students’ Voices Need to Be Heard

This post is written by Joanne Yatvin, NCTE’s P12 policy analyst for Oregon. 

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A few days ago, I read an article about education that really irritated me.  Although I’d read similar articles before without any reaction, this one was about a plan for schools in our state of Oregon that sounded wrong-headed to me, and was going to cost 3.5 million dollars a year.

According to the article, the Oregon Department of Education and the Chief Education Office have devised a plan that would deploy a team of “on-the-ground experts” to help schools that have a record of severe student absenteeism. That team would be composed of 20 coaches who would receive training, then be placed in selected schools to work on alleviating the problem.

What I saw was another top-down pipe dream, welcomed by school principals who had been unsuccessful in curbing absenteeism themselves, and meant to be implemented by newly hatched experts called “coaches.” Teachers and parents of chronically absent students would be informed about the new plan and asked to cooperate. The only people left out would be the ones who know the most about the causes of student absenteeism and how to reduce them: students.

My argument this time is the same as it has been in regard to other school problems: students should be active players in the planning and execution of any change in school operations—not only because they have firsthand knowledge of the problems and clear views of the causes, effects, and possible solutions, but also because their cooperation is essential if anything positive is to be achieved.

Over her 45 year career Joanne Yatvin was a teacher of almost all grades 1-12, an elementary and middle school principal, and a member of The National Reading Panel.  Since retiring she has done independent research in high poverty schools, written three books for teachers, and served as president of NCTE. Joanne Yatvin is a lifetime member of NCTE.

The Morning After

This is a guest post written by Kathryn McCalla. 

kathrynmccallaGetting only about two hours of sleep allows a person more conscious time to process things overnight. Such was my experience in the early hours of Wednesday, November 9th. A pressing thought came to mind: What do I say to the students?

I am very aware that each of my classes has Hillary and Trump supporters and my intent wasn’t to get into a political discussion, but because of some of the language used during the campaign, I felt I had to let students know that bullying is never okay.

I did not open it up to discussion. I simply stated that we are better than what we have heard these past several months—that in these walls, in these halls, in this community, we protect each other. We stand up for each other. We are loyal to each other, no matter our race, sexual orientation, background, political, or religious beliefs.

My students were very quiet. Some had heads down. Some looked a little in shock. Some nodded. Some wept. And yes, some rolled their eyes.

Thankfully, our class is nearing the end of a unit reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Also thankfully, my wonderful colleague Alex Stacy had sent me a TED video to show: Elizabeth Lesser’s “Take the ‘Other’ to Lunch.” It advises us to get to know someone we see as the “other,” to hopefully have our eyes opened, our hearts softened, even if just a little bit. After watching, students wrote about what may have happened had Ponyboy (a Greaser) had taken Bob (a Soc) to lunch before the fight that culminated in Bob’s death. They envisioned better, brighter things in their journals: an end to fighting, lives saved, friendships formed. We were able to move on from there.

Feeling sad, or angry, or worried at this point can’t get in the way of being a teacher. It cannot, and it will not, get in the way of doing what’s right.

Kathryn McCalla is a middle school ELA and Leadership teacher working in Chelsea, Michigan.