Friday, October 31, 2014

NEA Announces $60 Million Fund to Invest in Educators’ Best Ideas

January 23, 2014 by twalker  
Filed under Featured News, Top Stories

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By Tim Walker and Celeste Busser

On January 23, National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel announced the establishment of a $60 million fund to invest in state and local initiatives to improve student success and strengthen the teaching profession. Over ten years, the Great Public Schools Fund (GPS Fund) will support innovative projects and ideas proposed by educators, including peer assistance and review programs, Common Core implementation, teacher mentoring, school safety, and technology.

“Nobody knows better than educators what their students need to succeed in the classroom,” Van Roekel said. “Through the new GPS Fund, we are providing the resources to put these plans in action and help ensure opportunity, equity, and success for every public school student in America.”

The GPS Fund is one of the many initiatives NEA has launched in recent months that is designed to create a new generation of educator leaders. Last week, NEA and BetterLesson launched a new web site that provides more than 3,000 classroom-ready lessons. In addition, NEA, the Center for Teaching Quality, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards unveiled the Teacher Leadership Initiative. Last October, NEA partnered with TeachPlus to launch a selective fellowship that will empower teachers to advise union leadership on teacher engagement and retention.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel discusses the Great Public School Fund and other NEA initiatives at the Center for American Progress on Thursday, January 23. Photo: Sewell Johnson

These initiatives were the focus of a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington D.C. on Thursday that looked at the changing role of teachers unions. Joining Van Roekel was Paul Toner, President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), Tammy Wawro, President of the Iowa Education Association (IEA), Elena Silva of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Richard Lee Colvin of Cross and Joftus.

Van Roekel explained that the relentless pace of change that has gripped our public schools demands new innovative thinking on the part of all key education stakeholders, unions included.

“We have to change to meet these new challenges and our members  are ready to take on new leadership roles in their profession. The question then was what can do to help?”

Van Roekel identified three pillars of  NEA’s efforts to transform the teaching profession and lead to student success: investments in innovation, prepare educators to become leaders, and partner with organizations and members of the community.

One of the pressing challenges, each panelists acknowledged, is turning “campfires” of excellence into “brushfires.” Elena Silva commended NEA for developing initiatives that will empower educators by providing the necessary financial assistance and expertise, but cautioned that extra time and attention be paid to help scale up  success. She also identified a more fundamental obstacle: teacher exhaustion.

“Many educators may look at these programs as One More Thing they have to do. These take time and that’s not what educators have,” Silva said. “It’s a heavy load.”

Tammy Wawro of the Iowa Education Association agreed that, whether it’s the Common Core, new assessments or new evaluations, teachers are feeling the pressure but are nonetheless energized by the pace of change.

“Our members are excited but they need training. Ultimately, if it’s good for the kids, we ‘ll support it.”

Wawro said that support extends to the Common Core standards. “It’s a shame that the issue has become so political, because our members are actually looking forward to teaching to the standards.”

The CCSS is a primary area of focus of NEA’s new initiatives. The Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) received a $150,000 GPS Fund grant to partner with TeachPlus on a Common Core collaborative launched by MTA last September. One hundred and fifty teachers are being trained in the CCSS and are developing lessons aligned with the standards.

“We’re a union and a professional association. We must put forward our best ideas for improving our schools and what we do in our classrooms,”  said MTA President Paul Toner.

The challenges are great, Van Roekel conceded, but “we’re part of the system and we’ll be part of the solution.” Success, he added, won’t be determined by student test scores.

“For me, success will mean we’ll be able to say, ‘no matter here you live, no matter what your zip codes is, there is a great public school in your neighborhood – with classrooms led by licensed and certified teachers.’ That’s the system I want.”

Comments

13 Responses to “NEA Announces $60 Million Fund to Invest in Educators’ Best Ideas”
  1. allison33 says:

    The more NEA pushes Common Core, the more I think of not joining NEA another year!

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  2. Ellen says:

    NEA has completely abandoned those of us who are fighting back against corporate takeover of public education. Give the money back. I am reminded of Judas and pieces of silver…

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  3. Jen says:

    So disappointing that the NEA can be bought. Blech. Teachers have plenty of battles, shouldn’t have to fight against our own union against corporate take over of education. Reexamine your position.

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  4. Lisa says:

    The NEA and other proponents of Common Core do not want true leaders as they claim. They want sheep who unquestioningly follow anything they are told.

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  5. Maritza says:

    The NEA talks about “The Changing Roles of Teachers Unions”, yes the NEA has really changed its role of representing the interests of the teachers it is supposed to represent and it is instead representing the interests of corporate America and CC$$. I’ve been a member of NEA for 34 years and I DO NOT support CC$$ and you never asked ME if I did, so how dare you claim that the majority of your members support CC$$? 26,660 BATs and I certainly DO NOT support CC$$ and we DO NOT support spending $60,000,000 to support CC$$ implementation!!!
    ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^ ^0^

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  6. Maritza says:

    “The Changing Roles of Teachers Unions”, yes the NEA has really changed its role of representing the interests of the teachers it is supposed to represent and it is instead representing the interests of corporate America and CC$$. I’ve been a member of NEA for 34 years and I DO NOT support CC$$ and you never asked ME if I did, so how dare you claim that the majority of your members support CC$$? 26,660 BATs and I certainly DO NOT support CC$$ and we DO NOT endorse investing $60,000,000 to support the implementation of CC$$! ^0^

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Maritza says:

    “The Changing Roles of Teachers Unions”, yes the NEA has really changed its role of representing the interests of the teachers it is supposed to represent and it is instead representing the interests of corporate America and CC$$. I’ve been a member of NEA for 34 years and I DO NOT support CC$$ and you never asked ME if I did, so how dare you claim that the majority of your members support CC$$? 26,660 BATs and I certainly DO NOT support CC$$ and we DO NOT endorse investing $60,000,000 to support the implementation of CC$$! ^0^

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Reg says:

    Ideas for improving education:

    Some students just need more time and practice (especially with math) than the regular school day provides for them. Other students need a quiet place to do their homework, study, and get additional help with classwork. Every district needs to have a “late bus”, so students can stay and get the extra help they need. Every district needs to pay teachers a stipend to stay and provide help to students after school, or hire tutors to do so (maybe college students enrolled in an education program).

    At the end of each school year, students who did not pass an “exit exam” and/or the MEAP/CCSS Assessment must attend summer school in order to be promoted to the next grade. We need our best educators teaching summer school, so the stipend must be enticing.

    Of course, these types of programs cost money.

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  9. juanita' says:

    I feel their is a gap between the masses the very poor left aside to nuture what once was the middle class. It is all so ridiculous as social status may count. New atitudes are needed to nourish and educate the video game society to stem education. Do you have the talent?

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  10. SageOne says:

    I so agree with what you thinking educators are saying. I want REAL LIFE curriculum that TAKES BACK what a democratic society should have.
    Students need to be taught what is BRAVE, what is GREED.
    Quit feeding trapped students GMOS, sanitizing all germs when we have soap and water….DO NOT DUMB down the curriculum. Most teachers KNOW what their students need….LET THEM TEACH.
    Get rid of ALL THESE STUPID TESTS designed to dumb us DOWN.
    Rise up Rise up.
    I am SO grateful to REAL teachers who THINK FOR THEMSELVES and do what is RIGHT for students.
    Barely a day goes by that I am not thanking god my son is finished with K-12.

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fthefreethoughtproject.com%2Fwtf-wrong-america-public-schools-holding-disturbing-drills%2F&h=hAQG8lGPgAQGMJGz4zaGr6YtYRW82zsIORPVvefwS8GO2_A&enc=AZO49h_mmAisEHFep8Lmbvt6sdS_bG6VnHHruRx9NBnz6bEpF-n6ttcGL3_TiRyvIyioCIKsfD35y1jiqVGiVD67&s=1

    Please keep paying attention educators!! Throughout history teachers DO make a huge DIFFERENCE

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  11. Bessie Wright says:

    The NEA has really changed my life in a positive way. I really do not know a whole lot about it; however, I am learning. Thus far I do not feel that they are going along with corporate America. I feel that they are trying to find a way for all of us to come together on one accord. It is imperative that we all see the big picture and work towards it together because that is the only way that our children will be truly successful. We all must realize that everything and everyone are interdependent upon each other. The sooner we figure that out and work together for the betterment of everyone, the better off everyone will be.

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  12. juanita' says:

    Stem education should be values all teachers should have the capabilities tô communicate in the agenda

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  13. Joseph DiLeo says:

    The NEA has mouthed the liberal agenda for years. Now that liberals are in the forefront of the corporate takeover of public schools, the NEA is lost. In the end the teachers suffer the NEA leadership the same way we suffer politicians, academia, and bureaucrats. What it would take to turn around our schools is honesty that is politically incorrect. If the NEA, politicians, and bureaucrats and academic professors would actually come down to the school, they would find out that schools are failing because of the very culture that has been created by THEM. And now somehow, pressure on teachers is seen as the way to try to fix the problems created by politicians, academicians, and corporate know it alls. Quite frankly, the NEA is lost until it comes down to the school and asks teachers what needs to be done. AND THEN LISTEN TO THE ANSWERS EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE POLITICALLY INCORRECT.

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