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More Than Word Gap Drives Differences in Children’s Language Learning

Thirty million: In the world of early-childhood education that number represents the supposed gap between middle- and low-income children in the number of words heard by the time they are three years old.

The original study that generated that 30 million number is now 20 years old. The number has frequently been used to explain some children’s more limited vocabulary and the academic disadvantage they face because of it.

According to Education Week, subsequent studies have shown that the word gap is really smaller, perhaps closer to 11 million words, and that the entire language acquisition landscape is really more complicated than many summaries of the original study would suggest. Read more

Connecticut Schools Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day offers a wide range of learning opportunities for the youngest preschoolers to high school seniors, and schools around Connecticut took advantage of those opportunities yesterday by getting involved in their communities and the natural environment.

Advanced Placement environmental science students at New Fairfield High School held an Earth Day Celebration for middle and high school students at the Hidden Valley Nature Lab. The Nature Lab is part of a preserve just down the street from the schools. The students were able to walk through 13 stations set up around the preserve by the environmental science students and learn about humans’ effect on the natural environment. Read more

10 Free Mother’s Day Activities and Projects

Happy Mother's DayIdeas for celebrating Mom with students at all grade levels compiled by Phil Nast, retired middle school teacher, for NEA.

1. Acrostic Mother’s Day Poems

Students in grades 1-2 write acrostic poems for Mother’s Day.

2. Mother’s Day Activities

This printable has fun crafts and activities for Mother’s Day for students in grades K-2.

3. Stand-Up Mom

With this printable decoration, students in grades K-2 color, cut out, and fold stand-up moms, and then attach a heart to one hand and write a special message on her apron.
Read more

Retirees to Meet with Legislators and Discuss Important Education Issues

CEA-Retired members

CEA-Retired members listen to speakers at en educational session during last year’s Retired Teachers Lobby Day.

All CEA-Retired members are invited to join hundreds of their retired colleagues at the Retired Teachers Lobby Day at the State Capitol in Hartford on April 29. CEA-Retired members will be joined by their retired colleagues from AFT Connecticut and the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut to meet face-to-face with legislators and speak about issues of importance to retirees and active teachers.

“Last year, more than 30 CEA-R members participated in the lobby day event and made a real difference in getting important legislation passed exempting a portion of teacher pensions from state income tax,” said CEA-R President Gloria Brown. “This year, we hope more members will join us and help get our message out to legislators.”

The agenda includes an educational session starting at 10 a.m., followed by one-on-one meetings with legislators. The day will conclude with a luncheon meeting where retirees will hear directly from more than a dozen legislators.

CEA-Retired members can contact their county representative if they would like to attend.

Withholding Recess for Disciplinary Reasons Declining

Children are sometimes kept in from recess as a disciplinary measure, but thanks to studies showing play and exercise support classroom learning, fewer students are now having recess taken away, according to Education Week. The publication reports that many schools have implemented policies to limit the use of withholding recess as a form of punishment.

Those in support of the new policies cite the benefits that physical exercise and unstructured play can have for children. Education Week quotes practitioners. Read more

Former CT Public School Teacher Selected to Lead State Department of Education

Former teacher Dr. Dianna Wentzell was today selected as Connecticut Commissioner of Education.

Former teacher Dr. Dianna Wentzell was today selected as Connecticut Commissioner of Education.

The next Connecticut commissioner of education is a long-time educator with many years of experience in the classroom and as a school leader. Dr. Dianna Wentzell was today named commissioner after serving as the interim commissioner of the department since January.

Wentzell has over 25 years of experience working in Connecticut public schools in roles including social studies teacher, curriculum director, chief academic officer, and assistant superintendent.

Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on Dr. Wentzell’s Selection as Education Commissioner

We welcome the recommendation of Dr. Dianna Wentzell, a person with such depth and experience in public education, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with her in the best interests of children, teachers, and public education.

We are pleased that Governor Malloy has acknowledged the voice of public school teachers regarding their desire that the next commissioner be a public school educator.

Dr. Wentzell recognizes that genuine collaboration among public education stakeholders will make Connecticut’s already strong public education system even stronger. Her willingness to listen—as well as her extensive direct teaching experience in our public schools—makes her a wise choice.

Her wealth of practical knowledge about what works in public education will be invaluable as she works to develop a vision for our public schools. CEA looks forward to communicating our strong support of Dr. Wentzell to the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee.

CEA has worked with Dr. Wentzell on numerous committees. We have found her to be a dedicated educator and sound collaborator with keen insights gathered on the frontlines of public education. These attributes are a big plus for Connecticut’s schoolchildren.

Watch video of Dr. Wentzell’s remarks today below.

U.S. Senate Education Committee Passes NCLB Rewrite

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions unanimously passed a bipartisan rewrite of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)/Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this afternoon.

Education Week reports on details of the bill and amendments that have been added — read the article here.

The bill has yet to be scheduled for consideration by the entire Senate but will hopefully head to the Senate floor in the next few weeks.

Please continue to encourage your senators to provide students with time to learn, and ask them to ensure equity and opportunity for all students in the final bill. Click here for more information and to email your U.S. senators.

Bloomfield Educators Encourage Reading, Build Community

Bloomfield students and community members were excited to be able to take home some new-to-them books thanks to a book swap organized by the Bloomfield Education Association.

Bloomfield students and community members were excited to be able to take home some new-to-them books thanks to a book swap organized by the Bloomfield Education Association.

Bloomfield families now have many new-to-them books to read thanks to a great idea by teacher Jen Coleman. Coleman and other Bloomfield educators organized the first annual Bloomfield Education Association (BEA) Community Book Swap to rave reviews.

Over 100 families came and swapped a wide variety of books, from picture books to adult literature. Parent Carla Ladson said, “I think this is an excellent idea. Books stores can be expensive, library late fees can add up and my kids love to read.”

Families that didn’t have books to contribute participated by bringing canned goods to swap for a book. All the canned goods were then donated to the Bloomfield Food Bank.

Bloomfield High School teacher Amanda Powell said, “This is awesome. It’s a great way to get students and community members together to encourage reading.” Read more

Earth Day: Lesson Plans, Projects, Resources, and More

This Earth Day, April 22, 2015, explore new and review familiar ways to live responsibly. Retired middle school teacher Phil Nast compiled the following resources for NEA.

Resources for:

April Deals and Discounts from NEA Member Benefits

Save this spring with special offers from NEA Member Benefits. Find special April deals and discounts below.

NEA Click & Save “Buy-lights” for April 2015

NEA Click & Save, the online discount buying service for NEA members, highlights select retailers and merchants each month. Check out these featured “Buy-lights” for April

  • Enjoy 10% off your entire order of  innovative office products, plus free shipping
  • Zephora: Get free 3-day shipping on orders of $50 or more
  • Home Depot: Save 10% on appliances $396 or more; free shipping on orders of $45 or more
  • Under Armour: Get free standard shipping on U.S. orders of $49+, and free 2-day shipping on U.S. orders of $149+
  • Samsung: Get up to 50% off suggested retail price; plus free shipping on orders over $50
  • Sports Authority: Save up to 70% off; get free shipping on shoes, clothes, and most orders over $49
  • 1Voice: Get 25% off any order of wearable fitness technology plus free shipping

Read more


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