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The Truth about Unions and Underperforming Teachers

stock teacher in front of classIt’s accepted as fact in some quarters that unions keep bad teachers from being fired—however research by Harvard trained economist Eunice Han is turning this axiom on its head.

Her study, “The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers,” found that “districts with strong unionism dismiss more underperforming teachers and have lower teacher attrition than districts with weak unionism.”

Why? Han writes, “School districts have a strong motivation to dismiss low-quality teachers if they must pay the higher salaries that unions demand.”

Han’s study also found that districts with strong unions have lower student dropout rates.

Read an interview with Han here and the full study here.

To Grow Readers, Broaden their Horizons

child reading newspaperThe era of test-based accountability has brought about an intense focus on reading and math instruction that sometimes leaves other subjects behind. The directors of the Knowledge Matters Campaign say this is a big mistake if we truly want to improve children’s reading ability.

They write,

It seems obvious to suggest that if you want to get better at something, you should spend more time practicing it. But there’s a paradox at the heart of our efforts to raise reading achievement: When elementary schools take time away from science, social studies, and the arts to dramatically increase time on reading instruction, they are likely to slow children’s growth in reading comprehension. This slowing won’t be apparent right away; it might not be apparent in the elementary grades at all. But in later grades—when students are expected to read historical speeches or science textbooks or biographies of artists—they will struggle. Read more

Watching the Summer Night Sky

night skyBrush up on your stargazing skills, and get ready to enjoy humankind’s first TV, the night sky.

These lessons, activities, and resources compiled by Phil Nast for NEA will help you locate and identify celestial objects with equipment as basic as your own eyes.

Resources for:

Don’t Miss Your Special NEA Member Perks

To help you get the most out of your membership, NEA Member Benefits has worked with their partners to arrange special NEA member offers, bonuses and freebies. Many are highlighted below. This is on top of the wide range of programs and services enjoyed by NEA members.

You can also sign up for free newsletters. Get timely tips and information that can help you save money, manage your finances, plan vacations and more—all tailored just for educators.

And don’t miss the giveaways that are running right now—you could be the winner of a $2,000 scholarship from Sallie Mae this month!
Read more

Mortgage Assistance Program for Teachers

file5771244374223Are you looking to buy a home? If you’re considering buying in certain districts or you teach in a shortage area, check out the Connecticut Teachers Mortgage Assistance Program.

The Teachers Mortgage Assistance Program offers home loans at below-market interest rates to Connecticut public school teachers. To be eligible for the program, you must be employed as a Connecticut-certified public school teacher or a certified regional vocational-technical teacher. You must also be a first-time homebuyer unless you purchase a home in a federally targeted area.

Click here to find out if you quality for the Teachers Mortgage Assistance Program.

Read the program brochure.

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority website offers information on this and other mortgage programs, a list of participating lenders, targeted areas of the state, subject matter shortage areas, and priority and transitional school districts.

NOTE: New updated information is effective July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017.

Day of Golf Benefits Students in Need

CEA Vice President and CEF President Jeff Leake and CEA Treasurer Tom Nicholas.

CEA Vice President and CEF President Jeff Leake and CEA Treasurer Tom Nicholas on the morning of the CEF Golf Tournament.

More than 200 golfers and supporters—teachers from across the state, friends, business partners, and CEA staff—had fun, while raising money to help disadvantaged public school students this week. The 22nd annual Connecticut Education Foundation’s (CEF) Hands Across the Green Golf Tournament took place at Glastonbury Hills Country Club on July 11.

“There are a lot of children who are better off thanks to the people who play in our tournament, and our generous sponsors and volunteers,” said CEA Vice President and CEF President Jeff Leake. “All of the money CEF gives out to students in need, comes from this one tournament.” Read more

Help Connecticut Address Climate Change

Blue sky and cloudsA state council is gathering input from stakeholders across Connecticut as part of its charge to develop a plan to meet the state’s mandated goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2001 levels by 2050.

The Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) is holding a second set of roundtable events on Tuesday, July 26th, that will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. (refreshments available at 5:00 p.m.) The primary/central location will be in Hartford, with nine satellite locations across the state (from Goshen to Groton and from Norwalk to Killingly). Participants at the satellite locations will view the presentation via video link and then engage in facilitated dialogue at the local level.

RSVP to attend by clicking here. You will receive detailed location information and background materials prior to the event. Read more

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s a Wallingford Teacher!

Wallingford teacher Chris Stone is being highlighted this month by NEA Member Benefits.

Wallingford teacher Chris Stone is being highlighted this month by NEA Member Benefits.

Students at Pond Hill Elementary School aren’t surprised that teacher Christopher Stone is being recognized this month as a superhero by NEA Member Benefits.

Second-grader Trey Foucault said, “I’ve thought of him as a superhero all along—before anyone in Washington found out. He teaches us a lot. He’s really, really fun to be around.”

Second-grader Lyanne Trieu added that “Mr. Stone is all about helping us improve in math and science. He makes us happy when we are learning.” Read more

July Deals and Discounts from NEA Member Benefits

1-DSCN1820Don’t miss out on savings from NEA Member Benefits this summer! Check out the highlighted offers for July.

NEA Click & Save “Buy-lights” for July 2016

Hot deals for the height of summer! 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 July! Read more

NEA RA Delegates Hear from Clinton on Supporting Students, Teachers

“If I’m fortunate enough to be elected president, educators will have a partner in the White House—and you’ll always have a seat at the table,” Hillary Clinton told delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly today. “I have this idea that when we’re making decisions about education, we should actually listen to educators.”

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee talked to the over 7,500 elected delegates from around the country, including 130 from Connecticut, about the need to provide all children with a high-quality education, reduce the emphasis on testing, and give more much-needed support to educators.

“Tests should get back to their original purpose and provide useful information to teachers and parents so that you know and parents know how our kids and schools are doing in order to help them improve,” Clinton said. “When you’re forced to teach to a test, our children miss out on some of the most valuable lessons and experiences they can gain in the classroom. And it hurts our low-income kids and communities the most.” Read more

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