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Volume 25, Issue 2
Negotiation Teams Still Meeting
The negotiation team for Lyon County School District and Lyon County Education Association met for the third time on October 9, 2003. The teams seem to be coming closer together on the issues. The next negotiation meeting will be held on October 21, 2003.
American Education Week 2003:
NEA, NSEA and LCEA will recognize the educators and school staff who keep our children safe and healthy, and help them achieve success. Wednesday, November 19, 2003 will be a special day to honor the school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, teachers' aides and other education support professionals who positively impact our school communities.. Friday November 21, 2003 will be a special day to honor the work of substitute educators.
LCEA Website Under Construction
Steve Fargan, LCEA secretary, has been hired as the webmaster for LCEA. He is currently working on the website for LCEA. The URL is http://www.lcea-nv.org. There will be links to other important websites for NEA and NSEA and links to education websites of interest to our members. Check it out!!
Wanted: A Few Good Teachers
Become a National Board Certification assessor. Approximately 3,000 teachers are needed to determine the next cadre of certified teachers. Assessors will get extensive training. National Board scoring will take place in Nevada, fourteen other states and the District of Columbia. To learn more about this great professional experience visit www.nbpts.org/standards/assessors.cfm.
Good News About Public Schools in the USA
Reading Scores Are Up: The proportion of United States public school 4th graders who scored at the highest two levels in reading in the National Assessment of Educational progress (NAEP) increased by 11% between 1992 and 2002.
Writing Scores Are Up: The proportion of United States public school 8th graders who scored at the highest two levels in writing in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP increased by 25% between 1998 and 2002.
Math Scores Are Up: During the 1990's math scores increased for all age groups on NAEP tests, and the proportion of students reaching the highest two levels of achievement in math has doubled for grade 4 and increased by 80% for grade 8 and by 41% for grade 12.
More Students Reading: Since 1984 the proportion of 9 years olds who are reading over 10 pages a day has increased by 27% and the proportion of 13 year olds who are reading over 15 pages a day has increased by 38%.
Number of College Degrees Rising: The proportion of high school graduates ages 25 to 29 with a bachelor's or higher degree has grown significantly, from 27% in 1994 to 32% in 1999.
SAT Scores are Rising: Despite the fact that many more students are taking SAT exams than ever before, the average SAT scores continue to rise. Verbal SAT scores have risen 5 points since 1994, while Math SAT scores have risen 24 points since 1980 and 15 points since 1990. The proportion of graduating seniors getting high scores on the Math SAT has increased by 25% since 2000. ( A high score is defined as 600 or above).
ACT Scores Are Rising: The average national ACT college entrance examination score increased throughout the 1990's and is higher today than it was a decade ago. These gains are especially impressive in light of the increasing number of students taking the ACT exams. thirty-four percent (34%) more students took the exam this year than a decade ago and in 2002 Illinois and Colorado both began requiring that all public school students take the ACT in 2002, regardless or whether they planned to attend college.
Female Students Make Gains in Math and Science: While the percentages of both males and females completing rigorous high school math and science courses have increased, the biggest and most impressive gains are among females. Since 1982, the proportion of females completing geometry has increased by 67%, the proportion of females completing calculus has more than tripled, the proportion of females completing chemistry and physics has more than doubled.
More Public than Private Schools Offering AP Exams: Sixty-two percent (62%) of the nation's public high schools offer Advanced Placement courses, through which students can ear college credit. Just 45% of the nation's private high schools offer these advanced courses.
High School Dropout Rates Declining: The proportion of high school dropouts has declined by over 20% since 1980.
U.S. Students Rank 2nd in the World in Reading Literacy: In an international comparison with 27 countries, the United States ranks 2nd only to Finland in reading literacy test scores for 9 years olds.
More students are taking Advanced courses in English, Math and Science, More students are graduating from High School, More students are completing College.
(Reprinted from Great Public Schools www.nea.org)
Reversing A Shameful Retreat
During the 1990's when tax revenues were rolling in and budget surpluses were piling up. every policy maker in America declared his or her unwavering support for education and children. The forces to improve education were on the march. But now, at all levels of government, we see those commitments are being abandoned, the policy makers are in retreat, and education budgets are being cut back.
It's unfair to ask educators to meet high standards when state budgets are forcing teacher layoffs, increasing class sizes, and cutting academic programs. Demand more, but pay less, doesn't work.
At a time when class sizes should be shrinking so teachers can devote more attention to each child, class sizes are being increased. We should be hiring more teachers to meet the needs of the growing student population, but teachers are being laid off. We should be raising standards for entry into the teaching profession right along with academic standards for students, but influential voices are urging that teacher standards be lowered.
It's shameful.. The richest nation in the world can afford to provide every child with a quality education, but policy makers have chosen not to do so. There really is no excuse.. The next time you see another headline announcing that more teachers have been laid off, consider this: The tax cuts now being polished in Washington will give $93,500 in 2003 to each family whose income averages more than one million dollars a year. "Leave no child behind"? "Leave no rich person behind" is more like it.
To govern is to choose. During this budget crunch, politicians tell us that their hands are tied. but in fact, they have plenty of choices. There are the billions being spent on tax breaks for the rich and subsidies for corporations. But when it comes to investing in measure that we know will improve student achievement--smaller class sizes, better pay and professional support for teachers, and modernized school facilities--we are told, "Sorry, there's no money left."
What's more, our tax system has become increasingly regressive--relying more and more on those least able to pay. Political leaders could close corporate tax loopholes and increase the income taxes paid by people who can afford to pay more. That revenue could be put to immediate use to improve student learning. It is not choices the policy makers lack, but courage--the courage to match rhetoric with resources, the courage to do right by America's children. Instead of turning our backs in disgust on politicians, and politics, we must get more involved than ever in the political process.
Message from Reg Weaver, President of NEA
Public School Investment and Needs Out of Sync
Despite rising enrollments and a growing need for qualified teachers in many areas of the country, the average expenditure per student and the average salary of a public school teacher for the 2001-02 school year increased only slightly over the previous year according to NEA's Rankings and Estimates: Rankings of the States 2002 and Estimates of School Statistics 2003.
Over the last 10 years, teacher salaries have remained flat, growing just 2.4 percent or approximately0.2 percent per year when the cost of living is factored in. Average teacher salaries from 1991 to 2002 declined in 19 states and the District of Columbia.. The biggest salary loss was in Alaska (-13.6 percent). The average public school teacher salary is $44,683--with 37 states below the average.
The highest-ranking states in teacher pay were California, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The lowest were South Dakota, North Dakota and Mississippi. Over the previous entire decade, average salaries for teacher increased only 2.4 percent, in constant dollars..
While average per-pupil spending for the 2001-02 school year rose 3.5 percent to $7548, twenty-nine states fall below the average. (Nevada is 45 in the list or just up from the bottom.) Federal funding was only 7.5 percent in 2001-02--too little to prevent state and local government from sacrificing other programs in order to meet federal mandates.
By failing to fully finance the No child Left Behind Act of 2001, the federal government has undermined state and local governments' ability to attract qualified teachers, modernize existing schools and build new ones, and provide students with the programs, materials, and books they will need to meet the high standards envisioned by the new law. The compete report can be found at www.nea.org/edstats/images/03rankings.pdf.
The Cost of Testing
A General Accounting Office (GAO) study of the costs of tests mandated in the No Child Left Behind Act found that costs varied considerably depending on the type of test administered, how they are scored, how many new tests are needed, and the extent to which actual test questions are released to the public.
If all states used multiple-choice tests, which are machine-scored, GAO predicts the costs would be about $1.9 billion. If states maintain a mix of question types, then the cost could rise to #3.9 billion. but if open-ended essay questions are added that require hand scoring, then the cost could be as much as $5.3 billion. States may have to choose between saving money and fair assessment of student achievement. Learn more at www.gao.fov/new.items/d03389.pdf.
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