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The

Voice The Nebraska State Education Association ď ś March 2012

March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 1


Opening Bell Upcoming Assignments March 7-23 Balloting Open for NSEA Leadership n What: The annual election to fill vacancies on district and the statewide NSEA Board of Directors. n Details: Nearly 40 NSEA leadership spots are open across the state. Candidates have filed, now it’s up to you to vote. See details on Page 9 April 20-21 NSEA’s 151st Delegate Assembly n What: Planning is well under way for the annual meeting that will set the NSEA’s course for the next year. Among highlights: NEA President Dennis VanRoekel will be on hand. n Details: The Assembly is set for LaVista’s Embassy Suites. Watch the April issue of The Voice for full details. May 12 Step Up for Kids Benefit Walk n What: A walkathon to benefit the NSEA Children’s Fund will be held at Super Saver, 27th and Pine Lake Road, Lincoln. n Details: Collect pledges, then come walk. See Page 9.

On the Cover: the

Foundation Dollars Will Benefit Literacy Plan; You Can Win Foundation Grant, Too Two NSEA members at Wahoo Public Schools have won a $5,000 student achievement grant from the NEA Foundation. Paula Conrad and Pam Trutna won the grant to fund a leveled literacy intervention program at Wahoo Elementary School, where they both teach. The grant was announced by NEA Foundaton President and CEO Harriet Sanford, and was among 28 student achievement grants and 23 learning and leadership grants awarded. “Grant applications for these programs were caerefully evaluated by a select panel of peers, who considered the quality of the proposed ideas and their potential for enhancing student achievement,” said Sanford. Conrad and Trutna will implement a leveled literacy intervention, which is a research-based systematic reading program that will enhance the school district’s Title 1 program and accelerate reading proficiency. The intervention, which will be in-

troduced in elementary school classrooms, will include five essential components: phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Those components will provide a balanced approach to teaching reading, and educators will track and record student progress on a daily basis. The project, with the NEA Foundation funding, will be in effect for the next year. Each year, the NEA Foundation awards nearly 200 grants to support educators’ efforts to close the achievement gaps, develop creative learning opportunities for students, and enhance their own professional development. There are two primary grant categories open to public education professionals: Student Achievement Grants and Learning & Leadership Grants. Applications for both can be completed online. There are rolling deadlines for the grant applications. Learn how you can apply at: www.neafoundation.org/

Hastings teachers Ben Welsch, left, and Sharon Witt know what it means to do more with less. Their school district lost $2.9 million in state aid this past year. For more, turn to

VOICE Nebraska State Education Association 605 S. 14th Street Lincoln, NE 68508-2742 · www.nsea.org (402) 475-7611 · (800) 742-0047

Volume 65, No. 7 ISSN Number: 1085-0783 USPS Number: 000-369

Great Public Schools For Every Child Page 2 n The NSEA Voice n March 2012

Executive Director Assoc. Executive Director Director of Public Affairs Assistant Comm. Director

Craig R. Christiansen Neal Clayburn Karen Kilgarin Al Koontz

NSEA BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Nancy Fulton, Wilber-Clatonia Vice President Leann Widhalm, Norfolk NEA Director John Heineman, Lincoln NEA Director Jenni Absalon, Lincoln

Official publication of the Nebraska State Education Association, Suite 200, 605 South 14th Street, Lincoln, NE 685082742. Periodical postage paid at Lincoln, NE, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: send address changes to The Voice, NSEA, 605 S. 14th Street, Lincoln, NE 68508-2742.

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Published and mailed 6 times yearly according to this schedule: September, October, November, February, April and August. Published online in December, January, March and May. Payment of annual NSEA membership dues entitles Nebraska educators to receive The Voice. Total cost of producing 10 monthly issues of The Voice each year is about $4.84 per member. Advertising rates of The Voice are available from the assistant communications director. All advertisements and advertisers are screened prior to publication. Appearance of an advertisement in The Voice does not necessarily imply NSEA endorsement of either the product being advertised or the views being expressed.


From the President

NSEA President Nancy Fulton

The U.S.

Census Bureau says Nebraska already ranks 47th in terms of state aid to public schools. Do we now aspire to be 50th?

As the Nebraska Legislature passes the halfway point of the 60-day session, NSEA continues to work on your behalf for bills that would encourage senators to put public education as Priority Number One. It is through strong public schools that Nebraska will build strong communities and a strong economy. With that goal in mind I note that, over the years, NSEA has worked closely with Gov. Dave Heineman on a number of measures to move public education forward. We hope to continue that good working relationship. But the governor’s recent state budget proposal accelerates Nebraska’s budgetary train down the tracks headlong toward a budget crisis. His plan would raise property taxes, delay needed infrastructure maintenance and improvements and, most importantly, would gut state funding for public education. That is not a route any of us want to travel. An Emotional Allure

Embodied in LB970, the governor’s plan would reduce corporate and income tax rates. Yet despite the rhetoric, LB970 is less about helping hard-working, middle class families than it is about the emotional allure and politics of tax cuts. In fact, under scrutiny, LB970 does not fit at all with the fiscally sound budget policies Nebraska taxpayers embrace. The tax changes in LB970 are spread over several years and would start with a $51 million reduction in state revenue during 201213 – paid for by a corresponding cut of $51 million in state aid to K-12 public schools. The U.S. Census Bureau says Nebraska already ranks 47th in terms of state aid to public schools. Do we now aspire to be 50th? The governor has warned Nebraskans to ignore the “special interests” that oppose LB970. However, the “special interest” group we call students would clearly lose out under LB970. So would those “special interest” Nebraskans who, under LB970, will pay higher property taxes in their support of public schools. Locomotive Headlight

Meanwhile, LB970 ignores the bright headlight of the oncoming budget locomotive. The Legislature’s Fiscal Office sees that locomotive headlight in the form of a $343

million budget shortfall for 2013-15. Add LB970’s revenue loss of $327 million, another $9 million issue with the state reserve fund, and and there is a combined $660 million budget train wreck ahead. To maintain that course is fiscally irresponsible. Further, LB970 would provide greater benefits to the wealthy and to big business at the expense of hard-working Nebraska taxpayers and small businesses. Two of LB970’s proposed changes are front and center. There is a reduction in the corporate income tax only for C-corporations with net profits greater than $100,000. LB970 also reduces individual income tax rates and broadens income brackets. But before you celebrate a windfall, check the details. The corporate income tax rate reduction in LB970 does nothing for small businesses, which are organized predominantly as S-corporations and other types of sole proprietorships. LB970 reduces the corporate income tax rates only for those C-corporations with net profits of more than $100,000. Among them are the large, multi-national corporations like Union Pacific, ConAgra, WalMart. Emotional

Meanwhile, the income tax side of LB970 would make two changes. The top income bracket for married, filing jointly would increase from $54,000 to $60,000. The tax rate would move from 6.84 percent to 6.7 percent. So, in fact, the plan means that if your adjusted gross income is more than $60,000, you would be taxed at the same marginal rate as Pete Ricketts and Warren Buffett. Under LB970, a family with two children and a federal adjusted gross income (AGI) of $50,000 would receive a tax cut of $8.33 a month. The same family with federal AGI of $1 million will get a $1,180 annual tax cut. That lopsided approach does little to benefit thousands upon thousands of middle class Nebraska families who rely on public schools and other public services. Taxpayers deserve a vision that offers strong schools, strong communities and a strong economy. LB970 does not offer that vision. Call your state senator and ask for a vote against LB970. March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 3


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NSEA, Broadcasters, Bright Futures Join to Combat Truancy The facts are staggering: During the 2010 – 2011 school year, 11th graders who missed more than 20 days of school scored 30 points lower on statewide reading assessments than those who missed fewer than 20 days. n One in every 10 students statewide drop out of school and do not graduate within the typical 4-year high school program, according to the Nebraska Department of Education. n More than 22,000 students missed 20 days or more of school in 2009-2010. Clearly, there is little doubt that truancy is a significant problem that must be addressed. To that end, the Nebraska State Education Association, Building Bright Futures, and the Nebraska Broadcasters Association have joined forces to create and promote TruancySolutions. org. The website is part of a broader campaign to provide information and raise public awareness about the problem of truancy, as well as to identify resources for tackling the issue. The goal is to educate parents and students on the importance of regular school attendance and the long-term impact truancy has on a student’s life. “Our goal is to give every child a great education, but we can’t do that when children are absent from school,” said NSEA President Nancy Fulton. “Getting children to the school door is the first step, and it is our intention that this campaign would help school-going rates.”

The statewide campaign will include outreach to the public through radio, television and online messages, with an emphasis on the Omaha metro area. A 2007 study, conducted by SRI International, indicated a dropout rate as high as 32 percent in the metro area. Statewide, 22,000 public school students missed more than 20 days of school in 2010-11. “Those numbers are much too high,” said Fulton. “Not only do we need to get those students back in our school buildings, we have to engage them and make the school day a meaningful experience for them.” Research shows that truancy has an exponentially negative effect on students’ performance, and education leaders as well as elected officials have raised the issue as an educational priority for Nebraska. A breakdown by the Nebraska Department of Education indicates that 11th-graders who missed more than 20 days of school scored 30 points lower on last year’s statewide reading assessment than those who missed fewer than 20 days. Being out of school has a cumulative effect that severely compromises a student’s academic performance. It is important that parents and students understand that missing school impacts the performance of that student not only in school but later in life in the job market. For additional information and resources, please visit: truancysolutions.org

There are nearly 300,000 opportunities for savings using your NSEA membership card! That’s right, nearly 300,000 merchant locations across the country offer a savings to you simply for being a member in good standing of the Nebraska State Education Association! If you think there are no savings opportunities of interest to you, look again: the list includes more than 62,000 dining and food locations; more than 36,000 automotive services sites; 28,600 motels and hotels; and 25,000 health and beauty merchants. You can also earn savings or rebates at these wireless carriers: Verizon, Sprint, at&t, T-Mobile. Sears is on the list, as is Kohl’s, target, Office Depot, Gordman’s and Home Depot. Your new card is valid through December 2012. All NSEA members, including first-time members, can access savings by using their individual 10-digit Association identification number, which appears above the name on every Association mailing. To start saving, members must activate their card. It’s easy to do, by following these steps: n Log on to the NSEA website at www.nsea.org.

n Enter your member ID number located on the front of the card or on the mailing label above your name on print issues of The Voice. n Create your personal account by following the registration instructions. You can also activate your account by calling the toll-free number listed on the back of each card: 1-888-313-6591. Some merchants require that you present your card at the time of purchase. Others require that you print a coupon from the Access website, so be certain to check the individual merchant page on the website for specific instructions. Start saving! March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 5


Cuts on the front lines: Hastings High School teachers Ben Welsch, left, and Sharon Witt, like many Nebraska teachers, understand first-hand the effect of state aid cuts.Welsch is teaching to larger classes this year, while Witt was moved from the Math Department to the Business Department.

remain at the current $880 million. That was a reasonable exAs elected officials wrangle over how much state aid Nepectation, considering the $880 million figure is $70 million braska’s public schools might receive next year, those on the less than last school year’s $950 million in aid (2010-11). front lines of education already know how much aid will be Yet Gov. Dave Heineman authorized. Not nearly enough. would cut education further. Just ask educators and adThe Governor’s LB970 would ministrators in Hastings, where reduce 2012-13 state aid by Superintendent Craig Kautz Tell Lawmakers: Be Reasonable $51 million to pay for a $51 is understandably proud of his At center is the amount the needs based state aid formula million tax cut that benefits big district’s work. dictated was adequate at the time of the calculation. On the right corporations and millionaires. “Ours is one of the finest is the amount of state aid actually disbursed to schools that year. Education Committee Chairpublic institutions in the state,” Fiscal Year 2008-09:............$900. 8 million...........$839.4 million man Sen. Greg Adams’ LB913 said Kautz, “mostly because of Fiscal Year 2009-10:............$941.3 million............$933.8 million would also cut current aid levthe teaching staff, the adminFiscal Year 2010-11:............$950.2 million...........$950.2 million* els. Only Sen. Galen Hadley’s istrative staff and the board. Fiscal Year 2011-12:............$1.022 billion............$880.3 million+ bill, LB947, would set aid at or They all care about kids and Fiscal Year 2012-13:............$1.132 billion.....................? near the $880 million mark. want kids to have the best we *Included $140 million in federal stabilization dollars. Teachers and other school can provide.” +Included $60 million in federal jobs monies. staff working closest to stuProviding the best has bedents know such funding cuts come much more difficult for are felt in the classroom. Administrators like Kautz are watchdistricts like Hastings, which lost $2.9 million in state aid this ing fuel prices climb, and know that rising supply and other year. That’s no small amount for any district, much less one that costs will only add to the dilemma next year. counts on the state for 56 percent of all revenue. “We can’t continue to demand that our public schools conBut if it was difficult for Nebraska school districts to “protinue to do more, and do it for less,” said Kautz. vide the best” this year, it may become nearly impossible in 2012-13. Struggling Students A year ago, the Legislature’s oft-tinkered with needs-based Despite the $2.9 million state aid loss, Hastings cut just one formula projected state aid for the 2012-13 school year would

A State Aid History

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teaching job, a high school math position. Sharon Witt moved from the Math Department to fill an open slot in the Business Department where she now teaches Computer Applications and Keyboarding. She enjoyed teaching math, and last year helped develop an intense intervention program to help students struggling with math. Witt said the resulting small group and one-on-one work with students was enjoyable, rewarding and of great benefit to students. She was admittedly upset last spring when told that state aid cuts would force her to move to the Business Department. She is endorsed to teach computers but does not feel it is the best use of her skills. Thus, this year has been a challenge and she is concerned for Math Department colleagues and students she left behind. “When a department loses a teacher, that automatically means that class sizes increase,” she said. “Students who struggle with math have an easier time hiding in a larger class because the teacher has more students upon which to focus her attention. “The teachers who remain in the Math Department do a wonderful job but everyone has lost one extra teacher to help ensure a quality education occurs,” she said. Seventh-year Hastings math teacher Ben Welsch agrees. “My class size went from about 19 to 22 or so. Those extra bodies do change the dynamics,” he said. More to the point, he said the “sheltered” classes – the intense intervention program Witt helped develop – have grown in size as well. “Those are targeted classes we want to keep smaller, but we can’t do that when we lose a teacher,” said Welsch. More Severe Even with the loss of a teacher, Kautz is proud of the Math Department’s work. “I would rather “We can’t continue to not have reduced a demand that our public math teacher at the schools continue to do high school – but I’m proud of what we’re more, and do it for less.” doing with our math — Craig Kautz, program,” he said. Superintendent, More severe cuts Hastings Public Schools came in other areas. Last year, the district had a director of human resources. This year, Kautz wears that hat. Kautz said the district is not serving high-ability learners as well as it might. The district’s Building and Site Budget runs on just $350,000. Teachers and classified staff received very small settlements this year, and administrator’s wages were frozen. The district’s cash reserve – $2 million for a $40 million annual budget – would keep the district afloat for less than

Speaking out: NSEA President Nancy Fulton takes the podium at a Feb. 14 news conference that included nearly a dozen organizations opposed to LB970, the governor’s tax plan.

‘No’ on LB970

NSEA’s Fulton Leads Off Coalition Effort NSEA President Nancy Fulton took the lead on Valentine’s Day to urge state senators to oppose LB970, Gov. Dave Heineman’s tax plan. Fulton spoke first among the eight groups that formed a coalition against the bill. Appropriate for the day, Fulton said that while LB970 “offers a sweetheart deal for the wealthy – it breaks my heart to think of what it would do to funding for the education of those third graders in Wilber-Clatonia – and all across our state.” Fulton taught for 34 years at Wilber-Clatonia. Close scrutiny of LB940 has found that the plan provides big tax breaks to corporations and millionaires while tossing small tax breaks to the majority of Nebraskans. Further, the plan puts vital public services and infrastructure at risk – while ignoring and nearly doubling a projected state revenue shortfall of $343 million in 2013-15. “The best way to help hard-working Nebraska families is to provide important, needed public services,” said Fulton. “One of the most important of those services is educating our children. American democracy, its economic strength, and America’s national security all start – and end – with the bedrock principle of quality public schools for our children.” Among other groups opposing LB970 are AARP, The Nebraska Appleseed Project, the Center for Rural Affairs, the Nebraska Association of County Officials, the Lancaster County Board,The Open Sky Policy Institute and Voices for Children.

a month. The district has for years been at the $1.05 levy limit. And Kautz admits that the board put the district’s depreciation plan in play this year, “but not the way you would want to put it in play. We should be contributing to that every year, but we’re not doing that. We’re taking money out,” he said. Given all that, Kautz said it’s “very reasonable” to talk about $880 million in state aid. “The kids and teachers don’t care where the March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 7


funding comes from,” he said. “They care about what they’re able to do for kids in the classroom.” Asked what he would tell the assembled members of the Nebraska Legislature, Welsch said that if Nebraska schools are to remain among the best in the nation, it will take a commitment of dollars. “The amount of dollars you allocate reflects that commitment,” he said. Legislation Ahead During the past month, NSEA leadership testified on several bills of importance. They included: LB913: State Aid NSEA President Nancy Fulton voiced opposition to LB913, a measure that would set state aid for 2012-13 at a level well below the $880 million figure certified a year ago. “If the State of Nebraska is serious about being competitive among its national peers in economic development and small business creation and growth, then it must equitably and adequately invest in strong public schools.” LB1156: Expenditure Limits Fulton testified in favor of LB1156, offered by Holdrege Sen. Tom Carlson. LB1156 would remove expenditure limits for nearly 100 non-equalized Nebraska school districts – those that receive no state aid dollars. Such districts would still be constrained by the $1.05 levy limit. “NSEA has long advocated for equitable and adequate funding of our public schools,” said Fulton. “That can only be accomplished by dedicating state resources to that goal. NSEA believes that public school funding should not fall disproportionately on the backs of property taxpayers.” LB1156 remains in the Education Committee. LB870 and LB1124: Accountability LB1124 would order the State Board to formulate a multiple-measure accountability system for public schools beginning with the 2012-13 school year. It would also allow the State Board to designate as “priority” those schools that fall short of minimum expectations. The State Board has already begun that process, and NSEA supports the plan. But Director of Instructional Advocacy Jay Sears said that NSEA has reservaPage 8 n The NSEA Voice n March 2012

tions about legislating each and every element of an accountability system. “Sometimes we need to go slow to go fast,” said Sears. “The federal No Child Left Behind AYP system is an example of going too fast, and we’ve had to live with that mistake for more than 10 years.” Sears urged senators to let the State Board of Education do the job its members are authorized and elected to do. Sears said that NSEA trusts the State Board of Education will develop an accountability system that truly uses multiple measures. Besides test scores, student improvement and growth on test scores, and graduation rates, NSEA hopes those multiple measures will include class size, student attendance, school funding, poverty, numbers of English Language Learners, and numbers of Special Education students. LB870 advanced and is the Education Committee’s priority. LB976: Social Security Income Tax Nebraska is one of only five states to tax Social Security. Members of NSEARetired have worked long and hard to encourage senators to repeal that tax. NSEA-Retired President Roger Rea told the Legislature’s Retirement Committee in February that retirees are an untapped

economic resource for Nebraska who spend their money where they live. “They support their local grocery stores, restaurants, clothing stores, hardware stores, movie theaters, car dealers, and doctors and pharmacies, just to name a few businesses,” he said. Further, said Rea, Social Security and pensions are intended to keep the elderly and disabled citizens out of poverty – retirement dollars were never meant to be a source of revenue for the state. LB1098: State Funding of Schools Last year, state senators passed legislation that would allow, for the first time, state roads funding to come out of general funds, as well as the tax on fuel. Such a move further constricts the already tight state general fund budget, which includes state aid. NSEA supports LB1098, which would pull state roads funding out of the general fund line item. “NSEA supports the adequate and equitable funding of K-12 public schools,” said NSEA’s Jerry Hoffman. “State support for public schools is constitutionally paramount to all other priorities. LB1098 ensures that the State of Nebraska’s resources are properly aligned with support of this number one priority.”


Children’s Fund Aids Child Who Walked Barefoot to School — in January NSEA’s Sally Bodtke has heard a lot of sad stories in her more than 12 years working with the Children’s Fund. The tale she heard from a teacher in eastern Nebraska the week of Feb. 6 was near the top of the list. The teacher had noticed that a young girl in her early elementary grade classroom frequently took her winter boots off during class, or during recess in the gymnasium. Just an effort to be more comfy, thought the teacher. Then the child was spotted walking to school on snow- and ice-covered sidewalks. She was walking barefoot, carrying her boots. It was obvious: the boots were far too small for her feet and caused more pain than did the ice and snow. Further, the child was wearing a light windbreaker. A quick call to the NSEA and the problem was solved. The child quickly had new boots and a warm winter coat – for this year, at least. That’s how the Children’s Fund makes a difference.

Teachers often use their own dollars to help these children, even while knowing that they can’t help every child. That’s why NSEA created the Children’s Fund. Since 1994, donations to the Children’s Fund have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to help children in need. In the past two years, the Children’s Fund has provided nearly $120,000 in relief. Contributions to the NSEA Children’s Fund come from teachers and businesses across the state. Contributions are tax deductible — and it’s important to note that every penny contributed helps children. NSEA picks up administrative expenses. There is no red tape, no form for teachers to fill out. Simply contact the NSEA at 1-800-742-0047 and ask for Sally Bodtke. Or e-mail her at: sally.bodtke@nsea.org

Time to Select Board Members, Officers at District, State Levels The annual opportunity to participate in the election of NSEA leadership will soon be under way. Elections for positions on the NSEA Board of Directors, as well as for nearly 40 spots on Association district boards, will begin on Wednesday, March 7. Those elected leaders will represent member interests at the regional and state level; will work to advance the interests of the Association; and will act to push a public school agenda. Thus, it’s important that every member take part in the election – made easier with NSEA’s webbased voting system. On March 7, all members with e-mail will receive a note alerting them that balloting is under way. In order to vote online, members must have their 10-digit

Walk This Way! Late last summer, NSEA organized a walk to benefit the Children’s Fund. The walk was such a success, it will be replicated on May 12 in Lincoln. Called ‘Step Up for Kids,’ the two-mile walk will begin and end at the Super Saver grocery store at 27th and Pine Lake Road in Lincoln. Participants are asked to collect pledges in exchange for completing the walk. Last August’s walk collected more than $8,000. Watch The Voice and the NSEA website, or call NSEA at 1-800-742-0047, to participate or for details. The website is at: www.nsea.org

membership identification number at hand. The number is embossed on each member’s NSEA membership card, and is also located just above the member’s name on the mailing label on each print edition of The Voice. The March 7 e-mail alerting members to the election will include a link to the ballot, as well as the member’s identification number. To vote, visit NSEA’s website and look for the ‘Elections’ link. Click on that link, enter your membership number and you will be directed to the proper ballot. While reviewing the ballot, members will be able to click on a candidate’s name and read a short candidate statement. Not every candidate supplied a statement. Balloting will close at midnight on Friday, March 23. The NSEA Board of Directors will certify the results in April, and those results will be announced in the May issue of The Voice. The NSEA website is at: www.nsea.org March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 9


Strong Internal Governance Makes for a Strong Local Association A strong local association strengthens the state association. A strong state association, in turn, bolsters the local association. But what traits make for a strong local association? This series reviews the traits of what the NSEA and the NEA call a “Full Capacity Local Association.” The series will allow current leaders, future leaders and members to measure the current strengths, as well as opportunities for gaining full capacity, with the local association. This month’s item looks at another core local membership service: internal governance. Jackee Wise has served in nearly every office a local association has to offer, some twice. As a former teacher and leader of the Papillion-LaVista Wise Education Association, Wise knows why a strong internal governance structure is important. “Full capacity locals elect leaders who understand, are active with, and are focused on local goals,” said Wise. “Full capacity locals communicate well with members, hold regular association or building rep meetings, and regularly solicit their members for input.” Wise said that the traits for internal governance are a perfect checklist for active, engaged locals. Those traits include: n Regular election of officers and disclosure of results.

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n A regular update of Bylaws, including an update of job descriptions, roles and responsibilities of officers. n The annual re-establishment of goals in order to achieve objectives. n The regular setting of long-term strategic goals. n The election or appointment of association representatives at each work site or building. n Maintenance of a committee structure, such as Membership, Advocacy, Teaching and Learning, Bargaining, and Social committees, among others. n The regular solicitation of input from members as part of the decision-making process. n Attendance by association representatives at area and/ or NSEA leadership trainings. n Identification of potential leaders and involvement of those members in the local’s activities. n Regular association representative meetings with structured agendas. n Regular all-member meetings with structured agendas. n Use of technology to gather and analyze data, and to share information in order to guide the association. NSEA has available for use by local associations an assessment survey that will help determine whether a local meets these and other ‘full capacity local’ benchmarks. Questions? Call your UniServ director at 1-800-742-0047.


Higher Ed Five: Among attendees at the NSEA Higher Education Advocacy Conference were, front, from left, Sara Barritt, Anthony Beardslee and Gene Reed, all of Northeast Community College; and in back, from left, Roger Davis, of the University of Nebraska-Kearney; and John Kretzschmar, of the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Members from nearly a dozen Nebraska community colleges, state colleges and universities were wellrepresented at NSEA’s annual Higher Education Advocacy Conference, held recently at the University of NebraskaKearney. The conference helps local association negotiators prepare as they begin talks for the next contract year. About 30 negotiators were on hand for the two-day meeting, where they were apprised of challenges ahead by NSEA Director of Bargaining and Research Larry Scherer. Negotiators learned from Scherer about new bargaining calendars for

Around the table: Discussing common issues are, from left, Margaret Williams, Central Community College; Linda Chandler and Joan Trimpey of Metro Community College; Central Community College’s Lael Churchill and Linda Heil.

higher education members; the slowly improving state of the economy; moderating health insurance costs – the result of health care reform; and the importance of building membership and organizational capacity to help with bargaining. Attendees also received a status report of action in the Nebraska Legislature by Jerry Hoffman of NSEA Gov-

UNO attendees: On hand at the Higher Ed Conference from the University of Nebraska-Omaha were Joseph Brown, left, and William Pratt.

ernment Relations. Sessions were held on bargaining for four-year institutions and for community colleges. NSEA-Retired President Roger Rea offered ideas about retirement preparation, and NSEA UniServ Director Mike Wiesen provided strategies for building membership. Peru State College’s Bill Clemente provided photos from the conference.

UNK representatives: Attending from the University of Nebraska-Kearney were, from left, Bill Wozniak and Scott Darveau. March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 11


By Patricia Bruder Before you begin collecting apps for your iPad or Android device, take a look at the checklist, Critical Evaluation of An Ipad/Ipod App. The form is free to download for classroom use. To get you started, Google Apps in Classrooms and Schools: 32 Ways to Use Google Apps in 50 Minutes is a teacher-created slideshow (or you can download it as a PDF) that shows how to use apps to increase efficiency, collaboration, and engagement in your classroom.

Content Area Apps: Android

Celeste, 3-D Graphics of the Skies, and Algebra Tutor are among theTop 8 Android Apps for Education from Mashable. Other top applications mentioned here are CueBrain for learning language skills, MapMaster, Sight Read Music Quiz 4 Piano, and Flash Card Maker Pro. Fifty-three Free Android Apps for Education, created by “a math teacher in search of better teaching and success,” is an updated list that includes only free and highly rated apps. Categories include: brain and mental exercises, flashcard and reference programs, math and calculators, and productivity and resource programs. Best and Free Education Android Apps lists apps by cost, top-rated, best, and latest. Both content area and productivity tools are available. Ten Great Android Apps for the Social Studies Classroom links you to PDF descriptions of apps for teaching about Congress, the Constitution, Google Earth and Maps, today in history, famous speeches, and Layar, an augmented reality app that can enhance class field trips. While 101 Best Android Apps in Education is not designed specifically for schools, it includes vocabulary math and art games, trivia, a keyboard and chalkboard simulator, a music dictionary, an animal sounds quiz, and more. The Android Community lists apps by topic including education apps. Ten of the best apps for education takes you through a list including Word Lens (for language classes), Page 12 n The NSEA Voice n March 2012

Molecules, Today in History, Math Ref, P183 Graphing Calculator, Star Walk, Cram, Essay Grader, and eClicker.

Content Area Apps: iPhone, iPad

Five Apps Being Used in the Classroom Right Now are byki (Before You Know It), a foreign language learner tool, World Wiki (uses data from the CIA World Factbook), Motion Math (a video game for learning about number lines and fractions), Blackboard Mobile Learn (for schools that use Blackboard), and Dictionary. com (listed as the number one app for students by U.S. News & World Report). iPad Curriculum links to some interesting classroom apps. Stick Pick lets teachers randomly select students to answer questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and tied to their ability level. The app records student progress and reports can be sent to teacher or parents via email. Other apps include virtual rat and frog dissection, Ancient Egypt from Brittanica, Grammaropolis, and several math apps. Project Based Learning in Hand by educator Tony Vincent describes how he created a lesson plan featuring a video created entirely on his handheld device. Vincent takes you through the steps of planning, researching, and presenting the lesson using readily available apps. His list of apps can be found at Tony Vincent’s applist and ipad Bookmarks. Get mostly free apps for teachers is provided by Horace Mann, “founded by educators for educators.” It includes Android and iPhone apps. Apptivities is a collection of Apple classroom apps that you can sort by grade level or subject area. A changing blogroll suggests other interesting app sites. A teacher-created slideshow, 20 Apps in 20 Minutes is that walks you through classroomtested apps used in fifth grade. For more classroom tested apps,


see 62 Interesting Ways to use an iPad in the Classroom as highlighted in the October Toolbox, and check out the Apple in Education website. The “Six Sides of Steve,” b y teacher Steve W i l liams, includes an article on 50+ iPad Apps by a Geography Teacher. The list includes not only content related apps, but William’s choices for productivity apps. The article Best and Free Education Android Apps includes everything from the world map and NASA to algebra and anatomy apps. And finally, one of the big drawbacks on Apple devices is their inability to play Flash-based movies and apps. iPad Tip: Playing Flash Content on Your iPad – These Apps May Help links to three different browsers – Skyfire, Photon Flash, and iSwifter – that purportedly convert flash sites for your iPhone/iPad device.

Special Needs

Features on the Autism Classroom app for Android, developed by an autism educational specialist, allow you to: n Get fun and interactive activity ideas for joint attention, fine motor, social skills, communication skills, and more n Access more than 100 strategies for addressing over 15 different common challenging behaviors n View an Autism Classroom Checklist to help evaluate an autism classroom. Ten Revolutionary iPad Apps to Help Autistic Children includes Proloque2Go, Grace, iCommunicate for iPad, MyTalkMobile, and TaptoTalk (all augmented communication software), First Then Visual Schedule for positive behavior supports, iConverse (similar to PECS), Autism Express (facial expressions), and stories2learn (social story creation). See a video about some of these apps at iPad Apps That Help Autistic Children’s Development . Seven Special Needs Apps in the Google Android Market includes Voice4u and Tap to Talk and JABTalk (both for augmented and alternative communication), Model Me Going Places, which models children navigating appropriate behavior in different locations, Behavior Tracker Pro, which enables teachers (and parents) to track and graph behavior, AAC Speech Buddy, which allows teachers to create Speech Sets using their own photos or images, and iAugComm, another augmented communication software. Assistive Technology: Special Education Now in App Store

describes several uses of apps for special needs and links to the Apple Assistive Devices Store.

Productivity

Ten Excellent iPad Applications for Teachers describes the following productivity tools: QuickVoice Recorder, Dropbox (the most recommended site for virtual “cloud” file storage), Things for iPad (a task manager), Discover (Wikipedia in a magazine), Evernote and Pages (for note taking or typing), Numbers (spreadsheet), Goodreader (retrieve files over networks, read PDFs), Mobile Air Mouse (can control interactive white boards), and WritePad (converts handwriting to text). A digital whiteboard application is described at ScreenChomp iPad App Brings Digital Whiteboards to the Classroom. This productivity tool is exclusive to the iPad and acts just like an interactive whiteboard, allowing users to draw (in color) with their finger and record and edit in Camtasia (see 16 Free Screen Capturing Software--Alternative to Camtasia). The application creates MP4 files that you can upload to any video sharing site. Using CourseNotes, a notetaking app, you can draw or write, organize your notes as multiple sessions, track assignments, sync with the iPad calendar, collaborate with colleagues, or export your files to DropBox. You can also email your notes as PDF files. In a similar vein, Penultimate is described as the “best-selling handwriting app for iPad.” The latest version allows you to create paper from images and to use storyboard templates. Jonathan Norman, author of iPad Apps for the Classroom (Part 3) recommends using Pogo Sketch, a stylus you can write with instead of using your finger. Suggestions for using Google Docs include: shared lesson plans, grading online student journals, translating parent letters, tracking student homework, and creating flash cards. Google Forms give you the ability to create formative and summative assessments, create student interest surveys, conduct student observations, allow students to complete online reading records, track discipline referrals, create spelling tests, or collect scientific data. You can find advanced tips at Google Apps for Education Training Center, Chapter 6: Forms. (Other assessment tools can be found at Assessment Apps by Vicki Windman.) Use Google Calendar to create shared calendars, create a check-out sheet (for classroom books, laptops, projectors, etc.), or map your curriculum to standards. You can find tips on using Google Talk to hold office hours, invite presenters to your classroom, create a classroom website, coordinate student portfolios, projects and reports, and on how to run a classroom blog, with examples and additional links. Free email and collaboration tools for schools from Google Apps for Education demonstrates the various features and applications of Google Mail, Docs, Calendar, Groups and more for schools. Patricia Bruder, president of Linchpin Solutions LLC, consults for the Educational Information and Resource Center (EIRC) located at the South Jersey Tech Park at Rowan University, Mullica Hill. EIRC is a public agency specializing in education-related programs and services for teachers, parents, schools, communities, and non-profit organizations throughout New Jersey. Learn more about EIRC at www.eirc.org or call 856-582-7000. Contact Patricia Bruder at: linchpinsolutions@gmail.com March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 13


Hunger Haunts the Hallways Nebraska Schools Challenged to Increase Breakfast Participation in Coming Years Hunger also haunts classrooms, as well. Sadly, Nebraska is typical of what is occurring across the country. Share Our Strength, a national not-for-profit group dedicated to ending childhood hunger in the U.S., says nearly two thirds of K-8 teachers reported that students came to school hungry because there was not enough food at home. The findings were based on a national survey of K-8 teachers in both 2009 and 2010. Anecdotal accounts by teachers support scientific research that has found hungry students often have trouble with classroom behavior, following instructions, concentration and the ability to learn. Nebraska is ranked 47th among 50 states in school breakfast participation. The Midwest Dairy Council, Share Our Strength, Hunger Free Heartland, Nebraska Department of Education, ConAgra Foods Foundation, Food Research and Action Center and Nebraska’s Action for Healthy Kids have partnered to challenge Nebraska schools to increase breakfast participation over the next two years. The challenge comes with financial support through grants, awards and federal subsidies. Nebraska Commissioner of Education Dr. Roger Breed and Nebraska First Lady Sally Ganem both support the challenge as a means to improve student performance and test scores without adding financial burdens to school taxpayers. The first step in closing the breakfast gap is a conversation with your school principal regarding the Nebraska School Breakfast Challenge. Details are at: www.hungerfreeheartland.org

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OEA Cookbook a Success! Order Your Copy Soon Proceeds Benefit Member Resource Fund More than 300 recipes are in the new OEA cookbook, Outstanding OEA Recipes. More than 250 copies were sold prior to the Christmas holiday, but cookbooks remain available. The price is $10 per copy, unless you contributed a recipe. Those who contributed a recipe can get one copy of the book at $5 for each recipe contributed, with a limit of five books at that rate. All profits from the cookbook sale will benefit the OEA Member Emergency Resource Fund, which provides financial assistance to OEA members undergoing short-term financial hardships. To buy one of the cookbooks, send your name, address and phone number, along with a check, to OEA, Attn: Lorrie, 4202 South 57th Street, Omaha, NE 68117.


Homestead Act of 1862 Will be At Homestead Monument Four pages, 4 million claims and America was forever changed. The four pages which make up the Homestead Act of 1862 will be on display at Homestead National Monument from April 25 through May 28. When not on display, the Act is housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Signed by President Abraham Lincoln, the Homestead Act of 1862 is considered one of the 100 most important documents in the National Archive. “During the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act we thought it was important to share the document which is at the heart of the story we share with every visitor to Homestead National Monument of America,” said Monument Superintendent Mark Engler. “We believe that this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many Americans to see this historic document.” Four million people filed for free land under the Homestead Act of 1862. America gave away 270 million acres (nearly 10 percent of its land mass) from January 1, 1863, through 1976 in the lower 48 states, and through 1986 in Alaska. It is estimated that as many as 93 million Americans are descendants of homesteaders. Jason Jurgena, curator at Homestead, has been preparing

for the document’s arrival since early in 2011. “It’s a rare opportunity to see a document that had such an important impact on this country,” said Jurgena. The Homestead Act will be on view at the park’s Heritage Center. Like all other park programs and activities, viewing will be free of charge. Groups of 15 or more are encouraged to make reservations. Spots for classroom visits are filling quickly; teachers wishing to schedule a class trip to the site should contact Monument Education Specialist Tina Miller at 402-223-3514. For details on the Monument’s programs or activities, visit: www.nps.gov/home

March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 15


News You Can Use Nebraska Handwriting Contest Under Way The deadline is near for the 22nd annual Nebraska Handwriting Contest! Held each year to promote legible handwriting as an effective means of communication, the contest is administered each year by the University of Nebraska-Kearney, with prizes provided by the Antelope Book Store. Any Nebraska resident is eligible to participate, with prizes being awarded in four categories: ages 12 and under; ages 13–16; ages 17-49; and ages 50 and over. Each category will offer a first and second place prize. Contestants will be asked to copy and submit a text in cursive handwriting. Students are urged to participate. If part of a classroom project, teachers are asked to submit the top three of four entries from each classroom after local judging. Entries are due no later than March 31. Winners will be announced and posted on the website by April 30. For details, go to the website at: http://coe.unk.edu/contest

Will You Find Yourself in India This Summer? NSEA member Dr. Meena Dalal has lined up a study tour to India this summer, and is inviting educators across the state to join her on the trip. Participants can earn three credit hours through Wayne State College. The dates for the tour are July 18Aug. 1, with departure from Omaha. The cost includes round trip air fare, travel in India, double occupancy hotel rooms, most meals, health insurance, and the credit hours. Space is limited. Dalal said participants will learn much about India’s 5,000-year history, philosophy and culture – the land of elephants, peacocks and tigers. For details, contact Dalal at 402375-7509, or e-mail her at: medalal1@wsc.edu

Water Education Offers New Teaching Guide Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) released a new activity Page 16 n The NSEA Voice n March 2012

Geography Educators Are in the Field! The Geographic Educators of Nebraska are back in the field offering two free professional development institutes this summer. Any K-12 Nebraska educator who desires to learn how to put more and better standards-based geography content into their classrooms is welcome to apply. “Geography of the City–Omaha” will be based at the University of Nebraska-Omaha on June 11-15. Speakers and presentations will focus on human and physical geography. Field study will highlight and explain important locations in Omaha’s urban and economic geography. Participants will create and share standards-based lesson plans relating to Nebraska geography. Registrants from outside a 50-mile radius of Omaha will have free housing at UNO. Participants will receive free teaching materials. For an application form or more details, e-mail Steve Callaghan at: callaghan@abbnebraska.com  “Geography of the Frontier: Northwest Nebraska and More” will be based at Chadron State College from July 16-22.  The institute will be packed with field studies, lectures, and lessons presented by elementary/secondary GEON teacher consultants.  Field study will take place in the Black Hills, the Sandhills, at Fort Robinson and on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Participants will create and share standards-based lesson plans relating to Nebraska geography. Free housing at Chadron State is provided. For an application form or more details, e-mail Lonnie Moore at: lmoore@westside66.org Three hours of graduate credit for either institute is available through Wayne State College.   Participants completing all requirements will receive a $250 stipend which can be applied to graduate credit.

guide late last year. Ten years after the first guide came out, the new guide is filled with previous activities, as well as new activities focusing on oceans, water and human health, recycling, and special water places. Enhanced units on watershed and water quality are also included. New features include a reading corner with literature connections for each activity; tech-

nology connections; and an action component. A new on-line portal is also available when you receive the new guide. The portal has a variety of resources to expand each activity, as well as forums and discussion boards to network with other educators who are using the guide. Learn more at: http://projectwet.org


Confessions of The 2011 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year This item was written by 2011 New Jersey Teacher of the Year Danielle Kovach. In february, Kovach received the NEA Member Benefits Teaching Excellence Award for 2012. Kovach’s ‘confession’’ was brought to our attention by 2011 Nebraska Teacher of the Year Bob Feurer, North Bend. By Danielle Kovach As the school year begins, I would like to be open and honest about the teaching profession, and clarify the things that did not cause me to embrace teaching. I am not teaching to have my summers off. Teachers did not enact this century-old law, yet we are constantly criticized for a school year that is not within our control. The reality is, many need to work over the summer to make ends meet, and I am one of them. I am not teaching for the money. I knew that I would never be a millionaire in my profession. The riches that I gain will never be monetary. However, as noble as teaching may be, it is not a charity. The salary that I earn is a reflection of my hard work and expertise. I am not teaching for the health benefits and pension plans. However, I will strive to preserve benefits that were openly negotiated by the teachers and the state. These benefits were earned through my years of service as a public employee. I am not teaching to the test. I am teaching to my students. I am not teaching to be a scapegoat for our nation’s problems. Our schools did not make children obese, underprivileged, disrespectful or bullies. I work with the hand that I am dealt and try to make it better. I am not teaching to escape from the ‘real world.’ Every day, teachers deal with the burdens that our country has

been facing: the economy, unemployment, terrorism and poverty. These are all reflected in the eyes of a child. And when I am holding the hand of a terrified 8-year-old during an active shooter drill in my classroom, I fully understand that it doesn’t get any more real than that. I am not teaching for me. Teaching is the only profession that affects every person across our nation. It is a great responsibility, but not one that can be done independently. Teachers need the support of administrators, parents, community members and government. This collaboration has been replaced with finger-pointing and name-calling. Yet, I am still teaching. Here is why: I am selfish. I selfishly take great pride in myself when I see a child succeed. I know that my passion, dedication and commitment to education are what help my students achieve, not just academically, but in all facets of life. I am greedy. Each day, I expect more and more from my students because I want to see them reach their fullest potential. I am paid to breathe. With every breath that I take, I know that I am making a profound impact on the lives of each and every one of my students. Why? Because ... I am a teacher. Danielle Kovach, a third-grade special education teacher in Hopatcong, NJ.

NSEA Board Updates Minority Involvement Plan The NSEA Board of Directors recently approved an update of the Association’s Minority Involvement Plan. First adopted more than 30 years ago, the plan tracks minority membership growth, minority membership by district, and minority involvement in the state’s delegation to the annual NEA Representative Assembly. NEA Bylaws set a goal for each state to at least match ethnic minority representation in each state’s delegation with identified ethnic-minority populations in the state. The NSEA plan states that the Association “is committed to maximizing minority involvement in the activities and programs of the Association.” To that end, ethnic minority representation at Representative Assembly has surpassed 10 percent of the delegation membership each of the past seven years. The Association leadership promotes minority participation in leadership training, and supports the standing Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee. For details, go to the NSEA website at: www.nsea.org

Apply for Scholarships On Amazon Rainforest Workshop K-12 teachers can win one of three $1,000 scholarships to travel with scientists to one of the most diverse environments in the world. Join a rainforest discovery June 29 through July 8, including a quarter-mile rainforest canopy walkway, Yagua culture and crafts, a village service project, bird watching and more – all in the Amazon Rainforest. Registration is open through May. The cost is $1,850, plus air fare. A  Machu Picchu extension is optional, and academic credit is available. Land cost is $850 for scholarship winners. Submit a scholarship application by March 8. For program and scholarship information, contact Dr. Frances Gatz, 1-800-669-6806 or at: frances@ee-link.net More details are at: http://www.travel2learn.com/amazon.htm March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 17


Stand Against Bullies ‘Stand for the Silent’ is April 20; Balloons, Pledge Cards Available The Stand for the Silent program addresses the issue of school bullying with an engaging, factual and emotional methodology. Students are shown the life and death consequences of bullying and are presented with testimonies, videos and role-play activities. At the end of each event, pledge cards are given to those who agree to stand for the silent. The pledge speaks of respect and love, hope and aspiration. It illustrates the main lesson taught through the Stand for the Silent: I AM SOMEBODY. On April 20, schools are encouraged to join with Nebraska Youth Against Bullying in a stand against bullying by having students stand silently outside for seven seconds, and on the seventh second release balloons to represent “lifting up the victims,” and then recite the I Am Somebody pledge. NSEA is a partner with Serve Nebraska and AmeriCorps Nebraska in the project. Educators who would like to order, at no cost, balloons and pledge cards for the project should contact coordinator Heather Millard at 712-203-1862, or at: heather.millard@nebraska.gov Learn more about Stand for the Silent at: standforthesilent.org To learn more about Serve Nebraska, go to: serve.nebraska.gov

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Marian Klima

Longtime NSEA member Marian Klima, 80, of Pilger died on Feb. 19. Klima was active in NSEA and served on various statewide commissions for the Association. A 1948 graduate of Pilger High School, she taught at Wayne County Rural School District 35 for one year and then at Stanton County rural School Districts 47 and 19 the next three years. After marrying Lige Klima, Jr., they moved to West Virginia in 1952, where he was stationed. Returning to Pilger in 1953, she returned to teaching and taught at Stanton County Districts 25, 18, 43, 14 each for one year and Cuming County 40 for five years before teaching at Beemer for five years. In 1968, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State College and then a master’s in education degree in 1975. She taught at Pilger from 1970 until 1995, when she retired.

Don Brewer Donald F. Brewer, 87, of Kearney died Feb. 17 in Kearney. Berewer was a long-time NSEA member and taught music in the Kearney Public Schools for nearly 30 years. A native of Hershey, he logged service in the U.S. Army during World War II. He attended UCLA before attending and graduating with a master’s degree from Kearney State College. He taught at Sargent and Arapahoe before joining the staff at Kearney Junior High where he taught vocal music and was the band instructor until his retirement in 1990. He was also the choir director at First United Methodist Church for several years, and was a VFW member.


Sharing a moment: The Intergenerational Mentoring program at NSEA Headquarters last month started with participants providing background about themselves. From left are students Melissa Sorensen, Nebraska Wesleyan University; Ashton Kotas, Doane College; Brianne McGee and Chantelle Schrunk, University of Nebraska-Kearney. Below, Jordan Frey of Hastings College visits with retiree Marie Meyers of Westside.

Mentoring Magic Students, Retirees Share

The 2012 round of NSEA-Retired’s Intergenerational Mentoring program kicked off at NSEA Headquarters last month. The program pairs retired educator-mentors with college and university education majors as the students work toward a career in education. Nearly two dozen students were paired with 15 retirees in this latest round of the nationally-recognized program, now in the ninth year. If interested in participating in future years, contact NSEA UniServ Director Maureen Nickels at 1-800-742-0047, or at: maureen.nickels@nsea.org

Getting acquainted: At left, Wheeler Central retiree Dee Gillham and students Devin Garcia of Peru State College, and Ari Peregrine of Nebraska Wesleyan participate in a get-to-know-you exercise. Above, enjoying a light moment in another exercise, from left, are Megan Brand, Wayne State College; Linda Dahlstrom of Grand Island; Gillham and Susie Wooster of Millard. March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 19


SEAN at York College Members of the Student Education Association of Nebraska held the NSEA affiliate’s annual spring conference at York College in February, and a highlight was a panel discussion by active and retired members of NSEA’s Ethnic and Minority Affairs Committee.At left, panel members were Judy Beveridge, retired, Omaha; Broderick Steed, UmonHon Nation Public Schools; Bob DeHart,York College; Irene Cueller, Grand Island; EMAC Chair Tracy Hartman-Bradley, Omaha; and Tarina Cox, Omaha.At right, Hastings College’s Patrick White, SEAN president, and other SEAN members look over the offerings at the annual silent auction sale of teaching materials.

Delegate Assembly Business Deadlines are Upcoming Bylaws, NBIs Due Well Before April 20 Gavel For any local association considering submission of items for consideration at the April 20-21 Delegate Assembly, now is the time to begin that process. A New Business Item, Bylaws Amendment, proposed Resolution, or proposed change in the Standing and Procedural Rules have strict submission deadlines. They include: n A New Business Item calls for a specific action. For example, “The NSEA shall ask the Legislature for an increase in teacher salaries.”  Those are due to NSEA by Friday, April 6. n A Bylaws Amendment changes the governing documents of the Association.  For example, a section of the Bylaws could be changed to add a particular duty to the job description for the president. According to Article XII, Section 1 of the Bylaws, amendments must be submitted 30 days in advance. Thus, proposed changes are due to NSEA by midnight Tuesday, March 20. n A Resolution is a statement of beliefs.  For example, “The NSEA believes that all students should have a safe environment in which to learn.” Those are due to NSEA by Friday, April 6. n A Standing or Procedural Rule governs how the Delegate Assembly will function. Current rules call for proposed changes to be submitted 30 days in advance to be considered and approved by majority vote at the opening session. That deadline is midnight Tuesday, March 20. Changes submitted at the Assembly require a two-thirds majority vote. Associations and/or individual delegates may also submit New Business Items or Resolutions during the first and/or second business sessions of the Delegate Assembly. Standing and Procedural Rule changes can still be submitted during the first business session. Those who submit items for consideration during the first and/or second business session will be responsible for bringing 500 copies for distribution. The appropriate forms for submitting these business items can be accessed on the NSEA homepage at: www.nsea.org Delegate Assembly Standing and Procedural Rules and the current governing documents of the NSEA are also available on the NSEA homepage. Page 20 n The NSEA Voice n March 2012

Are You Ready for Leadership? NSEA Has a Plan! Are you interested in pursuing a leadership post in your local association, or at the regional or state level, in the next few years? Or are you already climbing the leadership ladder? If so, you may want to consider NSEA’s 2012 Leadership Institute. The Institute is set for June 19-21 at NSEA Headquarters in Lincoln and is open to all NSEA members in good standing. Expenses are paid; there is no fee to attend. “Any current and/or potential local leader is urged to attend,” said Kristen Sedlacek, an NSEA UniServ director, and the Institute director. “This is an informal, fun and informational training.” The training is open to every K-12, Higher Education or Educational Support Professional member who is currently a local leader or has interest in becoming a local leader. The program will focus on developing a thorough knowledge of the Association, as well as providing training on member rights, organizing, membership and much more. Participants will also develop relationships by networking with other local leaders from around the state. If you are interested in this training opportunity, call NSEA’s Jan Anderson at 1-800-742-0047, or e-mail her at: jan.anderson@nsea.org Class size is limited. Apply soon!


Award-Winning Film, Panel Discussion Scheduled

Dyslexia Expert at Peru State

Internationally dyslexia expert Susan Barton will offer a free seminar on The Nebraska Dyslexia Association and the the symptoms and solutions for dyslexia on April 19 at Peru State College. Friends of the Nebraska Dyslexia Association With dyslexia affecting 20 percent of the population, it is the most will offer two free events for families, middle common reason why a bright child will struggle with reading, writing and school through college students, educators and spelling. Barton will offer details on why students with dyslexia struggle, and the public. Each event will feature a showing what teachers and parents can do to help. of the HBO network’s Journey into Dyslexia She has been inducted into the International Dyslexia Association’s Hall by award-winning filmmakers Alan and Susan of Honor. and has produced four DVDs on dyslexia. Barton has presented Raymond. around the world on the subject and founded Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, The movie examines the complexities of the whose sole mission is to educate parents and teachers about the causes, differently-structured brain and debunks mispersymptoms and research-based solutions for children and adults with dyslexia. ceptions about dyslexia. It features consumer The April 19 seminar is co-sponsored by the Peru Student Education advocate Erin Brockovich; Intel Read inventor Association, and will begin at 6 p.m. It will be held in the college theater, 600 Ben Foss; New England Wood Pellet CEO Steve Hoyt Street. Reserve a seat at: www.perustate.eventbrite.com Walker; micro sculptor Willard Wigan; and 2009 Nobel Laureate Dr. Carol Greider. They describe dyslexia as a gift and a wonderful form of intel605 S. 14th St., Lincoln. ligence. n Saturday, April 14, 9-11 a.m., Phoenix Academy, 1110 A panel discussion with the audience will follow each N. 66th St., Omaha. showing and will address medical, social, psychological and For details on the showings, call the Nebraska Dyslexia other aspects of dyslexia. Resource information will also be Association at 402-434-6434, e-mail toinfo@ne-da.org or available. visit: The events will be held: www.ne-da.org n Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m. to noon, at the NSEA,

Hanging Out with the President Several NSEA members attended the NEA Western Region Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City in January, and more than a dozen took a moment following the Women’s Leadership Training and Minority Leadership Training sessions to pose with NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. Kneeling, from left, are Nebraska NEA Director Jenni Absalon, Lincoln; Cama Charlet-Sayles, Millard; Glenece Thorton, Omaha. Standing, from left, are Tracia Blom, South Sioux City; Sophia Cano, Omaha;Vida Stabler, Macy;Van Roekel; Lydia Anglin, Macy; Tracey Hartman-Bradley, Omaha; Maria Wilson, Papillion-LaVista; Elizabeth Turner, Fremont; Marguerite Cortez, Macy; Sarah Dragon, Omaha; Stephanie Cain, Bellevue; and Susan Townsend, Lincoln. March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 21


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NEA Member Benefits

Snookie’s Snippets NEA’s Long-Term Care Insurance plan is now underwritten by The Prudential Insurance Company of America. The program offers you and your family free materials to inform you about all the options for your long-term health care needs. Financial security, health, and independence are top priorities for individuals and families. For details, call the Krumbiegel NEA LTC Center at 1-855-632-4582. Tip of the Month Don’t forget the Educator Expense Deduction! If you’re an eligible educator (teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide, or if you work at least 900 hours in an elementary or secondary school), you can deduct up to $250 ($500 if married filing joint and both spouse are educators, but not more than $250 each) of any unreimbursed expenses you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software & services), other equipment, and supplementary materials you use in the classroom. For details, talk to your professional tax preparer. Did You Know? You may be over-insured if you’re: n Buying collision insurance on older or rented cars. n Buying medical payments insurance under your auto policy. n Basing home insurance on the current market value vs. the cost to replace it. You may be under-insured if: n Your current insurance policy does not reflect recent improvements to the home, increases in inflation and new building codes. n If you’re basing home insurance on the current market value vs. the cost to replace it. n If you rent and you assume that you are covered under your landlord’s insurance policy. Go to neamb.com for details. Snookie Krumbiegel is Nebraska’s NEA Member Benefits representative.

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 March: n New Balance: Get 15 percent off. n Priceline.com: Save up to 40 percent on flights. n Hotels.com: Up to 30 percent off. n Sprint: Save up to 27 percent. n Home Depot: Get 10 percent off appliances over $397. Join the 230,000 NEA members already registered for NEA Click & Save. Start shopping today at: www.neamb.com/ clickandsave Spring Break Ahead! If you have spring break plans, enhance them with these great discounts from NEA MB program providers! First, get to the Fun Faster with Alamo, and save up to 25 percent. Get additional coupons, such as $25 off a 4-day rental, to save even more on your car rental! Choose from additional coupons including: n One free day. n One car upgrade. n Weekends from $20 per day. To learn more, visit: www.neamb.com/alamo Or, get the member discount, plus a free upgrade with Enterprise! Enjoy your NEA member discount, plus a Free Upgrade on economy through standard size vehicles at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Now through May 21,

take advantage of a weekend special: car rentals starting at $9.99 per day at participating neighborhood locations! Terms and conditions apply. Make your reservation or find out more at: www.neamb.com/enterprise Finally, combine and save more with Hertz! Combine your NEA member discount (code CDP# 50655) with any Hertz Reusable Special Offer for even more savings. For example, at the airport, save up to 20 percent with your member discount, plus get up to an additional $30 off a weekly car rental (PC# 166736) or weekend car rental (PC# 166725) when you reserve an economy through full-size vehicle or small SUV. This offer is valid now through March 31. Check back often for the latest offers and to reserve your car at: www.neamb.com/hertz You may also make your reservation by calling 1-800-654-2200. A Place to Stay Don’t miss out on the nice place and nice price at Red Roof Inn. With nearly 350 properties in 36 states, Red Roof offers NEA members a 20 percent nationwide discount on already economical rates! For the latest Red Roof details, to sign up to become a member of RediCard (Red Roof’s loyalty program), or to search for the perfect location and make your reservation, get your promo code for a discount by going to Red Roof at: www.neamb.com

Get a School Lounge Makeover!

California Casualty, provider of the NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program, is offering two opportunities for educators and students to win great prizes. In the School Lounge Makeover for Educators program, four schools will win $7,500 to transform school lounges from ordinary to extraordinary. Encourage colleagues to enter, too, and increase your school’s chances of winning. The entry due date is April 30. Details are at: www.schoolloungemakeover.com As a provider of auto insurance for NEA members and their families, California Casualty is concerned about the personal safety of adult and young drivers. The “Create Real Impact” Contest is designed to heighten awareness about the dangers of reckless and distracted driving. U.S. residents ages 15 -22 are eligible to submit creative entries in four categories: art, writing, music and video. The deadline is April 27. For details on how to enter, visit: www.createrealimpact.com March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 23


BCBS Q&A

By Kurt Genrich EHA Plan Advocate On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Health Care Reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Many of the items of the law have been put into place; dependent children coverage to age 26, no pre-existing conditions for children under age 19, no dollar limits on benefits, and an expansion of preventative services. But several other items, including the establishment of medical exchanges, will be in the forefront this year. Medical exchanges are set to be put into place by Jan. 1, 2014. These exchanges will help provide benefits to the 30 million Americans who currently do not have coverage. This will be accomplished by expanding Medicaid benefits to lower income Americans, and by providing subsidies to Americans who earn less than $85,000 per year as a family. The new law will cost approximately $938 billion over the next 10 years. Each state is allowed to establish medical exchanges to help citizens attain coverage. This will allow states to have oversight on the benefits provided, and allow those benefits to vary from the essential set of benefits that the federal government will require. There are currently two leg-

EHA Wellness Program Can Help Making a healthy choice…sounds easy, right? For most of us, it’s not that easy to do. Healthy eating, exercising and managing our stress are all things we’d like to do better but maybe don’t have the time or resources available to learn how. That’s where EHA Wellness can help! Did you know in October, more than 2,350 EHA Wellness participants lost 5,680 pounds by participating in the Healthy Dinner Club? And, 32 percent of those participants report eating healthier dinners. The program focused on eating correct portion sizes and learning about healthier dinner options. As one participant said, “Eating the healthy dinners made me more aware of what I eat during the day – this was very positive!” In December, the EHA Wellness Program offered “Flab on Fire,” which urged members to participate Page 24 n The NSEA Voice n March 2012

islative bills in Nebraska’s Unicameral to establish Nebraska’s medical exchange. However, Nebraska will move cautiously until the United States Supreme Court hears argument about the legality of mandatory coverage for all Americans. In March, the Supreme Court will hear the arguments and will make a decision by the end of June. A special Legislative session may be held by Nebraska’s Unicameral to start our own exchange once the judgment has been issued by the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court upholds the law in June, the Educators Health Alliance will support a Nebraska Medical Exchange and will support state legislation to help Nebraskans attain coverage that meets the needs of our citizens. The Educators Health Alliance has named Kurt Genrich to serve as the EHA Plan advocate. Genrich will work with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska plan participants to answer questions and promote the plan. The EHA Board is comprised of six NSEA representatives and three each from the Nebraska Association of School Boards and the Nebraska Council of School Administrators. NSEA Associate Executive Director Neal Clayburn is chair of the EHA Board of Directors. Call Genrich at 1-866-465-1342; on his cell phone at 402-2172042; or e-mail him at: kurt@ehaplan.org

in at least 30 minutes of activity each day and to find new ways to be active during the day. Again, the results showed that people like you are making changes, as 1,526 participants lost 6,723 pounds and 21 percent are now exercising 30 minutes each day! Make EHA Wellness work for you…sign up for the next online program at: www.EHAwellness.org All participants who complete the program are registered to win one of 200 gift cards. Are you unsure whether your school is involved? Need more details to get your school to participate in EHA Wellness? Contact Linda Kenedy, EHA Wellness coordinator, or Howie Halperin, EHA Wellness administrator, at these e-mail addresses: linda@ehawellnessprogram.org howie@ehawellnessprogram.org One EHA Wellness Program participant feels that EHA Wellness works for her. “I really enjoy the EHA

Wellness program and I feel it is a great innovative way of encouraging people to take charge of their health and well-being.” EHA Wellness works – sign up today!


From the Executive Director

“Let me put on my chauffer’s hat” is often said when systematic attempt to instill the values we want exhibitparents have their turn in the neighborhood car pool. ed by the professionals in our communities. The quality We all do many different jobs every day — we all wear of schools of medicine, law, nursing and education is evmany different hats. Smaller children love to ‘dress-up’ eryone’s business. If we want professionals whose care by playing in different hats or clothing. Becoming a for others is a primary motivation in their practice, that pretend cowboy, firefighter, police officer, farmer, nurse, value must be taught — and expected — in their profesdoctor, soldier or consional schooling. Doctors, nurses, struction worker is as lawyers — all of these easy as putting on the professions used to inright hat. We all seek duct new members afa certain recognizable ter a period of apprenidentity in becomticeship, often with ing who we want to little standardized curbe, whether in play as riculum or other forchildren or as adults in mal training. No more. our jobs. It would be inconceivBut putting on able now for one of someone else’s hat is these professionals to different than becomadmit that their backing what that person ground included no is. The process of beformal, standardized coming — induction curriculum as part of — is common to all professions. Military It’s more than just the hats: NSEA Executive Director Craig R. their induction into the recruits do not simply Christiansen (on the left) in Wyoming with two of his brothers, Lynn profession. Why? Because society demands put on the uniform and and Kent. more than just knowlbecome a different edge from professionals. We want assurance that human person. Boot camp — basic training — is a grueling and service professionals act with a high level of care in the intense transition into being a service man or woman. interest of others. And that takes the same kind of proBeing a professional is more than wearing the clothing fessional ‘basic training’ that it takes to turn a civilian or acting the part. into a soldier. It is more than putting on the right hat. Medical school, the police academy, nursing school, and law school are all programs that teach the subject Careful Induction matter unique to each profession. They also fulfill the The difference between the professional teacher and role of basic training — inducting the recruit into being the parental helper in the classroom is real. So, what is a doctor, police officer, nurse or lawyer. So, what does the boundary between the professional teacher and nonit mean to become a professional? It certainly is more professional subject expert? It is the question whether, than wearing the uniform. It is more than just knowing a for instance, a professional chemist is as qualified to body of specific knowledge. That something extra, carteach as a professional teacher of chemistry. In some ing service to others — in addition to specialized knowlschool systems, completing an apprenticeship in the edge — is what defines all human service professions. classroom is enough to qualify for ‘professional’ certification. If other professions have abandoned this practice Professional Identity decades ago, why is it still seriously considered as a way Almost everyone fondly remembers a teacher, docto enter the teaching profession? tor, or nurse that exhibited care and service to others. Don’t buy it. Don’t allow it. Teachers, like docFor professionals, service is a primary value. It is part tors, lawyers and nurses, need to become professionals of their identity — a part of who they are. Their inducthrough careful induction. It is not enough to act like, tion into the profession is important for all of society. If dress like, or talk like a teacher. Our children deserve we are not all concerned about professional identity, our teachers who are professionals. Don’t yours? And that communities will all suffer. takes much more than a new hat. The institutions of professional induction are society’s March 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 25


NSEA-Retired Corner In Brief

Meeting the senator: After talking to Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist on education issues, these retired teachers posed for a photograph with the senator. From left are John Jensen, Omaha; Jan Rowe, Lincoln; Sen. Nordquist; and Barb Hetcko, Lincoln.

Would Exempt Social Security from State Income Tax A bill to exempt Social Security and pension income from state income tax has been introduced to the Legislature and is under consideration by the Revenue Committee. NSEA-Retired has pushed hard for such legislation in recent years, and LB976 is getting serious consideration this year. NSEARetired President Roger Rea testified in favor of the bill on Feb. 8. In fact, those favoring the bill covered the political spectrum. From the right-leaning Platte Institute to the left-leaning BOLD Nebraska, to NSEA-Retired, AARP among others favored advancement of LB976 out of committee. Rea, a retired teacher from Omaha, told senators that because Social Security is taxed to the full extent allowed, Nebraska is one of the least “retiree-friendly” states in the nation. Nebraska is one of only five states to tax Social Security to the full extent allowed. Compared to six adjacent states, Rea said Nebraska ranks last in terms of giving retirees and senior citizens a tax break. The only retired Nebraskans who get a tax break are railroad retirees, said Rea, because the state does not tax railroad retirement income. One unintended consequence is that a significant number of Nebraskans leave the state about the time they retire. Rea said about 10 percent of Nebraska retirement systems benefit payments are sent to other states. He said those retirees represent an untapped economic resource for Nebraska. “Each retiree represents about $13,000 in Social Security benefits and $8,500 in Medicare payments,” said Rea. “When those retirees move to other states, Nebraska loses the economic impact of their Social SecuPage 26 n The NSEA Voice n March 2012

rity and Medicare benefits, in addition to the economic impact of any other retirement or investment income they may have. “That spending both strengthens the state economy and provides jobs in the communities where the retirees live. And retirees live in every community in the state. The economic impact goes to every community in the state,” he said. By removing the state income tax on Social Security, Nebraska will take positive action to add dollars to the state economy. He urged senators to move LB976 to the floor for consideration. It is still in committee. Thank Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist who introduced and supports LB976. He can be reached at 402-471-2721 or at: jnordquist@leg.ne.gov Contact these members of the Revenue Committee. Ask them to support LB976: n Sen. Abbie Cornett, Bellevue, Chair: acornett@leg.ne.gov n Sen. Greg Adams, York: gadams@ leg.ne.gov n Sen. Lydia Brasch, Bancroft: lbrasch@leg.ne.gov n Sen. Deb Fischer, Valentine: dfischer@leg.ne.gov n Sen. Galen Hadley, Kearney: ghadley@leg.ne.gov n Sen. LeRoy Louden, Ellsworth: llouden@leg.ne.gov n Sen. Pete Pirsch, Omaha: ppirsch@ leg.ne.gov n Sen. Paul Schumacher, Columbus: pschumacher@leg.ne.gov — Tom Black, Editor wpc6296@cableone.net

NSEA-Retired Elections Ballots will be mailed to NSEARetired members in late February or early March. Check the list of nominees for the NSEA-Retired Board of Directors, delegates to Delegate Assembly and to Representative Assembly, at: www.nsea.org/members/ retired Vote and return the ballots in the postage-paid envelopes before the deadline! NEA-Retired Lifetime Dues Increase Active members of NSEA can become a Lifetime Member of NEA-Retired and NSEA-Retired for a one-time-only fee of $400. In September 2012, however, the NEA-Retired portion of those dues will increase by $50. It would seem beneficial that Active NSEA members become Lifetime Members of their Retired Associations before September, and save $50. Right? Contact NSEA at 1-800-742-0047 for details. Annual Meeting, Spring Conference Plan on it: April 18-19, 2012. Here’s the tentative schedule: An evening social event at a site to be determined on Wednesday, April 18, followed by the conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at the Boys Town Conference Center, Omaha. Included on the agenda: Artist Matthew Placzek as the keynote speaker. Also sure to be a highlight will be Darrel Draper as Theodore Roosevelt, the Roughrider President! Tentative breakout sessions will include the topics of honeybees, digital photobooks, antique appraisal, spring gardening, health insurance after retirement and others.There is no cost to attend for members. For nonmembers and guests, the cost is $10. For the agenda, and to register on-line, after March 26 go to: www.nsea.org/members/ retired You may also register or obtain more details by calling or e-mailing NSEA’s Rebecca Smith at 1-800742-0047 or: rebecca.smith@nsea.org


Extra Credit

Review Finds Report to be Flawed, One-Sided, Sloppy

ers Association to change the local’s name to the Wheeler Central Education Association. Members at Wheeler Central had voted earlier to adopt the new name. The request was approved by unanimous vote of those NSEA board members present.

A recent report from the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, Assessing the Compensation of Public School Teachers, claims public school teachers are paid 52 percent more than fair market rates. While attentionFillmore Central Bond Issue grabbing, this contention is based on a faulty assessment Earns NSEA Support that relies on “an aggregation of spurious claims” to make its case, according to a new Think Twice review. Citizens in the Fillmore Central Public Schools District The Heritage/AEI report pits the wages and benefits of will vote on March 13 whether or not to fund a $9.8 milteachers against those of similarly educated and experilion addition to the high school. The funds would support enced private-sector workers a theater, gym, music room, and concludes that teachers are weight and wrestling rooms overpaid. But in his review of and renovate science and art the report, Professor Jeffrey H. classrooms. Front entrance Keefe of Rutgers University’s security would also be enSchool of Management and hanced. Labor Relations, finds that it The Fillmore Education rests on a series of flawed and Association requested that one-sided assumptions and NSEA supply $500 in matchsloppy statistical analyses. ing funds to help the For Our Using these assumptions, Children Committee support the authors stand normal conthe bond issue. The matchclusions on their head. While ing funds will be used for the straightforward evidence brochures, newspaper adsuggests that teachers are unvertisements, yard signs and dercompensated by about 19 other campaign materials. percent compared with their The NSEA Board of Direcnon-teacher peers in the worktors voted unanimously to force, the report from the think At the Gala: Attending the National Education Asso- provide the matching funds. tanks suggest that teachers are ciation awards meeting in Washington, D.C., in February Local associations seeking instead overpaid by twice that were, standing, from left, NSEA’s entrant in the Califormatching funds for bond ispercentage. nia Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence, Matt Dykssues or levy overrides should Statistical missteps in the tra, Millard; last year’s NSEA entrant, Carolyn Campbell, contact NSEA’s Cathy Schapreport include its erroneous Bayard; and Nebraska NEA Director John Heineman, mann at 1-800-742-0047. Lincoln. Seated, from left, are Tonya Dykstra, NSEA Vice calculations for benefits costs, both during employment and President Leann Widhalm, Norfolk; and NSEA President after retirement, which leads Nancy Fulton, Wilber-Clatonia. Safe, Warm & the authors to contend that Dry in Chadron benefit costs for teachers amount to more than their salary costs, thus more than doubling teachers’ overall costs. Members of the Chadron Teachers Association are enKeefe’s review explains why this is “a claim that cannot be couraging community members to support a $5 million reasonably supported.” bond issue to fund renovations at the elementary, intermedi“Any discussion of teacher compensation should be ate and high school buildings. The CTA also asked NSEA based on high-quality evidence,” he said, adding that “this for assistance, and in February the NSEA Board of Directors report does not advance that discussion.” approved a request for $500 in matching funds to aid the A full review of the report is at: campaign. http://www.greatlakescenter.org Among other things, the bond issue will install a fire suppression sprinkler system, new heating and air conditioning systems, and new roofing and windows on three buildings Wheeler Central Association that range from 43 to 90 years old. The NSEA and matchAdopts New Name ing funds will support an outreach effort in Dawes County in support of the appropriately named Safe, Warm and Dry Acting in January, the NSEA Board of Directors approved Schools Committee. a request by members of the former Wheeler Central TeachMarch 2012 n The NSEA Voice n Page 27


Income Tax Deduction! Some School Supply Spending is Deductible, But the Deduction Has Expired. Call Congress! The $250 tax deduction for educators’ out of pocket classroom supply expenses expired at the end of 2011. While educators may still claim the deduction on their 2011 tax returns, unless Congress acts to extend the deduction, it will not be available in future years. Educators often reach into their own pockets to purchase classroom supplies because they want to make sure students have what they need to succeed. Studies show that teachers are spending more of their own funds each year to supply their classrooms and purchase essential items such as pencils, glue, scissors, and facial tissues. Many educators must sacrifice other personal needs in order to pay for classroom supplies and instructional materials. Take Action Today: Urge Congress to extend the educator tax deduction as part of any payroll tax deal.

Speaking of Teaching “Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn. That’s a bargain worth making.” —President Barack Obama, 2012 State of the Union Address

Mailed By: The Nebraska State Education Association Suite 200, 605 S. 14th St., Lincoln, NE 68508-2742

Family of Teachers

The retirement of Sally Schroer Stevens this past spring marked the end of 153 years in education for the Stevens family of teachers.  Sisters Leila and Jeanne married Richard and Steve, and Sally is married to their brother Russell. From left are Leila Stevens Johnson, who taught two years at Ord JuniorSenior High School and 28 years at North Loup-Scotia Schools;  Richard Johnson, who taught six years at Stuart Public Schools and  was at North Loup-Scotia for 32 years as a teacher and administrator; Steve Arends, now deceased, who  taught 32 years in Iowa public schools;  Jeanne Stevens Arends, who taught 33 years in Iowa public schools; and Sally Schroer Stevens, who taught 20 years at Sunny Meadow and Winter Elementary schools in the Norfolk Public Schools. All are now retired. If you have a family of teachers, snap a photo and send the photo and identification to Family of Teachers, c/o NSEA, 605 S. 14th St., Lincoln, NE 68508.

Memorizing Math Facts Ca:

From Susan Hopkins, a second grade teacher at Piru School in Piru,

“I’ve finally hit on a system that helps my students memorize math facts. Each week we go over a set of 10-12 math facts. I give each student a manila envelope and a dozen scratch pieces of paper. Students copy the math facts on one side and write the answers on the back, then put them all into the folder. I give the class five-minutes a day, a few days each week, to study them. Page 28 n The NSEA Voice n March 2012

“Finally, I go around the class and have students tell me the answers. I mark the ones they know by heart with a MiniStampers Marker. That child then staples the marked cards together to take home and returns the others to the envelope. The students that know all the facts can then go around the room checking and marking other students’ cards. This system allows us to keep adding harder problems and not have an avalanche of small pieces of paper falling all over the place.” Sign up for Works4Me at this link: http://www.nea.org/tools/Works4Me.html

The Voice, March 2012  

The Voice, March 2012

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