June 2012 e-Advocate

 Get education news, professional development, ideas to use with your students and member benefits at www.feaweb.org

In This Issue

  1. Beat the Summer Slide
  2. Seize the Education Debate
  3. ESP: Speaking out and Taking Charge
  4. Are Your A Target?
  5. Summer Deals For Members
  6. Planning Ahead
  7. Share Your Thoughts


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Dear FEA Member,

Backyard barbeques, more trips to the beach and time to enjoy your family and friends are among the many things both students and school employees are looking forward to over the next several months. The long awaited end of the school year has finally arrived. Before you send your students home for the summer, we have a few tips on how to keep them on grade level and beat the summer slide.


The push to end bullying continues, but this effort targets a growing problem for teachers. It’s called workplace bullying.


We’re in election season and you’ll hear a lot of misinformation about the similarities between President Obama and Mitt Romney. To ensure our members receive accurate information, watch the videos on the presidential candidates, then click the links to the elections site to learn more about them. It’s time to spread the word on the best candidate for public education.


The upcoming election provides a unique opportunity for community organizing. Now more than ever it is extremely important for ESPs to educate the public about the valuable work they perform in our public schools and in our communities. View the presentation on ESP community organizing. The video includes valuable information on how to engage members, build relationships and educate the community.    


Kick off your summer fun and save a few bucks with your member benefits. Even if you are not planning a vacation, you can stretch your budget a bit farther with our member discount programs.

1. Beat the Summer Slide

The end of the school year has arrived, and summer fun is on everyone's mind. To students, this means vacation and a break from learning, but to teachers it means an uphill battle with the "summer slide" and lots of catch-up in the fall. According to a study by the John Hopkins Center for Summer Learning, without summer educational programs, the average student falls two months behind in his reading skills. All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. See how you can help parents join the battle to beat the summer slide.

Also read: Ideas for Encouraging Students to Read this Summer and
                Educators Suit Up for Their Own Summer Reading 


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2. 2012 Presidential Election: Now’s the Time for Members to Seize the Education Debate

Education has and always will play a primary role in our society, and it will certainly become a key issue in deciding the 2012 presidential race.  While you’ll hear that both candidates favor similar education policies such as parental choice, school accountability, recruitment and retention of effective teachers, and the growth of public charter schools, there are stark differences between the two candidates.

Presidential Campaign Obama-RomneyPresident Obama believes in public schools. Mitt Romney calls America’s public education system “third world,” and his education platform mirrors the policies of Jeb Bush.  Unlike Romney, President Obama realizes that teachers and ESPs are a crucial  part of building and sustaining education reform. The President fully supports collective bargaining rights. Romney has expressed an unwillingness to work with educators and their unions. He has made the teachers’ union and organized labor public enemy number one and has expressed his intention to go after us. Even worse, his new education team consists of at least 10 members of President George W. Bush’s administration, including some who were instrumental in implementing Jeb Bush’s education policies in Florida.

So, which presidential candidate best represents your interests? Which would be best for students, public education and school employees? What role should the federal government play in Florida's reform movement? Will changes made by the state, such as the manner in which FCAT testing and scoring was handled this year, ultimately help or hurt our students?  

The summer and fall months, leading into the August primary and November election, provide an excellent opportunity for members to seize the public debate over the future of public education. We need to engage the community and business leaders, family and friends in a serious conversation on the necessary resources and time that teachers and students need to be successful, and the important role of ESPs in keeping our schools operational.

To get you started, watch these two videos on the presidential candidates.* Then click the links below to gain a better understanding of the candidate's platform on education.

     NEA: Education Votes              |                 AFT: Obama Biden 2012


For your classroom: Teachable Moment-The Presidential Campaign: The Race for the Money


*In order to comply with federal election laws, only FEA members may access FEA's presidential campaign materials.
Members must log in. 

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3.  Education Staff Professionals  Speaking Out and Taking Charge

The pending threat of privatization has left a cloud of uncertainty over many ESP jobs. In order to keep  ESPs on the payroll, the public needs to be educated about the valuable work that ESPs perform in our public schools and in our communities. But talking with strangers can be a bit intimidating. To help ESPs share their story, watch this presentation from the 2012 NEA ESP Conference. The presenters, NJEA staff members Christy Kanaby and Dawn Hiltner, demonstrate ways to establish relationships in your community to win public support for your ESP issues.

Watch the Community Organizing presentation on YouTube:


You can download the materials mentioned in the presentation at http://www.njea.org/members/educational-support/esp-day.


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4.  Adult Bullies: Are You a Target?

Workplace bullying is on the rise. About a third of American workers have been impacted by bullying in the workplace, either as a target or as witness to abusive behavior against a co-worker. Unfortunately, it’s even more prevalent in the field of education. In a recent survey of medium-
sized school districts, 25 percent of employees reported that were being bullied.


     Read: Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools
     Learn about the Workplace Bullying in Schools Project

Summer Deals for Members

Planning Ahead

Share your Thoughts

cell phonesAre you tired of that old cell phone and need a new one, or would you like to get in shape and drop a few pounds? More free time over the summer means more time to enjoy your member benefits and more opportunities to save a few bucks. Check out the monthly member benefits specials by clicking the links below:



Lesson Plan Some teachers take advantage of the summer months to get a jump on the upcoming school year. To get you started, check out the links below for creative ideas for your lesson plans and tips on how to improve your classroom management style.

US DOE logoThe U.S. DOE is still seeking educator input on the RESPECT project (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching).  The project aims to create a new vision for rebuilding the teaching profession. To learn more about the project and share your comments click here.



























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