Tag Archives: nea

Teachers not loving McDonald’s McTeacher’s Nights

The National Education Association and more than 50 state and local teachers unions are calling on McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook to end McTeacher’s Nights.

The unions and educators are concerned about McDonald’s kid-targeted marketing.

On McTeacher’s Nights, McDonald’s recruits teachers to work behind the counter and serve burgers, fries and soda to their students and their students’ families.

The corporation heavily brands the events, even going so far as to provide uniforms and branded shirts for teachers to wear behind counters. In return, McDonald’s donates a small portion of the night’s proceeds.

The unions say the events take advantage of cash-strapped schools and use teachers to sell junk food directly to their students in order to create brand loyalty.

Coalition urges constitutional amendment to rein in campaign spending

Several dozen groups representing an array of interests called this week on the U.S. Senate to back a constitutional amendment to rein in out-of-control campaign spending.

The groups, in a letter to senators, urged support for S.J. Res. 19, a proposed constitutional amendment to establish that Congress and the states have the power to regulate and limit election spending.

“We know that America will never deliver on its promise if our election system is dominated by big money interests,” wrote advocates of the amendment, including Public Citizen, USAction, Common Cause, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, National Education Association, NAACP, Franciscan Action Network, Pesticide Action Network and Communications Workers of America.

S.J. Res. 19 would overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. FEC. The amendment also would overturn the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo ruling, which established the doctrine colloquially known as “money equals speech.”

The letter said: “America faces great and serious challenges — putting people back to work, addressing deepening inequality, averting catastrophic climate change, fixing our schools, ensuring quality and affordable health care for all, and much more. Our country has the wealth and wherewithal, and the creativity and conscience, to meet these challenges. But we will fall short unless we repair our democracy.

“We do not lightly call for amending our great Constitution. But we know that there can be no greater constitutional purpose than ensuring the functioning of our democracy. We urge you in the strongest terms to support S.J. Res. 19, so that it quickly becomes the 28th Amendment to our Constitution.”

Back to school: Schoolhouse social justice

Educators rallied this summer in Atlanta at the National Education Association’s annual conference to prepare for the 2013–14 school year.

Over the summer recess, there were significant developments on issues on the NEA’s political agenda. The Supreme Court overturned the provision in the Defense of Marriage Act that barred the federal government from recognizing married gay couples and cleared the way for same-sex marriage to resume in California. Also, gay couples began marrying in three more states, the U.S. Senate approved a massive immigration reform bill and stronger gun control laws were enacted in several states.

Regarding the Court’s rulings on marriage equality, NEA president Dennis Van Roekel said, “I cannot help but be moved by the thought of all of the children and students we serve whose families will now be made whole.”

Van Roekel observed that the day before the Court ruled for marriage equality, it struck down a provision in the Voting Rights Act, dealing a “horrible blow to the progress we’ve made in our journey to achieve racial equality.”

Van Roekel said the NEA has recommitted to social justice campaigns in a school year bookended by the 50th anniversary of the Great March on Washington and the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision against segregation in Brown v. Board of Education.

“The spirit of Brown was really about whether all children should have the same opportunities to learn,” he said. 

Rep. Moore, NEA announce $50,000 for Milwaukee arts

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, and the National Endowment for the Arts announced this week the release of $50,000 in grant funding to support Milwaukee arts.

This grant money will help create and preserve the arts through dance and theater as well as support artist residencies, according to Moore’s office.

Milwaukee Ballet Company, Inc. was awarded $10,000 to help support original choreography through the fifth biennial Genesis International Choreographic Competition.

Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Inc. was awarded $30,000 to support two theater productions.

Redline Milwaukee, Inc. was given $10,000 to support artist residencies. 

“The city of Milwaukee has a history deeply rooted in the arts,” stated Moore. “I am proud that this grant funding will help the city build upon our great culture.” 

Education Department releases anti-bullying tools for teachers

The U.S. Department of Education has released a two-part training toolkit designed to reduce bullying and for use by classroom teachers.

The Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center developed the toolkit for the Education Department in collaboration with the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

The toolkit is designed to provide classroom teachers with the knowledge and skills to intervene in bullying behavior and to de-escalate threatening behaviors at school.

It includes two modules: “Understanding and Intervening in Bullying Behavior” and “Creating a Supportive Classroom Climate.”

“Teachers play a critical role in identifying, addressing, reporting and intervening in bullying behavior in their classrooms,” said David Esquith, director of the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students. “These modules will certainly help those teachers who don’t know what to do when these situations arise, and will strengthen the skills of those who do.”

Module 1 consists of step-by-step instructions, including a preparation guide and trainer’s outline, for conducting workshops with teachers, educators and school personnel who work with students in a school environment. Materials for the workshop focus on:

• Understanding what bullying behavior is and is not.

• Understanding what bullying behavior may look like in the classroom.

• Exploring ideas for responding to bullying behavior.

• Becoming equipped with specific strategies for addressing and reporting bullying behavior.

Module 2 provides information on how to build a supportive classroom climate. Research shows that classrooms that have strong relationships and are respectful of diversity have less bullying. Participants in the module will:

• Consider what a supportive classroom climate looks like and how it can prevent bullying.

• Examine the role of teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships in building a supportive classroom climate.

• Explore strategies for preventing bullying in the classroom, including establishing a culture of respect for differences among students.

• Consider how a web of positive support among students and other adults across the school community can help prevent bullying.

“Teachers often get frustrated because they truly do care about their students and want to help stop bullying in their classrooms, but they don’t know what to do,” said Deborah Temkin, the Education Department’s bullying prevention coordinator. “These modules are based on the best available research and practices to give teachers effective tools to not only respond to bullying, but also to stop it before it starts.”

More than 33 percent of students who are bullied report it happening in classrooms, according to research from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The NEA reports that only 55 percent of teachers have received training on bullying policies at their schools.

On the Web…

The toolkit can be found here.