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Picket NCLB at a City Near You This Summer

Activists in these cities should organize resistance. Media coverage would show there is reistance. Pittsburgh, PA; Boston; Denver; Anaheim, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; and St. Louis.


Of all the concerns U.S. assistant education secretary Ray Simon has heard about the No Child Left Behind federal education law, one particularly strikes him as he talks with educators around the country.

Fear.

Teachers are terrified of not meeting the mandates set for them under the federal law, he said yesterday. To ease the tension, Pittsburgh and six other cities this summer will host teaching workshops under a new federal program designed to help teachers keep their schools off the poor-performing list.

The workshops, part of the "Teacher to Teacher" program announced yesterday by the U.S. Department of Education, will bring top educators to Pittsburgh to talk with teachers about ways to improve classroom performance. Teachers from around the country will be invited to participate in the workshops, which also will be held in Boston; Denver; Anaheim, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; and St. Louis.

Teachers "fear that as a member of their school that the goals of No Child Left Behind might not be attainable," said Simon, who announced the program during a news teleconference from Washington yesterday. "They want help," he said.

School districts in the area soon will get invitations to nominate teachers for the workshop. About 200 will be chosen for each city, Simon said.

For those who don't attend, the weekend sessions will be recorded on CD-ROM and DVD. Simon said he anticipated that the teachers who do attend will go back and relay information to their colleagues.

The "Teacher to Teacher" program also will include an education research summit to be held in Washington, D.C. in July and a national e-mail list to keep educators informed about the latest ideas and developments in teaching.

Simon said yesterday that "teacher roundtables" will continue around the country. The 50th such session, conducted by the Teacher Assistance Corps created last summer by U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, is planned for next week.

Yesterday's announcement about "Teacher to Teacher" comes just days after the release of a highly critical report by the Washington-based National Council on Teacher Quality.

The council randomly selected 20 states and studied teacher-quality standards in each. "The average grade is a dreadful D+," according to the report, which gave a D to West Virginia and flunked Michigan for its efforts to improve teacher quality. (Pennsylvania was not among the 20 states.)

Under No Child Left Behind, all teachers must prove they're "highly qualified" by holding a state certification and proving they know the subject matter they teach.

It's left to the states, however, to decide precisely how to prove that and some of those approaches "can best be described as indifferent and at times even disdainful," said the report's authors.

Simon yesterday declined to comment on the report card, but said that some improvements are being made


Pittsburgh workshop
The Pittsburgh teacher workshop will be held July 6-8, but the location and other details have not yet been set. More information is available at www.teacherquality.us.

— Jane Elizabeth
U.S. chooses Pittsburgh, 6 other cities for workshops
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04113/304532.stm


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