Tag Archives: NEA

No Child Left Behind being replaced by Every Child Achieves

janetpic_preferred_croppedJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

The “Every Child Achieves Act” (ECAA) has passed the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Approval of similar legislation is expected in the House (which has called their bill the Student Success Act). The original ESEA act from 1965 was focused on addressing equity, at a time when civil rights and desegregation were in focus.

Every Child Achieves Act of 2015
This bill reauthorizes and amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The bill addresses issues such as accountability and testing requirements, distribution and requirements for grants, fiscal accountability requirements, and the evaluation of teachers. The bill provides states with increased flexibility and responsibility for developing accountability systems, deciding how federally required tests should be weighed, selecting additional measures of student and school performance, and implementing teacher evaluation systems.

ECAA is designed to replace the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act for elementary and secondary education which has been in force since 2002. You can find a summary of the bill here.

There has been much criticism of the extensive – many would say onerous – testing regimes enforced by NCLB, from educators and parents across the U.S. It was felt that the testing requirements were excessive, and took away from time that should be spent in teaching and learning in the classroom, and that the penalties were counter-productive. The American Federation of Teachers has called NCLB a “test-and-punish” system, due to federal sanctions against low-performing schools.

ECAA would relax these testing requirements, and provide more flexibility for schools to allow parents to opt their kids out of tests. Federal sanctions would no longer apply; any such rewards or sanctions would be handled by individual states.
The President of the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, says about the ECAA, “This bill reflects a paradigm shift away from the one-size-fits-all assessments that educators know hurt students, diminish learning, narrow the curriculum and that they fought to change.”

The well-known education activist Diane Ravitch supports the Senate bill because “it draws a close to the punitive methods of NCLB….(and) is an important step forward for children, teachers, and public education. The battle over ‘reform’ now shifts to the states.”

One concern is that the bill would weaken provisions meant to track the progress of students with disabilities, which may account for one in eight of America’s school children.

We’d like to hear your view, what do you think about the new legislation?

Curriki is all in favor of flexible learning models and curricula that adapt to the needs of individual students. This is why we make available to the public for free over 62,000 educational resources, in open source format. These include full courses, lessons and many supplemental materials. With our new website coming on line early next month, it will be even easier to search these materials, and also to contribute materials so that other educators can make use of them.

Teachers: Equip Your Classroom for FREE


By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki


Do corporations make their employees pay for their own office supplies? Nope. Yet the average teacher spends up to $1,000 of his/her own money every year on classroom supplies (not to mention personal time spent getting the classroom in shape before school starts!).

Teachers, here are a few ideas to help you out:

  • First of all, don’t be afraid to ask. Create a wish list and ask the parents of your students for supplies. But don’t forget to also ask local bookstores, or craft and office supply stores for discounts or freebies. Many companies can write donations off as a tax break. Tell them a little about your school and your students and how you plan to use the resource. You may get a donation or at least a discount. A nice gesture would be to send a thank you note to the business with a picture of the item in use. Or post to your social media page and thank the business publicly.
  • Register your classroom at Adopt a Classroom. Individuals can go to this site and search for a teacher they know, a school they have a connection with, or a subject they’re passionate about and fund it. 100% of their tax-deductible donation goes to the classroom. A similar site is DonorsChoose, where public school teachers can post classroom project requests online. When a project reaches its funding goal, they ship the materials to your school.
  • If you’re at a low-income school, you may qualify for free school supplies from Kids in Need Foundation, which maintains a national network of Resource Centers where teachers can get free supplies for their students who are in need.
  • Love shopping? Here is a list of 80 stores (from Office Depot and the Apple Store, to museums and clothing stores) from Gift Card Granny that offer discounts to teachers.  And you can find other teacher discounts on the Teacher Discounts Pinterest board.
  • NEA publishes a monthly list of 10 FREE Things, which includes “the best websites to find printables, your favorite books, instructional videos for you and your students, lesson plans, and other FREE stuff for your classroom.”
  • And finally, if you’re looking for free, high-quality teaching resources, make sure to check Curriki often as we’re continually adding new resources.

If you know of other free resources, would you please share?

DIgital Learning Day is February 5th

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki

Digital Learning Day is next Wednesday, February 5th. The goal of Digital Learning Day is to give every child the opportunity “to learn in a robust digital environment everyday”.

A virtual conference and live webcasts will be held from 11 AM to 4 PM EST, and hosted from the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Here’s where you can register. The conference will highlight effective use of digital learning, with topics including:

  • Lesson plans, games
  • Live chats with experts
  • Interactive polls of the audience
  • Informational videos on demand
  • Virtual trade show

The event will include leaders from government, education leadership and corporations active in the field of education, plus executives from major education organizations. And an exciting “Power Panel” will be moderated by Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour.

There are hundreds of organizations and corporations involved with Digital Learning Day. Major corporate partners include AT&T, Intel, McGraw-Hill and Microsoft, among others. The national core partners are listed here. There are new partnerships with the NEA and the National PTA.

Each of the 50 states in the U.S. is also hosting its own statewide event.

Here’s one teacher’s experience with digital learning and flipping his classroom during the past year. He’s had great results even though his class has a large number of students new to the U.S.

You can learn all about Digital Learning Day here. Don’t miss the video highlights for this year’s event and from the 2012 and 2013 events, found here.

Adapting Classroom Resources to Meet the Needs of ALL Students


By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki


Did you know that autism affects 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys)   and that it is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S?

April is autism awareness month. Be familiar with the early signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in order to seek out early intervention programs.

At Curriki, we offer many resources in all subject areas that you can adapt and customize to meet the needs of ASD students. Our intent is to enable true personalized learning for all students, since everyone learns differently.

“I teach special needs children at Bowling Green Elementary School,” said Linda Olson.  “I found that I could research on the Curriki site and be able to find the exact worksheet or resource that a child in my class would need.  When your children are as diverse as mine, it is timesaving and beneficial to look to your site first.  This year I will be starting the first Elementary Autism Class for our district.  The range of needs for each child will be different on many levels, but I know that Curriki will help me meet those needs. Thank you for this site.”

Here are a few helpful resources:

Please share this post with a friend or colleague!

Classroom Management – Strategies, Best Practices and Helpful Tips

Remember years ago when the classroom clown disrupted the class with spit balls? It may have seemed funny at the time or a good diversion to avoid the pop quiz yet, it disrupted the class and took precious time away from learning. Fast forward to today’s classroom environment where teachers face many more challenges on their quest to educate students.  With overcrowding classes, reduced budgets and No Child Left Behind testing pressures, the stress in managing the classroom continues to escalate.  Now add to this misbehaving/disrespectful students, diverse learning abilities, and digital distractions and you face an uphill battle.

Don’t despair.  NEA and Curriki’s global communities have helpful strategies, resources and lessons learned on topics from Management Tips for New Teachers to handling students with disabilities to creating a more beautiful teaching environment.  These are great resources to help you craft your individual style of classroom management.

1. Management Tips for New Teachers – Bringing Order to the Classroom.

2. Set Up Rules and Routines – Give yourself more time to teach.

3.  Management Tips to Start Your Year – Classroom management tips from Education World covering tips for taking attendance, motivating students and rewarding good behavior.

4.  10 Approaches to Better Discipline – Helping Students manage their own Behavior

5. Social Skills Kids Need to Succeed – Why We should Teach Manners & Etiquette in School

6.  Book of Consequences – Creative ways to help students reflect on their behavior and ways to improve.

7.  Square Pegs – Helping kids with Asperger Syndrome to find a place in the classroom.

Let us know about your classroom management strategies, tools and best practices.  Share with the global Curriki community!

Top 10 Tips – Organizing for Back to School

from Joanne Masters, Curriki Contributor

Whether you are an educator or a parent, getting organized for back to school can be a challenge.  To help you get a jump-start on this process, we have amassed top industry best practices and tips ranging from new teachers strategies, to back-to-school checklists to creative ideas/icebreakers for the first day of school. Check out the top ten and let us know what you find helpful!

1. New Teacher Collection of back to school web links, activities, and practical information for new teachers.

2. From Simplify 101, seven creative Back to School Organizing Tips ranging from establishing a communications hub with a command central binder to a simple yet, effective “don’t forget” door hanger with critical take to school items.

3.  Call your school to find out the required back-to-school paperwork and mandatory immunization shots .  Many kids have been delayed from starting their first day due to improper school papers and/or lack of all the required immunization shots.  This site explains the typical vaccinations types, reasons for the shots and an excellent resource center for parents.

4. Play the “Match Game” with your kids and their clothes.  Enlist your kids to clean out their closets, sort out the old, match up outfits and donate unwanted or outdated clothing to charity.  This activity will help reduce the morning dressing chaos that places stress on the entire family and starts the day off on the wrong foot.

5. Back to School: How can Curriki Help? Find Icebreaking activities, student facing materials, tips on networking with other teachers and more.

6.  From the Teacher’s Corner to Reading Rockets (resources from the national multimedia  project) to A-Z Teacher Stuff, NEA’s Back to School site is a great resource for educators.

7. Back-to-School Checklist from OnLine Organizing is a concise list covering everything from buying school supplies to teaching kids to set boundaries.

8. Need classroom management guidance or best practices for student motivation? At a loss for ideas to do the first day of class?  From creative writing to icebreakers to management tips you’ll ind it all on Curriki’s Back to School. Lessons and activities targeted for grades K-8.

9.  Don’t forget to pay attention to the classroom ambiance and arrangement.  A warm and welcoming classroom environment provides a great back drop for students to learn.

10. Beginning of the Year Teacher Strategies: Getting the Year Started on the Right Foot.  About.com has great advice on Preparing for the First Day of Class.

11. Extra Credit:  USA.gov Back to School has a wealth of resources for parents, students and educators.  A particularly good segment is on Safe and Healthy Students that addresses back to school anxiety, bullying, preventive drug abuse, school nutrition and much more.

Tell Us What Issues You Face as a Public School Educator

What issues do you face as a public school teacher today?

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week in the United States, it’s interesting to note how the teaching profession has changed over the years.  The NEA recently completed its annual survey,which looks at key trends that are shaping the teaching profession, ranging from changes in the workforce and school environment, to changes in teacher training, licensure and evaluation.

What issues do you face as a teacher today?  Please share your thoughts with our community.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: from joememory