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NCLB Outrages

Reading Excellence Act: Up Close and Ugly

This account comes from a teacher in a large urban district.

My school made the mistake of accepting REA grant money. Today, our K-3 and special ed teachers were notified that they would have to spend two weeks training this summer--dates not yet determined, but whenever they happen, attendance is mandatory. This is in addition to the mandatory 90 hours training during the school year.

The kicker is that if the teachers don't sign an agreement to this effect, they will be surplused from the school. This is especially significant since the second and last round of voluntary transfers ended today. Therefore, anyone who doesn't sign the training agreement goes into the common pool, to be picked up, she/he can hope, by a principal who might have a vacancy. Anyone who is not picked up is out of a job.

Supposedly, teachers will receive a stipend for
participating. This usually turns out to be a few hundred dollars--not anything near what a teacher could get if she decided to take fulltime work.

Our teachers are not inexperienced. They have 20 plus years experience, masters +45 in reading, and, in one case, national board certification. All will be out of a job if
they don't agree to give up two weeks of their summer, dates to be named whenever the district gets around to it.

Teachers, of course, plan ahead. Some are already taking graduate work during the summer. Tough. The REA training comes first.

So, we have 20 teachers, who will each give up 180 hours of time to train for for this grant, which is worth $200,000. And consider: a large part of that money goes to pay the persons doing the training.

That's 3600 teacher hours. Figuring teacher time at $20/hr-which is a low figure, you're looking at teachers spending $72,000 of their time for the training component of this grant.



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