California Teachers Association

May / June 2016

Issue link: http://educator.cta.org/i/686175

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All work and no play... editor's note Relationship-building, in fact, is at the heart of CTA and NEA's work. The merger of NEA and the Amer - ican Teachers Association 50 years ago (page 50) is early proof. Finally, the benefits of recess — helping kids relax, recharge and learn how to play — are also true of adult pastimes and passions, including guardianship of a pet. While we picked a few top dogs (and other animals) in our "Pets of CTA" contest (page 54), the winners are clearly all our members whose lives are enriched by their furry/scaly/feathered friends. Cheers to the dog days of summer. Katharine Fong E D I T O R I N C H I E F editor@cta.org A S K A N Y K I D what their favorite part of the school day is, and the answer is often "Recess!" In recent years, however, school and district efforts to prep students for ever more testing meant recess was not mission-critical and could be shortened or even axed — despite findings from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other research that show its enormous benefits. Our story "Reclaiming Recess" (page 20) highlights a few California schools and educators who are taking it back, recog- nizing recess's crucial role in "optimizing a child's social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development," as an AAP report states, and how learning and attention improve following a break. An interesting aspect is that recess is not necessarily free play — it can involve structured activity and teamwork, and for some students an opportunity to prac- tice leadership skills. A break is probably needed after a few hours in a dual immersion pro- gram. Our feature "Bilingual and Biliterate" (page 24) explores these increasingly popular, challenging programs where students are immersed in a language other than English. Parents and educators alike are realizing that multilingual skills give students a competitive edge. e CTA-sup- ported California Education for a Global Economy (Ed.G.E.) Initiative, on the November ballot, seeks to solidify this edge by expanding students' access to multilingual education, and allowing teachers, parents and schools more control over the curriculum. Speaking of parental and educator control, strong collaboration between the San Diego Education Association (SDEA) and the San Diego Unified School District — the second-largest in the state — helped convince the district to eliminate unnecessary testing (see "Passing the Test," page 48). Among other efforts, SDEA surveyed local educators and found that 90 percent believe overuse of standardized testing is harmful to students, and a total of five weeks of classroom time is lost to testing. Additionally, SDEA reached out to parents about the issue, informing them of their rights to exempt their children from state-mandated testing. Relationship-building is also why Debbie Hamme has accomplished so much. Winner of CTA's 2016 Paula J. Monroe ESP of the Year Award (page 51), Hamme has been thanked by her school district's superin- tendent "for her leadership and deep belief that the best thing we can all do for our kids is to work together and operate as true partners." 7 May / June 2016 Educator Changes There is always room for improve- ment, and in that spirit we plan to make a few tweaks to the Educator's format and content over the coming months. We want your reading experience to be as useful, informa- tive and engaging as possible — and we need your help. Let us know what you like, what you don't, what's missing, and what can be improved. Send your ideas and suggestions to editor@cta.org. Look for a fresh- ened-up Back-to-School issue in August, and for more changes in the future.

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