California Educator

December 2012

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FOR YOUR INFORMATION Teachers helping teachers CTA Board votes $10,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief State affiliates like the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) are working to get students and teachers back to the business of teaching and learning in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And CTA is helping, too, with a $10,000 donation and offers of support through state affiliates to members who were personally affected by the storm. NJEA staff and members spent several weekends gathering school supplies to fill teacher kits and backpacks for students. Resources for NJEA members and volunteers are posted on Other efforts include providing resources to members as they assist their students in coping with the effects of the storm. Thanksgiving and holiday gift card drives are supporting NJEA members who were personally affected by the storm. In addition, plans are under way to utilize NJEA Back to School Fund assets to assist members in need and provide guidance to local and county associations that want to assist severely impacted members. Members and others may contribute to the fund via NJEA���s website, Support for Sandy Hook School An NEA crisis team worked with AFT Connecticut and CEA to prepare teachers and students for their return to classrooms at Sandy Hook School Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The nation is still in mourning after a gunman opened fire, killing 27 children and teachers. Messages of hope can be left at this website: The United Way of Western Connecticut and Newtown Savings Bank created the Sandy Hook School Support Fund that will provide support services to the families and community. Donations can be made online at or mail check donations to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank 39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470 Your freedom of speech in the classroom Did you know? Becau se CTA won a case Members of the Seaside Heights Education Association create shared libraries for ���ve displaced schools in Ocean County, New Jersey. 26 California Educator December 2012 ��� January 2013 on behalf of a member, you can a ���robust��� conversation on have religious topics. ���As always ,��� says CTA General Counsel Emma Leheny , ���be sensitive to studen ts��� personal beliefs as you construct lesson plans.��� Back in 2007 a Capistrano Valley High School studen t sued his Advanced Placement Eur opean History teacher ove r remarks made regarding religion. Recogn izing the importance of pro tecting the ���robust exchange of ideas in edu cation,��� the court determ ined that in preparing students for ���adult roles in a democratic society��� teachers and schools must maintain an atmosp here of free inquiry. ���This academic freedom will sometimes lead to the examination of controversial issues,��� the court wrote. ���Teachers mu st also be given leeway to challenge studen ts to foster critical thinkin g skills and develop their analytical abi lities. This balance is har d to achieve, and we must be careful not to cur b intellectual freedom by imposing dogmatic restrictions that chill tea chers from adopting the pedagogical methods they believe are most effe ctive.��� In the end, the federal cou rt of appeals decided tha t the teacher could not be sued for dam ages because he did not violate a clearly established law ��� an arg ument first raised in the case by CTA staff attorney Michael Hersh.

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