Maryland – Let’s make breakfast part of the school day for Maryland’s kids
Three in five Maryland teachers regularly see kids come to the classroom hungry, according to a recent survey by Share Our Strength. The same study showed that nine in 10 teachers also say that breakfast is key to academic success. They credit breakfast with increased concentration (95%), better academic performance (89%) and better behavior in the classroom (73%).
Many students do not participate in the School Breakfast Program due to tight morning scheduling, cafeteria capacity, and fear of being stigmatized. The Maryland Meals for Achievement program reduces these barriers by making breakfast free for all students in the classrooms of select, high-need schools. Of the 813 schools that are eligible for MMFA, only 271 schools participate in the program due to a lack of funding in the state’s budget.
A recent study by Deloitte showed that schools with a Breakfast in the Classroom program have up to a 7.2 percent lower rate of chronic absenteeism and their students are up to 12.5 percent more likely to pass state standardized math tests.
Find our more about Maryland Meals for Achievement at MarylandEducators.org.
Florida – FEA President Andy Ford responds to selection of new FLDOE commissioner
Former Indiana Superintendent Tony Bennet was one of three finalists from a pool of more than 60 applicants. He applied after losing the election to a teacher: Glenda Ritz who campaigned against many of his education reforms.
“The Florida Education Association is disappointed and disheartened at the selection of Tony Bennett to be Florida’s education commissioner. Bennett proved to be divisive in his tenure in the same position in Indiana and was voted out of office last month in the conservative state. He is a champion of the testing mania, unchecked expansion of charter schools and voucher programs and has proven to advance the Jeb Bush education agenda that has drawn fire from teachers, parents and experts in the field. That’s the same approach that has led to a flawed and chaotic system in Florida that has frustrated parents and teachers alike. In Indiana, teachers and education professionals felt he was blaming them for all of the state’s education woes.
“We certainly hope he has learned his lessons by being rejected in Indiana. But we’re skeptical. This decision does not indicate that the State Board of Education and Gov. Rick Scott understand that parents, teachers and those who question a flawed reform agenda deserve their voices heard and their insights and expertise incorporated into Florida’s strategy for public education. The Board and the governor once again have ignored the parents and teachers of our state.”
Get the full story at FEAWeb.org.
New Jersey – NJEA airs new PRIDE TV campaign
Three new PRIDE in Public Education TV ads will begin airing on Dec. 12, featuring members from the ranks of teachers and Education Support Professionals (ESP).
The 30-second ads will air on New York and Philadelphia broadcast stations and on cable networks throughout New Jersey, and address a number of topics of interest for parents and the public.
Education reform and teacher quality are the subjects that NJEA member Tina Yorke talks about from her classroom at Ardena Elementary School in Farmingdale. (Above)
Read more and watch all the ads at NJEA.org.
Utah – UEA fears proposed budget could lead to further classroom cuts
The Utah Education Association expressed concern that, despite nearly $300 million in new education money, Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s FY2014 budget proposal [ed note: pdf link] could mean further cuts to Utah public school classrooms and would be a blow to already-low teacher morale.
“The budget proposed today addresses various funding priorities, including funding student enrollment growth and providing educators with classroom supply money,” said UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh. “We are concerned, however, that this budget will likely force school districts to make additional cuts in critical areas such as class sizes, teacher training or school employee compensation.”
The Governor has proposed $297.6 million in new education funding, including a $26.2 million, or 1.16 percent, bump for the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU). The Legislative Fiscal Analyst estimates that mandatory increased costs associated with payroll alone (i.e.: Social Security, retirement, etc.) will cost more than 1 percent on the WPU.