The president of the Iowa State Education Association — the teachers’ union — is in Los Angeles for the National Education Association’s convention and she says the federal “No Child Left Behind” law is the major topic of discussion. I-S-E-A president Linda Nelson says Iowa teachers are “knee-deep” in paperwork and standardized tests because of that law. “We’ve set a goal of fixing and funding No Child Left Behind,” Nelson says. Nelson says educators have always held children to high expectations, but she says that needs to be balanced with things that make a difference, like parental support, smaller class sizes and up-to-date books and materials. Nelson says progress is being made, with more flexibility being given to states to meet the requirements of the law. The N-E-A’s convention is being held in California where the state’s governor is trying to make it more difficult for teachers to get tenure-status which prevents their firing.”All across the nation, teachers are weary. They’re worn down. They feel beaten down,” Nelson says of the mood at the conference. Nelson, a former classroom teacher in Council Bluffs, says schools have been hit with new and expensive federal mandates at the same time they’ve had to make budget cuts. The N-E-A convention started on the 3rd of July and concludes Wednesday. Nelson represents the 32-thousand Iowa teachers are members of the Iowa State Education Association.
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