DA's New Curriculum Newsletter Draws Praise
Congratulations on the March 3 issue of Curriculum Leader! This is an excellent example of the type of materials I like to present to administration and faculty. Your compilation of topical subject matter is timely and relevant to the needs of curriculum directors.
Laura Beltchenko, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, Wauconda (Ill.) CUSD #118
Editor's note: If you are a DA subscriber, sign in at DistrictAdministration. com and you will be brought to our Subscription Management Center where you can subscribe to Curriculum Leader.
RTI Story Needs Clarity
In Angela Pascopella's recent assessment article ("RTI Goes Mainstream," April 2010), I was somewhat concerned with the opening paragraph. As a veteran special education administrator, I would argue that writing RTI is "nipping learning problems in the bud and helping to meet student needs so they do not have to be unnecessarily referred for special education services" is more preferable than "unnecessary special education classes." Even with our best preventive efforts, there will always be a need for special education and related services. Granted, there are many learners who are arguably not "disabled" but are simply victims of poorly designed curriculum and instruction and, in some cases, a lack of appropriate intervention in general education. RTI holds some promise that special education will be targeted once again for students who are truly disabled.
Denny P. Ulmer, executive director and director of special education, Bemidji (Minn.) Regional Interdistrict Council
Online Learning Clarification
A sidebar about full-time virtual schools in DA ("Five Trends in Online Learning," March 2010) stated that the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is "able to modify curriculum content to the specific needs of individual students." The story also mentioned that iNACOL was an online learning company, which is inaccurate. iNACOL is a nonprofit association that provides technical assistance, conducts research and provides advocacy in the field of online learning. Your words accurately described many of our members, the leading online curriculum providers, online learning programs and online course providers, but not what our organization does.
Susan D. Patrick, president and CEO, International Association for K-12 Online
Learning Budgets Could Implode
In regard to the story about state retirement funds ("Will Pensions Bankrupt Your District?" January 2010), we agree that unless changes are made school budgets will implode trying to keep up with increasing retirement costs. We cannot afford the retirement promises we made when wages were lower and life expectancies were shorter. Our organization filed an initiative that will increase retirement ages and scale back benefits to more modest levels. In California, a career teacher can retire at 62 with over 100 percent of final pay. Our initiative increases full retirement age to Social Security age and scales back the defined benefit to 70 percent of final pay. We also cut the teacher's pension contribution, currently 8 percent of wages, to 4 percent. If teachers invest the contribution savings to a retirement savings account, earning 6 percent, they will receive the same amount as the current benefit. Our legislative analyst estimates that our pension reform initiative will cut pension costs by more than half for new workers, and retiree health costs will almost disappear. Seniors everywhere are staying in the workplace longer, and so should our next generation of excellent teachers.
Marcia Fritz, CPA, president, California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility
Letters to the Editor may be sent to email@example.com, or mailed to Judy F. Hartnett, District Administration, 488 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851. Selections that are published may be edited for length and clarity, and become the property of District Administration.