Eamonn O'Donovan's thoughtful Supervisor's Opinion ("New Teachers Need Support," November/December 2010) should be required reading for superintendents and principals.
O'Donovan has described what we need to do to keep new teachers in our profession: develop a culture of collaboration focused on student achievement; attend to the needs of new professionals by providing them with essentials such as the proper supplies and classroom conditions; and ensure they receive the right supports, such as supplemental trainings that are scheduled during the school year, so new teachers aren't left to "sink or swim."
Focusing on the needs of new teachers is wise both educationally and economically. The unacceptable rate of teacher turnover is costing America's school districts billions of dollars a year—money that should be spent keeping the best and the brightest in the classroom, since students do better when there's an experienced and stable teaching force.
Addressing the issues facing public education is difficult work that requires us to abandon confrontational rhetoric in favor of an expectation of shared responsibility.
Thank you, Mr. O'Donovan, for bringing that message to our public school leaders.
Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers
As the project director of CoSN's "Empowering the 21st Century Superintendent" initiative, I thank you for the technology leadership story ("A Call for Technology Leadership," November/ December 2010). The story highlights the recommendations that CoSN and other education technology associations have made to help superintendents harness the power of technology to transform K12 education.
One reason we originally developed the toolkit in March 2008 and updated it last July is that superintendents have so many responsibilities, and we thought it would be useful to provide them with hands-on resources to make technology leadership an attainable goal. Based on research, for many superintendents, technology is not necessarily viewed as their job. Instead, it is often viewed as the responsibility of the chief technology or information officer (CTO/CIO).
We understand the vital role our members play. We also know, however, that school district superintendents can help shape and bring to fruition ambitious district-wide visions for implementing technology to re-imagine teaching and learning.
Katie Lovett, project director, CoSN's Empowering the 21st Century Superintendent
Illegals Strain the System
I found the article regarding Arizona's immigration-related laws ("Dividing Arizona," October 2010) very interesting, but also frustrating. I am glad Arizona is doing something about illegal immigrants, and I'm sorry illegal families of Hispanic descent are afraid to stay or send their kids to school, but let's face it—they are already breaking the law if they are not legally here.
I'm all about helping children and educating them, from whatever background. But when it comes to focusing on how to educate Spanish-speaking students, why are we taking away from the children that are here legally or speak other languages? Many of my friends and family members immigrated to the United States the legal way.
Students need to be taught that the United States is a land of opportunity and if they work hard, they can achieve their dreams and success. But I think we also need to teach them how to follow the law and be responsible citizens, which includes coming to a different country in a legal and lawful way.
Caryn Griffith teacher, Indian Trail Jr. High School, Addison (Ill.) School District 4
Promoting Service Learning
I was delighted to read the service-learning story ("Connecting Curriculum with Community," October 2010). As an author who writes books and articles about service learning, I am always thrilled to see more exceptional publications carrying these stories. I will promote these stories to other readers through Facebook, Twitter and workshops. I am compiling a CD-ROM on how to do service learning in international schools around the world. This will be a companion to my book, "The Complete Guide to Service Learning," and will be distributed to more than 250 schools and online.
Cathryn Berger Kaye, author, CBK Associates and ABCD Books
Kudos for DA's Top 100 Awards
Thank you for PD 360's nomination in District Administration's Top 100 story ("Readers Choose Products of the Year," November/December 2010). Your readers agree that PD 360, the largest online, on-demand resource for teacher professional development, is one of their favorite educational products of 2010. School Improvement Network is honored that so many are enjoying the innovative tools and research-based content PD 360 has to offer administrators and educators.
Ruth Nelson, public relations manager, Academic Business Advisors, on behalf of School Improvement Network