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The Right of America's Children: An Online Conference from the NEA

If you care about education, this is the conference for you! Grab your mouse -- not your suitcase -- and head for The Right of America's Children: Recruiting and Retaining Quality Public School Teachers, an NEA hosted conference, taking place online from May 22 through June 2.

Whether you're

  • an educator or simply someone who cares about education
  • a convention habitu or a conference neophyte
  • a virtual guru or virtually clueless ...'re invited to attend The Right of America's Children: Recruiting and Retaining Quality Public School Teachers. This virtual conference on teacher recruitment and retention is hosted by the National Education Association (NEA) and sponsored by the NEA and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASCPA), the Council of Great City Colleges of Education (CGCCE), the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF), and the National Institute for Community Innovation (NICI).

The free conference, which runs from May 22 through June 2, includes almost everything you'd expect to find at an actual convention -- except, of course, the sightseeing. It's an event you won't want to miss!

Like all conferences, this one begins with registration and a quick trip to the Welcome Center. There, attendees pick up a conference schedule and learn how to navigate the convention center and participate in conference events. Those events include a leadership roundtable and separate sessions on teacher recruitment and teacher training.


The Leadership Roundtable

The Leadership Roundtable runs from May 22 through 25. During roundtable sessions, panelists representing each of the sponsoring organizations answer questions about teacher recruitment and retention issues. From May 22 through 24, the panelists answer questions posed by a moderator. On May 25, they'll answer questions posted by conference participants.

Roundtable panelists include Dr. Franklin Dean Grant, president of the AASPA; Dr. Mary Dilworth, vice president of research and information services for the AACTE; Dr. Phil Rusche, dean of the College of Education at California State University, Northridge; Dr. Chuck Williams, NEA priority organizer for teacher quality; Dr. Shirley Schwartz, director of special programs for the CGCS; and Dr. Fredrick Frelow, director of urban initiatives for the NCTAF.

Teacher Recruitment Events

Teacher Recruitment sessions, which run from May 25 through May 30, include presentations and discussions on a number of topics, including

Innovative Pathways to Teaching:

  • Urban Teacher Academy Project -- Presenter: Anne Berrigan (Recruiting New Teachers, Inc.); Facilitator: Shirley Schwartz (CGCS)
  • Attracting People of Color Into Teaching -- Facilitator: Norvella Carter (AACTE)
  • How Do We Fund Innovative Programs? -- Facilitator: Segun Eubanks (NEA)
Recruitment Partnerships:
  • NCTAF Urban Initiative -- Presenter: Fred Frelow (NCTAF); Facilitator: Segun Eubanks (NEA)
  • How to Build Effective School/College Partnerships -- Facilitator: JoAnn Lan (AACTE)
  • The Role of the Teachers Association in Recruitment Partnerships -- Facilitator: Tim Crawford (NEA)
Recruitment Strategies that Work:
  • Clark County, Nevada -- Presenter: George Ann Rice (CGCCE); Facilitator: Phil Rusche (CGCCE)
  • Reducing or Eliminating Emergency Licensure -- Facilitator: Heidi Fisher (NCTAF)
  • Teacher Salary and Benefits -- Facilitator: Bob Carlson (CGCS)
  • Utilizing Technology and the Internet -- Facilitators: JoAnn Lan (AACTE) and Dean Grant (AASPA)
Teacher Retention Events

Teacher Retention sessions, which run from May 30 through June 2, include

Induction and Mentoring:

  • Mentoring Project -- Presenter: Ellen Moir (Santa Cruz New Teacher Project); Facilitator: Bob McGlaughlin (NICI)
  • How to Train and Support Mentors -- Facilitator: Marilyn Schlief (NEA)
  • Finding Support and Funding for Quality Induction -- Facilitator: Joy Fisher-Sykes (AASPA)
Keeping Experienced Teachers in the Classroom:
  • National Board Certification -- National Board Staff; Facilitator: Shirley Schwartz (CGCS)
  • What Makes a "Seasoned" Teacher Leave and How Can We Prevent It? -- Facilitator: Dean Grant (AASPA)
  • The Teaching Career Ladder -- Must It Lead Out of the Classroom? -- Facilitator: Norvella Carter (AACTE)
Tackling the Tough Policy Issues:
  • An Alternative Certification Program -- Presenter: Mary Lewis, Los Angeles Unified District Intern Program; Facilitator: Deborah Newby (AACTE)
  • Pay for Performance -- Facilitator: Nick Machelli (CGCCE)
  • Seniority and Placement -- Facilitator: Marilyn Schlief (NEA)
  • Raising Teacher Salaries -- Facilitator: Esther Coleman (AASPA)


The conference -- like conventions everywhere -- also offers a networking lounge, a resource center, and an exhibit hall.

As the instructions for using the Networking Caf point out, "Some of the most helpful conversations at conferences are those that happen in the hallways, between and around the official sessions." This online teachers' lounge is the virtual equivalent of those fervent hallway debates. The lounge is open throughout the conference, online facilitators are available, and attendees may start discussions on any relevant topics.

The Resource Center provides lists -- and links -- for books, Web sites, multimedia presentations, and other resources to help maximize the conference experience. The Exhibit Hall lists sponsors and other appropriate organizations. Both are open 24 hours a day throughout the conference.

In addition to the typical convention events and services, the NEA site provides step-by-step instructions for attending and participating in virtual conferences. If you've always wanted to join interactive online events, but were too shy to try, this is the place to begin!

Editors Note: Attendance at The Right of America's Children: Recruiting and Retaining Quality Public School Teachers requires Internet access with a compatible Internet browser, preferably Netscape 3.1 or higher, Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.02 or higher, or AOL version 3.0 or higher (Windows PC or Macintosh system). Caucus events are also Web TV 4+ friendly. JavaScript must also be enabled.

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