Johanns meets with educators

Senator Mike Johanns was in town Monday talking to local educators about national legislation.

A room full of local educators schooled him on the problems they see in the United States' education system.  It's a system they claim Nebraska fell victim to partly by the way they handle grant money.

Marcia Benner is an educator who attended the meeting.  She said, “you can pay for Master's degrees but that doesn't help teachers on their workload.  You can give extra programs, but those don't help teachers in the classroom.  It's smaller class sizes and more teachers that help in the classroom.”

The biggest issue fell on the one-size-fits-all testing associated with the No Child Left Behind Act.  Johanns reminded the teachers he did not and does not support that legislation.  “Ideally, when this does come forward or we are asked to offer our opinion, when the legislation is being built, we do so with the basis of knowledge.”

The teachers say they would feel more comfortable with the federal government monitoring accountability through student growth, so no child feels punished because of background or disability.

Jenni Absalon is the president of the Lincoln Education Association and says, “growth looks much different for a kid with a severe learning disability or for a kid from a different country who at age 14, has never been in a classroom and doesn't speak English.”