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Here is some solid advice for advocating to our elected officials on behalf of public education.

OPPOSITION EMAIL to STATE SENATORS. Feel free to use it....i stole parts from NCSA and other parts from my sparkling personality.

This bill should not be on the floor of the legislature. The Education committee did not vote this bill out of committee, so, why Senator Linehan felt it needed to be advanced when she could not gain support from her own committee membership should tell the story, yet, here we are.

Opposition to this bill is not about being anti 'reading' or anti 'student,' it is just a bad bill.

The bill refers to the importance of scientific research and/or researched based strategies six different times within the legislation. However, the very mandate of requiring student retention in third grade has overwhelming research to discount the practice:
- According to John Hattie's synthesis of research on retention, from Visible Learning: A Syntheses of over 800 Meta-analyses Relating to Achievement. Hattie synthesized the research on 138 different "influences" on achievement. Retention ranked 136th in terms of effectiveness.

My district has a very active summer school program and support nearly 100 kids annually in grades K-12 in supporting reading, writing, and math. This bill just adds MORE layers and more COST on top of programs that are already effective in many, many schools. Legislation that may help low performing schools make it worse on others. I would invite any Senator to visit a public school and see reading support first hand before they would support a bill like LB651.

Please oppose LB651 and AM1226 (pending).

Colleagues: My text of my email regarding opposition to LB 595 sent out today. You are welcome to use any text you may like if you choose to contact your senator.

Dear Senator
I am writing you in opposition to LB 595, Senator Groene’s priority bill dealing with Student Discipline and restraint. As a practicing 6th-12th grade building Principal at Ashland-Greenwood Middle/High School, Ashland, NE, I did testify in opposition to LB595 to the Education committee in person on behalf of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators in February.

In an effort to keep this brief, I am going to share what I believe are the most important points to consider if this bill comes up for a vote or discussion on the floor.

 The ONLY group to testify as a proponent at the February hearing was the Nebraska State Education Association (teachers union). Since that date and upon gathering more feedback from their membership, even the NSEA has softened their support AND recommended further study.

 The original and the amended version of the bill that describes when restraint can be used is NOT new information or does not allow for any new action! To be accredited in Nebraska, you must have a ‘restraint’ policy. Furthermore, statute dictates that schools have Student handbooks that reflect statute and policy. I have not researched or reviewed every school policy in the State, but, if we are all accredited I am confident that ALL schools already have policy and procedures that deal with restraint.

 Items mentioned in the bill, Section 2, #1, #2, #3, & #4 (dealing with WHEN restraint can be used: violent student toward others, destructive student, or a staff member in self defense or in defense of another. ALL situations are allowed currently in the policy at my school. This bill creates nothing new in the area of protection for teachers that need to restrain a student.

 SECTION 3 of the bill says a ‘teacher may remove a student from class if…’ Again, all the reasons presented in the bill are already legal and acceptable reasons to remove a kid from class. Removal can happen because the student is interfering with other’s opportunity to learn.

 IF a teacher is not strong with classroom management, they may remove kids more often because they have not developed the skills to effectively deal with challenges. If a teacher is engaging, experienced, and has great relationships with kids, they remove kids less often and have fewer discipline issues. Or, maybe the student needs a plan of action, or, some new methods to re-direct his behaviors or to re-teach the desired behaviors. In any rate, there is learning opportunity for ALL. Simply removing a kid for up to 2 days, then, requiring a meeting with family before they can go back in to the class only add “requirements” where none are needed. This Section 3 provision in LB595 takes that knowledge of a student, knowledge of a situation, and a teacher’s strengths and weaknesses out of the Principal’s hands and places it in the teacher’s hands that may or may not have all the necessary information (about the family, situation, or student).

 Furthermore, the required conference (teacher, parent, student, and principal) really puts the teacher in a tough spot, and, in a spot that could be viewed as ‘against’ the student, against the family, or even against the Principal. I believe an approach where all parties are working TOGETHER toward a solution is better than a law that dictates taking sides and having it all come down to 1 person.

Thank you for your service to Nebraska! I am always happy to share my opinions and my voice to issues that relate to students! Please feel free to email or call me if you have any questions. My office number is 402.944.2114, ext 2001. My cell number is 402.616.0831.

Senator Groene priortized his bill, and, today (march 13) the Education committee voted to advance his bill (restraint) out of committee by a 5-3 vote, which means it will have the chance to be heard on the floor and come to a vote (keep in mind the gang of 27 that have the majority!!!). YOU MUST contact your senator if you oppose this bill!!! Do not call it 595, you must call it the Senator Groene's restraint bill (then refer to LB595). With so many bills, they forget the #'s! (a Senator actually told me that hint)

LB 595 (Groene): Heard by the education committee on February 7th. This bill would provide for the use of physical force or physical restraint or removal from a class in response to bad student behavior. The NSEA offered support for the bill based upon a member survey that had been conducted prior to the hearing. NSEA has pulled their support and not recommend 'more study.' Nebraska Council of School Administrators and other organizations showed opposition to the bill. This bill has a requirement that the teacher must provide permission before a student can return to their classroom.

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My handout from last nights Region 1 Meeting

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Don't forget to register for the upcoming Principals Conference in Kearney. Here's a link to the registration page,

See you there!
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