PEN October 31, 2003
50th Anniversary of Brown Vs. Board of Education
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                                    "Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
                                    SCHOOL POLICIES VARY ON HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
                                    A growing diversity in cultural beliefs and a desire to maintain focus 
                                    academics have led many school districts not to allow students to dress 
                                    for Halloween during the school day, reports Jamie Brunk. "Our specific
                                    job is curricular issues and we want to have the focus be on that," 
                                    Gary Lane, principal at Bentonvilles Sugar Creek Elementary School, in
                                    Arkansas. Sugar Creek assistant principal Cathy Hancock explained that 
                                    principals discussed the issue during an administrators meeting. They
                                    decided to not allow students to dress up during the day, and to have 
                                    parties held in classrooms be geared more toward celebrating fall. 
                                    Glen Elementary School principal Mike Mumma added that having big 
                                    days can become a distraction. With growing diversity in the area,
                                    celebrating certain holidays over others can cause problems.
                                    WORKING WITH THE PUBLIC ON BIG DECISIONS
                                    In an increasingly busy and sophisticated world, where citizens have 
                                    to contribute but less time to spend, school leaders are rethinking the
                                    ways they work with the public. To involve parents and other citizens 
                                    an ongoing basis, they are incorporating public engagement principles 
                                    school and district governance, using them to analyze school reform 
                                    and employing them at the teacher-parent-classroom level. They are
                                    bringing policy decisions into the community, using small groups to 
                                    safe, informed discussions and asking citizens to take an active role 
                                    problem solving. In this article in School Administrator magazine, Matt
                                    Leighninger describes new strategies and approaches for effective 
                                    THE CONDITION OF EDUCATION: AN ANNUAL SNAPSHOT
                                    Every year, the federal government assembles a mountain of data that, 
                                    aggregate, reveals important trends in education. Valerie Strauss
                                    highlights selected data from the 2003 report, "The Condition of
                                    Education," from the U.S. Department of Education. Categories of 
                                    include: student learning; teaching/academic trends; voting 
                                    by level of educational attainment; and college demographics and
                                    completion rates.
                                    NO DRIVE BY TEACHERS
                                    In this essay, Carnegie president Lee S. Shulman, examines the topic of
                                    accountability, a subject that tends to polarize thinking. Maybe that's
                                    because most of the recent discussion locates accountability outside 
                                    classroom. What different picture emerges, and what consequences 
                                    if we think about the teacher as the primary agent of his or her own
                                    accountability? Indeed, what if we think of external accountability as
                                    only a supplement to the primary function of professional 
                                    Shulman writes that excellent teaching, like excellent medical care, is
                                    not simply a matter of knowing the latest techniques and technologies.
                                    Excellence also entails an ethical and moral commitment -- what he 
                                    the "pedagogical imperative." Teachers with this kind of integrity feel 
                                    obligation to not just drive by. They stop and help. They inquire into 
                                    consequences of their work with students. This is an obligation that
                                    devolves on individual faculty members, on programs, on institutions, 
                                    even on disciplinary communities. A professional actively takes
                                    responsibility; she does not wait to be held accountable.
                                    STATES CLAIM TEACHERS ARE QUALIFIED
                                    Thirty-three states report that at least four out of five classes in 
                                    core subjects have teachers who are "highly qualified." What's more,
                                    writes Bess Keller, many states say the picture is about the same in 
                                    high-poverty schools. States had to submit the figures to the U.S.
                                    Department of Education by September, as part of their consolidated
                                    applications for federal aid under the No Child Left Behind Act. But 
                                    state officials admitting to guesswork, observers regard the statistics 
                                    a first stab at a data-gathering task many states were ill-equipped to
                                    undertake. Eleven states did not provide the required numbers at all. 
                                    are very, very cautious about the data provided," said Jennifer 
                                    who has been tracking the numbers for the Education Commission of the
                                    States, a bipartisan policy group in Denver. The article includes a 
                                    to a table that tracks the percentage of classes taught by "highly
                                    qualified" teachers statewide and classes taught by "highly qualified"
                                    teachers in high-poverty schools for each state.
                                    PRIVATE EFFORTS FUNDING PUBLIC SCHOOLS
                                    How much should public school budgets rely on private fund-raising? 
                                    It's a
                                    question being posed across the country, as cash-strapped districts 
                                    to parents and local education foundations for help with budget items 
                                    textbooks to teacher salaries. Public schools should be publicly 
                                    most would agree. The debate centers on what a public education should
                                    look like, reports Laura Pappano. Ten years after Massachusetts 
                                    education reform, and as requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act 
                                    in, it's tempting to see public education as the fulfillment of legal
                                    mandates and the attainment of passing test scores. In Arlington, Julie
                                    Dunn, president of the Arlington Partners in Education Foundation, 
                                    know what the future holds. Will there be another override, this one
                                    successful? Will parents again scramble to raise large amounts for 
                                    school needs? "You can't fund a school with emergency private
                                    fund-raising," she said. "The first time it's an emergency; the second
                                    time it is a planned event."
                                    School districts in Illinois and New York that have large numbers of 
                                    students get some $2,200 less in state and local funds per student than
                                    other schools, according to a new report, "The Funding Gap," from The
                                    Education Trust.  Alaska did the best, providing $840 in additional 
                                    per student to school districts with low-income students, followed by
                                    Delaware, which provided more than $600.  School districts with large
                                    minority populations also get short-changed, the report said. New York
                                    again has the largest gap ($2,000 per student), followed by Kansas and
                                    Nebraska, both with nearly $1,800. On the flip side, Massachusetts
                                    provided an extra $940 per student to school districts with a lot of
                                    minority students and Georgia an extra $560, reports Pamela M. Prah. 
                                    dollar figures have been adjusted to take into account local cost
                                    differences and the extra cost of educating poorer students, the trust
                                    said.  "In too many states, we see yet again that the very students who
                                    need the most, get the least," Kevin Carey, senior policy analyst and
                                    author of the report, said. "At a time when schools, districts and 
                                    are rightly focusing on closing the achievement gap separating 
                                    and minority students from other students, states can and must do more 
                                    close these funding gaps."
                                    NO PARENT LEFT BEHIND
                                    Educators have recognized for some time that parent involvement plays a
                                    critical role in student achievement. Especially in urban districts it 
                                    become increasingly clear that failure to enlist parents as partners
                                    seriously hampers any school-reform efforts. But it's only recently 
                                    many schools, districts, and states have been taking concrete steps to
                                    help what's often a tense relationship. Particularly in urban areas,
                                    school officials often complain that parents are too busy or not
                                    sufficiently caring to get involved at their childrens' schools. Yet at
                                    the same time many parents say they feel threatened or unwelcome, and 
                                    what many principals mean by "parent involvement" is really bake sales 
                                    book drives. The result: open hostility between people who ultimately 
                                    have the same goals. To improve this unhappy state of affairs, the
                                    sweeping 2002 No Child Left Behind Act has for the first time put in 
                                    laws intended to foster parent involvement. The mandates included in 
                                    federal act range from better communication on such things as test 
                                    and parents' options to requirements that schools develop a
                                    "school-parent" compact and a plan to involve parents. At this point, 
                                    of the reforms still exist more on paper than in practice. But just
                                    formally recognizing the importance of the issue - the need for
                                    involvement that's truly collaborative - is a step in the right 
                                    say educators. "People in the [school] community have to see that
                                    communicating well with families is part of their professional job," 
                                    Joyce Epstein, director of the Center on School, Family, and Community
                                    Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "That's explicit
                                    now. If No Child Left Behind really were implemented as intended, it 
                                    really be quite exciting." As Amanda Paulson reports, a number of 
                                    and districts are also trying out their own strategies.
                                    NO COW LEFT BEHIND
                                    Since testing seems to be a cornerstone to improving performance, 
                                    Remsen doesn't understand why this principle isn't applied to other
                                    businesses that are not performing up to expectations. In this satire, 
                                    examines the problem of falling milk prices and wonders why testing 
                                    wouldn't be effective in bringing up milk prices since testing students 
                                    going to bring up test scores. Remsen doesn't want to hear about the 
                                    that just came to the barn from the farm down the road that didn't 
                                    the proper nutrition or a proper living environment. All cows need to 
                                    the standard. It will be necessary for all farmers to become certified.
                                    This will mean some more paperwork and testing of knowledge of cows but 
                                    the end this will lead to the benefit of all. It will also be necessary 
                                    allow barn choice for the cows. If cows are not meeting the standard in
                                    certain farms they will be allowed to go to the barn of their choice.
                                    Transportation may become an issue but it is critical that cows be 
                                    to leave their low performing barns. This will force low performing 
                                    to meet the standard or else they will simply go out of business.
                                    CAMPAIGNING: CITIZENS BOOST SCHOOL FUNDING
                                    Tens of thousands of dollars are being poured into political campaigns 
                                    November votes that don't even involve candidates for statewide office.
                                    The money is going to school-funding referendums, mostly to convince
                                    voters to approve school district efforts to raise more money. 
                                    groups can do much more to sell a referendum than schools, which are
                                    prohibited by law from encouraging their residents to vote yes. In 
                                    years, they have been. Lots more money has been raised by "vote yes"
                                    volunteers in many districts to support such requests. "Vote no" 
                                    are far less common and get less money. There are several likely causes
                                    for the stepped-up pace of such fund raising. For one, said Bill Morris 
                                    Decision Resource Ltd., citizens are more skeptical about district 
                                    requests that will raise taxes, and schools need more help to make the
                                    case to voters. "It is a much more tax-sensitive, if not hostile,
                                    environment," said Morris, whose firm does opinion polling for school
                                    districts. "So, then, it becomes imperative that a grassroots 
                                    help in any referendum effort." The pro-referendum money comes from
                                    various sources  often from ordinary citizens, but also from school 
                                    and teacher union district chapters. Those "vote no" committees haven't
                                    been able to match their opponents' powerful fund-raising efforts.
                                    WANTED: MEN & HISPANICS FOR PTA DUTY
                                    New outreach is happening across the country as the National PTA aims 
                                    recruit members and develop leaders among groups not widely 
                                    particularly men and Hispanics. In the past, the PTA has launched 
                                    initiatives that focused on recruiting minority members, including
                                    African-Americans. Nine of 10 PTA members are women and more than eight 
                                    10 are white, the organization estimates. Hispanics are projected to
                                    account for almost one in four public school children by 2020, yet they
                                    make up only 4 percent of the PTA's 6.2 million members. The group was
                                    founded as the National Congress of Mothers more than a century ago and
                                    later changed its name to the Parent-Teacher Association. The PTA has
                                    realized that to back up its slogan -- "Every Child, One Voice" -- it
                                    needs some fresh voices of its own. "You can't be a parent 
                                    organization, a
                                    really strong, vibrant one, if you're not reflective of all the 
                                    said National PTA President Linda Hodge of Colchester, Connecticut. 
                                    imperative for the organization to make that happen."
                                    SPECIAL EDUCATION DILEMMA
                                    Advocates say holding special education kids to the same standards as
                                    everybody else is a step forward, but critics say it makes no sense. It
                                    produces dumbfounded stares and sighs of frustration. Yes, special
                                    education students now have to take regular tests, report Claudette 
                                    and Diane Long. And the kicker? They are expected to do just as well as
                                    students without the same problems. "It just seems to be fundamentally
                                    unfair to give children an impossible test to take," said U.S. Rep. Jim
                                    Cooper, a Democrat from Nashville. "There's no way for them to 
                                    Under No Child Left Behind, nearly all special education students have 
                                    take the same tests as others their age. And they are all expected to
                                    score on par with their peers by 2013-14. Only 1% are allowed to take
                                    alternative tests designed to measure the progress of students with 
                                    or no academic skills. "It's not fair to have any child take this test 
                                    their grade level when everyone knows they don't perform on grade 
                                    said Donna Parker, supervisor of special education for Wilson County.
                                    "It's very frustrating for a lot of the students." Advocates contend 
                                    the bulk of the nation's 6.5 million special education students are
                                    capable of taking and passing achievement tests. In fact, they say,
                                    special education numbers are bloated by kids who don't really need to 
                                    there because they often just have a small learning problem that can be
                                    overcome. "The reality is that for too long, we haven't expected enough
                                    and we've made too many excuses that these kids cannot learn," said 
                                    Pasternack, the U.S. Department of Education's assistant secretary for
                                    special education. "Some people are saying 'Oooh, we don't want to 
                                    those kids in our measurement standards,' and that's nonsense. That's 
                                    fair to the kids. That's not fair to the parents. That's not fair to 
                                    people who are paying the bills."
                                    Cursive writing, once a cornerstone of American education, is becoming 
                                    cultural artifact as computers and the demands of standardized tests
                                    squeeze it out of its once lofty position. Taught for more than 300 
                                    in the United States, cursive has a storied past. But in a number of
                                    Michigan schools, reports Jodi Upton, it has been reduced to an
                                    independent study, an "as-we-have-time" course in second or third 
                                    For traditionalists, the demise of cursive is an outrage -- the loss of 
                                    skill, even an art form. People who print argue that there's no point 
                                    wasting students' time to teach a vestigial skill in a computer age. 
                                    the educators in the middle, pragmatism wins. "Handwriting is 
                                    We're not practicing as much; there are just so many things we need to
                                    do," said Joanne Jacobson, curriculum director at Fraser Public 
                                    "Our focus is to make it legible, not beautiful. It (handwriting) is 
                                    a tool."
                                    EQUITY & ADEQUACY
                                    As No Child Left Behind pushes states to strengthen their standards and
                                    assessment systems, there will be increased pressure to ensure that
                                    adequate resources are allocated to allow students to achieve those
                                    standards, and it seems likely that the use of such adequacy lawsuits 
                                    redistribute scarce state resources may intensify. A new EdPolicy 
                                    from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
                                    highlights how past lawsuits against states have sought to address 
                                    concerns; while recent lawsuits have focused on adequacy -- a new 
                                    that has proven effective, with 18 of 28 cases since 1989 being decided
                                    against the states. While equity challenges have relied on the 
                                    division of resources, adequacy challenges focus on the provision of
                                    adequate resources to schools so that all students have the same
                                    opportunity to succeed (the state is responsible for providing adequate
                                    resources to schools, even if it costs more to provide some student
                                    subgroups with a high-quality education).
                                    "e-Lead," a free website resource dedicated to providing states and
                                    districts with guidance about and information on the professional
                                    development of school principals, was launched through the partnership 
                                    the Laboratory for Student Success and the Institute for Educational
                                    Leadership.  e-Lead has identified six principles, anchored in current
                                    research, which should guide principal professional development. In
                                    addition to these guiding principles, the website houses a searchable
                                    database of existing quality programs.  A Leadership Library offers
                                    annotated information about a number of leadership development issues 
                                    links to the latest information and resources.
                                    POWER & POSSIBILITIES: YOUTH-LED SOCIAL CHANGE
                                    Involving youth in social change requires a shift from unquestioning
                                    acceptance of the way things are to developing a strategy that engages
                                    communities and institutions to address injustice at a systems level.
                                    Recognizing the power and possibilities of working at the intersection 
                                    youth development, youth organizing, and programming that recognizes 
                                    importance of multiple youth identities, the Collaborative Fund for
                                    Youth-Led Social Change (CFYS) was created. CFYS asks: Who sets the 
                                    agenda and how is it set? Does youth-led social action have potential 
                                    long-term systems change? Can youth action address issues beyond those
                                    normally seen as "youth issues?" How do issues of gender, race, class, 
                                    age factor into social change work? A new publication outlines model
                                    programs and lessons learned from this new approach to youth-led social
                                    change. (Click on "Power & Possibilities" link.)
                                    Even the very youngest children in America are growing up immersed in
                                    media, spending hours a day watching TV and videos, using computers and
                                    playing video games, according to a new study released today by the 
                                    J. Kaiser Family Foundation.  Children six and under spend an average 
                                    two hours a day using screen media, about the same amount of time they
                                    spend playing outside, and well over the amount they spend reading or
                                    being read to. Key findings include: One in four children under two 
                                    have a
                                    TV in their bedroom; Children in "heavy" TV households are less likely 
                                    read; Parents believe in educational value of TV and computers. "It's 
                                    just teenagers who are wired up and tuned in, its babies in diapers as
                                    well," said Vicky Rideout, the lead author of the study.  "So much new
                                    media is being targeted at infants and toddlers, it's critical that we
                                    learn more about the impact it's having on child development."
                                    TEENAGERS CUDDLY CRUSADE IS A LABOR OF LOVE
                                    Aby Thurston knows how scary ambulance rides can be. She was only 6 
                                    she was taken to Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center in 
                                    to be treated for a rare kidney disorder. "She was so scared," said her
                                    mother, Jackie Thurston. "Her body has swollen like a balloon and she 
                                    crying and throwing up." But on the way to the hospital, an emergency
                                    medical technician calmed the little girl when he gave her a teddy 
                                    just big enough for her to wrap her arms around. "I fell asleep
                                    immediately," recalled Aby Thurston, now 16. "I knew I was safe and
                                    protected, and the bear was a tangible reminder of that." The teenager,
                                    writes Nguyen Huy Vu, has spent nearly half of her life collecting 
                                    bears and other stuffed animals to give to the same ambulance company 
                                    cared for her. In seven years, she has collected nearly 6,000 cuddly
                                    |---------------GRANT AND FUNDING INFORMATION--------------|
                                    "RadioShack National Teacher Awards"
                                    RadioShack established the National Teacher Awards program as a 
                                    to promote and encourage educational excellence in high schools across
                                    America. A total of 110 awards will be made in two categories: 
                                    high school teachers and beginning high school teachers. One hundred
                                    full-time math, science or technology teachers with more than three 
                                    teaching experience will receive a cash stipend of $3,000. Ten 
                                    math, science or technology teachers who have completed one year and 
                                    in their second or third year of high school teaching will receive a
                                    $1,000 cash stipend. Application deadline: November 7, 2003.
                                    "The Gleitsman Foundation 2004 Citizen Activist Award"
                                    The 2004 Citizen Activist Award will honor those who have struggled to
                                    improve K-12 public education in order to give each child the basic
                                    education necessary to succeed in our fast-changing world. The 
                                    seeks activists who recognize the urgent necessity of providing to all
                                    children the basic education required in the world in which we live. 
                                    honorees will share $100,000 and each will receive a specially
                                    commissioned sculpture designed by Maya Lin, creator of the Vietnam War
                                    Memorial in Washington, DC. The award is not presented posthumously, 
                                    is it granted to groups or organizations. Nomination deadline: November
                                    12, 2003.
                                    "American Honda Foundation Grants"
                                    The American Honda Foundation makes grants of $10,000 to $100,000 to 
                                    schools, colleges, universities, trade schools, and others for programs
                                    that benefit youth and scientific education. The Foundation is seeking
                                    programs that meet the following characteristics: dreamful 
                                    scientific, creative, humanistic, youthful, innovative, and forward
                                    thinking.  Application deadline: February 1, 2004.
                                    "Gifts In Kind International"
                                    Nonprofit organizations worldwide are invited to register with Gifts In
                                    Kind International to receive donations of top-quality software,
                                    computers, office equipment and supplies; donations of newly 
                                    personal care products, youth and educational materials, building
                                    supplies, household items, clothing and other products; and to save on
                                    computer equipment, office supplies and technology training offered
                                    through special pricing programs.
                                    The Grantionary is a list of grant-related terms and their definitions.
                                    GrantsAlert is a website that helps nonprofits, especially those 
                                    in education, secure the funds they need to continue their important 
                                    "Grant Writing Tips"
                                    SchoolGrants has compiled an excellent set of grant writing tips for 
                                    that need help in developing grant proposals.
                                    FastWEB is the largest online scholarship search available, with 
                                    scholarships representing over one billion in scholarship dollars.  It
                                    provides students with accurate, regularly updated information on
                                    scholarships, grants, and fellowships suited to their goals and
                                    qualifications, all at no cost to the student.  Students should be 
                                    that FastWEB collects and sells student information (such as name,
                                    address, e-mail address, date of birth, gender, and country of
                                    citizenship) collected through their site.
                                    "Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)"
                                    More than 30 Federal agencies formed a working group in 1997 to make
                                    hundreds of federally supported teaching and learning resources easier 
                                    find.  The result of that work is the FREE website.
                                    "Fundsnet Online Services"
                                    A comprehensive website dedicated to providing nonprofit organizations,
                                    colleges, and Universities with information on financial resources
                                    available on the Internet.
                                    "eSchool News School Funding Center"
                                    Information on up-to-the-minute grant programs, funding sources, and
                                    technology funding.
                                    "Philanthropy News Digest"
                                    Philanthropy News Digest, a weekly news service of the Foundation 
                                    is a compendium, in digest form, of philanthropy-related articles and
                                    features culled from print and electronic media outlets nationwide.
                                    "School Grants"
                                    A collection of resources and tips to help K-12 educators apply for and
                                    obtain special grants for a variety of projects.
                                    QUOTE OF THE WEEK
                                    "We are at a liminal moment in contemporary life where our traditional
                                    institutions are bumping up against the trends and complexities of late
                                    modern times. Not surprisingly these institutions are finding that
                                    established ways of doing things are often inappropriate to the new
                                    contexts. As a consequence, there is an ongoing need to reappraise
                                    structures and processes. Public education is arguably the most 
                                    of these institutions -- if the range of policy strategies and 
                                    reports referring to such concepts as the information economy,
                                    knowledge society, and life long learning, are any guide. ...Public
                                    education has always been central to nation building. That is, public
                                    schools have been seen as the major arena within which young people 
                                    developed the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be citizens, workers, 
                                    community and family members. Thus public schools have been understood 
                                    a public good, contributing a collective benefit to society as well as
                                    benefits to individuals."
                                    -Professor Alan Reid, University of South Australia, "Public Education 
                                    a Public Good"
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