PEN Weekly NewsBlast for February 6, 2004
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Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
                                    "Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
                                    ADDING COMMON SENSE TO NCLB
                                    School leaders now have been through two full years of implementation 
                                    the No Child Left Behind Act. First there was the long wait for
                                    regulations and guidance, writes Terri Duggan Schwartzbeck. Then, 
                                    accountability plans emerged, like shapes in the fog, giving a slightly
                                    clearer picture of what implementation of this law would really look 
                                    What also became clear as the implementation of the law lumbered 
                                    and superintendents and their staffs everywhere rolled up their sleeves
                                    and labored through the details was that some elements of the law are
                                    working and others are not. As a result, states are changing their
                                    accountability plans and putting pressure on Washington to modify the 
                                    Superintendents are coming together through their state associations to
                                    put their concerns on paper and take them straight to the top. Whats
                                    working? More teachers than originally thought turned out to be highly
                                    qualified. Many states and school districts are making real progress in
                                    getting their paraprofessionals the extra training they need. And the
                                    focus on educating all children is stronger than before. Whats not
                                    working? Not surprisingly, its a longer and more worrisome list.
                                    The head of the Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District, in
                                    California, would like to take a little money from the richer schools 
                                    his district and give it to the poorer ones. In his district, 
                                    efforts of parents can raise over $200,000 per year. But at other 
                                    nearby, many of the parents don't have the means to raise money for
                                    schools. Under the proposal, every school in the district would give up 
                                    percent of the private money parents raised and the funds would go into 
                                    district-wide fund for redistribution among all the schools. Problem 
                                    some say private donations to schools are charitable gifts and that the
                                    district has no right to touch them.  Others say the issue is a
                                    fundamental matter of equity and justice, reports Hannah Heineman.
                                    NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: A FOOLISH RACE INTO THE PAST
                                    According to David Marshak, the No Child Left Behind Act, rather than
                                    preparing all students for the future, reverts to the outmoded 
                                    of the Industrial Age -- a narrow curriculum and the sorting of 
                                    through standardized testing. Here's what may happen. First, test
                                    development may generate some significant chaos and anger throughout 
                                    states, as state budgets are distorted and stretched to pay for the new
                                    tests. Implementing tests in 2005-06 may add to this climate of anger,
                                    because actually giving and scoring tests is an even more expensive
                                    proposition. But the real response -- and the rebellion -- may come 
                                    middle-class and upper-middle-class parents, as they see the schools 
                                    judge to be at least adequate but more likely good or even excellent
                                    increasingly focus their efforts on test preparation and test scores. 
                                    the rebellion may deepen and spread, as these middle-class and
                                    upper-middle-class parents see the quality and richness of their
                                    children's schooling decline before their eyes. Less of the arts, less
                                    social studies, less physical education, fewer studies based on 
                                    interests and curiosities, more drill, more drill, more test prep. More
                                    frustration, more boredom, more anger.
                                    THE VOICE OF THE NEW TEACHER
                                    New teachers are vital members of the teaching workforce. The demand 
                                    new teachers has been climbing steadily since the 1990s and is expected 
                                    continue in the foreseeable future given the increases in teacher
                                    retirement and student enrollment, lower pupil/teacher ratios, and 
                                    teacher attrition rates. A new report from Public Education Network 
                                    the opinions and perspectives of beginning teachers on their first 
                                    in the profession. This publication is an excellent tool for developing
                                    authentic and targeted teacher mentoring and professional development
                                    programs and effective teacher recruitment efforts.
                                    LATINOS GIVE HIGH MARKS TO PUBLIC EDUCATION
                                    Latinos are generally more positive about public education and school
                                    improvement than African Americans and whites, according to a new 
                                    of Latino attitudes toward education from the Pew Hispanic Center and 
                                    Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. More than half of Latino respondents
                                    say they would give U.S. public schools a grade of A or B, and 45 
                                    believe schools have improved in the last five years, compared with 31
                                    percent of African Americans and 25 percent of whites. At the local 
                                    more than three-quarters of Latinos say teachers have a good 
                                    of their child's academic strengths and overall development, and nearly
                                    all Latino parents (95 percent) say it is important that their children 
                                    to college. However, Hispanic students are still not performing as well 
                                    their white peers. Survey respondents cited several reasons: Latino
                                    parents do not push their kids to work hard (53 percent); schools are 
                                    quick to label Latino students with behavior or learning problems (51
                                    percent); and white teachers are unable to bridge cultural divides (47
                                    percent). When asked about education reform, 67 percent of Latinos 
                                    that states should set performance standards for schools, and 75 
                                    support the use of standardized tests.
                                    AN EXAMINATION OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP
                                    Since 1984, MetLife has conducted a series of surveys that bring the 
                                    and voices of those closest to the classroom to the attention of
                                    policymakers and the public. Conducted by Harris Interactive, survey
                                    topics have changed to address key issues over the years -- from reform 
                                    violence -- but the premise remains the same: to give voice to teachers
                                    and others most familiar with classroom realities and most affected by
                                    education reform. The newly released MetLife Survey of the American
                                    Teacher, 2003, explores the attitudes and opinions of teachers,
                                    principals, parents and students regarding school leadership. The 
                                    examines the role of the school leader in establishing the schools
                                    atmosphere and also looks at relationships among members of the school
                                    community.  Results indicate that while there is consensus regarding 
                                    goals of school leadership, opinions differ on whether or not these 
                                    are being met.
                                    CHEWING GUM HELPS BOOST LEARNING
                                    The truly great scientific discoveries -- gravity, laughing gas, Velcro 
                                    always seem to happen by accident. Take the case of Dr. Kenneth Allen,
                                    whose latest findings indicate that we should perhaps overturn one of 
                                    most sacred laws of primary education: the prohibition on chewing gum 
                                    the classroom. Allen, a professor of dentistry, is an unlikely champion 
                                    Bazooka and Double Bubble, and yet he has recently shown, if
                                    inadvertently, that a pack-a-day chewing habit may help account for the
                                    difference between the honor roll and summer school. Ben McGrath 
                                    on a new theory that postulates that the more you chew, the more you
                                    STUDENTS DRAW UP SCHOOL OF DREAMS
                                    Six-year-old Jessica Oliphant wants a Burger King in her new school.
                                    LaTroy Lewis, 10, would like two swimming pools -- one indoors and one
                                    outside. And Dominic Woods, a fourth-grader, thinks the new elementary
                                    school should go through eighth grade rather than just fifth. "If we 
                                    a school like this, I don't want to leave," the 9-year-old said. These 
                                    a few of the ideas that students have come up with for a new building 
                                    will replace their Ohio school. First-, third- and fourth-graders wrote
                                    letters and drew pictures illustrating their vision for the school. 
                                    work will be shared with school and city leaders in an upcoming public
                                    meeting. Principal Carolyn Brown said there initially was some 
                                    to the idea of a new school from people in the community -- many of 
                                    have had generations educated there. But she said the excitement of the
                                    students helped to overcome any misgivings. Brown said she has been
                                    impressed with the students' ideas, which are on display throughout the
                                    school. "For me, the whole idea is to produce better learners,'' she 
                                    "Their needs have to be met. The best way to find their needs is to ask
                                    JUSTICE TALKING: NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
                                    Sweeping educational reforms passed in 2001 sharply divided teachers 
                                    policy makers over the direction of our nations schools. Proponents 
                                    the changes increase accountability and open doors to new options for
                                    parents of children in failing institutions. Critics charge that the
                                    bills intent and impact are quite different as poor, urban schools are
                                    tagged as failures and marked for closure at the same time the students
                                    are denied entrance to better funded, higher performing schools.  This
                                    hour-long radio show features commentary and debate from numerous
                                    reporters,  Eugene Hickok, the U.S. Under Secretary of Education, and a
                                    chief architect of NCLB, and educator Stan Karp of Rethinking Schools. 
                                    will need a computer audio program and computer speakers to listen to 
                                    NEW GUIDE TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS PUTS PARENTS IN THE KNOW 
                                    A new trilingual parent guide to Miami-Dade County Public Schools, 
                                    includes a wide range of program information and more than 100 phone
                                    numbers and Internet sites for additional help, will be delivered 
                                    to nearly every home in the county. The booklet covers everything from
                                    pre-kindergarten registration to high school graduation, reports 
                                    Pinzur. It explains the many standardized tests given in public school,
                                    provides enrollment information for college-scholarship plans and 
                                    how to address problems in the classroom. It also answers questions 
                                    remedial programs, special education, gifted classes and magnet school
                                    applications. "We all know parents want to be armed with the best tools 
                                    help their children's future," said Linda Lecht of The Education Fund, 
                                    local education fund, which raised more than $170,000 to print 500,000
                                    ONLY THE POLITICKING GETS AN "A"
                                    For children and teachers across America, it's rather bad news, writes
                                    Bruce Fuller. Education is now the No. 2 preoccupation of voters, 
                                    just behind worries over jobs, according to recent polls. So a 
                                    catfight has suddenly broken out between President Bush, who's loudly
                                    trumpeting his federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) school reforms, and 
                                    Democratic presidential candidates, whose critical attacks on them are
                                    growing more shrill. Instead of pulling together to revitalize the
                                    schools, they're simply pummeling each other over this politically 
                                    issue. What is at stake as NCLB rises from obscure acronym to political
                                    punching bag?
                                    THE TROUBLE WITH TEACHER COLLABORATION
                                    A growing body of research points to the critical importance of teacher
                                    collaboration if schools hope to achieve and sustain improvements in
                                    student performance. But institutionalizing collaborative working
                                    environments requires teachers to function as teams and abandon their
                                    traditional norms of isolationism and individualism. This 
                                    study, published in the on-line research journal "Current Issues in
                                    Education," involved teachers in 45 North Louisiana schools. It 
                                    that while some schools and school districts are characterized by 
                                    of the "learning community," others remain "largely mired in customary
                                    practices that are counterproductive to realizing the newer 
                                    standards." Participating teachers report that, despite the rhetoric,
                                    major impediments to joint professional work remain and they make
                                    suggestions for better meeting the continuing collaborative challenge.
                                    TEACHERS LESSONS FOCUS ON FUN, GRAMMAR & MANNERS
                                    After 27 years of teaching at the rural elementary and middle school 
                                    north of Lawrenceburg, Stan Lopp has gained a reputation as a strict
                                    disciplinarian who spends the first few days of each semester laying 
                                    the rules: Show respect. Be prepared. Pay attention. Be on time to 
                                    Keep the room clean. "You have to be consistent. You've got to have 
                                    even tone every day," he said. "These are junior high kids -- one day 
                                    come in on cloud nine and another they are in a stupor." The formula
                                    apparently is working because he rarely has to punish a student for
                                    breaking the rules. "He makes sure every kid understands everything he
                                    wants," said Jo Ogg, a guidance counselor who runs an after-school 
                                    with Lopp. "It's amazing how he can be so firm, demand so much from 
                                    and yet they love him to death." Year after year, Claudette Riley 
                                    Lopps students gain more knowledge than state or district averages.
                                    NCLB REBELLION PICKING UP MOMENTUM
                                    Opposition to No Child Left Behind is gaining traction, and Republicans
                                    are among those digging in deepest, reports Ronnie Lynn. The schism 
                                    the stage for an unusual confrontation between administration officials
                                    and Utah legislators, who have taken the strongest action to date 
                                    the education reform law the president touts as one of his top domestic
                                    accomplishments. Republican lawmakers in Arizona, Indiana, Virginia,
                                    Wisconsin and Vermont have joined Democratic counterparts in a handful 
                                    other states in launching measures that oppose provisions of the law.
                                    President Bushs budget for 2005 proposes its biggest increase for
                                    domestic spending not related to national security at the Education
                                    Department, which is charged with carrying out one of Mr. Bush's 
                                    issues, the No Child Left Behind law. The budget leaves spending flat 
                                    decreased for other programs like child care, other education 
                                    housing, promoting clean air, clean water and land preservation. For 
                                    fourth year in a row, reports Diana Jean Schemo and Lynette Clemetson, 
                                    Bush proposed adding $1 billion to the money for the poorest schools,
                                    which are at the center of the new education law's goal to close
                                    achievement gaps between black and Hispanic and white students. The
                                    increase brings to $13.3 billion the sum for the neediest schools, 52
                                    percent more than in 2001. Education advocates said the budget achieved
                                    those gains largely by shortchanging other programs. The president of 
                                    American Federation of Teachers, Sandra Feldman, said that the 
                                    in education spending had steadily shrunk, from 18 percent in 2002 to 3
                                    percent The new budget recommends eliminating 38 programs, including 
                                    focused on dropout prevention, gifted and talented children, guidance
                                    counselors in elementary schools and increased parental involvement in
                                    poor communities.
                                    A select group of schools in seven states is totally financed by 
                                    funds yet is exempt from the requirements of the federal No Child Left
                                    Behind law that has riled public school officials and politicians
                                    nationwide.  The 58 schools, reports Eric Kelderman, are run by the
                                    Defense Department at military bases in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, New
                                    York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Unlike the nations
                                    public schools, the military base schools and their nearly 30,000 
                                    are exempt from the 2002 federal education act, which mandates strict 
                                    standards for testing and teacher certification and threatens penalties
                                    for schools that don't meet new goals. Its not fair, contends Reginald 
                                    Felton, a lobbyist for the National School Boards Association and 
                                    board member in Montgomery County, Md. "We feel very strongly that its 
                                    double standard," Felton said. "If you accept federal dollars, you 
                                    to be governed by [No Child Left Behind Act]." "It is supposed to build
                                    accountability for federal investments. Why not this federal 
                                    Felton said.
                                    COMPETITION: THE FEAR THAT MAKES GIRLS FEUD?
                                    Why girls fight. It's a topic that many find uncomfortable. But Lyn 
                                    Brown refuses to shrug it off. Of particular fascination: what she 
                                    "girlfighting." Name-calling, gossiping, and cruel competition, she
                                    asserts, are not behaviors inherent to girls. Instead, in her latest 
                                    "Girlfighting: Betrayal and Rejection Among Girls," the college 
                                    shows -- with help from more than 400 interviews -- how this behavior 
                                    culturally learned.  From an early age, Ms. Brown says, girls are
                                    subjected to strong messages from the media and society in general. 
                                    hear that they must conform to certain ideals of femininity, beauty, 
                                    romance to be popular and successful - and that in doing so, they
                                    shouldn't trust other girls with whom they are in competition. Mean,
                                    aggressive behavior is the natural result, reports Jennifer Wolcott. 
                                    Brown believes the solution is to engage with girls in ways that make 
                                    feel more confident and powerful on their own. Her book includes 
                                    steps for doing this, including encouraging girls to enter the sports
                                    arena and honing their sense of fairness and justice.
                                    EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS ARE CRITICAL
                                    The facts by now are undisputed: Providing at-risk children with 
                                    early childhood care and education significantly reduces the 
                                    gaps that otherwise plague them later in their school careers. Over the
                                    years, observes Alan Gottlieb and Teri Pinney, study upon study has 
                                    the point. Now, new Denver data from a study funded by The Piton
                                    Foundation reinforces these findings. Such compelling and irrefutable
                                    information cries out for a public policy response.
                                    OVERHAUL TEACHER EDUCATION & RECRUITMENT
                                    The Teaching Commission, a blue-ribbon panel of 19 leaders in 
                                    business, philanthropy, and education, has announced a strategy to
                                    fundamentally upgrade teaching as a profession by changing the way
                                    teachers come into the field, as well as the way they are trained,
                                    assessed, supported, and compensated. While praising the work of the
                                    nation's many dedicated teachers, the new report points out that the
                                    current system fails both teachers and students. Far too many students,
                                    for example, are "taught" math by teachers who don't have a major or 
                                    in that subject, or science by teachers who have not sufficiently
                                    demonstrated content knowledge in that area. Worse still, poor and
                                    minority students, who are often the most academically needy, tend to 
                                    the least experienced or capable teachers. Meanwhile, the most 
                                    teachers -- those who lead, who successfully raise student achievement,
                                    and who have expertise in their subject matter -- are compensated via 
                                    antiquated, 80-year-old system that pays them the same as their least
                                    effective colleagues. "A system that does not reward excellence cannot
                                    inspire it," the report says.
                                    LEADERSHIP IS AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART
                                    "When I have asked teachers and principals, 'What is the guiding 
                                    or big idea that drives the work of your school and gives direction and
                                    focus to the people who work within it?' the most common response is, 
                                    need to raise test scores,'" writes Rick DuFour in this column for the
                                    Journal of Staff Development (Winter 2004). That's not enough, says
                                    DuFour, co-author of the influential book "Professional Learning
                                    Communities at Work." Leaders who are most effective in generating 
                                    know how to "appeal not only to the bottom line, but also to the heart. 
                                    fact, one of the best strategies for improving results is connecting 
                                    people's deepest, heartfelt hopes."
                                    PARTNERSHIP FOR READING
                                    The Partnership for Reading is offering free literacy resources for
                                    educators, teacher educators, administrators, policymakers, support
                                    agencies and families.  Partnership materials focus on the 
                                    of scientifically based research to improving the quality of reading
                                    instruction for children, adolescents, and adults.  Among the resources
                                    now available are: a new booklet for parents to help their children in
                                    grades K-3 become successful readers; a book geared to parents of 
                                    from birth through preschool; and a guide to help teachers become
                                    discerning consumers of education programs and materials. All of these
                                    documents and more can be downloaded for free at:
                                    Lynn Thompson plans to pack up and move to another school system next
                                    year. Laurie Moulton has opted to home-school her handicapped child. 
                                    are frustrated about what they say is a lack of special-education
                                    services. Both women say rural, community schools are not set up for
                                    children with disabilities. And many of the educators in those 
                                    -- and even in larger, wealthier ones -- agree, reports Mechele Cooper.
                                    "They don't have enough funds to hire qualified people who can work 
                                    special-needs children," said Thompson, whose youngest son missed the
                                    better half of kindergarten because the school did not have a
                                    special-education program in place that met his needs. "The teacher 
                                    my oldest boy that she was sick of seeing his face in her classroom. He
                                    was in tears when he got off the bus. If you approach these kids with
                                    negativity, they're going to react badly." The women said large schools
                                    are more likely to get the best teachers because their budgets are 
                                    and they can afford higher salaries.
                                    |---------------GRANT AND FUNDING INFORMATION--------------|
                                    "BellSouth Foundation"
                                    The BellSouth Foundation is now accepting concept papers for its 2004
                                    Opportunity Grants. Opportunity Grants are available for unsolicited
                                    proposals that compliment Special Initiatives or issues where the
                                    BellSouth Foundation is currently focusing its work. Focus areas for 
                                    year include: college-going minorities; leadership and education 
                                    teaching quality; technology & learning; No Child Left Behind; and
                                    business/education partnerships. Initial concept papers are due March 
                                    2004 and grants will be awarded in May.  For complete grant guidelines 
                                    more information, visit:
                                    "Dana Foundation"
                                    The Dana Foundation has recently extended its longtime interest in
                                    education to support innovative professional development programs 
                                    to improved teaching of the performing arts in public schools. Within 
                                    broad field, the Foundation is interested primarily in training for
                                    in-school arts specialists and professional artists who teach in the
                                    schools. The Foundation supports projects that originate in New York 
                                    Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and their surrounding areas within a
                                    fifty-mile radius. Letters of intent may be submitted to the Foundation 
                                    any time.
                                    "Department of Education Forecast of Funding"
                                    This document lists virtually all programs and competitions under which
                                    the Department of Education has invited or expects to invite 
                                    for new awards for FY 2004 and provides actual or estimated deadline 
                                    for the transmittal of applications under these programs. The lists are 
                                    the form of charts -- organized according to the Department's principal
                                    program offices -- and include programs and competitions we have
                                    previously announced, as well as those they plan to announce at a later
                                    date. Note: This document is advisory only and is not an official
                                    application notice of the Department of Education. They expect to 
                                    updates to this document through July 2004.
                                    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 know from many different sources that the public believes K-12
                                    education is one of our most pressing domestic issues. But the public
                                    school system is like a novel that begins in the middle. It brings kids 
                                    at age 5 or 6. But what happens in the earlier years of life helps
                                    determine how children engage the school systemIf we're to do 
                                    serious and positive about helping the K-12 system reach its true
                                    potential, that something must involve paying attention to what happens
                                    before kindergarten."
                                    -Craig Ramey, professor of health studies, Georgetown University
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