PEN Weekly NewsBlast for March 19, 2004
50th Anniversary of Brown Vs. Board of Education
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Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
                                    "Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
                                    UNEQUAL EDUCATION: 50 YEARS AFTER THE BROWN DECISION
                                    From the vantage point of 2004 it is obvious: Why educate children
                                    separately based on the color of their skin? And yet when the Supreme
                                    Court handed down its decision on May 17, 1954, what it had to say was
                                    shocking. In "Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka," the justices
                                    ruled that the principle of "separate but equal" schools would not 
                                    Suddenly, it seemed, the nation was facing an issue that had not been
                                    settled even by the Civil War. Was every American equal before the law?
                                    The backlash was just as dramatic: White kids were pulled out of 
                                    by parents who opposed (or just plain feared) integration; blacks were
                                    threatened and attacked. As so often happens, the classroom had become 
                                    proving ground for social change. Fifty years later, that change is
                                    unfinished. A special issue of U.S. News & World Report looks at the
                                    history of Brown, why schools still don't work for so many 
                                    why there's hope.
                                    SCHOOL BOARDS FAIL ETHNIC DIVERSITY TEST
                                    Although U.S. census figures show Arizona becoming increasingly 
                                    most district governing boards fail to reflect that diversity, reports 
                                    Melendez. Some educators view the shortage as the proverbial kiss of 
                                    for many of the state's 487,000 minority students, especially Latinos, 
                                    in Arizona drop out at nearly twice the rate of all students 
                                    What's more, Latino, Black and Native American high-schoolers are twice 
                                    likely as Anglo students to fail the Arizona Instrument to Measure
                                    Standards test. "History shows that many of the policies enacted by 
                                    White boards do not favor students of color," said Leonard A. Valverde,
                                    executive director of the Hispanic Border Leadership Institute. "But if
                                    we'd had more minorities serving (on boards), this dropout epidemic 
                                    have become a matter of greater urgency. It would have become 
                                    School officials say finding people of any ethnicity willing to run for 
                                    school board seat is a challenge because of the workload, lack of pay 
                                    personal liability issues. According to an estimate from Panfilo
                                    Contreras, executive director of the Arizona School Boards Association,
                                    about 10 percent of the state's 1,100 board members are Latino, 8 
                                    are Native Americans and less than 0.5 percent are Black or
                                    Asian-American. "There are fewer than 10 Black board members in the 
                                    state and even fewer Asian-Americans," he said.
                                    The nation's schools, under deadline to get a top teacher in every core
                                    class, have won some wiggle room in areas where the assignment is 
                                    unrealistic. Rural teachers, science teachers and those who teach 
                                    subjects will get leeway in showing they are highly qualified under
                                    federal law, the Education Department said Monday. The changes are most
                                    sweeping for rural teachers, thousands of whom who will get an extra
                                    school year -- until spring 2007, three years from now -- to show they 
                                    qualified in all topics they teach. Newly hired rural teachers will get
                                    three years from their hire date. The easing of rules is the latest 
                                    by the Bush administration to show it is trying to answer concerns 
                                    the No Child Left Behind Act without watering it down.
                                    see also:
                                    WAL-MART HEIRS POUR RICHES INTO EDUCATION REFORM
                                    Wal-Mart's founders transformed U.S. business. Now they are taking on a
                                    very different subject: the nation's public schools. The Waltons -- the
                                    USA's richest family -- have quietly become top philanthropists in
                                    education reform, including controversial charter-school and
                                    school-voucher causes, reports Jim Hopkins. They have donated at least
                                    $701 million to education charities since 1998.That pales beside the 
                                    billion given to education by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But 
                                    Waltons' giving could soar to as much as $1 billion a year as they 
                                    more riches to charity. How much more? John Walton, one of founder Sam
                                    Walton's four children, says the family expects to donate as much as 
                                    of its $100 billion in Wal-Mart stock. The shift could spur 
                                    education reform, say experts on philanthropy and education.
                                    CRACK BABIES ALL GROWN UP
                                    Crack cocaine first hit the streets twenty years ago. No one had seen
                                    anything like it. The drug was cheap, easy to get and incredibly
                                    addictive. It destroyed families, and even whole neighborhoods. Soon 
                                    foster care system was overwhelmed with children whose mothers had used
                                    the drug while pregnant. The terms "crackhead" and "crack baby" became
                                    common schoolyard putdowns. In this issue of "Represent," teen 
                                    examine the stigma and the pain of having been called a crack baby and
                                    illustrate the devastating effect of crack on young lives and families.
                                    Does the level of resources available to schools positively affect 
                                    achievement? In 1966, James Coleman and his co-researchers reported 
                                    home and peers have a much greater impact on student achievement than 
                                    schools. Since release of that report, researchers have debated the 
                                    of increasing school resource allocations to improve student 
                                    as well as the fundamental value schools add to student learning. 
                                    research from Tennessee, as well as reanalysis of the original Coleman
                                    Report, suggests that school effects are greater than originally
                                    estimated. In looking at the Tennessee Value- Added Assessment System
                                    (TVAAS), for example, researchers have shown that effective teachers
                                    influence student achievement in a powerful way. A recent WestEd 
                                    summary suggests that not only do resources matter but they are
                                    distributed unequally. Some districts, for example, provide funding of
                                    more than $15,000 per student, while other districts allocate less than
                                    $4,000 per student. Such funding discrepancies have led to numerous
                                    state-level legal challenges claiming that school funding systems are
                                    constitutionally inequitable. Over the last decade, these lawsuits have
                                    slowly evolved from focusing on issues of equity to focusing on issues 
                                    adequacy -- that is, what are the resources schools need to adequately
                                    educate all students? This ASCD ResearchBrief focuses on a 1996
                                    meta-analysis examining the assumption that resource levels do matter.
                                    A new study shows the No Child Left Behind Act is narrowing what's 
                                    taught in public school classrooms. That's hardly surprising. Since the
                                    law holds schools accountable only for student performance in math,
                                    reading and eventually science, predictably that's where schools are
                                    devoting the majority of their instructional time. Other courses that
                                    round out a student's educational experience and help boost performance 
                                    the core subjects are getting short shrift. Educators told the Council 
                                    Basic Education that to focus on the act's testing requirements, 
                                    decreased instructional time for social studies, civics, geography,
                                    languages and the arts in order to devote more to the subjects that 
                                    be tested. The greatest cutbacks are in the arts. The study shows the
                                    curriculum is narrowed most in schools with large minority populations.
                                    The Council for Basic Education, a nonprofit education group advocating
                                    higher academic standards, conducted the study last fall to learn how 
                                    act was affecting instructional time.
                                    For the full report visit:
                                    NEW GUIDE ENSURES "NO SUBJECT LEFT BEHIND"
                                    A new guide from CCSSOs Arts Education Partnership will help state and
                                    local leaders see the opportunities in the No Child Left Behind Act to
                                    secure funding for arts education.  NCLB maintains that all core 
                                    must be taught to all students, whether they are assessed or not. This
                                    publication gives overview of the programs under NCLB, as well as links 
                                    more detailed information and resources.  Readers will find important
                                    information about the following: (1) Inclusion of arts as a core 
                                    subject as required by law; (2) Descriptions of many NCLB programs with
                                    contacts and appropriation funding; (3) Examples of arts programs that
                                    have received federal education funding; and (4) Links to arts 
                                    research and other resources.
                                    THE WORLD OF IMMIGRANT STUDENTS
                                    Language-minority students are the fastest-growing population in U.S.
                                    public schools. Between 1991 and 1999, the number of language-minority
                                    school -aged children in the United States rose from 8 million to 15
                                    million, and the number of K-12 students classified as
                                    limited-English-proficient (LEP) increased from 5.3 million to 10 
                                    Although eight languages --Spanish, Vietnamese, Hmong, Cantonese,
                                    Cambodian, Korean, Laotian, and Navajo -- comprise 85% of linguistic
                                    diversity, 350 language groups are actually spoken in U.S. school
                                    districts. As many U.S. schools are experiencing a tremendous increase 
                                    students who are not proficient in English, meeting the needs of these
                                    students challenges many areas of a school system, according to results 
                                    a pilot study conducted by Judy Smith-Davis.  In this article, 
                                    outlines a set of best practices and a wealth of Web resources to help
                                    educators meet this challenge and serve this population of students.
                                    CAREER ACADEMY GRADUATES OUTEARN THEIR PEERS
                                    A new report from MCRC describes how Career Academies -- a widely used
                                    high school reform initiative that combines academic and technical
                                    curricula around a career theme -- influenced students capacity to
                                    improve their labor market prospects and remain engaged in 
                                    education programs. Based on the experiences of more than 1,400 young
                                    people from nine high schools across the nation in the four years
                                    following their expected completion of high school, the report found 
                                    Career Academies significantly increased the earnings of young men --
                                    especially those who were at medium or high risk of dropping out of 
                                    school when they entered the programs -- over the earnings of their
                                    non-Academy peers. Academies were found to have had no significant
                                    impacts, positive or negative, on the labor market outcomes of women.
                                    Overall, Career Academies served as viable pathways to a range of
                                    post-secondary education opportunities, but they do not appear to have
                                    been more effective than other options available to the non-Academy 
                                    The findings demonstrate the feasibility of improving labor market
                                    preparation and successful school-to-work transitions without 
                                    academic goals. They provide compelling evidence that investments in
                                    career-related experiences during high school can produce sustained
                                    improvements in young peoples employment and earnings prospects.
                                    For the full report visit:
                                    PUBLIC SCHOOLS MINUS THE PUBLIC
                                    Two years ago, the State Legislature gave Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
                                    nearly unlimited control of New York City's public schools. It 
                                    the central Board of Education and created a Panel on Education Policy
                                    (with eight members appointed by the mayor, five by the borough
                                    presidents) that is largely advisory. The move was a sharp departure 
                                    the American tradition of placing education policy in the hands of an
                                    independent public board that is not directly controlled by elected
                                    officials. Many observers hoped that this change would reduce 
                                    inertia. In the wake of a controversial new social promotion policy, 
                                    Ravitch and Randi Weingarten agree that the mayor should have a larger
                                    role in running the school system than in the recent past, but he 
                                    not have unchecked power to hire personnel, make contracts and set 
                                    The time has come, they write, for a mid-course correction by the
                                    Legislature to restore transparency, public engagement and 
                                    to the school system.
                                    HEALTH CARE COSTS PUT CRIMP ON CLASSROOMS
                                    The struggle over surging health care costs is hitting the classroom as
                                    schools increasingly cut teachers to textbooks to pay for insurance. 
                                    Americans typically view health insurance in terms of their family's
                                    expenses and medical care -- not as an obstacle to helping children
                                    succeed. Covering medical insurance has led to cuts in building
                                    maintenance, classroom aides, teacher training and technology, 
                                    to an informal survey by the Association of School Business Officials
                                    International. School business managers say they try to spare the
                                    classroom but often cannot because options for raising money are 
                                    school budgets are dominated by personnel costs and insurance soars 
                                    no other expense. More than nine out of 10 of those officials surveyed
                                    said school health insurance is a bigger problem now than ever; more 
                                    half said these costs have jumped at least 20 percent in three years.
                                    PHYSICAL EDUCATION SENT TO THE SIDELINES
                                    Physical education is turning into the benchwarmer of school subjects,
                                    reports Norman Draper. With math, science, language arts, social 
                                    and even the arts horning in on its playing time, phy ed is getting cut
                                    back in schools statewide. In many cases, schools plan to change phy ed
                                    from a requirement to an elective, likely resulting in fewer kids 
                                    the classes, and fewer phy ed and health teachers as a result. Lots of
                                    these changes are being proposed or have already been approved for next
                                    year. The rationale is simple: Schools are under pressure to pump money
                                    into their main courses, improve their students' test scores, and free 
                                    kids to take other subjects such as music, art, and foreign languages.
                                    With money and time at a premium, something's got to give. But a vocal 
                                    influential lobby of educators and medical professionals is pushing 
                                    for states to step in and require schools to teach phy ed.
                                    TIME MAY BE UP FOR NAPS IN PRE-K CLASSES
                                    Nap time is a daily ritual for the pre-kindergarten students at 
                                    schools across the country. But in the increasingly urgent world of 
                                    education is it a luxury that 4-year-olds no longer can afford? "Nap 
                                    needs to go away," Prince George's County schools chief Andre J. 
                                    said during a recent meeting with Maryland legislators. "We need to get
                                    rid of all the baby school stuff they used to do." Hornsby wants to
                                    convert his pre-kindergarten classes into a full-day program. If he
                                    secures the funding to begin that next fall, there will be no mats or 
                                    allowed, he said. In Anne Arundel County, where full-day 
                                    is in place, Superintendent Eric J. Smith also has opted not to build 
                                    time into the schedule. Educators find themselves under growing 
                                    to make school more rigorous -- even in the earliest grades -- in the
                                    belief that children who are behind academically by age 6 or 7 have a
                                    difficult time catching up, reports Nancy Trejos. "The time is very
                                    precious," Smith said. "When they come into first grade or kindergarten
                                    for the first time, they learn within a few weeks of the school 
                                    that they're not as capable, and that's a burden that is extremely
                                    damaging." Critics of eliminating school naps say the reality is that 
                                    4-year-olds don't get enough sleep at home. There are piano lessons,
                                    soccer practices and other scheduled activities during the day, and 
                                    kids stay up past their bedtime because their parents come home late 
                                    work and want to talk or play.
                                    COORDINATED EFFORTS FOCUS ON THE WHOLE CHILD
                                    Because a growing body of research highlights the connection between
                                    students' physical, mental, and emotional health and their academic
                                    performance, schools are searching for ways to unify pieces of their
                                    student and community health initiatives, says Susan Wooley, executive
                                    director of the American School Health Association. The idea of a
                                    schoolwide health program goes back to the 1950s, says Wooley. Over the
                                    years, that idea has evolved into "coordinated school health programs"
                                    that create connections between health education, physical education,
                                    school health services, nutrition services, psychological and social
                                    services, staff wellness, school environment, and family and community
                                    involvement. In addition to the cost of hiring a school health
                                    coordinator, however, schools must also overcome logistical challenges,
                                    which may account for why they have been slow to adopt coordinated 
                                    health programs.
                                    STATES BET ON GAMBLING TO RAISE MONEY FOR STATES
                                    Play a video slot machine in Oklahoma, and soon you could be raising 
                                    for public schools. Try your luck on slots proposed for horse-racing
                                    tracks in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania, and taxes from the
                                    machines might one day pay for textbooks or teacher salaries. Debate 
                                    gambling as a way to help pay for public education is again raging in 
                                    state capitals, reports Alan Richard. Leaders in several states wager 
                                    can expand gambling, then tax the proceeds to raise money for public
                                    schools. While proponents argue the approach may shore up states' bank
                                    accounts, others worry that it could prove to be an unstable source of
                                    revenue, and that it could worsen societal ills.
                                    Around the nation, a concerted effort has sprung up to fight exposure 
                                    toxic diesel exhaust from one of childhood's friendliest icons: the old
                                    yellow school bus. Some schools are updating older buses while others 
                                    buying new, more efficient models. But despite the effort, the Natural
                                    Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that 90 percent of the 
                                    school buses run on diesel and, in most states, are not required to
                                    undergo emissions inspections. For many schools, the pollution issue
                                    presents a budget dilemma: They can afford to buy either books or new
                                    buses, but not both, reports Kimberly Chase.
                                    MI HISTORIA, NY CULTURE: A FILM WITH A PURPOSE
                                    On a makeshift set in Florida, 24 journalism production students at 
                                    South Leadership Charter School are making a movie. And the script --
                                    written by the middle-schoolers -- tells the story of their lives as 
                                    children of migrant workers. The movie is in its fifth month of
                                    production, the first scenes shot last week. Shooting days, reports
                                    Ginelle G. Torres, are a mad scramble to learn and film at the same 
                                    With the help of a few movie professionals, the children assemble the 
                                    arrange the actors, adjust the lighting and apply the makeup. They 
                                    through the cameras and learn how to frame shots. The script they wrote 
                                    a fictionalized, composite version of their real lives, with the 
                                    doing it all, from writing the screenplay to editing the movie. Aspira
                                    South received $7,500 in funding for the project from the Michael 
                                    and JP Morgan Chase Foundation. They also had some help from Florida
                                    International University's GEAR UP Homestead Program, which provided
                                    salaries for some of the adults working with the students and donated a
                                    computer and editing software. They hope the film, which is to be
                                    completed by the end of the school year, will offer others a glimpse 
                                    a world often overlooked, a place where people cross borders and risk
                                    everything seeking better lives.
                                    Since 1990, more than 10,000 people have joined Teach For America, 
                                    on to teach for two years in underserved communities and becoming 
                                    leaders in the effort to ensure educational equity. Several of Teach 
                                    America's 20 placement sites are high-need rural areas such as the
                                    Mississippi Delta, rural North Carolina, South Louisiana, and a Navajo
                                    Nation reservation in New Mexico. While some corps members move 
                                    after their two- year commitment, many stay in their original placement
                                    communities to continue working towards expanding opportunities for 
                                    students. Six and a half years after first moving to Donna, Texas as a
                                    Teach For America corps member, Tom Torkelson is now principal of IDEA
                                    Academy, an acclaimed charter school that has earned the reputation of
                                    being home to the hardest working students in the Rio Grande Valley. In
                                    2001, Caleb Dolan and Tammi Sutton founded Gaston College Preparatory, 
                                    Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) school, in their original Teach For
                                    America placement community to ensure students in the area could gain 
                                    necessary skills and knowledge to make college a reality. Despite
                                    tremendous odds, IDEA Academy and Gaston College Preparatory are making
                                    incredible strides in their rural communities.
                                    |---------------GRANT AND FUNDING INFORMATION--------------|
                                    "Unsung Heroes Awards Program"
                                    Presented by financial services company ING and managed by Scholarship
                                    America, the Unsung Heroes Awards program recognizes kindergarten 
                                    12th-grade educators across the United States for their innovative
                                    teaching methods, creative educational projects, and ability to make a
                                    positive influence on the children they teach.  All K-12 education
                                    professionals are eligible for the program. Each year, 100 finalists 
                                    selected to receive $2,000 awards. Of the 100 finalists, three are
                                    selected for additional financial awards. First Place gets an 
                                    $25,000; 2nd Place gets an additional $10,000; and 3rd Place receives 
                                    additional $5,000. The deadline for application is April 30, 2004 and
                                    winners will be announced in Fall 2004.
                                    "The Power of Purpose Awards"
                                    Sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, The Power of Purpose Awards 
                                    designed to encourage thought and discussion about purpose. It is
                                    impossible to define "purpose" in a simple sentence, as purpose is both
                                    complex and personal. The Foundation is particularly interested in 
                                    that address personal reflections, journalist report and scientific
                                    inquiry, as well as essays that are purely fiction. Entry deadline: May
                                    31, 2004.
                                    "Jordan Fundamentals Grant Program"
                                    The Jordan Fundamentals Grants are awarded to teachers or
                                    paraprofessionals who work with students in grades one through twelve 
                                    in a
                                    U.S. public school who also demonstrate instructional creativity and
                                    exemplify high learning expectations for economically disadvantaged
                                    students. Application deadline: June 15, 2004.
                                    "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
                                    "Well, given the pressures on public education, we are facing real and
                                    grave threats. Now is the time for us to appreciate what it offers and 
                                    share that appreciation with others. Public education is messy, 
                                    and inefficient and falls far short of the dreams we have for it. But 
                                    is also the one institution that holds our democracy together and 
                                    dreams to our children."
                                    -Paul Houston (educator/advocate), 
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