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.
FEDERAL TEACHER QUALITY REQUIREMENTS ARE RELAXED
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.
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.
ADEQUACY, EQUITY & THE EFFECT OF RESOURCES ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
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.
ACADEMIC ATROPHY: THE CONDITION OF LIBERAL ARTS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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
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.
DIESEL-FUELED YELLOW SCHOOL BUSES CITED FOR POLLUTION
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.
TEACH FOR AMERICAN ALUMNI BECOME EDUCATION ADVOCATES
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
"Jordan Fundamentals Grant Program"
The Jordan Fundamentals Grants are awarded to teachers or
paraprofessionals who work with students in grades one through twelve
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
"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.
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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