Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
"Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
LEARN. VOTE. ACT: THE PUBLICS ROLE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION
A new national poll from Public Education Network (PEN) and Education
indicates that public education remains a high priority for voters.
among concerns about the economy and joblessness, terrorism, and
healthcare, voters rank public education at the top of the nations
list. Public education ranks second only to the economy and jobs, and
ranks ahead of terrorism, security, healthcare, prescription drugs, and
the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the list of voter priorities. The
report, Learn. Vote. Act. The Publics Responsibility for Public
Education, indicates that public education is likely to be a major
election issue in November. The report reveals that the majority of
political and demographic group -- including Republicans, Democrats,
Independent swing voters as well as blacks, whites, and Latinos -- want
candidates to place public education at the center of their agendas.
poll also reveals that as American voters become more aware of No Child
Left Behind and its provisions, opposition to the law has increased.
PERSISTENCE OF RACIAL INEQUALITY IN AMERICAS CLASSROOMS
"The problem of the twentieth century," wrote W.E.B. DuBois, "is the
problem of the color-line." DuBois' century-old portrait of the color
-- the relationship between darker and lighter races "in Asia and
in America and the islands of the sea" -- has shifted as the result of
wars, revolutions, migrations, laws, and social change, writes Susan
Black. But race remains a volatile issue in the 21st century. For the
first time in the nation's history, says Harvard University's Ronald
Ferguson, raising achievement levels among racial and ethnic minorities
and closing racial achievement gaps are "explicit goals of federal
policy." But closing achievement gaps will depend on more than
standards-based reforms and standardized tests, says Ferguson, a public
policy specialist at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He
to schools that are "reputedly excellent" but where, in fact, black and
Hispanic students are consistently underrepresented at the top and
overrepresented at the bottom of the achievement spectrum.
EDUCATION IS OUR MOST VITAL WEAPON
In recent weeks, the American public has been deluged with stories
Iraq, Iran and Libya and, more recently, a comment by the U.S.
of Education that the National Education Association (NEA), the
largest teachers union, is a "terrorist" organization. While patently
absurd -- and Secretary Paige did apologize within hours -- the
controversy obscures a larger issue, writes Christopher Cross. With all
our attention seemingly fixed on foreign policy and defense issues, are
missing a greater threat to the education of this generation and
generations to come?
BUSH ADMINISTRATION EASES TESTING RESTRICTIONS
For the fourth time in as many months, the Bush administration is
the restrictions of the education law it promotes, this time in the
of testing. That 2001 law requires schools to get participation from at
least 95% of students in math and reading testing. Schools also must
95% participation from all major subgroups of students, such as
or disabled youngsters. But under the new policy, schools will get
As long as they average a 95% participation rate among students over
or three years, they'll meet the law. A school that tested only 94% of
students one year, for example, could make the mark if it tested 96% of
students the year before. The option would apply for a school's overall
population and for any of its major groups of students.
"MY TEACHER IS THE BEST" ESSAY CONTEST
GiveKidsGoodSchools.com is running its "My Teacher is the Best" Essay
Contest for the second year in a row. By writing a short essay about
their favorite middle school teacher, public school students in grades
7, and 8 can win two new laptop computers one for themselves and one
the teacher they write about. What makes a good teacher? Why? Tell us
about your favorite teacher and win! The contest is open to public
(includes public charter schools) students in grades 6, 7, and 8 only.
Essays must be submitted by May 31st and may be no longer than 250
Last year, GiveKidsGoodSchools.com received over 2,400 entries from
students across the country. This year, theyd like to get even more,
please help them spread the word. To learn more about the contest and
out how to enter, visit:
SOUTHWESTERN SCHOOLS ROOT OUT ILLEGAL PUPILS
A growing number of school districts in the Southwest are cracking down
the presence of illegal immigrants in their classrooms as education
budgets tighten, reports Tim Vanderpool. The moves are touching off a
deeper moral debate that underlies almost every issue dealing with
immigration: Is it better to help the immigrant children and thus
their lives, or is their presence behind American desks robbing
- and schools - of much-needed money? In a time of shrinking funds for
everything from band to baseball, many cities are deciding they don't
the luxury of playing tutor to the world. For instance, Nogales is
spending up to $125,000 a year to keep illegals out of their schools -
including sending "monitors" to the border to catch Mexican children as
they come across. And in Chula Vista, Calif., a rapidly growing town
of San Diego, schools officials now require parents to provide proof of
residency every year. "I don't intend to be the US Immigration and
Naturalization Service," says Kelt Cooper, the superintendent of the
Nogales Unified School District. "But I don't think it's our moral
obligation to educate students who don't live in my district."
HOW A TEACHERS WORDS CAN WOUND
The freedom to say what one believes -- even if the words are sarcastic
smarmy -- comes with the risk of being misinterpreted, writes Robert L.
Jamieson, Jr. That's even more true when the speaker comes from a
of privilege and those spoken to are primarily poor teens of color and
space all around them swarms with volatile molecules of race. Even the
slightest, errant verbal spark can ignite an explosive
Creativity. Sensitivity. Sensibility. Without that combo a teacher's
WHAT KEEPS TEACHERS GOING
While many teachers enter the profession expecting to change the world,
they eventually learn to temper that ambition. "Teachers who stay in
profession come to realize that they cannot go it alone," said Sonia
Nieto, professor of language, literacy, and culture. Nieto's analysis
based on a one-year study involving a focus group of 12 teachers who
had more than two decades of experience, reports Barbara Gleason. One
characteristic of teachers who last and prosper is their ability to
their cultural and experiential backgrounds into the classroom. Nieto
observed, "Teachers who last simply cannot leave their values at the
PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS TRADE SCHOOLS AND LEARN LIFE LESSONS
Students from very different public schools spent four days as exchange
students in a joint program two Florida schools have run for the past
three years. The differences between the schools, at least on paper,
obvious. Northwestern, in Liberty City, is a public school with 3,200
students. The private Ransom Everglades charges $18,000 a year in
and has a student body about one-sixth the size. Ransom alumni trot off
the Ivy Leagues and other top universities each fall, while
graduates have to fight off the stigma of having attended a so-called
LACK OF INFORMATION ON HIGHER ED SCHOLARSHIP ELUDES LATINO FAMILIES
According to a new survey, most Latino families do not know there is
financial aid available for college, leaving them greatly
in higher education, reports Tanya Schevitz. "There is a lot of
misinformation or under-information in the Latino community," said
DeSipio, a research scholar for the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at
University of Southern California, which conducted the survey. "Latino
households are more likely than other households to have no college
exposure. There is an assumption that it is an almost impossible goal
achieve. It adds an extra barrier." Latino students may not take the
courses necessary for college entrance if they don't get information
financial aid until they are a few years into high school, he said.
MILITARY SCHOOLS PRODUCING ARMY OF SOLID PERFORMANCE
Defense Department schools inspire fierce devotion, and with good
reports Fredreka Schouten. Students at the schools consistently rank
the top on federal reading, writing and math tests. And 50 years after
legal end of school segregation, the Pentagon's schools are models of
integration and strong minority academic achievement. Last year, black
Hispanic eighth-graders in these schools outperformed their peers in
50 states in reading. "I think this is the finest school system in the
world," said Claire Smrekar, an associate professor at Vanderbilt
University, who co-wrote a report on minority academic performance at
SCHOOL LIBRARIANS CUT DESPITE FOCUS ON READING
Several national studies done over the past decade show a direct link
between youngsters' reading abilities and well-staffed libraries with
up-to-date materials, reports Erin Jordan. Three studies released in
showed that students in schools with well-maintained library
and trained library staffs performed better on standardized tests,
especially reading. Yet during a time when educators are working to
students' reading skills, school leaders are slashing librarian
as they look for ways to deal with tight budgets and rising insurance,
utility and salary costs.
CREATING CHILD-CENTRIC SCHOOLS
School-design issues need to be hauled out of bureaucrats' offices,
the sunlight of spirited communitywide discussions writes Neal Peirce.
Most of the same old architects grinding out the same old, banal school
structures are oblivious to new cutting-edge ideas in creating
child-centric schools where students can be engaged in flexible
zones that replace traditional classrooms.
STUDY SHOWS POSITIVE EFFECTS OF PRESCHOOL ON KINDERGARTEN LEARNING
Children who attend preschool for two years are twice as likely as
children with no preschool experience to have the language, literacy
math skills needed to be ready for kindergarten, concludes a new study.
The study makes several recommendations on how to narrow the
gap between poor and non-poor students and reach other goals. Some of
recommendations include ensuring full access to preschool programs in
school districts, providing two years of preschool rather than one,
ensuring health care access for poor families and maximizing federal
funding of health care for the poor.
RESIGNATIONS CRIPPLE SCHOOL-REFORM GROUP
Education Leaders Council, a pro-Bush administration group that touts
education reform as its priority, is collapsing amid mass resignation
national directors who say the group has "lost its moorings" as senior
officers have mismanaged federally funded programs intended to improve
academic achievement, reports George Archibald.
SCHOOL & COLLEGE PARTNERSHIPS: THE MISSING LINK
This WestEd Policy Brief examines the problem of having K-12 and higher
education operate in different fields and looks at how various
partnerships -- between individual high schools and colleges, but also
between entire K-12 and postsecondary systems -- are addressing it. In
addition to describing approaches for achieving coherence, it examines
some of the common barriers. It also offers policy recommendations for
supporting partnership efforts.
THE CHALLENGE OF STUDENT-CENTERED LEARNING
When it comes to student-centered learning, the first steps are the
hardest, says teacher-coach Melba Smithwick. "I have always been a
risk-taker. I never have been afraid to try new ideas. But I hesitated
when my new principal described the concept of student-centered
Letting middle-school students take charge of their learning -- or of
anything else, for that matter -- seemed a little risky. How can they
charge when they don't even know what they are supposed to be
Learn how Melba discovered the real meaning of student-centered
right in her own classroom.
LOCAL EDUCATION FUNDS IN THE NEWS
Local Education Funds (LEFs) are community-based advocacy organizations
that engage local citizens in public education reform. Though
of their local school districts, LEFs work closely with public school
administrators, teachers, and boards, and partner with parents,
leaders, businesses, and students. Public Education Networks members
actively promote involvement in public education by all segments of
communities, accountability and achievement of high standards by all
students, and improvement in the quality of public schools. They also
generate resources for public education by facilitating and managing
investments from government, businesses, and philanthropic
Each week news stories about LEFs are featured at the link below:
GLOBAL CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATIONS "ACTION WEEK 2004"
Learn how educators and students in the U.S. can speak out in support
the more than 100 million children around the world who do not have
to education. Action Week, last year, attracted 1.8 million
and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the worlds
simultaneous lesson. Get in on the "action" during Action Week 2004!
Speak out for the more than 100 million around the world who are not in
school. During Action Week, April 19-23, join in the excitement as the
Global Campaign for Education brings together a worldwide chorus of
teachers, students and others speaking up for every childs right to an
education. Dont miss out on this years events! Everything you need
participate in Action Week 2004 is available online at the official
|---------------GRANT AND FUNDING INFORMATION--------------|
"Corporation for National and Community Service"
The Corporation for National and Community Service has announced a
competition for nonprofit organizations and public agencies to engage
volunteers in homeland security efforts in their communities. A total
$4 million is available, and awards are expected to be made in the
of $100,000 to $500,000 each for one-year projects. Application
April 23, 2004.
"Pinnacle Awards for Innovation"
Every year the Association of School Business Officials International
presents the Pinnacle Award to four individuals who have created
outstanding practices, proposals, or publications that enhance school
management. Pinnacle of Achievement recipients receive a cash prize and
crystal pinnacle award, and their submissions are published in the
association's magazine, "School Business Affairs." The recipient of the
highest honor, the Pinnacle of Excellence, also receives $5,000 worth
furniture for his or her school district. Applications are now being
accepted through May 1, 2004.
"Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants"
The Robert H. Michel Civic Education Grants help teachers improve the
quality of civics instruction, with priority on the role of Congress in
our federal government. Areas of interest include designing lesson
creating student activities, and applying instructional technology in
classroom. The Dirksen Congressional Center intends to award $35,000 in
2004. Proposal deadline: May 1, 2004.
"School Funding Center"
The School Funding Center is dedicated to helping schools find every
funding source available to them in the U.S. Grant seekers should be
advised that a paid subscription is required in order to access the
Funding Centers entire grant database.
"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
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's
-Harper Lee (writer)
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