PEN> PEN Weekly NewsBlast for January 10, 2003

  • From: Gleason Sackmann <gleason@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: K12Newsletters <k12newsletters@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 06:58:31 -0600

K12NewsLetters - From Educational CyberPlayGround

Technology Grant News, Winter 2003 issue

Technology Grant News

The latest edition of Technology Grant News for nonprofits, towns &
cities, libraries & museums, and schools & universities is now available. For
information on subscriptions and obtaining the Winter 2003 issue, contact:

In this issue: Beaumont Foundation $500,000 in Toshiba Equipment;
Hewlett-Packard IndiVisual 'Read for Life' HW & SW, EDS K-12 Technology
Grants, Oracle 50-Workstation System Grants, Math911 SW Donations, 3M
Security Product Donations, Veritas SW Donations and others.

From: "Public Education Network" <PEN@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: PEN Weekly NewsBlast <newsblast@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thu, 9 Jan 2003 21:43:07 -0800
Subject: PEN Weekly NewsBlast for January 10, 2003
Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
"America?s Favorite Free Newsletter on Improving Public Education"

States are working hard to place certified teachers in as many classrooms
as possible in accord with the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
But according to Education Week?s  "Quality Counts 2003," not enough of
these efforts have benefited schools with high concentrations of
impoverished students. Many states now have programs that offer signing
bonuses, retention bonuses, scholarships, loans, and tuition assistance to
attract new teachers. But few of these programs are targeted at
high-poverty or low-achieving schools, the survey says. A noticeable gap
in teacher quality continues to exist between high-poverty and more
affluent schools. One measure is the percentage of students who take at
least one class from a teacher who did not major or minor in the subject.
For secondary schools overall, it's about 22 percent, but in high-poverty
secondary schools, it rises to 32 percent. Students in high-poverty high
schools are also twice as likely as those in low-poverty schools to have a
teacher who is not certified in the subject he or she teaches. Teachers'
level of experience is another point of comparison. In more affluent
elementary schools, just under 9 percent of teachers have fewer than three
years' experience, compared with about 13 percent in high-poverty schools.
A failure to concentrate on recruiting and retaining quality teachers at
high-poverty schools may explain some of the difference in teacher

With money tight and times tough, parents and teachers across the nation
are holding fund-raisers to pay teachers' salaries and benefits.  Students
at Belinder Elementary School in a Kansas City suburb brought in loose
change and the proceeds from lemonade stands earlier this year to help pay
the salaries of a nurse, counselor and foreign language teacher. Parents
and others in the community added to the donations, raising about $78,000
in two weeks. The school was one of six in the district that raised a
total of $236,000 to help pay for positions that otherwise would have been
reduced to part-time or eliminated as the district addressed a budget
shortfall of more than $6 million for the 2002-03 academic year. Such
fund-raisers have occurred elsewhere around the nation, and are expected
to increase as state legislatures tackle tight budgets. Two-thirds of
states report falling revenues and more than half expect deficits in their
fiscal 2003 budgets, according to the National Conference of State

Although states are taking steps to recruit and retain skilled teachers,
few of those efforts are directed at finding teachers for the students who
need them most, according to a new 50-state report by Education Week. As a
result, the study suggests, states have a long way to go in guaranteeing a
highly qualified teacher for every classroom, as federal law now requires.
Under the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001--which President Bush signed
into law a year ago this week -- all teachers in the core subjects must be
"highly qualified" in each subject they teach by the end of the 2005-06
school year. The law defines "highly qualified" teachers as those who are
fully licensed through traditional or alternative routes and who have
demonstrated competency in the subjects they teach, generally by having an
academic major or its equivalent or by passing a subject matter test.
Newly hired teachers in schools receiving Title I money must have met the
federal standard this school year. "Quality Counts 2003" examines what all
50 states and the District of Columbia are doing to attract, retain, and
support well-qualified teachers for students in high-poverty,
high-minority, and low-achieving schools. In addition, Education Week
surveyed 30 large school districts about courses of action to improve
teacher quality in high-need schools. The report also includes an analysis
of the working conditions for teachers in such schools. "Studies show that
when it comes to student achievement, effective teachers are more
important than any other school ingredient," said Virginia B. Edwards, the
editor of "Quality Counts 2003" and Education Week. "If states hope to
close the achievement gap between minority and nonminority students and
those from rich and poor families, they must first close the gap in access
to skilled teachers."

Most researchers agree that high-quality teaching can help students excel.
But what exactly makes a good teacher?  That's what a school district in
Chattanooga, TN, and a nonprofit local education fund have teamed up to
find out in an in-depth study of about 100 high-performing teachers. The
study is part of a campaign to improve the quality of teachers who serve
the county's poorest children. "The single most important factor (in
student achievement) is the person in front of that kid," said Ray
Swoffard, assistant superintendent of urban education for Hamilton County
Public Schools. Local officials realized -- after the nine elementary
schools that serve black and low-income students in inner-city Chattanooga
turned up on the state's list of failing schools -- that children from the
county's lowest-income families were in classrooms staffed by the
least-qualified teachers. So far, the Public Education Foundation has
interviewed and videotaped more than 90 high-performing teachers. They
learned that those teachers: tend to have slightly more experience than
the school district's average; were attracted to teaching in their teens;
most (85%) were classroom teachers by the age of 25; set high expectations
for students; and avoid sitting in front of the class and delivering
lectures. Instead, they move through the classroom while students work on
activities in small groups.

Many schools will soon be forced to make difficult choices regarding the
allocation of funds for academic programs and services, if they haven't
already. Parents should participate in this important decision-making
process, as determinations will be made that directly impact each child's
education. Raising standards requires the combined and sustained efforts
of parents, teachers and school leaders. Parents should be active and
informed participants in their child's education. According to Oneonta NY
school board member Martha Stayton, "Successful schools depend on local
involvement by parents and community members who know the value of
education, not on standardized tests or unfunded mandates. Visit your
local school to find out what's really going on."

A new report from the Center for Education finds that while states remain
committed to the new education law and have made significant progress in
complying with testing and accountability mandates, they still face
formidable challenges over the next few years as new requirements increase
and as budget woes potentially constrict federal and state funding for
schools. The report identifies six key obstacles that state officials fear
may actually hurt improvement efforts. These obstacles include: lack of
funding, lack of guidance, lack of flexibility, lack of time, lack of
consistency, and lack of accuracy.

Teachers are still fighting for professional recognition and respect.
Despite all of the educational reform activity over the past two decades,
the teaching profession currently faces daunting challenges. These include
the influx of underqualified teachers into classrooms, the potential
dismantling of professional education for teachers, and the trend toward
the regulation of teaching practice -- regulations that may deprive
teachers of the ability to make professional judgments and exercise their
professional knowledge. At a time when we have more evidence than ever
that quality teaching matters enormously to children's futures, we are on
the verge of forsaking the hard-won reforms that can lead to better
prepared teachers for all students. According to Pam Grossman, the
crossroad is clearly marked. We can continue to invest in the development
of highly qualified and well-prepared teachers and create the incentives
and working conditions to keep them in the profession. Or we can once
again ease standards for entry into teaching and allow students, primarily
those in high-poverty schools who are most in need of high-quality
teaching, to be taught by less than qualified teachers. To pursue the
latter path would only increase the disparities in educational opportunity
and achievement that already exist within our society.

A school culture that invites deep and sustained professional learning
will have a powerful impact on student achievement. Leaders of schools,
like leaders of businesses and hospitals, want their organizations to be
flexible and responsive, able to change in accord with changing
circumstances. Individuals learn best when the content is meaningful to
them and they have opportunities for social interaction and the
environment supports the learning. That idea applies to organizations as
well. In this excerpt, Ron Brandt describes 10 ways to tell whether your
school is a true learning organization.

Beware former corporate executives who take control of public schools.
Before you can say "accountability," they're yakking about how the dowdy
world of education ought to be handed over to the slick M.B.A.s and run
like a corporation, allowing self-interested individuals and unfettered
competition to transform the neighborhood school into a pseudo-profit
center. Like Adam Smith's proverbial invisible hand, the CEOs say the
tools of capital will magically improve the nation's education system.
Under the corporate model of education, schools are businesses and kids
are "products," as former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iococca once called
schoolchildren when speaking to a group of educators. "Your product needs
a lot of work, and in the end it's your job," he said. According to Peter
Sacks, children in this corporate vision of public education are to be
measured, sorted, and processed on the basis of standardized-test results.
When test scores, and test scores alone, become the coin of the realm, the
"market value" of individual schools themselves is simply and
unquestionably indicated by those test scores, as any real estate agent
will gladly tell you.

According to Jay Mathews, we are in the midst of the largest and most
expensive effort ever made to improve our system of public education. It
has only begun to reach the classrooms in most states, and its success
will be determined not by the office seekers and school superintendents
and columnists whose views we are familiar with, but the teachers we
hardly ever see. In this article he reviews a recent survey of 4th and 8th
grade teachers that reveals a "chasm" between teachers and school
reformers. According to the survey, teachers tend to care more about the
way students approach a question than whether they got the right answer.
At least half of the teachers grade more on how much a student has done
with his abilities rather than how well he has met a single, class-wide
standard. More than half of fourth grade teachers said they didn't expect
their students to spell correctly at all times. More than two in 10 fourth
grade teachers regularly permitted their students to use calculators in
class to solve math problems, even though that is the grade research says
is hurt by calculator use. About a third of eighth grade teachers didn't
require their students to write, edit and complete a composition of at
least 250 words more than once a month. Both education experts and
teachers have challenged the survey findings.

What factors contribute to the climate at your school? Are parents welcome
and invited into the building? Are the facilities maintained, well lighted
and well equipped for learning? How could a report card, sent home to
parents, both report on and invite parental involvement? Leigh Dingerson
of the Center for Community Change examines the key "indicators" on school
reports that can help parents identify the strengths and weaknesses in
their school.

In more and more schools across the country recess is being scrapped in
favor of more school time. In this day and age of 30 students per
classroom, children who enter high school with minimal reading skills, and
unsatisfactory standardized test scores, is there really any time or need
for recess? While the most common reason stated by school districts for
eliminating recess is to allow the schools to focus on more academics,
there is also the issue of accident-related lawsuits, the threat of
students coming into contact with strangers, and finding teachers willing
to supervise such outdoor activities can prove to be a problem. Despite
these issues, the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists
believes that play is an active form of learning that involves mind, body,
and spirit. Read six reasons for protecting time for recess.

The Michigan Senate recently fell two votes short of approving 15 new
charter high schools for Detroit. After the 18-12 vote killed the plan --
20 votes were needed for it to pass -- an audience filled with Detroit
residents burst into applause. "We didn't need to take that money out of
the Detroit schools," said Yvonne Harbin, 60, a Detroit schools social
worker. "Charter schools have no proven record of improving test scores."
The Detroit district would lose per-pupil state aid if the charter schools
reduced public-school attendance.  For four years, Gov. John Engler tried
to expand the number of Michigan charter schools. This rejection of
charter schools is consistent with the views of American voters. A new
report from People For the American Way examined national patterns in last
November?s state elections, "In all, 15 state ballot initiatives proposed
to either increase or decrease funding for K-12 public education. In 12 of
these 15 initiatives, voters decided to either provide additional funds or
protect existing funds for public schools."

One hit a pregnant teacher, another exposed himself and another stabbed a
classmate with a pencil. They've all been suspended from school this year.
And they're all kindergartners. In the first four months under new schools
chief Paul Vallas, 33 kindergartners have been suspended from Philadelphia
public schools, up from just one during the same period last year. The
U.S. Department of Education does not break down school suspensions by
grade level, but several researchers said they see anecdotal evidence that
the youngest schoolchildren are being suspended more frequently.

In the hectic moments before the school bell rings, some parents will do
whatever it takes to get their children to class. They double-and
triple-park, block crosswalks and bus zones, even let their children out
in traffic.  And many of them are angry with anyone who gets in their way:
 police, school officials or other parents.  Enter 9-year-old Ricardo
Mejia, part valet, part traffic cop. He likes everything about his job at
Doyle Elementary School -- from directing cars and keeping the peace to
greeting classmates and especially donning a top hat and coat. In the
weeks since the University City campus organized a team of student valets,
the once-chaotic morning traffic jams caused by rushed parents dropping
off their children have eased. The number of students showing up late for
class has decreased significantly, as have traffic citations and parent
confrontations.  "I like helping people," Ricardo said on a recent morning
as he prepared to open the door of an arriving station wagon. "Mornings
used to be really crazy around here. I just like to stay happy and do the

|---------------GRANT AND FUNDING INFORMATION--------------|

"Research In Adolescent Literacy"
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), U.S.
Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE),
U.S. Department of Education: Office of Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), and Institute of Education Sciences (IES)
invite research grant applications to develop new knowledge in the area of
adolescent literacy.  The specific focus of this RFA is on the discovery
of cognitive, perceptual, behavioral, genetic, hormonal, and
neurobiological mechanisms that are influential in the continuing
development of reading and writing abilities during the adolescent years,
and on methods for the identification, prevention, and remediation of
reading and writing disabilities in adolescents.  Letters of intent are
due February 26 and are non-binding.  Application deadline: March 26,

"Tony Hawk Foundation"
The Tony Hawk Foundation seeks to foster lasting improvements in society
with an emphasis on helping children through grants and other charitable
donations.  The Foundation supports programs that focus on the creation of
public skateboard parks, and other causes.  It favors programs that
clearly demonstrate that funds received will produce tangible and ongoing
positive results.  Grants of up to $25,000 are available to facilitate the
design, development, construction and operation of new quality skateboard
parks and facilities located in low-income communities in the U.S.  Next
application deadline: March 1.

"Volvo for Life Awards"
The Volvo for Life Awards is a program designed by Volvo Cars of North
America to honor your heroes -- ordinary people who act with conscience,
care and character to help others in need.  If you know a hero, you can
use the Volvo for Life website to nominate that person for the Awards any
time before February 28, 2003.  Volvo will select fifty semifinalists, and
ten finalists for the Awards. A panel of judges will then choose three
winners, including one grand award winner, from that group.  Nomination
deadline: February 28, 2003.

"School Funding Services Grant of the Week"
Each week School Funding Services, a division of New American Schools,
features a new grant on their website.  This week they highlight the
National Institute of Health?s Minority K-12 Initiative for Teachers and
Students (MKITS).

FastWEB is the largest online scholarship search available, with 600,000
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 advised
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 to
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.

"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 applications
for new awards for FY 2003 and provides actual or estimated deadline dates
for the transmittal of applications under these programs. The lists are in
the form of charts -- organized according to the Department's principal
program offices -- and include programs and competitions the Department
has previously announced, as well as those it plans to announce at a later
date.  Note: This document is advisory only and is not an official
application notice of the Department of Education.

"eSchool News School Funding Center"
Information on up-to-the-minute grant programs, funding sources, and
technology funding.

"Philanthropy News Digest-K-12 Funding Opportunities"
K-12 Funding opportunities with links to grantseeking for teachers,
learning technology, and more.

"School Grants"
A collection of resources and tips to help K-12 educators apply for and
obtain special grants for a variety of projects.

"I will not play at tug o' war
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses
And everyone grins
And everyone cuddles
And everyone wins."
-Shel Silverstein (artist/author/songwriter), "Where the Sidewalk Ends"

===========PEN NewsBlast==========
The PEN Weekly NewsBlast is a free e-mail newsletter featuring school
reform and school fundraising resources. The PEN NewsBlast is the property
of the Public Education Network, a national association of 78 local
education funds working to improve public school quality in low-income
communities nationwide.

There are currently 43,576 subscribers to the PEN Weekly NewsBlast. Please
forward this e-mail to anyone who enjoys free updates on education news
and grant alerts. Some links in the PEN Weekly NewsBlast change or expire
on a daily or weekly basis. Some links may also require local website

PEN wants you to get each weekly issue of the NewsBlast at your preferred
e-mail address. We also welcome new subscribers. Please notify us if your
e-mail address is about to change. Send your name and new e-mail address
to PEN@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Be sure to let us know your old e-mail address
so we can unsubscribe it. If you know anyone who is interested in
receiving the NewsBlast, please forward this e-mail to them and ask them
to e-mail us and put "subscribe" in the subject field or visit:

To view past issues of the PEN Weekly NewsBlast, visit:

To subscribe or unsubscribe, visit:

If you would like an article or news about your local education fund,
public school, or school reform organization featured in a future issue of
PEN Weekly NewsBlast, send a note to HSchaffer@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Andrew Smith is a regular contributor to the PEN Weekly NewsBlast.
Howie Schaffer
Managing Editor
Public Education Network
601 Thirteenth Street, NW #900N
Washington, DC 20005
202-628-1893 fax

K12Newsletters - From Educational CyberPlayGround
Linking and Announcements For K12NewsLetters are provided
by and

If you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or
would like to sponsor the NetHappenings service -

Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Change Email Preferences -

Other related posts:

  • » PEN> PEN Weekly NewsBlast for January 10, 2003