PEN> PEN Weekly NewsBlast for January 17, 2003

  • From: Gleason Sackmann <gleason@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: K12Newsletters <k12newsletters@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 07:41:26 -0600

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From: "Public Education Network" <PEN@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: PEN Weekly NewsBlast <newsblast@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 20:40:11 -0800
Subject: PEN Weekly NewsBlast for January 17, 2003
Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
"America?s Favorite Free Newsletter on Improving Public Education"

Researchers are pointing to an exodus of white teachers from black schools
that some see as a troubling symptom of the resegregation of the South.
As decades-long court busing orders are loosened or lifted, the region's
schools have become increasingly segregated. And a new study suggests that
the trend is having a dramatic effect on where teachers choose to teach.
Three Georgia State University professors found that during the late '90s
white elementary school teachers in Georgia were much more likely to quit
at schools with higher proportions of black students. After the 1999-2000
school year, 31 percent of white teachers quit their jobs at schools where
the student population was more than 70 percent black, and those who
changed jobs went to schools that served lower proportions of black and
poor pupils. Many Georgia teachers say they felt pressured to leave
low-performing schools after the state passed an education reform law that
tied teacher pay to test scores. Still, the study found that white
teachers were leaving predominantly black schools even in the Atlanta city
and suburban DeKalb County districts that were among the state's highest

The Center for Education Policy has developed several recommendations to
help citizens and policymakers guide the creation and regulation of K-12
online and virtual schools in ways that will maintain the essential
purposes of public education: effective preparation for life, work, and
citizenship; social cohesion and shared culture; universal access and free
cost; equity and non-discrimination; public accountability and
responsiveness; and religious neutrality.

Secondary school principals are mighty busy these days, and obtaining
grants and gifts for their schools is unfortunately becoming a major part
of their job descriptions. While public schools have been struggling to
meet the needs of all students, private schools, colleges, universities,
and nonprofit organizations have been successfully raising billions of
dollars each year by tapping into corporations, foundations, the
government, and most important, private citizens, for large grants and
gifts. Using sophisticated fundraising techniques taught in workshops and
courses all over the country, a number of secondary school principals and
others are looking beyond their traditional funding sources-- bake sales,
pizza and candy sales, and car washes -- and are learning more
sophisticated techniques for raising millions of dollars for their public
schools. Sitting idle while private schools, colleges, universities, and
nonprofit organizations reap all the rewards is not an option. If public
schools are to compete for needed dollars, they must aggressively apply
the fundraising strategies used so effectively by these other
organizations. In this article, Stan Levenson outlines some practical help
schools need to move their fundraising efforts into the big time.

The Republican takeover in the U.S. Senate was the top story for the
political pundits and news commentators who watched the Nov. 5 election.
Yet this overshadowed another important story from Election 2002: the
voters? embrace of major new initiatives in education. Voters in Florida
elected a Republican governor, while California voters re-elected a
Democratic governor. Yet, in both of these states and in several others,
the voters sent a clear message that they want their governors and
legislatures to take critical steps to strengthen and improve public
schools. According to People For the American Way, 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. On
Election Day, Americans gave their elected leaders a ?homework assignment?
 -- support reduced class size, after-school programs and other proven
reforms, and provide the resources public schools need to make these
reforms happen.

Overburdened, inexperienced teachers; students who live in poverty;
parents with limited facility in English; inadequate textbooks and
supplies. No matter what descriptor is applied -- "low-performing
schools," "high-priority schools" -- the facts are starkly the same.
Schools with these characteristics are the nation?s most troubled. These
are the schools in which academic progress is grindingly slow, when it
occurs at all. But higher achievement is possible. New York City?s
Extended Time Schools, an initiative designed for struggling elementary
and middle schools, has for four years been changing the conventional
wisdom about troubled schools, demonstrating that improvement is possible.
It?s a long story, but largely it comes down to six key ingredients: extra
time for students; well-qualified teachers; strong principals;
professional development; a required, effective curriculum; and smaller
classes--all embedded in a clear system of standards and accountability.
Premium pay is also necessary to attract and keep highly qualified
teachers in our nation?s most troubled schools. But it is not sufficient.

This report examines the impact of different family and community
connections on student achievement. Authors Anne Henderson and Karen Mapp
reviewed more than 50 research studies published since 1995. They found
that "the research continues to grow and build an ever-strengthening case.
When schools, families, and community groups work together to support
learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and
like school more." The authors also found that students with involved
parents, "no matter what their income or background", were more likely to
succeed in school, attend school regularly, earn higher grades, pass their
classes, and graduate and go on to post-secondary education.

The thousands of teachers, parents and students who recently rallied in
the Washington state capital had a simple lesson plan for the governor and
lawmakers -- higher teacher salaries and smaller classes mean better
schools. Drums boomed and conga lines snaked through the crush of people
as protesters swayed in a jovial, almost carnival-like atmosphere, hoping
their message resonates with lawmakers who must fill a $2 billion budget
gap this session by either slashing services or raising taxes. The
Washington State Patrol estimated that there were as many as 25,000
protesters, most sporting blue ponchos with the slogan "Keep the
Commitment" scrawled on them. "I've spent 30 years . . . around education
and this is the first time I've ever seen this many teachers in one
place," said Auburn Riverside High School math teacher Scott Rowe. Ronald
Young, a board trustee at Marysville School District, called the day of
action "disruptive" and said that teachers were "in essence, going out on
strike for the day." But he said he and the board want to increase school
funding and lobbied lawmakers earlier in the week.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has announced an ambitious plan to impose
rigorously centralized control over the New York City school system and
its teachers, wiping out local districts and requiring a single curriculum
for reading, writing and mathematics for all but the top-performing
schools. If his plan succeeds, Mr. Bloomberg, who has said his paramount
goal as mayor is to raise student achievement, will have completely
transformed the structure and philosophy of a school system that long
allowed localized decision-making about everything from budgets to
textbook selection. A new uniform curriculum will be imposed on well over
100 low-performing schools in New York City. But some low-performing
schools that have shown significant improvement may be allowed to choose
their own program. Schools chancellor Joel Klein has talked repeatedly
about giving more autonomy to schools that do a good job. Supporters say
the uniform curriculum may be especially beneficial to the many students
who switch schools two or three times a year. Teachers, too, often move
from school to school, so having the same curriculum in every
low-performing school may also improve the quality of instruction.

A certain level of civility in schools is essential to successful teaching
and learning. Studies of the formal organization and informal social
systems of schools, however, depict currents of hostility and
confrontation between students and teachers. In order to motivate a
discussion of the balance struck between civility and incivility, the
authors of this study present data on cursing and politeness in one urban,
public high school. Survey responses from 225 seniors suggest that (a)
students are more often polite than rude toward teachers, but students
also curse a lot; (b) students are more polite toward teachers than among
themselves, and are much more likely to curse among fellow students than
in the presence of teachers; (c) students describe themselves as capable
of being either polite or crude; and (d) cursing at teachers depends upon
the people and situation involved. The authors suggest that cursing in
school is both context-dependent and a form of unofficially sanctioned
rebellion that does not necessarily lead to conflict.

Gathering and analyzing data to improve classroom learning is a new
experience for many educators. With the theme "Data-Driven Decision
Making," the January issue of ENC Focus magazine, available in print and
online, examines actual changes in classroom practices based on analysis
of data. Helpful articles include: Uses and Abuses of Data, Cooking with
Data, Getting Comfortable with Data, Action Research with Impact, and
Turning Skeptics into Supporters.

The article reports on a study of 11 schools that were labeled as low
performing by the state accountability systems of Maryland and Kentucky,
nationally known for complex performance-based assessments. The study
shows that putting schools on probation only weakly motivated teachers
because the assessments were largely perceived as unfair, invalid, and
unrealistic. Administrators responded with control strategies that
rigidified organizations, forestalling dialogue and learning processes.
Instructional reform developed only feebly. On the other hand, some
schools remedied inefficiencies and were able to "harvest the low-hanging
fruit."  The schools struggled with severe problems of teacher commitment.

At Idealist Teachers, adults that work with kids will find: information on
starting individual and family volunteer projects in school, great
resources for service learning, materials and publications from national
and local nonprofits, and an introduction to nonprofit careers for high
school students.

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

"The Beaumont Foundation"
The Beaumont Foundation will be giving out almost $400 million in computer
equipment starting in 2003. Persons with disabilities and those who are
homebound because of disability or illness are especially encouraged to
apply for these individual grants. Information on individual grants is
also online but persons interested in those grants should apply by calling
1-866-505-COMP(2667). Grant applications are accepted up to March 31,

"National Forum Invites Applications From State Leaders"
The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform is inviting up to
five teams of state leaders to participate in the second year of its
"Schools to Watch" state program. The state program, modeled after the
Forum's successful national program of the same name, is co-sponsored by
the National Middle School Association, the National Association of
Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School
Principals, and the National Staff Development Council. If selected,
education leaders in up to five states will have the opportunity to
participate in a unique professional learning opportunity as they are
trained to identify and honor middle-grades schools that are on a solid
trajectory toward reform. Application deadline: April 14, 2003.

"Public Welfare Foundation"
The Public Welfare Foundation is a non-governmental grant-making
organization dedicated to supporting organizations that provide services
to disadvantaged populations and work for lasting improvements in the
delivery of services that meet basic human needs. Grants have been awarded
in the areas of criminal justice, disadvantaged elderly and youth,
environment, population, health, community and economic development, human
rights and technology assistance. Most first-time grants fall between
$25,000 and $50,000. Application deadline: Open.

"Excellence in Teaching Cabinet Grant Program"
Each year, Curriculum Associates sponsors the Excellence in Teaching
Cabinet grant program in which three educators are chosen to receive a
grant to help fund a creative teaching project for the coming school year.
 Projects can span from three months to a full school year and will
reflect educators' abilities to make classrooms creative, quality learning
environments through the use of a variety of teaching tools, including
technology and print.  Grants of $1,000 plus a $500 gift certificate for
Curriculum Associates materials will be awarded.  Proposals must be
received by March 15, 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
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Drug-Free
Communities Support Program.

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 think sleeping was my problem in school. If school had started at 4:00
in the afternoon, I'd be a college graduate today."
-George Foreman (boxer)

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