PEN Weekly NewsBlast for February 10, 2006

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Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast "Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."

BUSH BUDGET CUTS EDUCATION BY 5.5% President Bush proposed shrinking federal spending on education by more $3 billion in his new budget proposal, but he also wants to launch new initiatives to strengthen math and science achievement and reform America's high schools. The largest source of federal education aid to states, the $12.7 billion Title I program for low-income students, would receive no new funding under the president's proposed budget for fiscal year 2007. Title I accounts for about half of federal spending to implement the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which aims to close achievement gaps and get all students to read and do math at grade level by 2014. The overall federal education budget would be cut by $3.1 billion, or 5.5 percent from 2006 levels. Much of the cuts would come from scrapping 42 education programs totaling $3.5 billion, including programs for the arts, state grants for vocational education, Perkins loans for low-income college students and the Even Start literacy program for poor families. Kavan Peterson reports that Congress rejected cutting most of these programs when Bush requested their elimination last year. Congress cut only five of the 48 programs Bush slated for elimination in last year's budget proposal.

President Bush's vision for making America more competitive in the global
economy and making America safer and more secure cannot be accomplished
without consistent investment in high-quality public education. The recent
budget proposed by the President for FY 2007 undermines existing federal
school reform efforts, particularly efforts specifically aimed at poor and
disadvantaged children. The budget also creates a new set of fiscal
challenges for public schools working diligently to improve students'
ability to read at grade level and to enable children to enter
kindergarten ready to learn and achieve. "This budget clearly leaves
children behind," said Wendy D. Puriefoy, president of Public Education
Network. "The realities of the FY 2007 budget make it obvious that deep
cuts to critical education programs will come disguised as fiscal
discipline and deficit reduction at a time when serious accountability
measures have been demanded of states and school districts. The
President's budget is out of step with the needs of America's working
families, who want a President who will put education first."

Public dollars that are invested in schools generate a high societal
return, measurable in real, quantifiable results for workers and
businesses, writes William Schweke. Money well spent on shrinking class
sizes, establishing definite and understandable goals, providing
high-quality and relevant teacher training, structuring incentives and
getting parents involved can really improve school performance, even in
the poorest neighborhoods. In addition to greater investment, what is
essential is for the school and community learning cultures to change.
Some schools have demonstrated ways to generate broad support for public
schools by developing an organized constituency committed to reform and
needed public investment.

Considering they share responsibility for 50 million children, parents and
teachers sure have some different views about what goes on in school. From
discipline to standardized tests and the quality of high schools, parents
and teachers disagree on basic aspects of education, an AP-AOL Learning
Services Poll finds. They come together, though, on the need to hire and
keep good teachers. Ben Feller reports that less than half of parents say
student discipline is a serious concern at school. Teachers scoff at that.
Two in three of them call children's misbehavior a major problem. The
survey also found: 73 percent of teachers say they know more than their
students about learning tools available on the Internet. On this topic, 57
of parents say they know more than their children.  71 percent of teachers
say class work and homework are the best way to measure academic success;
63 percent of parents say the same. A minority of both groups favored test
scores. 79 percent of teachers rate high schools good or better in
preparing students for college. A smaller but still strong majority of
parents, 67 percent, agree. On testing, the poll found teachers are much
more likely than parents to say standardized exams get too much emphasis.
Yet most parents and teachers agree testing has weakened the ability of
educators to give individual attention to students.

As the role of mayors in reforming public education increases, the U.S.
Conference of Mayors  (USCM) believes there is a need to assist mayors as
they choose how to get involved and at what level of engagement.  A new
"Action Guide" provides principles, suggestions and ideas for mayoral
leadership and involvement.  It also explains the political, financial and
bureaucratic problems with which mayors are confronted when they become
involved in public education. Four central themes on mayoral leadership
and involvement in education are emphasized in the Action Guide: advocacy,
capacity, implementation and sustainability. The guide is intended to
provide useful information to mayors no matter what role they currently
have or are considering in education.  The guide helps mayors answer two
pivotal questions. What role should I have as the chief elected official
of my city to ensure that every child has the opportunity to have a
quality education experience? What can I do to align my city's services
and resources to provide that opportunity?

A new online advocacy campaign from the American Federation of Teachers
features a musical cartoon beseeching the public to demand changes in No
Child Left Behind in the upcoming reauthorization of the law. Visitors to
the site are asked to sign a petition that states, "For all children to
succeed, schools need high academic standards, rich curricula, quality
professional development for staff, help for struggling students, adequate
funding and a fair system of assessment and accountability. The No Child
Left Behind Act has failed to live up to its promise. Our children are
paying the price. Congress and the administration need to listen to
parents and teachers. It's time to make some constructive changes and get
NCLB right."

Frederick Hess is among those who have been troubled by the tendency of
universities to adopt campus speech codes. In his view, a worrisome new
fad is rearing its head in the nation's schools of education. Stirred by
professional opinion and accreditation pressures, teachers colleges have
begun to regulate the dispositions and beliefs of those who would teach in
our nation's classrooms. For example, professors at Washington State
University's College of Education evaluate candidates to ensure they
exhibit "an understanding of the complexities of race, power, gender,
class, sexual orientation, and privilege in American society." The
conviction that teachers should hold certain views regarding sexuality or
social class is rooted in a commendable impulse to ensure that they teach
all students. But even if scientific evidence established that certain
beliefs or dispositions improved teacher effectiveness, colleges should
hesitate to engage in this kind of exercise. The truth, of course, is that
no such body of rigorous, empirical evidence does exist. In any event,
there's good reason to be skeptical of claims that to be effective,
teachers must have certain views or attitudes. Given that both kindhearted
and callous doctors may be effective professionals, it's not clear why we
should expect good teachers to be uniform in disposition.

As more teachers look ahead to retirement, many are finding themselves
having to choose between health care and other basic needs. Benefits they
took for granted, such as health care, are becoming prohibitively
expensive, both for them and their school districts. In a few cases, high
costs and large numbers of retirees threaten to limit or cut off health
benefits altogether, even in places where contracts negotiated long ago
assured lifetime benefits. What's more, reports Greg Toppo, stringent new
accounting rules will soon force school districts to begin planning for
future retirees, in effect forcing districts to either fund their benefits
now or drop them.



The registry is organized by state and by grade level.
The registry also includes sites for charter Schools, virtual schools,
school districts, state and regional education organizations, state
departments of education, state standards and state administrators.



Drawing a line between free speech and misuse can be tricky, and blog
proponents caution that there are plenty of positive ways to use the
medium. However, recent incidents speak not only to the murky territory of
free speech in schools but to the challenges of educating in a cyber age
-- particularly with the growing presence of Web logs or blogs, those
online pages that millions of teens use for journals, photos, dating, or
chats. The worries range from the serious -- student safety and
cyberbullying -- to the mundane, minimizing gossip and protecting students
from embarrassment. Amanda Paulson reports that some schools are trying to
restrict access to the sites, or are holding sessions to educate both
parents and students on proper guidelines. Some kids use blogs for class
assignments, thoughtful journals, or outlets for creativity. The worries
come when teens post too much personal information -- their real names,
addresses, e-mail, schools -- not realizing it is also available to
stalkers or child predators, or when they use the sites to pick on other
kids, reaching more people than old-fashioned bullying ever could. "Kids
used to pass notes around in school," says Parry Aftab, director of "Now they're putting it onto pages with 42 million

Even as books take a back seat to technology, reading is more important
than ever in an increasingly complicated, information-rich world. Basic
literacy no longer suffices. In higher education and the workplace, young
people must handle an array of complex texts -- narratives, repair
manuals, scholarly journals, maps, graphics, and more -- across
technologies. They need to evaluate, synthesize, and communicate
effectively. Unfortunately, more than 8 million U.S. students in grades
4-12 struggle to read, write, and comprehend adequately. Only three out of
ten eighth graders read at or above grade level, according to the 2004
National Assessment of Educational Progress. Readers who fall
significantly behind risk school and workplace failure. In 2003, only
three-fourths of high school students graduated in four years, the
National Center for Education Statistics reports; the previous year, just
over half of African American and Hispanic students graduated at all.

What is the Difference Between a Language and a Dialect?
Find the Experts

Find Resources for African American Black Vernacular,
Creole, Patois, A pidgin is a new language which develops
in situations where speakers of different languages need to
communicate but don't share a common language.

Stigmatized and Standardized Varieties in the Classroom:
Interference or Separation? What is among the most serious social
problems that our country faces? The failure of inner-city schools
to teach children to read.

Why don't people vote? 50% of all Americans over 65 years old
are functionally illiterate.
60% of the Urban School Children do not graduate High School
of the 40% that do they are only reading at 4th grade level.
Find out more about literacy and approaches to improving it.
Learn how to successfully bridge from  the Dialect Speakers'
home language to the Standard.

LITERACY - Evolution of Language - How the Brain Works
Pedagogy Problems to Solutions
Sync Sense, Social Rhythm Research Experts
Speech, Music, Reading, & Technology
Motivation, Play, Culturally Relevant Content
Using Multiple Intelligences and different learning styles
Literacy Defined: how to read, how to write, how to use
computers, how to find and evaluate information found on the net.

Integrate literacy (Language Arts), the arts (music) and
technology into the classroom using Interdisciplinary,
thematic, collaborative Online Curriculum, Readability Tools
Resources about American Dialects.

Even as Black History Month briefly draws attention to African-American
heritage, state-based efforts show how hard it can be to move from an idea
to change in the classroom. "We won't have to do February if in fact we
teach this in the regular curriculum," said NJ Assemblyman William Payne.
New Jersey's 2002 law created an Amistad Commission whose members write
lesson plans, organize educational events and train teachers -- all
focused on black history. The law says each school board "shall
incorporate" black history at all grade levels. Two other states, New York
and Illinois, have since passed similar laws and several others are either
considering them or have passed statutes that encourage, but do not
require, teachers to address black history. Some educators don't know
these laws exist. Among those that do, many teachers are not well-versed
in black history and don't know where to find teaching materials. New
Jersey educators said their students have appreciated learning more about
black history. "When children begin to understand who they are, when they
begin to see that they are part of history, you can see them walking
around school walking a little taller," said Lauren Cooper, a middle
school reading teacher at Belleville Middle School near Newark.


Black History Month All Year Long

Classroom resources - slave songs, including stories of the people,
often passed from elders to the next generation, learn through the oral tradition.
Find 2 original Anansi Folktale E-books. Download, read, and hear each
story narrated in both American Virgin Island Creole and Standard English,
plus find out how these stories survived in tact from the original
storyteller. The Virgin Islands Dutch Creole folktale below was collected
by a Dutch anthropologist, J. P. B. de Josselin de Jong, who visited the
Virgin Islands in 1923. De Josselin de Jong does not say who told him this
story. However, we do know that all of the people who told him stories
lived on St. Thomas and St. John and that they spoke both Dutch Creole and
Virgin Islands English.

ARE IMMIGRANT AND LANGUAGE-MINORITY CHILDREN LEARNING ENGLISH? In 2002, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot proposal to do away with bilingual education for non-English-speaking students, substituting "sheltered English immersion" for the three-decade-old, but much maligned, approach of teaching children in their own languages on an ostensibly transitional basis. Now, more than three years later, Laura Pappano finds a Tower of Babel in the classroom, as teachers and school leaders struggle to figure out what sheltered immersion is. Are immigrant and language-minority children learning English? According to the state's first-ever test of student progress in English acquisition over the course of a school year, not too well.

"Focus on Families! How to Build and Support Family-Centered Practices in
After School" is a critical resource for after school providers looking to
create or expand an existing family engagement program. Program leaders,
local decision makers, funders, and others interested in promoting good
family involvement practice will also find the guide vital to their work.
The guide provides a research base for why family engagement matters,
concrete program strategies for engaging families, case studies of
promising family engagement efforts, and an evaluation tool for improving
family engagement practices.

As the math and science achievement of American students continues to lag
behind the international competition, business leaders, educators and
President Bush in his State of the Union address are all launching major
campaigns to improve math and science education for the nation's students.
 But where American leadership sees a crisis, parents and students think
that on the math/science front, things are just fine, thank you. Public
Agenda found that while, in general, parents support proposals to make
high schools globally competitive, most (57%) also say the amount of
science and math their child studies now is about right.  In fact, Public
Agenda notes, parents' concern about math and science achievement has
actually declined since the mid 1990s.  In 1994, 48% of parents thought
their children were not getting enough math and science compared to only
32% of parents thinking the same in 2005. American students aren't too
worried either.  Only one quarter say lack of emphasis on science and math
is a problem in their own school.  And, despite widely publicized
predictions about the role science and technology will play in the economy
of the future, more that four in 10 students say they would be quite
unhappy if they ended up in a career with a math or science focus.

Last year, 9-year-old Fernando Vazquez won a raffle for students with
perfect attendance and was given the choice of a new Saturn Ion or
$10,000. (His parents chose the money.) Krystal Brooks, 19, won a canary
yellow Ford Mustang. In Temecula, Calif., the school district prizes can
include iPods, DVD players and a trip to Disneyland. Many schools have
been galvanized by the federal No Child Left Behind law, which factors
attendance into its evaluations. And schools, especially in poor
districts, are motivated by money from state governments, which is often
based on average daily attendance. In the Chicago public schools, students
with perfect attendance for the first three months of the year are
eligible to win $500 worth of groceries or up to $1,000 toward a rent or
mortgage payment. Joi Mecks, a spokeswoman for the district, said that for
every 1 percent increase in its attendance rate, the district received $18
million more in state money. But as Pamela Belluck reports, some experts
say attendance incentives are a bad approach. "It's against our grain to
suggest that you have to cajole, seduce or trick students in order to get
them to learn," said Dr. Jeff Bostic, director of school psychiatry at
Massachusetts General Hospital. "And where does it end? Are we going to
need to give out a Porsche Boxster? Rather than say we're going to pay you
if you show up, we've got to work harder at showing how school really does
have relevance to these kids' lives." But other experts say incentives
make sense because they parallel the working world, where employees are
given financial incentives to work harder or better. Some experts say
incentives are acceptable if the rewards are education-related -- laptops,
say, instead of cars.

What are the key factors that promote academic success among students
whose demographic characteristics and school circumstances place them at
high risk of failure? Theresa Akey provides highly suggestive, although
not conclusive, answers to this question. This study's findings may have
important implications for understanding how students learn in the
classroom. Consonant with previous research, they indicate that both
engagement in school and students' perception of their own academic
competence influence achievement in mathematics for high school students.
But the study departs from earlier work in suggesting that perceived
academic competence may be more influential than engagement in boosting
achievement in both mathematics and reading. Indeed, analyses indicate
that perceived competence had a stronger influence on subsequent
engagement than engagement had on students' perceptions of themselves as
competent learners. The findings also make clear that supportive teachers
and clear and high expectations about behavior are key to the development
of both student engagement and perceived competence. This study suggests
that the earlier schools and teachers begin to build students' confidence
in their ability to do well, the better off students will be. Because
students' perceptions of their capacity for success are key to their
engagement in school and learning, schools should be designed to enhance
students' feelings of accomplishment. Teachers whom students see as
supportive and who set clear expectations about behavior help create an
atmosphere in which students feel in control and confident about their
ability to succeed in future educational endeavors.





TAKING STEPS TO SAVE OUR KIDS Experts say a full-scale assault -- like the war waged upon smoking -- is needed to turn the tide against obesity among children. The effort must involve families, schools and communities. So far, attempts to confront the problem, which has resulted in a rise of Type II diabetes and other diseases among the young, have been sporadic. But new initiatives are under way: After years of relying on public service announcements -- along with occasional video images of a jogging politician -- city and state governments are developing civic fitness and diet programs to promote healthy living. More TV commercials are promoting healthy foods, and there's an increase in advertising urging kids to be more physically active. After years of trimming recess and physical education classes, many schools are pushing their students to play more. Indiana and some other states are starting to crack down on what they let kids eat in school cafeterias and from school vending machines. Starting next year, schools that participate in the federal school meals program will have to implement a wellness plan, including goals for physical activity and nutrition education. Of course, reports Shari Rudavsky and Dan McFeely, it took much more than gentle persuasion to reduce the number of smokers in America -- from 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 21 percent today. It took laws, marketing campaigns and a change in societal attitudes.

INCREASE IN CHILD POVERTY IS NOTED After nearly a decade of decline, the number of children living in low-income families has been steadily increasing, a pattern that began in 2000. This data book provides national and 50-state trend data on the characteristics of low-income children over the past decade: parental education, parental employment, marital status, family structure, race and ethnicity, age distribution, parental nativity, home ownership, residential mobility, type of residential area, and region of residence.

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

"National Gardening Association Healthy Sprouts Awards"
This program invites applications from schools or organizations who plan
to garden in 2007. Maximum Award: $200 Gift Certificate. Eligibility:
groups having at least fifteen children between the ages of 3 and 18.
Deadline: October 15, 2006.

"National History Education and Preservation Initiative"
Save Our History is a national history education and preservation
initiative that seeks to raise awareness and support for preserving local
heritage. Historic organizations across the United States that are
interested in funding for preservation projects developed with local
schools or youth groups are encouraged to apply. Maximum Award: $5000.
Eligibility: elementary, middle, and high school teachers who teach
American, state, or local history in a social studies or history class in
a public, private, or home school located within the 50 states and the
District of Columbia. Deadline: April 7, 2006.

"Nature of Learning Grant Program"
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's The Nature of Learning Grant
Program seeks to use National Wildlife Refuges as outdoor classrooms to
promote a greater understanding of local conservation issues and utilize
field experiences and student-led stewardship projects to connect
classroom lessons to real world issues, as well as build partnership among
local schools, community groups, natural resource professionals and local
businesses. Maximum Award: $5,000. Eligibility: Schools or non-profit
organizations. Deadline: April 17, 2006.

"2006 All-USA Teacher Team"
USA TODAY is accepting nominations for the 2006 All-USA Teacher Team, a
recognition program for outstanding teachers. Teachers can be nominated by
anyone willing to put in writing why they are outstanding; nominees must
complete the form explaining how they achieve their success. Maximum
Award: $2500. Eligibility: Teachers K-12. Deadline: April 29, 2006.

"CiviConnections Program"
The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) CiviConnections program
links local historical inquiry with community service-learning activities
nationwide in 3rd-12th grade classrooms. CiviConnections projects during
the 2006/07 school year will focus on: Poverty, Health Care,
Discrimination, or the Environment. Maximum Award: $7,500. Eligibility:
teams of three teachers from grades 3-12 in the same public school
district with membership in NCSS or agreeing to join if selected; must
partner with at least one local community agency and meet certain other
requirements (see website). Deadline:  February 24, 2006.

"New Center Seeks to Award Excellent Urban Schools"
San Diego State University has established the National Center for Urban
School Transformation (NCUST), designed to identify, study, and promote
the best practices of very high-achieving urban schools and districts.
The Center is sponsoring its first annual Excellence in Education Award
Program through which it will recognize urban schools and districts that
have achieved outstanding records of academic achievement for all of the
populations of students they serve. The NCUST Excellence in Education
Award is only for public schools or public charter schools serving urban
communities. At least 50 percent of the school's students must qualify for
the federal free- or reduced-price lunch program. The NCUST Excellence in
Education Award winners will receive a check for $1,000 and a banner
bearing their name. As well, each school will receive travel costs for one
representative to attend the NCUST Symposium in San Diego, California, May
5-6, 2006. Applications are due February 27, 2006.

"The Purpose Prize: $100,000 for Five Innovators Over 60"
As the first of 77 million baby boomers turn 60, Civic Ventures, a
nonprofit organization working to help America achieve the greatest return
on experience, announces The Purpose Prize -- five $100,000 investments in
Americans over 60 whose creativity, talent and experience is transforming
the way our nation addresses critical social problems, including
education. The Purpose Prize is for those "with the passion, smarts, and
experience to discover new opportunities, create new programs, or find
inventive ways to make lasting social change." Sixty semi-finalists ("60
at 60") will also receive national recognition for their work. To nominate
someone or apply yourself, click below. Deadline: February 28, 2006.

"P. Buckley Moss Foundation Education Grants"
The grant program aids and supports teachers who wish to establish an
effective learning tool using the arts in teaching children with learning
disabilities and other special needs. Maximum Award: $1,000. Eligibility:
Programs in the planning stages or in existence for less than two years.
Deadline: March 1, 2006.

"New Leaders for New Schools Seek Candidates to Become Urban School
New Leaders for New Schools is currently accepting applications for
candidates who meet our 10 selection criteria (see website) and want to
lead change for children in low income communities by becoming urban
public school principals. Candidates should have  a record of success in
leading adults, an expertise in K-12 teaching and learning, a relentless
drive to lead an excellent urban school, and most importantly, an
unyielding belief in the potential of every child to achieve academically
at high levels. Eligibility: a minimum of 2-3 years of successful K-12
instruction experience; a teaching certificate preferred. Deadline: March
1, 2006.

"Recognizing a Teacher Who Overcomes Adversity"
Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation Freida J. Riley Teacher Award
annually recognizes an American teacher who overcomes adversity or makes
an enormous sacrifice in order to positively impact students. It is given
in honor of teacher Freida J. Riley who died of Hodgkin's disease at the
age of 31. Maximum Award: $10,000. Eligibility: full-time teachers (grades
K-12), in any accredited U.S. public, private, or charter school.
Deadline: March 1, 2006.

"Grants to Integrate Literacy with Personal and Civic Action"
Starbucks Foundation Grants fund programs that integrate literacy with
personal and civic action in the communities where they live. Maximum
Award: $5,000. Eligibility: 501 (c) 3 organizations that work with
underserved youth ages 6-18 in the fields of literacy (reading, writing
and creative/media arts) and environmental literacy. Deadline: March 1,

"Horace Mann-Abraham Lincoln Fellowship"
Horace Mann Corporation and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library have
partnered to form the Horace Mann-Abraham Lincoln Fellowship, a program
designed to help educators study the life and legacy of America's 16th
president. The program features a five-day institute at the new library in
June and July, 2006. Maximum Award: $1,000 each to cover expenses for
their trip to the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois,
to participate in programs created by the ALPL Foundation. Eligibility:
full-time educators teaching kindergarten through 12th grade in the U.S.
Deadline: March 4, 2006.

"Healthy Eating Research Grants" Healthy Eating Research is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that supports research to identify, analyze and evaluate environmental and policy strategies that can promote healthy eating among children and prevent childhood obesity. Special emphasis will be given to research projects that will benefit children in the low-income and racial/ethnic populations at highest risk for obesity. Maximum Award: $75,000-$400,000. Eligibility: Preference given to 501(c)(3) organizations. Must be U.S.-based. Deadline: March 7, 2006.

"Grants for Service-Learning Projects"
Learn and Serve America, part of the Corporation for National and
Community Service, has released a Notice of funding Opportunity for grant
funds to support school-based, community-based, higher education, and
tribal and U.S. territory service-learning projects. The grant competition
is to promote the development and sustainability of high-quality
community-based service-learning programs in youth-serving community
organizations across the nation. Maximum Award: Varies. Eligibility: K-12
schools, colleges, volunteer centers, faith-based organizations. Deadline:
March 7, 2006.

"J8 Global Citizen Programme"
The J8 Global Citizen Programme gives winners of its competition the
opportunity to travel to Russia in July 2006 to join young people from all
the other G8 countries at J8 St Petersburg 2006. Maximum Award: an
all-expenses-paid, 3-day Summit in July 2006, plus various prizes.
Eligibility: groups of 6-8 students aged 13-16. Deadline: March 31, 2006.

"Hurricane Katrina Media Fellowships"
The Open Society Institute Katrina Media Fellowships will support media
makers working in print and radio journalism, photography, and documentary
film and video to generate and improve media coverage of critical issues
of poverty, racism, and government neglect in the Gulf Region that were
laid bare by Hurricane Katrina. Maximum Award: $35,000. Eligibility:
mid-career or veteran print or radio journalists, photographers, or
documentary filmmakers with proven track records as serious media-makers.
OSI will give special consideration to applicants who have been displaced
from or are residents of the Gulf Region. Deadline: Friday, March 31,

"BP A+ for Energy Program"
BP's A+ for Energy program gives grants for implementing creative and
innovative educational programs to teach students about energy use,
alternative and sustainable energy types and sources, and energy
conservation. Maximum Award: $10,000. Eligibility: all California teachers
K-12. Deadline: April 7, 2006.

"American Stars of Teaching Program"
The U.S. Department of Education plans to honor outstanding classroom
teachers through the American Stars of Teaching program. The Department's
Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative is seeking nominations and information about
teachers who are improving student achievement, using innovative
strategies in the classroom, and making a difference in the lives of their
students. Eligibility: teachers across all grades and disciplines.
Deadline: April 15, 2006.

"Community-based Environmental Education Initiative"
National Wildlife Refuge System's The Nature of Learning community-based
environmental education initiative seeks to: use National Wildlife Refuges
as outdoor classrooms to promote a greater understanding of local
conservation issues; encourage an interdisciplinary approach to learning
that seeks to enhance student academic achievement; utilize field
experiences and student-led stewardship projects to connect classroom
lessons to real world issues; and involve a partnership among local
schools, community groups, natural resource professionals and local
businesses. Maximum Award: $5,000. Eligibility: schools or non-profit
organizations, including "Friends" groups, Cooperative and Interpretive
Associations, and Audubon Chapters. Deadline: April 17, 2006.

"MetLife Foundation Bridge Builders Grant"
MetLife Foundation Bridge Builders Grant Program and The National
Association of Secondary School Principals is inviting proposals from
public middle level and high schools serving large numbers of low-income
students and/or underrepresented minorities (40% or more of the student
body) to apply for a grant to implement a special initiative aimed at
building better relationships among adults and students. Maximum Award:
$5,000. Eligibility: Middle level and high school principals in public
schools serving large numbers of low income and/or large numbers of
minority students (more than 40% of the student body) in the United
States. Deadline: April 17, 2006.

"Free National & Global Youth Service Day Materials"
Free National & Global Youth Service Day Materials are available to in the
planning of service projects for the 18th Annual National & Global Youth
Service Day, April 21-23, 2006. Planning Tool Kits, Service-Learning
Curriculum Guides, and Classroom Posters are now available in print and
on-line. Download these materials or order free printed copies at:

"Seeking Young Heroes for $2,000 Barron Prize"
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes seeks nominations for its 2006
awards. The Barron Prize honors young people ages 8 to 18 who have shown
leadership and courage in public service to people and our planet. Each
year, ten national winners each receive $2,000 to support their service
work or higher education. Nomination deadline is April 30. For more
information and to nominate, visit:

"Unsung Heroes Awards Program"
The ING Unsung Heroes awards program recognizes innovative and progressive
thinking in education through monetary awards. Maximum Award: $25,000 to
Grand Prize Winner. Eligibility: full-time educators, teachers,
principals, paraprofessionals, or classified staff members with effective
projects that improve student learning at an accredited K-12 public or
private school. Deadline: May 1, 2006.

"Nickelodeon Announces Giveaway Program to Encourage Healthy Play" Children's television network Nickelodeon will distribute more than $1 million from September 2005 to June 2006. The "Let's Just Play" Giveaway offers kids around the United States the opportunity to take action and enter for a chance to improve their school or community program's fitness resources. Maximum Award: $5000. Eligibility: Kids (6-15 years of age), partnering with teachers and other community-based leaders. Deadline: rolling, until May 31, 2006.

"Learning in the Arts Grants"
National Endowment for the Arts "Learning in the Arts Grants" Program
offers funding for projects that help children and youth acquire
appreciation, knowledge, and understanding of and skills in the arts.
Projects must provide participatory learning and engagement of students
with skilled artists, teachers, and excellent art, and ensure the
application of national, state, or local arts education standards. Maximum
Award: $5,000-$150,000. Eligibility: school-based or community based
projects. Deadline: June 12, 2006.

"Barnes & Noble Corporate Contributions"
Barnes & Noble Corporate Contributions Program is committed to
literary-based sponsorships and partners with organizations that focus
their core businesses on higher learning, literacy and the arts. Maximum
Award: varies. Eligibility: non-profit organizations that focus on
literacy, the arts or education (K - 12). Deadline: N/A.

"Show Me the Money: Tips & Resources for Successful Grant Writing" Many educators have found that outside funding, in the form of grants, allows them to provide their students with educational experiences and materials their own districts can't afford. Learn how they get those grants -- and how you can get one too. Included: Practical tips to help first-time grant writers get the grants they need.

"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 2006 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 includes previously announced programs and
competitions, as well as those planned for announcement 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 provide regular
updates to this document.

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who would propose to
favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation are men who want crops without
plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They
want the majestic waves without the awful roar of the waters."
-Frederick Douglas (author/abolitionist)

Howie Schaffer Public Outreach Director Public Education Network 601 Thirteenth Street, NW #710S Washington, DC 20005 PEN@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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