PEN Weekly NewsBlast for February 18, 2005

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Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 20:07:15 -0800
Subject: PEN Weekly NewsBlast for February 18, 2005

Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
"Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
Teachers say parent management is a bigger struggle than finding enough
funding or maintaining discipline or enduring the toils of testing. In
this week's TIME cover story, "What Teachers Hate About Parents," Nancy
Gibbs reports on the growing frustrations teachers have with parents. It's
one reason, says the Consortium for Policy Research in Education and the
Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, that 40% to 50% of new
teachers are gone from the profession within five years. Even master
teachers who love their work, says Harvard education professor Sara
Lawrence-Lightfoot, call this "the most treacherous part of their jobs."

Educating our youth for citizenship is our most important public work,
affirm John Glenn and Marian Wright Edelman. We must purposefully nurture
the value of service and civic engagement in each generation if our
country is to be caring and just. This fundamental ideal depends on a
well-informed citizenry that understands the importance of engagement in
civic and political life. Restoring the civic purposes of education should
be paramount in any serious public dialogue about education reform. In
addition to making civic education a priority in elementary and secondary
schools, we should expand the definition and measurement of student
achievement to include students' civic knowledge, skills, and


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.

Remarks by Chairman Alan Greenspan ....
Structural Change In The New Economy July 11, 2000
Equally critical to our investment in human capital
is the quality of education in our elementary and secondary schools.

Under a plan proposed by South Carolina's governor, families who send
their child to a private or religious school would get a dollar-for-dollar
reduction in taxes for tuition money spent. The credit could be applied
against state income tax or against local property taxes, up to $3,200 for
a kindergartner, $4,000 for a pupil in first through eighth grade and
$4,600 for a student in ninth through 12th grade. Conservative groups have
spent at least $250,000 to lobby and run TV ads to get the plan passed,
reports Henry Eichel. Public school advocates are fighting back. The S.C.
Education Association, a public school teachers' association, has spent at
least $100,000 to fight the tax-credit plan.

Democrats and teachers' groups want to see more spending on the current No
Child Left Behind law, which they claim has been underfunded by nearly $40
billion since its passage in 2001. Instead of expanding the law, they
argue, Bush should first ensure that elementary and middle schools get
enough money to fully implement it. On the other hand, a number of
conservative Republicans, heirs to those who fought during the Reagan
administration to abolish the Department of Education, adamantly oppose
expanding the federal role in education. They didn't like Bush's original
No Child Left Behind initiative and would prefer to simply cut the $1.5
billion he now proposes to broaden the program. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., a
leader of House conservatives, said "No Child Left Behind-2," is "taking
water and listing badly ... There is a great deal of resistance to an
expanded federal role in education." But the president may win one key
education battle this year, reports Karen MacPherson. Education analysts
and legislators say an overall reduction in federal education spending,
which would be the first in a decade, could win congressional approval due
to mounting federal deficits. As a result, Congress likely will focus on
how federal dollars should be spent, rather than on new programs like the
high school initiative.

In America's culture wars, schoolchildren are on the front lines. From
Maine to California, parents, teachers and school boards are squabbling --
and sometimes suing one another -- over what children should learn about
sex, how to teach about religion's role in American history and how
students ought to be introduced to the mystery of humans' origins.
President Bush's re-election victory Nov. 2 -- widely interpreted as
defeat for liberals -- seems to have emboldened the religious right and
has enlivened the debate. "I think right now there's a lot of new energy
among some conservative Christian groups," said Charles C. Haynes, a
senior scholar at the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center.

Every year, U.S. schools hire more than 200,000 new teachers for that
first day of class. By the time summer rolls around, at least 22,000 have
quit. Even those who make it beyond the trying first year aren't likely to
stay long: about 30 percent of new teachers flee the profession after just
three years, and more than 45 percent leave after five. What's more, 37
percent of the education workforce is over 50 and considering retirement,
according to the National Education Association. Suddenly, you've got a
double whammy: tens of thousand of new teachers leaving the profession
because they can't take it anymore, and as many or more retiring. When
teachers drop out, everyone pays, writes Claudia Graziano. Each teacher
who leaves costs a district $11,000 to replace, not including indirect
costs related to schools' lost investment in professional development,
curriculum, and school-specific knowledge. At least 15 percent of K-12
teachers either switch schools or leave the profession every year, so the
cost to school districts nationwide is staggering -- an estimated $5.8
billion. Students from the lowest-income families suffer the most.
Inexperienced teachers (those with less than three years on the job)
frequently land in classrooms with the neediest and often the most
challenging students. Beginning teachers frequently start their careers at
hard-to-staff schools where resources may be scarce -- in other words,
urban schools -- simply because there are more jobs available there. It's
a recipe for disaster for both teachers and students, says Barnett Berry,
president of the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality, in Chapel Hill,
North Carolina. Low-performing schools in high-poverty areas often cannot
retain a critical mass of veteran teachers, says Berry. "Not only are
teachers who are new to these schools more likely to be under-prepared,
they're also more likely to be underqualified." The U.S. Department of
Education confirms that teacher turnover is highest in public schools
where half or more of the students receive free or reduced-price lunches.
Teachers quit for several reasons, but the one you'd expect to be at the
top of the list -- salary -- typically isn't. Poor administrative support,
lack of influence within the school system, classroom intrusion, and
inadequate time are mentioned more often by teachers leaving low-income
schools where working conditions are more stressful; salary is mentioned
more often by teachers leaving affluent schools. Many of these reasons are
just euphemisms for one of the profession's hardest realities: Teaching
can exact a considerable emotional toll.


Classroom management skills is the number one concern. Find
practical advice, How-To's, Survival Kits, ice breakers, and
online resources that integrate technology into the classroom.

Numbers tell stories. This month, President Bush proposed a $56 billion
education budget for fiscal 2006, nearly 1 percent less than this year's
spending. If approved by Congress, it would represent the first reduction
in federal support for education in a decade. Bush sees in the numbers a
strengthened commitment in key places, citing more money for the No Child
Left Behind Act and his plan to eliminate the relatively small Perkins
Loan Program and add that money -- more than $1 billion a year -- to Pell
Grants. Pell Grants are the cornerstone of federal financial aid to
college students. Bush wants to increase each grant -- now at a maximum of
$4,050 -- by up to $100 a year for the next five years. Critics, however,
see the numbers as a weakening of federal support, largely at the expense
of low- and middle-income students. Valerie Strauss reports that higher
education costs are going up at least $500 a year -- far more than the
proposed grant increase.

A state judge ruled last night that an additional $5.6 billion must be
spent on the city's public schoolchildren every year to ensure them the
opportunity for a sound basic education that they are guaranteed under the
State Constitution. Beyond that, reports Greg Winter, another $9.2 billion
must be spent over the next five years to shrink class sizes, relieve
overcrowding and provide the city's 1.1 million students with enough
laboratories, libraries and other places in which to learn. In his ruling
-- the latest in a 12-year court battle -- Justice Leland DeGrasse of
State Supreme Court in Manhattan adopted the recommendations made last
November by a panel of lawyers and judges that he appointed. The panel
held hearings for several months and ultimately came very close to
recommending exactly what the plaintiffs, who sued to compel more money
for the city's schools, had asked for. But the judge did not say how much
of the money should come from the state or from the city, leaving
unanswered one of the most contentious questions facing lawmakers.

"When it comes to reading, parents must ensure that their children's
literacy rights are honored!" This is the message from International
Reading Association (IRA) president Donna Ogle. She encourages parents to
help their children's schools provide reading instruction that honors what
the IRA has called the Child's Bill of Literacy Rights: (1) Children have
a right to appropriate early reading instruction based on their individual
needs; (2) Children have a right to reading instruction that builds both
skill and the desire to read increasingly complex materials; (3) Children
have a right to well-prepared teachers who keep their skills up to date
through effective professional development; (4) Children have the right of
access to a wide variety of books and other reading material in their
classrooms, and in school and community libraries; (5) Children have a
right to reading assessment that identifies their strengths as well as
their needs and involves them in making decisions about their own
learning; (6) Children have a right to supplemental instruction from
professionals specifically prepared to teach reading; (7) Children have a
right to reading instruction that involves parents and communities in
their academic lives; (8) Children have a right to reading instruction
that makes meaningful use of their first language skills; (9) Children
have a right to equal access to the technology used for the improvement of
reading instruction; and (10) Children have a right to classrooms that
optimize learning opportunities.


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.


Thousands of low-income and middle-class minority parents, whose
neighborhood campuses are low-performing, overcrowded and sometimes
dangerous, are pinning their last hopes on the rapidly growing charter
school movement, according to school leaders, parents and studies.
Publicly funded charter campuses are free from many state regulations, and
offer a tailored and more innovative approach to learning than traditional
public schools. They must be approved by their local school districts or
by county or state boards of education. Although their academic success
and economic viability are mixed -- some have closed because of
mismanagement -- charters offer tuition-free options for parents who are
seeking smaller, more secure schools close to home. Demand has jumped
considerably from several years ago, when few parents had ever heard of
charter schools. But critics say it is too early to conclude that charter
schools are a panacea after decades of educational inequalities, reports
Erika Haysaki.,1,936093.story?coll=la-news-learning

This issue of "The Future of Children" focuses on children's lives before
they get to school in an effort to understand how to close the racial and
ethnic gaps in educational outcomes. The issue addresses the following
questions: (1) How large are the racial and ethnic gaps in school
readiness? (2) How much of the gap is due to differences in children's
socioeconomic background or to genetics? (3) How much do disadvantages
like poor health, poor parenting, low-quality preschool childcare, and low
birth weight contribute to the gaps? (4) What lessons can we learn from
new research on brain development? (5) What do we know about what works
and what does not work in closing the gap? The questions elicit complex
answers from the authors of the eight articles in the issue, but the
message of this volume is that, taken together, family socioeconomic
status, parenting, child health, maternal health and behaviors, and
preschool experiences likely account for most of the racial and ethnic
gaps in school readiness.

Contrary to public perception, violent crime in schools has declined
dramatically since 1994. The annual rate of serious violent crime in 2001
(6 per 1,000 students) was less than half of the rate in 1994. The rate of
homicides in U.S. schools has also declined dramatically since the 1990's.
There was an interruption in the downward trend during a period of highly
publicized shootings that generated some copycat shootings. The overall
percentage of students who report being threatened or injured with a
weapon at school has remained relatively stable since 1993. Boys
experience almost twice as many incidents as girls. Bullying is one form
of violence that seems to have increased in recent years, although it is
not clear if the increase reflects more incidents of bullying at school or
perhaps greater awareness of bullying as a problem.

Think the teenager in your house can out-surf you? Think again. So says a
new study of 13- to 17-year-olds, reports Edward C. Baig. The survey
results suggest that some businesses are using ineffective strategies to
target a teen market of some 20 million. The study found that, contrary to
stereotype, teens as a group are not as adept as adults in navigating the
Web. In the study, 38 teens were assigned tasks at 23 websites, operated
by Apple, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble and other companies and
organizations. At the website of the California Department of Motor
Vehicles, teens were asked to make an appointment for a driving permit. At, the challenge was to discover when Norah Jones would be in
concert in the Golden State. The teens completed such tasks 55% of the
time, compared with 66% of adults in a previous study. The results echo
other studies. "There is this notion out there that these amazing
multitasking, multigadget kids are running circles around their parents,"
says Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
"And some of them are. But the out-of-it addled parent is now a pretty
Internet-savvy person, by and large." Immaturity and poor reading skills
partly explained the youngsters' lackluster performance, the study
concluded. So did the teens' weak research skills and unwillingness to
tough it out when a site posed design obstacles.

How can you support the power and possibility of a new generation? By
creating a world in which our nation's daughters and sons can be involved
and successful in their work, home, and community lives. On Thursday,
April 28, 2005, join the Ms. Foundation for Women, creators of Take Our
Daughters And Sons To Work Day, and help create tomorrow's world by
re-imagining today's. Whether you need new ideas for your event or are
unsure of how to organize the new program, click below to find materials
that will help you plan the Day.

School district leaders can gauge the health of their schools by cutting
through the blizzard of statistics in which they are buried to focus on a
few key indicators. According to a new report from the Center on
Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), seven essential pieces of information
can provide school board members, superintendents, central office staff,
and community leaders with most of the important data required to reach
conclusions about how well schools are doing. Too often, suggests the
report, school leaders fall prey to the temptation to concentrate on a
single piece of information, often a test score, from one school year. The
seven indicators are: (1) Student achievement: How do each school's
students score on math and reading tests? (2) Elimination of the
achievement gap: Is each school closing the achievement gap by race,
economic status, English ability and/or other student characteristics? (3)
Student attraction: Is each school able to attract students? (4) Student
engagement with school: How well is each school engaging students based on
attendance, tardiness and involvement in activities? (5) Student
retention/completion: How well has each school been able to retain its
students during the schools year(s) and how many students have completed
the requirements at that level of school? (6) Teacher attraction and
retention: How many teachers apply to open spots at each school, and how
many teachers leave during or at the end of the year? (7) Funding equity:
Does the school receive the funding/resources budgeted for it or to which
it is entitled by appropriations, special programs and the needs of the
students? This report builds on prior CRPE research on the challenges
currently faced by school teachers, principals, and superintendents
throughout the country as well as school district finance, the achievement
gap, and accountability systems. To view the full report please visit:

Regardless of the preferred brand of curriculum or school improvement
model, school leaders everywhere increasingly depend on partners outside
the walls of the building and beyond the ranks of professional educators
for resources vital to the performance of their schools. Rosabeth Moss
Kanter writes that many leaders in financially-strapped schools salivate
at the idea of business partners, because they envision a windfall of
money, supplies, or warm bodies. But a donation is not a partnership, nor
does a check by itself produce change that can raise students'
achievement. So it's important to think about partnerships in creative
ways and use them as catalysts to improve outcomes. In this article she
considers the give and take of community involvement in public education.

More than 40,000 teachers in 50 states and the District have received
national certification, a grueling process that requires $2,300 to apply,
takes hundreds of hours and has more than a 50 percent failure rate for
first-time applicants. With more than 30 states and the District giving
bonuses or higher salaries to those who succeed, it is the single most
powerful merit pay system in public education today, educators say. A
rival group, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence,
is designing its own award, putting more emphasis on classroom results and
thus increasing the likelihood of more teachers getting elevated status
and more money. As states and school systems become more accustomed to
this way of advancing careers, experts say, the teaching profession may
evolve into something more like law and medicine, in which the most
effective and energetic practitioners often make the most money. Although
the bonuses are welcome, they do not appear to be as important to many as
the improved status signified by a valued title whose authority is
buttressed with a big check, according to interviews conducted by Jay
Mathews with nationally certified teachers.

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

Grants and Scholarships

"New Leaders for New Schools"
New Leaders for New Schools is a national organization fostering high
levels of academic achievement for all children by attracting, preparing
and supporting the next generation of outstanding leaders for our nation's
urban public schools. They are currently accepting applications for
candidates who want to become urban public school principals. While New
Leaders are a very diverse group, they all have a few things in common: a
record of success in leading adults, a strong knowledge of teaching and
learning, a relentless drive to lead an excellent urban school and most
importantly an unyielding belief in the potential of all children to
achieve academically at high levels. Final application deadline is March
15, 2005. Submit an application or learn more at:

"Garden Teaching Grants"
In 2005, the National Gardening Association will award 100 Youth Garden
Grants to schools, organizations, community centers, clubs, and
intergenerational programs throughout the U.S. Each grant consists of a
$500 gift card from The Home Depot toward the purchase of supplies, tools,
and plants, as well as educational publications from NGA. Click below to
learn more.

"Teacher Grants to link local historical inquiry and community
Grants of $7,500 will be awarded to 33 teams of third- to twelfth-grade
teachers. This program is sponsored by the National Council for the Social
Studies with funding from the federal Corporation for National and
Community Service. Application Deadline: Friday, February 25, 2005. Find
applications at:

"Dollar General Literacy Foundation"
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports non-profit organizations
within Dollar General's market area that are established for public use
and have an active 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Service
Code. Eligible organizations within the Dollar General market area must be
committed to increasing the functional literacy of adults or families and
must provide direct literacy services within their community. The Dollar
General Literacy Foundation accepts proposals from non-profit literacy
providers on an annual basis. The Foundation's next submission deadline is
April 8, 2005. Grants will be announced May 6, 2005.

"Teacher Loan Forgiveness"
The Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act, signed into law last year, authorizes
up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness for eligible, highly qualified math,
science and special education teachers. To be eligible, teachers (with no
outstanding loan balances before Oct.1, 1998, and who have borrowed before
Oct. 1, 2005) must be highly qualified, as defined by the No Child Left
Behind Act; must have taught full-time, for five consecutive years, in a
Title I school; and must have taught secondary math or science or
elementary or secondary special education to students with disabilities.
For more information, visit:

"Schools as Centers of Community: A National Search for Excellence"
Public Education Network is a proud partner in KnowledgeWorks Foundation's
2005 "Schools as Centers of Community: A National Search for Excellence."
Each year KnowledgeWorks Foundation and its partners search across the
country for excellent schools that successfully model the growing trend to
build schools as centers of community. The top selected school, chosen by
a panel of national experts, receives the "Richard W. Riley Award for
Excellence" and a $5,000 grant. The panel also selects several schools
with innovative design elements and initiatives to be members of the
"Schools as Centers of Community Honor Society" and be part of the
National Search website.  Submissions will be accepted from March 1
through June 24, 2005. For details, visit:

"Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes"
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes seeks nominations for its 2005
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:

"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 2005 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.

"Information on Grants for School Health Programs & Services"

The Grantionary is a list of grant-related terms and their definitions.

GrantsAlert is a website that helps nonprofits, especially those involved
in education, secure the funds they need to continue their important work.

"Grant Writing Tips"
SchoolGrants has compiled an excellent set of grant writing tips for those
that need help in developing grant proposals.

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.

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

"Philanthropy News Digest"
Philanthropy News Digest, a weekly news service of the Foundation Center,
is a compendium, in digest form, of philanthropy-related articles and
features culled from print and electronic media outlets nationwide.

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

"The education of our children is a matter of life and death."
-Colin Powell (soldier/statesman)

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