PEN Weekly NewsBlast for February 24, 2006

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Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast "Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit." ******************************************************** TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!! WE REALLY WANT TO KNOW!! At the Public Education Network, we are always searching for ways to make the NewsBlast more informative, readable, and user-friendly. Help us to deepen our understanding of your areas of interest, how you use the PEN Weekly NewsBlast, and ways that we can improve NewsBlast quality. Please click below and answer 16 short questions about what you really like and what you really need from the NewsBlast. The willingness of readers to provide feedback has helped the NewsBlast to expand its appeal and grow from 500 to more than 45,000 subscribers in six years. Thank you for helping improve the content and readability of the PEN Weekly NewsBlast.

Many civic and political leaders vigorously show their support for their
favorite government programs and speak out against tax cuts that would
make it impossible for the federal government to pay for essential
efforts. However, Michael Lipsky and Dianne Stewart ask, who speaks out
for the beneficial role of government as a whole? Even among Democrats, it
is hard to find a public figure who focuses on defending the government
institutions on which we depend. What has been missing is support for the
proposition that government has a fundamental role to play in our lives.
What has been absent is a coherent voice reminding us that we depend upon
government to work with businesses, nonprofit groups, and other key
elements of society to confront and resolve critical social problems. A
small-government, low-tax approach is a formula for greater personal
insecurity, reduced consumer and environmental protection, greater
inequality, and a decreased capacity for pursuing the public good.

The terrible destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina exposed for all the
world what educators have long known: America remains deeply divided by
race and class, and the lack of opportunities for poor people and people
of color have devastating consequences. As Americans watched in horror,
poor children and children of color were, quite literally, left behind by
the storm and subsequent flooding. The implications for education are
obvious and profound, writes Robert Rothman. Although leaving no child
behind is national policy, Katrina demonstrated that poor children and
children of color lack the resources and support they need. Given those
stark realities, the old solutions will not work. To live up to the
promise of the idea of leaving no child left behind, America needs to
address seriously the question of equity. What would it take to achieve
true equity? First, it requires a recognition that equity involves much
more than financial resources. It also involves changes in power
relationships so that all individuals have a say in decisions that affect
them. It involves curricular and instructional changes that enable
teachers to take students' cultural backgrounds into account. And it
involves ensuring opportunities to learn -- in and out of school -- that
many children are now denied. Yet, by itself, equity is an insufficient
goal. To ensure a bright future for all children, equity must be matched
with excellence, and both must be achieved at a large enough scale so that
all children in fact learn what they need to know to succeed as adults.
Clearly, though, schools in large cities are falling short of these
ideals, and they have for years. Katrina merely tore the mask off this
reality. A new issue of "Voices in Urban Education" examines educational
equity and excellence in the post-Katrina era. The authors speak in
impassioned tones about the pervasive inequities that continue to divide
Americans and suggest new possibilities for addressing these inequities
and for producing equity and excellence at scale.

"The idea that there is a national shortage of qualified teachers is
largely a myth," reports University of Missouri economist Michael
Podgursky. Additional research also shows that teachers' pay is, in fact,
competitive with that of many other professions.  Data from the U.S.
Department of Labor and the Census Bureau reveal that teachers' weekly pay
is similar to that of architects, engineers, managers, and administrators
and 20 percent above that of computer programmers, librarians, and nurses.
 Teachers enjoy an even larger premium in weekly salary when compared with
clinical lab technicians, police detectives, and social workers. Podgursky
also points out that the fringe benefits teachers enjoy compare favorably
with those in the private sector.  Insurance and retirement contributions,
for example, are a substantially larger percentage of total compensation
for teachers compared with employees in the private sector. When it comes
to qualified teachers, virtually no school district is in full compliance
with licensing laws, explains Podgursky.  The problem, however, does not
lie with the supply of qualified teachers, but in Byzantine teacher
licensing laws and the dynamics of the teacher labor market. According to
Podgursky, most of the "out of field" teaching in public schools would
disappear overnight if states  were more flexible in their licensing
standards, either issuing a single license in K-12 teaching, as they do in
medicine, law, and other professions, or aggressively developing
alternative licensing routes.  Reforming teachers' current salary
structures would also help.  Single salary schedules for teachers impose
identical pay across hundreds of schools that often differ greatly in
their attractiveness as places to work.  With no incentive for teachers to
work where they are most needed or in subject areas where special skills
are required (math and science, for example), shortages and recruitment
difficulties are virtually guaranteed.

What do Genghis Khan, former Gov. Gray Davis of California, and U.S. Sen.
John McCain have in common? They've all supported the idea of making
teachers exempt from taxes. Genghis Khan decreed it. Gray Davis proposed
it for state taxes to the California state legislature. And John McCain
flirted with the idea in his 2000 presidential campaign. It's teachers
that matter the most in education, writes Curtis G. Heir. And yet, all the
popular reform movements of today -- standards, school choice, high-stakes
testing -- simply fail to provide the incentives to get more talent into
the profession. They actually make the profession less attractive. The
only real way to improve education is to improve the pool of teachers.
Professional-development funds can improve existing teachers only, and
only so much. The federal government has no real mechanism to influence
teacher salaries. Lawmakers can give grants to schools to create more
teaching positions, but they really have no role in determining the level
of compensation for teachers. They can use tax breaks, but the paltry $250
tax breaks they currently give educators are certainly not an incentive to
enter the profession. The federal government could make teaching a much
more attractive profession in a single stroke. It could grant K-12 public
school teachers a lifetime exemption from ever paying federal income
taxes. It's simple economics. If the president and Congress can give
trillions of tax-cut dollars to businesspeople to encourage more
investment, why not redirect a small fraction of those cuts to entice a
better pool of public school teachers? The No Child Left Behind Act, even
with its "highly-qualified teacher" requirements, is inadequate. It just
offers sticks to educators, and no carrots.
Teacher Tax Deduction

Jay Mathews considers "teaching to the test" to be the most deceptive
phrase in education today. In 23 years of visiting classrooms, he has yet
to see any teacher preparing kids for exams in ways that were not careful,
sensible and likely to produce more learning. There are, of course, ways
to teach to the test that are bad for kids and that occur now and then in
schools. Principals afraid that their scores would look bad have forced
teachers to go over the same questions from old tests day after day, to
prepare for some state assessment. Mathews claims there is no evidence
that this happens often. So why do we still talk about how terrible it is
to teach to the test? Mathews thinks it comes from our fear of the
unknown. Those of us who are not teachers don't know what is going on in
our children's classrooms. And teachers don't know what harm might come to
them from the test results, as interpreted by often-wrongheaded people
such as principals, superintendents, politicians and, particularly,
Those Who Can't Teach Teachers Flunk

MANY HIGH-SCHOOL COUNSELORS GRAPPLE WITH GROWING CASELOADS At most local high schools, counselors used to check in with all 11th-graders to make sure they were taking the right classes and had the grades they'd need to graduate on time. Those services are becoming a thing of the past, as high-school counselors here and across the state face growing caseloads. At the same time, students need their help more than ever -- whether it's applying to college or meeting more complex graduation requirements. The American School Counselor Association recommends a student-to-counselor ratio of about 250 to 1, but it's nearly twice that at many high schools. "What really bothers me is that we don't have the time to do that professional job that I really like to do and that we are capable of doing," said Leah Zhu, a counselor. High student/counselor ratios mean counselors spend their time with the students who need them most and with those who take the initiative to make appointments. Those just getting by might not see a counselor until late in their high-school career.

ALIGNMENT OF PRE-K & KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS EMPHASIZED In this paper, Kristie Kauerz outlines the importance of having strong, well-aligned programs beginning in PK and extending through third grade (PK-3). It reviews the short-term impact of PK and FDK programs, then summarizes the evidence that these impacts may "fade out" by the primary grades. To fight fade-out, PK-3 alignment is proffered as one means to enable children to maintain and expand upon the gains they make in early childhood education. PK-3 suggests that PK experiences should be aligned with kindergarten and that kindergarten should be aligned with early elementary education. The paper closes with federal policy recommendations that provide both models and incentives for the nation, states, and local school districts to institute and strengthen PK-3 alignment. The Serious Work of Play research shows learn the importance of laughter and play to avoid teenage depression and burn out

ANTI-DROPOUT BILL GRADUATES FROM INDIANA STATEHOUSE Starting next year, Indiana high schools would aggressively try to reduce the number of dropouts under new requirements that sailed through the Senate. House Bill 1347, which needs the governor's signature to become law, would require schools to identify and counsel the students most at risk of quitting. Schools would note the rate at which children skip class, along with other warning signs, in annual reports published in local newspapers. The bill also would limit the reasons students under 18 can quit to financial troubles, illness or another motive approved by a judge. The proposal, which had passed the Indiana House unanimously, was approved by the Senate 49-1. Supporters call it one of the most aggressive anti-dropout strategies in the nation, reports Staci Hupp. A legal firm looking into the dropout fiasco at Sharpstown High School

HIGH-PERFORMING AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS SHARE FIVE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS Recent research echoes what the after-school field has found over the course of the past decade, that after-school programs can contribute to increased student achievement. But, perhaps most interesting, the study found that after-school programs that helped lead to improved achievement don't necessarily focus on academics. According to the study, successful after-school programs do not replicate the school day. Instead, these after-school programs are safety zones where students received homework help and were able to explore new ideas and interests. And students were able to develop long-term supportive relationships with adults and peers. Successful programs had a variety of arts, recreation, and literacy activities and allowed the students free time as well. This research underscores the importance of after-school programs offering a wide variety of youth-oriented activities, a staff with diverse backgrounds, experienced site coordinators, partnerships with community-based organizations, strong relationships with the day school staff and ongoing communication with participant families. High-performing after-school projects share the following characteristics around programming, staffing, and support systems: (1) A broad array of enrichment opportunities; (2) Opportunities for skill building and mastery; (3) Intentional relationship-building; (4) A strong, experienced leader/manager supported by a trained and supervised staff; and (5) The administrative, fiscal, and professional-development support of the sponsoring organization.

Today, the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) boasts 44 middle schools, two
high schools, and one prekindergarten from San Francisco to Washington,
D.C. And the results from these schools founded by Mike Feinberg and Dave
Levin are raising eyebrows throughout the educational world. KIPP students
consistently outperform their counterparts in traditional public schools
on standardized tests, and more than 80 percent of KIPP students from the
classes of 2004 and 2005 are enrolled in four-year colleges. The premise
of KIPP is simple: Do whatever it takes to learn. Under a contract signed
by students, parents, and teachers, students go to school from 7:30 a.m.
to 5 p.m. every weekday, every other Saturday morning, and for an extra
month in the summer--over 60 percent more class time than the average
school year. Teachers are on call 24-7 to answer questions about homework
(the better they teach, the fewer the calls), and parents are held
accountable. A "no excuses" culture of strict discipline prevails. Should
a student forget his homework, he is banished to the doorway of the class
-- forbidden to speak to classmates, yet still taking in the lesson. If a
single child fails to look at the teacher, the instructor will stop the
whole class until he does. At the same time, KIPP students are offered
novel incentives to work hard and behave. Above all, though, it is
passionate teaching that makes KIPP work. And Feinberg and Levin, no
slouches in the passion department themselves, have handpicked and
nurtured exceptionally smart, creative, and energetic educators who are
willing to give their utmost to reach their students, despite low pay and
long hours.

A recent study in Maryland showed that in schools where older adults were
a regular fixture -- with volunteers working 15 hours a week -- reading
scores went up, and kids had fewer behavioral problems than their peers at
other schools. The adults, meanwhile, had fewer falls, expanded their
social circles and performed better than their peers on a memory test. "It
seemed to have a big impact on the atmosphere of the schools," said George
W. Rebok, a professor who helped conduct the study. "I think what we're
tapping into is a sincere desire to help the next generation." The number
of U.S. residents 65 and older is increasing dramatically -- from 35
million in 2000 to a projected 54 million in 2020 -- prompting worries
about surging Social Security and Medicare costs. But educators such as
Glenna Orr look at the same statistics and see a growing number of willing
volunteers who have the time, talent and energy to help kids learn. "I see
this wealth of knowledge and wealth of expertise," Orr said. "They are
competent, and they're educated and they've had interesting lives."
According to principal LeRoy M. Owens, the volunteers have helped his
school, where more than 90 percent of the 410 students come from poor
families. "They come in free of charge. They pull students from the
classrooms. They act as role models," Owens said. "Without them, this type
of individualized instruction would be almost impossible. It's a service
that we could not afford."

The war on terror has a new front line, reports Ben Feller -- the school
bus line. Financed by the Homeland Security Department, school bus drivers
are being trained to watch for potential terrorists, people who may be
casing their routes or plotting to blow up their buses. Designers of the
School Bus Watch program want to turn 600,000 bus drivers into an army of
observers, like a counterterrorism watch on wheels. Already mindful of
motorists with road rage and kids with weapons, bus drivers are now being
warned of far more grisly scenarios. Like this one: terrorists monitor a
punctual driver for weeks, then hijack a bus and load the friendly yellow
vehicle with enough explosives to take down a building. An alert school
bus driver could foil that plan, security expert Jeffrey Beatty recently
told a class of 250 of drivers in Norfolk, Va. After all, bus drivers
cover millions of miles of roads. They know the towns, the kids, the
parents. "The terrorist is not going to be able to do some of their casing
and rehearsal activity without being detected by one of you," said Beatty,
an anti-terrorism veteran of the CIA, FBI and the Army's Delta Force. The
more people watching, he told the drivers, the safer the community will

DOLPHINS FAIL HIGH-STAKES TEST Although dolphins have long been celebrated for their high intelligence and for appearing to have a complex language, a team of researchers at the University of Florida reported Monday that these traits are markedly less evident on dry land. According to study researchers, a group of 25 bottlenose dolphins removed from their holding tanks failed 11 exercises designed to test their basic cognitive abilities and reasoning skills. "The dolphins were incapable of recognizing and repeating simple gestures," said study co-author Dr. Scott Lindell. "Their non-verbal communications were limited to a rapid constriction and expansion of the blowhole, various incomprehensible fin motions, and heavy tremors while they lay prone on the lab table." Despite their failures in the initial series of tests, the animals were given further opportunities to demonstrate their intelligence on land. The dolphins were unable to display novel behaviors, use a map to pinpoint their location on campus (spatial reasoning), or complete a simple obstacle course and wall climb.

Portable classrooms were originally designed as a stopgap measure for
schools that need a temporary solution to a student-housing shortage. But
the temporary has become permanent in schools throughout the country,
reports Evantheia Schibsted, with prefab boxes dotting school grounds from
California to Florida. Despite their unappealing appearance, these dull,
box-like trailers, called portables, modulars, or prefabs, serve a crucial
purpose: They house students in a pinch, and do so inexpensively. So, when
areas face natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina or spikes in the
school-age population like California's in the 1980s and 1990s, portables
roll in to save the day. But what's typically intended as a short-term
quick fix too often becomes a permanent and neglected eyesore on school
campuses. School administrators in need of more room but bound by tight
budgets may tend to accept the drabness of prefabs as unavoidable. Yet in
an age of extreme makeovers, not everyone feels this way: Los Angeles
architect Jennifer Siegal, for one, sees portables through an entirely
different lens. For her, the potential of these structures overshadows
their flaws.

We claim to love our children, and David Orr believes that most of us do.
But we have, sheep like, acquiesced in the design of a society that
dilutes the expression of genuine love. The result is a growing mistrust
of our children that easily turns to fear and dislike. In a recent survey,
for example, only one-third of adults believed that today's young people
"will eventually make this country a better place." Instead, we find them
"rude" and "irresponsible." And often they are. We find them overly
materialistic and unconcerned about politics, values, and improving
society. And many are too materialistic and detached from large issues.
Not infrequently they are verbally and physically violent, fully adapted
to a society that is saturated with drugs and violence. A few kill and
rape other children. Why are the very children that we profess to cherish
becoming less than likable and sometimes less than human? Orr argues that
answers can be found in the sharp divide imposed between the
hyper-consumerism of the post-modern world and the needs of children for
extended nurturing, mentoring, and imagining. It's the economy that we
love, not our children. The symptoms are all around us. We spend 40% less
time with our children than we did in 1965. We spend, on average, 6 hours
per week shopping, but only 40 minutes playing with our children. It can
no longer be taken for granted that this civilization can pass on its
highest values to enough of its children to survive. Without intending to
do so, we have created a society that cannot love its children, indeed one
in which the expression of real love is increasingly difficult.

NO BENEFIT FOUND IN ENGLISH-ONLY INSTRUCTION There is no conclusive evidence that one instructional model for educating English learners, such as full English immersion or a bilingual approach is more effective for California's English learners than another, according to a five-year study of Proposition 227. The study, by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in conjunction with WestEd, concludes that a variety of factors in varying school contexts influence English learner achievement. The study recommends the following to improve the achievement of English learners: (1) California should identify schools and districts that are successfully educating English learners at all grade levels, and create opportunities for their peers to learn from them; (2) The state should ensure that students' English learner status does not impede full access to core curriculum; (3) Schools should limit prolonged separation of English learners from English-speaking students to cases of demonstrated efficacy; and (4) District leaders need to ensure that their plan of instruction for English learners is articulated across classes within grades, across grades within schools and across schools within the district.

Jasmine Roberts never expected her award-winning middle school science
project to get so much attention. But the project produced some disturbing
results: 70 percent of the time, ice from fast food restaurants was
dirtier than toilet water. The 12-year-old collected ice samples from five
restaurants in South Florida -- from both self-serve machines inside the
restaurant and from drive-thru windows. She then collected toilet water
samples from the same restaurants and tested all of them for bacteria at
the University of South Florida.  In several cases, the ice tested
positive for E. coli bacteria, which comes from human waste and has been
linked to several illness outbreaks across the country. The ice is likely
dirtier because machines aren't cleaned and people use unwashed hands to
scoop ice. Toilet water is also surprisingly bacteria-free, because it
comes from sanitized city water supplies.

Making no effort at diplomacy or bipartisanship, Don Campbell rants that
the Republican Party has demonized public education and federal
regulations for a generation and is building a legacy of political
audacity. In his view, the GOP is morphing into the party that stands for
more intrusive government, political pork, budget deficits -- and the
trampling of states' rights that interfere with a federal social-issue
agenda. According to Campbell, No Child Left Behind is just the most
obvious example of hypocritical Republicans talking one game and playing
another. Eventually, the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington will
have to acknowledge that not all children can perform at an arbitrary
level. Some start so far behind, and live in such dysfunctional or
impoverished environments, that they're never going to perform on a par
with their higher-scoring classmates. To improve at all, however, they
need motivated teachers and caring, involved parents. The answer is not to
stigmatize a school because some of its students are struggling -- or to
spread the misery. The answer is to try to save each neighborhood school
and every student in it with tutoring and other support programs targeted
to individual families. And, yes, it will cost lots of money. It's
certainly clear now that catchy slogans wrapped in federal red tape won't
get the job done.
**Note to readers: Don't shoot the messenger. Obviously this is quite an
inflammatory piece of opinion, bound to please or irritate readers across
the political spectrum. If you want to disagree with Campbell, please send
your comments directly to USA TODAY at:

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

"The NEA Foundation Grants"
Grants are provided for the purpose of engaging in high-quality
professional development or implementing creative project-based learning
that raises student achievement. Maximum Award:  $5,000. Eligibility:
public school teachers, public school education support professionals, and
faculty and staff in public higher education institutions. Deadline: June
1, 2006.

"Grants to Recognize Technological Advancements and Environmental
Preservation Efforts"
The Lindbergh Foundation Grants endeavor to honor the Charles A. and Anne
Morrow Lindbergh's legacy by funding projects that improve the quality of
all life by seeking a balance between technological advancements and
environmental preservation. Maximum Award: $10,580. Eligibility: Citizens
from all countries may apply. Deadline: June 8, 2006.

"Grant to Enhance Awareness of Materials Science" ASM International Foundation Teacher Grants aim to enhance awareness of materials science and the role of materials scientists in society. Maximum Award: $500. Eligibility: K-12 teachers. Deadline: May 25, 2006.

"Books for Children" The Libri Books for Children Grants donate new, quality, hardcover children's books for small, rural, public libraries across the country. Maximum Award: N/A. Eligibility: Libraries should be in a rural area, have a limited operating budget, and an active children's department. The average total operating budget of a Books for Children grant recipient is less than $40,000. Deadline: April 15, 2006.

"Grants for Arts, Education, and Health Projects"
The Milagro Foundation seeks grants applications from community-based,
grass-roots organizations that work with underprivileged children and
youth in the areas of arts, education, and health. Maximum Award: $5000.
Eligibility: 501(c)3 organizations in the United States. Deadline: N/A.

"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.

"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.

"Kids Who Care Program"
Kohl's Kids Who Care Program recognizes and rewards young volunteers who
transform their communities for the better. Maximum Award: $5000.
Eligibility: youth 6 to 18 years old, not graduated from high school by
March 15, 2006. Deadline: March 15, 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,

"Yoshiyama Award for Exemplary Service to the Community"
The Hitachi Foundation presents the Yoshiyama Award for Exemplary Service
to the Community for high school students on the basis of their
community-service activities. Maximum Award: $5000. Eligibility:
graduating high school seniors in the U.S. or U.S. territories. Deadline:
April 1, 2006.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"Teachers Travel to the Galapagos Islands"
Toyota's Institute of International Education is offering a new
professional development program for teachers to travel to the Galapagos
Islands. Maximum Award: fully-funded, ten-day trip to the Galapagos.
Eligibility: secondary school teachers of all disciplines who teach
full-time in Arizona, California, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New
Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Texas. Deadline: April 21, 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:

"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.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"No society that loved children would consign nearly one in five to
poverty. No society that loved its children would put them in front of
television for 4 hours each day. No society that loved its children would
lace their food, air, water, and soil with thousands of chemicals whose
total effect cannot be known. No society that loved its children would
build so many prisons and so few parks and schools. No society that loved
its children would teach them to recognize over 1000 corporate logos but
fewer than a dozen plants and animals native to their home places. No
society that loved its children would divorce them so completely from
contact with soils, forests, streams, and wildlife... No society that
loved its children would knowingly run even a small risk of future
climatic disaster."

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

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