PEN Weekly NewsBlast for January 13, 2006

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Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
"Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
Rigor, it seems, is the new reform de jour, writes Tony Wagner. As a
nation, we appear to have come to a consensus that all children deserve a
"challenging and rigorous" education. The problem is, we have no common
agreement about what constitutes "rigor." Is it rigorous to require all
students to take a college-prep curriculum, including advanced math? Are
high school Advanced Placement courses the new standard for rigor, as many
are now suggesting? Rigor in the classroom, Wagner has discovered, is
invariably tied to the larger questions of what society will demand of
students when they graduate, what it means to be an educated adult, and
how the skills needed for work, citizenship, and continuous learning have
changed fundamentally in the last quarter-century. The lesson learned is
that rigor has less to do with how demanding the material the teacher
covers is than with what competencies students have mastered as a result
of a lesson. Students chosen at random were questioned to determine not
only the level of rigor in the class, but also the extent to which there
was evidence of the other two R's of relevance and respectful
relationships, essential elements in motivating students to want to
achieve rigor. The seven questions that emerged from this work are the
following: (1) What is the purpose of this lesson? (2) Why is this
important to learn? (3) In what ways am I challenged to think in this
lesson? (4) How will I apply, assess, or communicate what I've learned?
(5) How will I know how good my work is and how I can improve it? (6) Do I
feel respected by other students in this class? (7) Do I feel respected by
the teacher in this class?

Sam Alito is a conservative. Eschewing judicial activism, Alito defers to
the good-faith efforts of prosecutors, police officers, prison wardens,
trial judges, and juries. Like newly confirmed Supreme Court Chief Justice
John R. Roberts, Alito sees himself as an umpire rather than a player.
Unless there's a clear and obvious violation of the rules, Alito will let
the game go on. That's the received wisdom about Supreme Court nominee
Samuel A. Alito, whose confirmation hearings are now under way. And the
received wisdom is correct, write Richard Arum and Jonathan Zimmerman,
with one glaring exception: the governance of schools. In his 15 years as
an appellate judge, Alito deferred to everyone but school boards,
principals, and teachers. When it comes to education, in fact, Alito is no
conservative. Instead, he's a raging judicial activist. And Alito has been
more activist than most. Examining all of Alito's rulings and dissents in
cases related to educational practice, Alito was more than twice as likely
as the average appellate judge to side with challengers to American
schools. And in cases involving K-12 public school discipline and student
expression, Alito favored challengers five times out of eight. The common
theme here is an extreme skepticism -- bordering on cynicism -- about
school officials' motives, competence, and judgment. Of course principals
and teachers must remain sensitive to the free-speech rights of all
students, including right-wing Christians. But we also need to give these
adults enough respect and authority to uphold these freedoms and to
balance them against other, equally important imperatives. Of course we
need courts to check and penalize school officials when they really break
the law. But we also must give them room to apply these rules in ways that
work for everyone: children, parents, teachers, and the school officials
themselves. Sadly, that's a lesson that Samuel Alito has yet to learn.

The Portland Schools Foundation, led by Cynthia Guyer, is working
feverishly to educate voters to pass a school funding measure that will be
considered in the May primary election. With the motto "Whatever It
Takes," the foundation already is credited with raising $360 million for
Portland schools in the past 10 years and is called one of the best
nonprofit school organizations in the country by national observers. The
foundation also has been successful at the ballot box. It was the single
largest contributor to the successful campaign that created the temporary
income tax surcharge that supports schools in Multnomah County. The
foundation also was the single largest contributor to the campaign that
defeated a subsequent ballot measure that would have repealed the
so-called I-tax. In both cases, the foundation contributed $180,000 to
each of the successful campaigns -- huge amounts in Oregon politics. The
foundation also has contributed millions of dollars directly to school
programs. For example, last year alone, the foundation provided $1.5
million for everything from music and arts to math and science offerings
and from English as-a-second-language programs to initiatives aimed at
increased parental involvement. Supporters hope to spend the next 10 years
effecting change both in and outside of Portland. "Their challenge will
be, Can they convince the Legislature and marshal the voters throughout
the state to speak to the leadership and say 10 years of disinvestment in
education has got to stop," said Sho Dozono. "Hopefully, 10 years from now
we'll be celebrating success for schools all over the state."  Marla
Ucelli, of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, says she thinks it's
increasingly vital for school foundations to play an active role in local
politics. "Most organizations that want to be relevant in today's
financial climate need to be willing to muck around in issues like tax
levies and legal considerations of various kinds," she said. "They really
need to be willing to get into broad-based money issues. They can't just
sit on the sidelines."

President Bush has announced plans to boost foreign-language study in the
United States, casting the initiative as a strategic move to better engage
other nations in combating terrorism and promoting freedom and democracy.
"This program is a part of a strategic goal, and that is to protect this
country," Bush said. The plans, which represent an expansion of some
programs and the start of a few others, aim to involve children in
foreign-language courses as early as kindergarten while increasing
opportunities for college and graduate school instruction. They also would
draw more linguists into government service and establish a national corps
of language reservists available to the Pentagon, State Department,
intelligence community and other agencies in times of heightened need.
Much of the instruction is intended to focus not on the traditional
European and Latin American languages that Americans have tended to study
most, but on what the U.S. government has identified as languages
"critical" for national security. These include Arabic, Chinese, Russian,
Hindi and Farsi, among others. Bush intends to request $114 million in
fiscal 2007 for the programs, which involve the departments of State,
Education and Defense, as well as the director of national intelligence,
reports Bradley Graham. "When Americans learn to speak a language, learn
to speak Arabic, those in the Arabic region will say, 'Gosh, America's
interested in us. They care enough to learn how we speak,'" Bush said.

Although no one factor -- not even one as pervasive and consequential as
organizational culture -- can account for the success of a system as
complex and multifaceted as a public school district, a strong case can be
made for culture as the primary factor determining successful improvement
of K-12 public education. It seems a no-brainer to say that a politicized,
fear-based, top-down, excuse-prone, bureaucratic culture is antithetical
to sustainable high performance in public education; whereas a culture of
trust, openness, collaboration, and results orientation that is built on
shared ownership of a compelling vision of the future is essential for
sustaining high performance in public schools. Culture not only matters,
it is a sine qua non of educational improvement. But what exactly is
organizational culture? In essence, it is the underlying shared beliefs,
history, assumptions, norms, and values that manifest themselves in
patterns of behavior, or, in other words, "the way we do things around
here." A brief from the Panasonic Foundation, edited by Scott Thompson,
outlines several strategies for reculturing schools to increase student
achievement and improve school climate.

A new study by Kevin Booker, Ron Zimmer, and Richard Buddin analyzes the
influence of charter schools on the distribution of students by race,
ethnicity, and ability in California and Texas. The authors track
individual students as they move between traditional public schools and
charter schools. This approach addresses two gaps in the current charter
school literature. First, while many studies have examined the impact of
charter schools on racial or ethnic segregation, few research efforts have
considered segregation by ability. Second, most studies of student sorting
examine cross-sectional snapshots of student populations. The authors find
that black students in both states are more likely to move to charter
schools and tend to move to charter schools with a higher percentage of
black students than the public schools they leave. Also, students of all
races who move to charter schools tend to be lower performing than the
average students at the public schools they leave. Thus, charter schools
appear to increase student segregation, but not by cream-skimming the best
students in a given location.

If you have not been in an alternative bookstore lately, it is possible
that you have missed the news about indigo children. Indigos share traits
like high I.Q., acute intuition, self-confidence, resistance to authority
and disruptive tendencies, which are often diagnosed as attention-deficit
disorder, known as A.D.D., or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or
A.D.H.D. Indigo children were first described in the 1970's by
parapsychologist, Nancy Ann Tappe, who noticed the emergence of children
with an indigo aura, a vibrational color she had never seen before. This
color, she reasoned, coincided with a new consciousness. To skeptics the
concept of indigo children belongs in the realm of wishful thinking and
New Age credulity. "All of us would prefer not to have our kids labeled
with a psychiatric disorder, but in this case it's a sham diagnosis," said
Dr. Russell Barkley. Parents who attribute their children's inattention or
disruptive behavior to vibrational energy, he said, risk delaying proper
diagnosis and treatment that might help them. America has always had a
soft spot for the supernatural. A November 2005 poll by Harris Interactive
found that one American in five believes he or she has been reincarnated;
40 percent believe in ghosts; 68 percent believe in angels. It is not
surprising then that indigo literature, which incorporates some of these
beliefs along with common anxieties about child psychology, has found a
receptive audience.

Issues surrounding sleep -- who needs how much and when -- are usually
given short shrift in efforts to improve student achievement. But modern
brain researchers say it is time that more schools faced the biological
facts. Sleep deprivation can affect mood, performance, attention,
learning, behavior and biological functions. Teenagers have long
complained that starting school about 7 a.m. -- the typical start time for
many high schools -- is cruel and inhumane. But some adults tend to blame
the griping on their behavior -- procrastination that leads many teens to
stay up late to do homework, or nightly marathon phone sessions with
friends. Now, computer games and instant messaging have made it even more
alluring to stay up. "People tell me that changing school start times to
later is just mollycoddling the kids," said Kyla Wahlstrom. "I'd say they
are people who don't want to accept the fact that there is a different
biology for teens." That might be one reason that it's not unusual to find
a high school parking lot at 7 a.m. filled with students clutching cups of
coffee, writes Valerie Strauss. Scores of school systems -- though no one
has an exact number -- have moved back the start of high school from 15
minutes to more than an hour. Teachers report that in schools with later
start times, students were more alert. Other research showed a range of
benefits to students and teachers -- and contradicted some of the biggest
fears about the change: that after-school sports and jobs would suffer.
However, there are more than 13,000 school systems in the United States,
and the vast majority of high schools still start about 7 a.m.

Increasingly, teachers and students come from different cultural
backgrounds. Line up a representative sample of students from the nation's
classrooms with a sample of teachers, and you'll see striking differences.
Teachers, say Carol Weinstein and her colleagues at Rutgers University,
are overwhelmingly white and English speaking. But more than one-third of
K-12 students nationwide are not white, and about one in 10 speaks limited
English. Socioeconomic differences are also significant, reports Susan
Black. Most teachers are middle-class, but about 20 percent of U.S.
students come from poor families and neighborhoods. The differences can
erupt into cultural clashes, says Geneva Gay.. Her studies show that many
teachers expect their ethnically diverse students to learn and behave
according to mainstream European-American cultural standards -- in other
words, to learn and behave as the teachers do. How can schools overcome
deeply embedded cultural conflicts? Gay recommends that teachers and
school leaders become experts in "culturally responsive teaching," a
method that uses students' "cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and
learning styles" in daily lessons. Teachers should learn about their
students' cultures and behaviors, determine what is acceptable in their
environment, and acknowledge these beliefs and actions in their day-to-day

Getting children to eat their green beans has always been a tough sell. So
some schools are turning to Madison Avenue to kick-start lunchroom health
kicks. More schools are tapping into children's brand recognition and
consumer instincts to nudge them toward healthier choices, say
food-service providers. Making a lunchroom sandwich station resemble a
commercial deli and serving Chinese food in a restaurant takeout box, for
example, help promote and present healthier options, said Carolina Lobo,
vice president of marketing for Aramark School Support Services, which
provides food services to 400 school districts. ''You have to parallel the
universe they're in and bring it to schools," she said. One version of
that parallel universe allows students to dine on such delicacies as
Norwegian salmon, flat-iron steak, and shrimp kabobs with stir-fried
vegetables. Students want the same options they have at the mall food
court or 7-Eleven, said Joe Watson. "So when we got rid of the fried
snacks, we replaced it with 17 new choices." The lesson may be that if the
food is good, many students will gravitate toward healthy, well-rounded
meals, even if they cost a bit more -- and eventually it just might alter
their dining preferences.

A new discussion guide and DVD of excerpts drawn from the PBS prime-time
special, "Making Schools Work with Hendrik Smith," will be available in
February 2006 and free-of-charge (except shipping). The documentary showed
models of successful educational reform from elementary through high
school. All are widely used across the U.S. or throughout entire school
districts. In all, two million students were reached by these reforms. The
discussion guide (and DVD of excerpts from the show) is designed to
stimulate public discussion of effective techniques and crucial issues of
educational reform. It is intended for teachers, parents, principals,
administrators and anyone interested in improving public schools.  The
topics addressed in the guide include: Are Prescriptive Strategies a Good
Idea? How Can Power Sharing Help School Reform? Can All Kids Really Learn?
How Do We Combat the Dropout Problem? How Can You Hook Teens on School?
How Do We Lift the Quality of Teaching? Testing: Why and Who Is It For?
Equity: How Do We Level The Playing Field? Why Is Consensus So Important?
If you are interesting in ordering a free copy of the guide and DVD,
please contact Jenny Smith at 508-430-0897 or JennySmi@xxxxxxxx

Because the United States "can ill afford to have so many of its young
people and adults be unskilled, unemployed, and thus unproductive," a new
book tackles the thorny challenge of getting "disconnected" young men back
in school or the workforce. By several recent counts, the United States is
home to 2 to 3 million youth age 16 through 24 who are out of school and
out of work. Much has been written on disadvantaged youth, and government
policy has gone through many incarnations, yet questions remain
unanswered. Why are so many young people "disconnected," and what can
public policy do about it? And why has disconnection become more common
for young men--particularly African-American men and low-income men--than
for young women? In "Reconnecting Disadvantaged Young Men," Peter Edelman,
Harry J. Holzer, and the late Paul Offner offer analysis and policy
prescriptions to solve this growing crisis. They carefully examine field
programs and research studies and recommend specific strategies to enhance
education, training, and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth;
to improve the incentives of less-skilled young workers to accept
employment; and to address the severe barriers and disincentives faced by
some youth, such as ex-offenders and noncustodial fathers. The authors
suggest that initiatives to improve educational attainment should be
accompanied by efforts boosting occupational skills, early work
experience, and labor market contacts among high school students who are
unlikely to attend college.

Nearly four out of five states invest in preschool programs.  However,
states' financial commitment to early childhood education, their
eligibility requirements, and the number of children who actually receive
care vary widely, making high-quality and readily available state-funded
preschool programs the exception rather than the rule. Research points to
the benefits of high-quality, center-based programs include major
components, according to new research edited by Lauren B. Resnick. This
brief from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) outlines
effective program components and what policymakers should do to encourage
successful early childhood education.

Pupils do better if they look away when answering a teacher's question,
scientists have found. Far from daydreaming, children who avert their gaze
when considering their response to a question are more likely to come up
with the correct answer. Stirling University psychologists found that,
when looking away, five-year-olds answered 72% of questions well. But when
children had not been instructed to look away when thinking, they answered
just 50% correctly. The experiment, conducted among 20 children aged five,
backs up other studies carried out by the Stirling researchers, which
suggest that by the age of eight, children instinctively avert their gaze
when considering a response to a question. The researchers believe
teachers and parents often mistake "gaze aversion" for children failing to
understand a question and do not give them enough time to compose an
answer. "The mistake adults make is to interject too quickly, they need to
try and hold back," said Dr Doherty-Sneddon.

This report uses data from the 1999-2000 Schools and Staffing Survey to
address how teacher professional development was organized and managed,
what kinds of activities were available to teachers, and which ones they
participated in.  Major topics covered include planning and implementation
of professional development, selection and evaluation of professional
development activities and support for teacher professional development.
In 1999-2000 most schools (92 percent) provided their teachers with time
for professional development during regular contract hours.  According to
district staff, primary responsibility for deciding the content of
professional development activities rests most commonly with district
staff or principals rather than teachers or outside providers.  In each
topic area, more than one-half of all teachers who had participated
thought that the activities were very useful.

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

"Excellence in Summer Learning Award"
The Excellence in Summer Learning Award recognizes an outstanding summer
program that demonstrates excellence in accelerating academic achievement
and promoting positive development for young people between kindergarten
and twelfth grade. Award: national recognition, increased press
opportunities, conference presentations and complimentary registrations,
professional development opportunities for staff, and increased publishing
opportunities. Eligibility: public or private organization or agency
(schools, community-based organizations, libraries, universities,
faith-based organizations, etc.) serving young people between the ages of
kindergarten and twelfth grade over the summer months. Deadline: February
10, 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.

"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.

"Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year"
These awards recognize exceptional classroom social studies teachers for
grades K-6, 5-8, and 7-12 who teach social studies regularly and
systematically in elementary, and at least half time in middle or junior
high, and high school settings. Maximum Award: $2,500. Eligibility: Anyone
may nominate. Self nominations will be accepted. NCSS Membership is
required. Deadline: April 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,

"Coming Up Taller Awards"
The Coming Up Taller Awards recognize and reward outstanding after-school
and out-of-school arts and humanities programs for underserved children
and youth. Maximum Award: $10,000. Eligibility: Programs initiated by
museums, libraries, performing arts organizations, universities, colleges,
arts centers, community service organizations, schools, businesses, and
eligible government entities. Deadline: January 30, 2006.

"National School and Business Partnerships Award"
The National School and Business Partnerships Award supports and
recognizes the efforts of schools and businesses that partner to improve
the academic, social or physical well-being of students. Maximum Award:
$10,000. Eligibility: Partnerships involving kindergarten through 12th
grade public schools and/or school districts and businesses. Deadline:
January 30, 2006.

"National Teach-In celebration of National Youth Service Day and National
Law Day"
Youth for Justice, the national coordinated law- related education (LRE)
consortium funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention of the United States Department of Justice, invites 100 middle
and high school classes across the United States to teach others about the
fundamental ideas of American democracy through the Third Annual National
Teach-In celebration of National Youth Service Day and National Law Day.
Maximum Award: $200. Eligibility: middle school and high school classes.
Deadline: January 31, 2006.

"Grants for In-school Music Projects"
The Mockingbird Foundation is offering grants for in-school music projects
that promote creative expression through music, encouraging applications
associated with diverse or unusual musical styles, genres, forms, and
philosophies. Maximum Award: $5,000. Eligibility: non-profit
organizations, public schools. Deadline: February 1, 2006.

"NEA Fine Arts Grants"
On behalf of the National Education Association (NEA), The NEA Foundation
offers NEA Fine Arts grants to NEA members. Available to elementary
(grades K-6) school art specialists through local NEA affiliates, the
grants allow fine arts educators to create and implement programs that
promote learning among students at risk of school failure. Deadline:
February 1, 2006.

"The NEA Foundation"
Grants are provided for the purpose of engaging in high-quality
professional development or implementing project-based learning and
break-the-mold innovations that raise 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: February 1, 2006.

"Youth Nutrition & Fitness Grant Program"
General Mills Foundation Champions Youth Nutrition and Fitness grant
program to encourage communities in the United States to improve the
eating and physical activity patterns of young people, ages 2-20. Grants
will be awarded to nonprofit organizations and agencies working with
communities that demonstrate the greatest need and likelihood of
sustainable impact on young people's nutrition and activity levels through
innovative programs. Maximum Award: $10,000. Eligibility: community-based
groups. Deadline: February 1, 2006.

"Christopher Columbus Awards Program"
The Christopher Columbus Awards Program combines science and technology
with community problem-solving. Students work in teams with the help of an
adult coach to identify an issue they care about and, using science and
technology, work with experts, conduct research, and put their ideas to
the test to develop an innovative solution. Maximum Award: $25,000 and an
all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World to attend the program's
National Championship Week. Eligibility: middle-school-age (sixth,
seventh, and eighth grade) children; teams do not need to be affiliated
with a school to enter. Deadline: February 13, 2006.

"MathMovesU Grants and Scholarships Program"
Raytheon Company has launched the MathMovesU Grants and Scholarships
Program to reward real-life "Math Heroes" for their dedication to
improving math education and their inspiration of participation in math.
Maximum Award: $2,500. Eligibility: full-time teachers currently employed
and teaching a mathematics curriculum at a middle school or high school in
the U.S. Deadline: February 15, 2006.

"Stimulating Interest in Careers in Fisheries Science and Management"
The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program is designed to stimulate
interest in careers in fisheries science and management among groups
underrepresented in the fisheries professions, including minorities and
women. Students (Grades 10-12) spend 8 weeks in the summer working
alongside their mentor who is a fishery professional in their local
community. Maximum Award: Participants receive a $3,000 scholarship paid
out in 6 installments over the summer months. Eligibility: all sophomore,
junior, and senior high school students regardless of race, creed, or
gender. Because the principal goal of the program is to increase diversity
within the fisheries professions, preference will be given to qualified
women and minority applicants. Deadline: February 15, 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.

"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,

"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.

"Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest"
The Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest is expanding its prize
categories to include honoring the teacher of the nation's best
handwriting student. Maximum Award (for student): a new computer system
and Zaner-Bloser handwriting software; (for teacher): a trip for two to
Boston. Eligibility: students grades 1-8 whose school uses Zaner-Bloser
Handwriting. Deadline: Mar 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.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"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.

"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question,
'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor
politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right."
-Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (Baptist minister/civil rights leader)

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

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