PEN Weekly NewsBlast for May 27, 2005

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  • Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 15:39:11 -0400

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Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
"Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
Universal, high-quality primary and secondary education is achievable --
and well within the ability of wealthy nations to fund -- by the middle of
the 21st century. But at the current rate of progress, the international
commitment to universal primary education by 2015 will not be met,
according the Joel E. Cohen and David E. Bloom. They find that by 2015,
roughly 118 million children -- most in the world's poorest countries --
will still not be enrolled in primary school and almost twice that number
will still not receive a secondary education. The cost of primary and
secondary school education for all children by 2015 will range from $23
billion to $69 billion -- "a huge amount of money, but certainly not
beyond the ability of the world to fund," according to the authors.
"Asking for more money may not succeed without evidence of greatly
improved educational effectiveness of school systems," Cohen and Bloom
write. "Educational reform and funding may go together." The authors
outline five essential changes essential to achieving universal primary
and secondary education by mid-century: (1) Open discussions, nationally,
regionally and internationally, on the goals of education; (2) A
commitment to improving the effectiveness and economic efficiency of
education; (3) A commitment to extending high-quality secondary education
to all children; (4) Recognition of the diverse character of educational
systems in different countries, and adaptation of aid policies and
educational assessment requirements to local contexts; and (5) More
funding from rich countries for education in poor countries.

Educational CyberPlayGround
The Digital Divide and Digital Equity

"Everyone has the right to education."

Lack of resources is the condition of education in many of our public
schools, and the situation has sparked action in the courts. The issue of
whether students are receiving funding for an adequate education is being
driven to the forefront of court dockets, with 25 states currently facing
school finance lawsuits. The truth is that dollars, added up per student,
can make a big difference. According to numbers compiled from the National
Center for Education Statistics, for every additional $100 spent on an
elementary school student, the average classroom could buy from 100 to 200
new books. For every additional $1,000 spent, the average school could
hire 10 new teachers and reduce class size from 21 to 14. The question
hasn't been whether the money can help; it's been whether the courts are
willing and able to act. School finance reform originally focused on
creating an equal education for all students, writes Amy Collen and Julie
Underwood.  This typically meant eliminating the discriminatory impact of
disparate property tax bases to make all districts equally able to support
educational services. Recently, education advocates have shifted focus
from equal education to adequate education. They have come to realize that
allocating the same amount of resources for every district doesn't work.
Some students have educational needs that simply require more money -- and
this applies not only to students with disabilities, but also to poor
students. The current issue of "NSBA Leadership Insider" outlines current
school finance adequacy court cases and legislation pending at both state
and federal levels.

There has been surprisingly little discussion of the science that's said
to underlie the theory of intelligent design, often called I.D. Many
scientists avoid discussing I.D. for strategic reasons, writes H. Allen
Orr.  If a scientific claim can be loosely defined as one that scientists
take seriously enough to debate, then engaging the intelligent-design
movement on scientific grounds, they worry, cedes what it most desires:
recognition that its claims are legitimate scientific ones. Meanwhile,
proposals hostile to evolution are being considered in more than twenty
states. The movement's main positive claim is that there are things in the
world, most notably life, that cannot be accounted for by known natural
causes and show features that, in any other context, we would attribute to
intelligence. Living organisms are too complex to be explained by any
natural -- or, more precisely, by any mindless -- process. Instead, the
design inherent in organisms can be accounted for only by invoking a
designer, and one who is very, very smart. All of which puts I.D. squarely
at odds with Darwin. Darwin's theory of evolution was meant to show how
the fantastically complex features of organisms -- eyes, beaks, brains --
could arise without the intervention of a designing mind. According to
Darwinism, evolution largely reflects the combined action of random
mutation and natural selection. Many biologists are alarmed because they
believe intelligent design is junk science. Meanwhile, more than eighty
percent of Americans say that God either created human beings in their
present form or guided their development.

Teaching Evolution vs. Intelligent Design Theory

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep
forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has
soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -- James Madison

The current debate in Kansas over how to teach evolution gives credence to
"quack science" and endangers good science education when it is most
needed, says a Swarthmore College evolutionary biologist.  He also
dismisses claims that evolution is "just a theory" that science textbooks
should treat as unsound or open to debate. "Evolution is a 'theory' like
gravity is a 'theory,'" says Colin Purrington. To combat what he sees as
religious fundamentalism harming science education, Purrington has made
available on the Web a series of resources for public school science
teachers and their supporters.  Included are news items on evolution cases
around the country, a list of gifts for "brave science teachers,"
editorial cartoons, and t-shirts and stickers of Charles Darwin. He also
plans to have his students design exhibits on evolution for children.

The current political landscape has placed school districts at the mercy
of voters to finance their basic needs. The classic campaign strategy in
most school communities involves using the mass media to attract
widespread attention to the upcoming budget or tax levy vote. Such
strategies tend to bring uninformed voters in unknown quantities to the
polls, writes Ron Whitmoyer. His recent experience, working with a
committed and well-organized campaign chairperson, helped avoid the usual
pitfalls when voters returned to the polls to retry the needed mill levy.
It also turned a 52 to 48 percent levy defeat into a rousing 65 to 35
percent victory 12 months later for a similar mill levy.  Their novel
campaign strategy was to bring to the polls those likely to vote yes on
the proposed mill levy while avoiding the mass publicity that might
influence opposition voters to go to the polls.

Two facts are closely linked: Indiana was 44th in the nation in job
creation last year, and it's 46th in the educational attainment level of
its population. The first number won't rise until the second is
confronted. Most dropouts are condemned to chronic unemployment or
underemployment. Only 35 percent of black dropouts between ages 16 and 24
are currently employed. Sixty percent of all dropouts were unemployed last
year. Indianapolis and Indiana are paying a heavy price for failing to
deal realistically with the dropout epidemic. At a time when an educated
work force is essential to economic development, almost three of 10
students in Indiana are not graduating from high school. Prison also
snares many, especially the men. About 37 percent of black male dropouts
have done a stint in prison, according to Princeton University researcher
Bruce Western. Sixty-eight percent of state prison inmates -- including 27
percent of whites -- were dropouts, according to a 1997 survey by the U.S.
Department of Justice.

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

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

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


A five-year study of some of Philadelphia's lowest-achieving high schools
suggests that an improvement program known as the Talent Development model
may be leading students to come to school more often, take more algebra,
pass more academic courses, and stay in school. The school improvement
model clusters 9th graders into a separate "Success Academy," usually
located on its own floor or wing. Within the academy, reports Debra
Viadero, students take classes in small learning communities of up to 125
students that share the same teachers. Students also take extended, 80- to
90-minute block classes and "double doses" of courses in mathematics and
language arts and reading. Students spend their remaining high school
years in small career academies, where they take courses integrating
academic content with their career interests.  "A reform model can take 3,
4, 5 years to take hold," said Liza Herzog, a senior research associate
for the Philadelphia Education Fund, a local education fund that brought
the model to Philadelphia and oversaw its implementation. "Going forward,
I really think test scores will move more than they have."

Pennsylvania Department of Education has placed the
District on the Education Empowerment List as a result
of a combined average of 50 percent or more of the
students in the District scoring in the bottom quartile
in math and reading on the Pennsylvania System of
Schools Assessment Test in the most recent two years.

It's never been as cool to be a spelling bee geek as now. Once considered
a slightly odd sub-culture of American life, the contests where school
children compete to spell words most kids don't understand are now popping
up in movies, books, a musical and even advertisements. According to the
2002 Oscar-nominated documentary "Spellbound," which brought the quirky
culture to audiences around the world, some 9 million U.S. children
compete in spelling bees. From local school contests, through district and
regional rounds, the elite make it to the National Spelling Bee. This year
273 kids aged 9 to 14 will compete for the top prize of $22,000 in cash
plus scholarship funds, an encyclopedia and huge national media attention.
Charles Goodstein, a psychiatrist, said that while he had some concerns
about pushy parents, he was also suspicious about the motives of some who
choose to watch on television. "How many people watch spelling bees to see
how the losers react?" he said, comparing it to reality TV shows that
humiliate the competitors. "Isn't it a bit like watching the Indy 500 to
see what kind of car crashes are coming up?"

This new action brief from Public Education Network outlines the
information and data that state education agencies are required to
disseminate as required by No Child Left Behind. A valuable resource for
school, community, and parent leaders.

One specific moral issue that school leaders must address is the
responsibility to ensure safe and affirming teaching and learning
environments for all. According to E.M. Weiler, "Schools have a legal,
ethical and moral obligation to provide equal access to education and
equal protection under the law for all students." Unfortunately, when it
comes to the experiences of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
(LGBT) youth, schools are often unsafe, disenfranchising, and downright
hostile environments. LGBT students and faculty are in every school,
including religiously affiliated schools. Chances are that most school
community members who identify as heterosexual are either related to or
personally affiliated with someone that identifies as LGBT. According to
Veronica Geyer, all school leaders, including those whose personal
religious beliefs seemingly condemn the notion of homosexuality, are
morally responsible for cultivating a school environment that rejects
heterosexism and is proactively committed to combating homophobia. The
school leader's attitude and response (or lack of response) toward
harassment and abuse of LGBT students sets an example for students and
staff, as well as the overall tone of the school climate. School leaders
must send a clear message that harassment and abuse of any kind are
unacceptable at all times and under all circumstances. School leaders
should also be wary of the legal implications of their failure to protect
LGBT students from harassment and abuse.

Saying goodbye at the end of the school year can be tough for kids, who've
often formed strong attachments to their teachers. "A child spends a big
chunk of his life with this person, who may have protected him and helped
him meet challenges," says Susan Isaacs Kohl. "Kids also cling to their
teachers because they're worried about what will be expected of them in
the next grade." The short article at the link below gives a few tips to
help make the parting more sweet than sorrowful.,19840,1059557,00.html

throughout the summer suggestions
Cool end-of-year activities that combine fun and learning.

The days of free-range childhood seem to be over. And parents can now add
a new worry to the list of things that make them feel inept: increasingly
their children, as Woody Allen might say, are at two with nature. Doctors,
teachers, therapists and even coaches have been saying for years that
children spend too much time staring at video screens, booked up for
sports or lessons or sequestered by their parents against the remote
threat of abduction. But a new front is opening in the campaign against
children's indolence, reports the New York Times. Experts are speculating,
without empirical evidence, that a variety of cultural pressures have
pushed children too far from the natural world. The disconnection bodes
ill, they say, both for children and for nature. In this NPR audio report,
author Richard Louv talks about his new book, "Last Child in the Woods:
Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder." Louv argues that kids
are so plugged into television and video games that they've lost their
connection to the natural world.

In a year of big gains in the number of New York City fourth graders
meeting the state's reading and writing standards, no place has more cause
for celebration than District 9 in the Bronx, which had the largest gain
of any city district. For decades, District 9, a roughly two-square-mile
area just north of Yankee Stadium, was a tale of woe common to many places
in the city - only more woeful. The local school board had a history of
corruption stretching back to the 1970's. And for many years, the
district's reading scores were the worst in the city, reports David M.
Herszenhorn. Six years ago, when New York State introduced a new reading
and writing exam, only 17.1 percent of District 9's fourth graders scored
at grade level. Now, District 9 is once again focused on the number 17.1,
but for a different reason: it represents the district's outsized
percentage-point gain in fourth-grade scores. That jump brought the number
at grade level to 47.6 percent -- still low but hardly last. "There's
nothing more rewarding," said Shelley Debin, the principal of Public
School 11, where the number of students meeting standards rose nearly 31
points to 59.3 percent. "It's climbing Mount Everest." Senior
administrators, principals, parents, community advocates and other experts
said the gains reflected years of hard work and steady leadership,
particularly on the part of Irma Zardoya, the regional superintendent, who
is also responsible for District 10, which posted the second-largest gains
this year. They also attribute the students' success to cooperation at all
levels among the school system, parents, community groups and the
teachers' union. Encouraged by the Institute for Education and Social
Policy at New York University, parents and community groups banded
together to form CC9, the Community Collaborative to Improve District 9
Schools. Since then, the group has lobbied relentlessly on behalf of the
district's children. In addition to fighting for safer streets around
schools and better trained teachers and principals, CC9 last year brokered
a remarkable deal between the teachers' union and the school system to
create a "lead teacher" program, in which veteran educators were paired to
share a class so they could spend half their time mentoring less
experienced colleagues. Lead teachers are paid an extra $10,000 a year.

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

"Toshiba America Foundation Grants"
The Toshiba America Foundation seeks to support projects designed by
classroom teachers to improve K-12 science and mathematics education.
Maximum Award: $1,000 K-6, $25,000, grades
7-12. Deadlines: Oct. 1 for K-6 programs; year-round for 7-12 projects
under $5,000; and Feb. 1 and Aug. 1 for 7-12 projects over $5,000.

"National Weather Association Sol Hirsch Teacher Grants"
The National Weather Association awards Sol Hirsch Teacher Grants to
improve students' education in meteorology. Teachers selected will be able
to use the funds to take an accredited course in atmospheric sciences,
attend a relevant workshop or conference or purchase scientific materials
or equipment for the classroom. Maximum Award: $500. Eligibility: K-12
teachers. Deadline: Aug.1.

"NASA Spacelink Urban and Rural Community Enrichment Program"
NASA Spacelink Urban and Rural Community Enrichment Program for grades
5-8. NASA URCEP specialists train core educators as a team to conduct
interdisciplinary aerospace activities in school districts. Major
activities include lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on classroom
activities that supplement the ongoing curriculum. Eligibility: Teachers
of middle school students from rural and urban communities. Deadline: N/A.

"Building a Youth Movement to Fight Global Poverty"
NetAid Global Action Awards honor high school students in the U.S. who
have taken outstanding actions to fight global poverty. Honorees receive
$5,000 for their higher education or a charitable cause of their choice,
and are recognized at an awards celebration in New York City. NetAid
Global Citizen Corps trains and empowers high school leaders to raise
awareness and take action to improve the lives of the world's poorest
people.  Selected students will have the opportunity to participate in an
all-expenses-paid leadership summit in July with youth leaders from around
the country. Deadline: June 15, 2005

"Kids In Need Foundation Teacher Grants"
The 2005-06 Kids In Need Teacher Grant applications will become available
July 15.  This year more than $105,000 is being offered in grants to
certified K-12 teachers at any public, private, or parochial school in the
U.S.  The grants are from $100 to $500 for innovative classroom projects.
National sponsors of the program are Jo-Ann Stores, Inc. and Office Depot.
  Regional sponsors include Fred Meyer, Publix, and Price Less Drug Stores.
  The website currently has the guidelines posted, which teachers can use
to prepare to apply.  The deadline to submit applications, which can be
completed and submitted online, is September 30, 2005. Applications will
be available after July 15 at the sponsors' locations or at:

"Foundations for Learning Program"
U.S. Dept. of Education Foundations for Learning Program supporting
projects to help eligible children become ready for school. Maximum Award:
$200,000-$300,000. Eligibility: (1) Local educational agencies (LEAs); (2)
Local councils; (3) Community-based organizations (CBOs), including
faith-based organizations; (4) Other public or nonprofit private entities;
or (5) A combination of such entities. Deadline: June 20, 2005

"Hasbro Programs for Children Grants"
Hasbro Children Foundation grants to support the development and/or
expansion of programs for children. Maximum Award: $500-$35,000.
Eligibility: Programs must provide direct services to children under age
13. They must serve children and families who are economically
disadvantaged. They must be innovative and provide a model from which
others can learn. Deadline: N/A.

"Surdna Foundation Arts Teachers Fellowship Program"
The Surdna Foundation Arts Teachers Fellowship Program supports the
artistic revitalization of outstanding arts teachers in specialized,
public arts high schools. Maximum Award: $5000. Eligibility: Permanently
assigned full- and part-time arts faculty in specialized, public arts high
schools. Deadline: November 18, 2005

"Grants for Addressing Childhood Language Disorders"
The Bamford-Lahey Children's Foundation Program for Childhood Language
Disorders funds projects that have broad implications for the learning and
use of spoken language in children with developmental language disorders.
Maximum Award: $20,000. Eligibility: hospitals, universities, or public
schools. Deadline: variable.

"State Farm Companies Foundation K-12 Public Education Grants Program"
State Farm Companies Foundation K-12 Public Education Grants Program for
programs that improve teacher quality; Service-Learning programs that
integrate core classroom curriculum with service to the community, and
programs that incorporate the Baldrige criteria into education systems to
improve overall effectiveness. Maximum Award: Varies. Eligibility: K-12
public schools. Deadline: June 15, 2005.

"The Melody Program of the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation"
The Melody program is designed to provide musical instruments and
instrument repairs to existing K-12 school music programs that have no
other source of financing to purchase additional musical instruments and
materials. Eligibility: schools that meet the requirements outlined on the
website. Maximum Award: $500-$5,000. Deadline: N/A.

"Prudential Foundation Ready to Learn Program"
Prudential Foundation Ready to Learn Program for education reform efforts
that strengthen public education at the elementary school level: systemic
school reform; improving the quality of teachers, principals and other
school leaders, and arts education; early childhood care and education
initiatives, and strategies to improve literacy that address professional
development for teachers, family literacy programs or literacy in the
early years. Maximum Award: $25,000-$1 million. Eligibility: Public
education at the elementary school level. Deadline: N/A.,1474,intPageID%253D1444%2526blnPrinterFriendly%253D0,00.html

"Labels for Education"
Campbells, Inc. Labels for Education Program gives schools free
educational equipment in exchange for labels From Campbell products.
Maximum Award: N/A. Eligibility: Schools or parents coordinate label
drives to raise resources for schools. Deadline: N/A.

"Broad Superintendents Academy"
The Broad Superintendents Academy is a rigorous, ten-month executive
management program designed to prepare the next generation of public
school chief executives. They are seeking: (1) Outstanding senior
executives from business, government, the military, higher education and
nonprofit organizations who have successfully managed large, complex
organizations; (2) Educators with a proven track record of success:
superintendents from non-urban communities; deputy, associate and area
superintendents from medium and large-sized urban districts; and
executives from private school and charter school systems; and (3) Dynamic
entrepreneurs and risk takers who challenge the status quo. Do you know of
leaders who fit this profile?  Public education needs them.  Applications
are accepted on a rolling basis and are reviewed each month.  The final
application deadline is September 15, 2005. To submit a nomination or find
more information about the application process, contact Mollie Mitchell,
Director of Recruitment at 310-954-5082 or mm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or visit:

"ADAF Foundation Issues Request for Proposals"
The American Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) has issued a request for
proposals, helping to improve children's oral health under its Samuel
Harris Fund for Children's Dental Health. The RFP is for 2006 projects.
The ADAF, charitable arm of the American Dental Association, established
the Harris Fund as a permanent endowment dedicated to the prevention of
childhood tooth decay. It awards competitive grants of up to $5,000 to
applicants, whose oral health promotion programs seek to improve and
maintain children's oral health through community education programs.
Proposals considered will request up to $5,000 and are from
community-based, nonprofit organizations in the United States or its
territories. In addition, the postmark date must be on or before July 8,

"Scientific and Religious Perspectives on the Love of Neighbor"
The Institute for Research on Altruism, Compassion, and Service has
announced the "Unto Others: Scientific and Religious Perspectives on the
Love of Neighbor" course competition for secondary school faculty. The
competition encourages academically rigorous secondary school courses that
focus on unselfish love of neighbor as a spiritual and practical ideal.
The winning courses must combine the study of unselfish love as understood
within (a) spiritual traditions and (b) scientific frameworks, such as
physics, cosmology, evolution, biology, political science, the social
sciences, and health. Maximum Award: $5,000. Eligibility: Secondary School
Teachers. Deadline: July 15, 2005.

"National Association for Gifted Children"
The National Association for Gifted Children has announced the
NAGC-Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Award Program for students who
have distinguished themselves in academic achievement, leadership, or the
visual or performing arts. Maximum Award: $500. Eligibility: one student
in every state from the third, fourth, fifth, or sixth grade. Deadline:

"Captain Planet Foundation"
The Captain Planet Foundation funds hands-on environmental projects to
encourage youth around the world to work individually and collectively to
solve environmental problems in their neighborhoods and communities.
Maximum Award: $2500. Eligibility: Schools and non-profits. Deadlines:
June 30, September 30, and December 31.

"Presidential Freedom Scholarships"
The Presidential Freedom Scholarships are designed to promote student
service and civic engagement and honor outstanding service to the
community. Maximum Award: $1000. Eligibility: High School Students.
Deadline: July 1, 2005.

"Humane and Environmental Education"
The National Association for Humane and Environmental Education KIND Award
recognizes an outstanding teacher who consistently incorporates humane and
environmental education into his or her curriculum. Maximum Award:
various. Eligibility: Teachers K-6.  Deadline: February 15, 2006.

"Allen Foundation"
The Allen Foundation supports educational nutrition programs, with
priority given to training programs for children and young adults to
improve their health and development. Maximum Award: Past grants have
ranged from $2,000 to $1 million. Eligibility: Schools and school
districts should partner with local nonprofits to form nutrition education
programs. Deadline: Ongoing.

"Intel Model School"
The Intel Model School Program provides equipment for a school or district
to enhance their technology by using advanced technology. The Intel Model
School Program identifies schools that desire equipment or have a unique
project to complete by using Intel products, and can show the improvement
in the quality of the education experience for both the teacher and the
student by using high-end technology. Award: Seeding of Intel equipment.
Eligibility: K-12 schools or school districts. Deadline: Ongoing.

"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"

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

"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.

"School officials constantly cite a litany of big-ticket items as driving
costs ever higher with the single biggest contributor attributed to labor
agreements with teachers and service staff. Teachers' contracts are
considered sacrosanct: to publicly question the terms and conditions they
contain or to seriously discuss ways to reduce their cost can often expose
the questioner to accusations of being anti-education. Somehow people
equate questioning contract terms of publicly paid employees, especially
expensive add-on benefits over salary, as an assault on the worker. Of
course, nothing could be further from the truth."
-Charles J. Kershner (newspaper editor)

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


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