PEN Weekly NewsBlast for November 11, 2005

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Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
"Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
President Bush has adopted a strategy of "50 states, 50 standards, 50
tests" -- and the evidence is growing that this approach has not improved
student achievement. Americans must recognize that we need national
standards, national tests and a national curriculum, writes Diane Ravitch.
In her view, too many states have embraced low standards and grade
inflation. In general, Republicans are wary of national standards and a
national curriculum, while Democrats are wary of testing in general. Both
parties must come to understand that the states are not competing with
each other to ratchet up student achievement. Instead, they are
maintaining standards that meet the public's comfort level. America will
not begin to meet the challenge of developing the potential of our
students until we have accurate reporting about their educational
progress. We will not have accurate reporting until that function is
removed from the constraints of state and local politics. We will be stuck
with piecemeal and ineffective reforms until we agree as a nation that
education -- not only in reading and mathematics, but also science,
history, literature, foreign languages and the arts -- must be our highest
domestic priority.

More from Diane Ravitch:

1. Censorship, Text Book Publishers & The Money Education
historian Diane Ravitch thinks it's time to abandon the adoption
system entirely. Attempts to mollify all sides only create

2. Digital Divide/Equity Articles, Wireless Networks...
Education And The Workforce House Of Representatives By Diane Ravitch
April 14, 1999 Computers for Youth seeks to provide
refurbished computers, training, support, and online content

3. Teaching To State Standards and Testing
little to show for it by way of success. Diane Ravitch National Standards
 in American Education A Citizen's Guide Andrew J. Coulson Market Education:
The Unknown History Are Public

4. Retention - Who Will benefit?
unknown history of diversity and markets in American education.
Diane Ravitch will focus her remarks on the history of New York City,
primarily 20th century. Andrew Coulson will discuss

SCHOOLS URGED TO PREPARE FOR FLU If a flu pandemic breaks out in the United States, as many as four in 10 school-age children will become sick, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which released a comprehensive plan on how it would deal with such an outbreak. The nearly 400-page plan says the department would consider measures such as closing schools early in a pandemic to help control its spread, especially before a vaccine was available or while it was in short supply. School closings would accompany other measures, such as restricting travel, screening people from affected areas, and isolating infected persons. Though school health experts caution against overreaction, they agree that preparedness is paramount. They say that districts need to begin work now to ensure they are not caught sleeping. The federal plan, issued amid worries about avian flu, places children low on the list of groups that would have priority for receiving vaccines because, it says, they generally have been at a low risk for hospitalization and death in prior pandemics and during the annual flu season. But it also says anecdotal reports suggest the spread of a pandemic can be better controlled when schools are closed early in an outbreak. It advises school districts to come up with their own plans on how to respond to an influenza pandemic, reports Vaishali Honawar.

********************************************************************* EXPERTS OFFER FREE "BIRD FLU" INFORMATION FOR ETHNIC LANGUAGE COMMUNITIES



Although some educators view the arts as closer to the rim of education
than to its core, Elliot Eisner argues that the arts are critically
important means for developing complex and subtle aspects of the mind. He
outlines "ten lessons" that illustrate how various forms of thinking are
evoked, developed, and refined through the arts: (1) The arts teach
children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships; (2) The
arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that
questions can have more than one answer; (3) The arts celebrate multiple
perspectives; (4) The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem
solving purposes are seldom fixed; (5) The arts make vivid the fact that
neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know;
(6) The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects;
(7) The arts teach students to think through and within a material; (8)
The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said; (9) The arts
enable us to have experience we can have from no other source; and (10)
The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what
adults believe is important.

Elementary through High School K 12 Arts Curriculum
Resources and Traditional Arts Resources.

Why is it that many children can't sit still long enough to finish their
homework and yet will spend hours playing games on the computer? Video
games are spectacularly successful at engaging young learners. It's not
because they are easy. Good video games are long, complex, and difficult.
They have to be; if they were dumbed down, no one would want to play. But
if children couldn't figure out how to play them -- and have fun doing so
-- game designers would soon go out of business. To succeed, game
designers incorporate principles of learning that are well supported by
current research. Put simply, they recruit learning as a form of pleasure,
writes James Paul Gee. Children have to learn long, complex, and difficult
things in school, too. They need to be able to learn in deep ways: to
improvise, innovate, and challenge themselves; to develop concepts,
skills, and relationships that will allow them to explore new worlds; to
experience learning as a source of enjoyment and as a way to explore and
discover who they are. It is ironic that young people today are often
exposed to more creative and challenging learning experiences in popular
culture than they are in school. The principles on which video-game design
is based are foundational to the kind of learning that enables children to
become innovators and lifelong learners. Yet how many of today's
classrooms actually incorporate these principles as thoroughly and deeply
as these games do?

Play's the thing: research shows learn the importance of
laughter and play to avoid teenage depression and burn out.
Children's use of computer games and the speculation
of how games will "play out" as educational tools.

To one degree or another, every generation of Americans has had to wrestle
with the challenge of educating its youth. We know it takes qualified
teachers, capable school leaders, supportive learning environments,
adequate resources, a rigorous curriculum, high expectations linked to
standards, fair diagnostic assessments and nonacademic supports. But one
vital ingredient has been missing in this formula for education
excellence, writes Wendy D. Puriefoy, and that ingredient is public
responsibility. As citizens, we take responsibility for our public schools
when we vote for the candidates and provide the funding that supports and
advances education equity. We must not accept achievement gaps, tolerate
inequitable funding systems, make do with deteriorating buildings and
outdated textbooks and defend failing schools and substandard teaching.
Democracy is preserved only when we exercise it. Our children will get the
public schools they need when each of us is willing to do what is
necessary to reclaim, revitalize and re-establish public education as the
powerful engine of democratic principles and progress it is meant to be.

The PA School Board Decides:
Teaching Evolution vs. Intelligent Design Theory
in the classroom.
Is intelligent design religion or science?

TEACHER WORKING CONDITIONS AS CATALYSTS FOR STUDENT LEARNING Successful democracies and economies demand that all students acquire analytical thinking, adept communication, and complex problem-solving skills. This kind of authentic learning requires highly skilled, accomplished teachers working within a school climate that promotes powerful learning experiences. Recent research shows that the design, leadership, and culture of schools are important, yet often overlooked, elements to improving teaching and learning. Even highly qualified teachers must also have the resources and support necessary to serve all students well, write Scott Emerick, Eric Hirsch and Barnett Berry. Without comprehensive and sustained efforts to improve teacher working conditions, many promising school reform efforts will likely fail.

Superintendents work in environments that can become politically charged
and psychically dangerous. Staying open-hearted and steadily focused on a
higher purpose in such circumstances requires the inner strength that
results from spiritual practice. Engaging in such practices is not likely
to eliminate all stress or prevent political turmoil, writes Scott
Thompson. But it can help leaders be sources of stability and clarity when
chaos and confusion seek to stall progress and lower hopes. Spiritual
leadership is indispensable. What flows through the world's diversity of
religions and in the hearts and souls of spiritual leaders and
practitioners is the spiritual energy that awakens consciousness to deeper
levels of experience, purpose, values and meaning than can be perceived
from a strictly materialistic vantage point. Spiritual leadership means
leading from those deeper levels, and it is the purposeful actions and
behaviors that naturally follow from doing so. This kind of leadership
calls for qualities and habits of mind that generally have been overlooked
in the leadership literature and seminars: faith, patience, intuition,
humility, expectancy, inspiration, compassion, and, yes, spirituality.

ENGAGEMENT & ACHIEVEMENT RISE WHEN STUDENTS ARE GIVEN A VOICE In many schools, keeping kids silent is a thing of the past, and from what studies show, the change is happening none too soon. Giving students a voice in classroom decisions -- such as suggesting themes and topics to study -- and in school policies -- such as homework regulations -- makes schools less autocratic and more democratic. And democratic schools, reports Susan Black, tend to have fewer discipline problems, more civic involvement, higher student engagement, and higher achievement. Plus, schools that genuinely seek and appreciate students' ideas are more likely to see their school improvement plans succeed. Even so, the idea of giving students a voice in school matters sometimes meets with skepticism and open resistance.


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.


New research from the Urban Institute explains why No Child Left Behind
(NCLB) may be one of the most important pieces of immigrant integration
legislation in the past decade. The research finds that limited-English
proficient (LEP) students are highly concentrated in a small share of
America's public schools. Seventy percent of LEP students in kindergarten
through fifth grade are enrolled in only 10 percent of the country's
public elementary schools. High-LEP schools, where almost a quarter of
students are LEP, are more likely than others to have teachers with
provisional, emergency, or temporary certification, and their teachers are
substantially more likely to be uncertified. At the same time, high-LEP
schools outdistance other schools in providing professional development
for teachers as well as support and enrichment programs for students. NCLB
requires schools to report, as a separate group, LEP students' scores on
standardized tests and holds schools accountable for their results. As a
result, NCLB is forcing schools to give special attention to the education
of LEP and low-income students.

****************************************************************** LITERACY FROM HOME LANGUAGE TO THE STANDARD

Statistics and Research available on the Educational CyberPlayGround

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.

This new report analyzes the effective practices of eight public schools
which feature at least fifteen percent more time than the conventional
schedule.  The study dissects how these schools -- which were chosen
specifically because they had demonstrated success -- managed to organize,
staff, pay for and sustain a school built around more time and to
understand how these educators believe the additional time strengthens
their capacity to enable all students to achieve proficiency.

Faced with an influx of needy readers whose skills are inadequate for
content mastery, teachers in middle and secondary schools need help.  One
potential solution is to use a literacy coach to extend the expertise of
content area teachers to adolescent literacy. Literacy coaching, a model
adopted by many successful Reading First programs, is highly targeted
professional development that can be a particularly potent vehicle for
improving reading skills.  By defining the role and responsibilities of
the literacy coach and by identifying literacy components in English
language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, "Standards for
Middle and High School Literacy Coaches" provides a guide for a complex
intervention aimed at a new level of students.

Explore the reasons why the English language is so difficult to learn.
Four All Who Reed and Right.

|---------------GRANT AND FUNDING INFORMATION--------------|
"Fellowships for Hands-on Science Learning"
Earthwatch Institute offers educators fully-funded fellowships for
hands-on learning with leading scientists doing field research and
conservation on one of 130 projects around the world. Maximum Award:
fully-funded fellowship. Eligibility: Elementary, middle, and high school
educators and administrators of any discipline. Deadline: Applications
accepted on a rolling basis.

"Funding for Hands-on Environmental Projects"
The Captain Planet Foundation funds hands-on environmental projects for 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. Deadline:
December 31.

"Recognizing Public and School Libraries"
The Thomson Gale Giant Step Award recognizes school and public libraries
that have made initiatives in programs and services that greatly impact
student learning and development, or that enrich services in both the
school and the community. Maximum Award: $10,000. Eligibility: U.S. and
Canadian school library media centers (an individual library media center
or entire district's library media services programs) and the youth
services departments in U.S. and Canadian public libraries that partner
with local schools (a single library/branch library or an entire library
system). Deadline: February 15, 2006.

"New Leaders for New Schools"
New Leaders for New Schools is a national organization promoting high
levels of academic achievement for every child by attracting, preparing,
and supporting the next generation of outstanding leaders for our nation's
urban public schools. New Leaders is currently accepting applications for
candidates who meet their 10 selection criteria and want to lead change
for children in low-income communities by becoming urban public school
principals. Eligibility: applicants must 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 an unyielding belief in the
potential of every child to achieve academically at high levels. Priority
deadline:  November 15, 2005.

"Box Tops for Education Kids' Caucus for Education"
This event will be an assembly of children, parents, education officials,
and members of Congress who will meet to discuss solutions to improving
parental involvement in education in the United States. The Kids' Caucus,
to be held on Capitol Hill in April 2006, will provide an opportunity for
those who deal with parental involvement in education every day --
parents, teachers and children -- to offer practical insight to education
officials into how parental involvement in education can be improved. In
conjunction, students are invited to submit an essay to receive a grant
and compete for inclusion in the caucus. Maximum Award: $1000.
Eligibility: Students grade 5-8. Deadline: December 1, 2005.

"The Christian Science Monitor's 10th annual Young Poets Contest"
Award winners will be published in the paper in early January 2006.
Eligibility: Anyone in preschool through high school. Deadline: Friday,
Dec. 2, 2005.

"National Schools of Character"
The National Schools of Character (NSOC) Awards program has a twofold
purpose: 1) To identify exemplary schools and districts to serve as models
for others; and 2) To help schools and districts improve their efforts in
effective character education. Maximum Award: $2000. Eligibility: To be
eligible, a school must have been engaged in character education for a
minimum of three full years, starting no later than December 2002 for the
2006 awards. Districts need to have been engaged in character education
for a minimum of four full years, starting no later than December 2001.
Smaller administrative units that maintain a separate identity within a
large district may apply in the district category, e.g., a school pyramid
or cluster. Deadline: December 5, 2005.

"Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program"
The Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program (JFMF) provides U.S.
primary and secondary school teachers and administrators with the
opportunity to participate in three-week study visits to Japan and to
return home with a follow-on plan designed to introduce Japanese culture
to American students. Each year, up to 600 teachers and administrators,
including participants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia,
are selected to participate in the JFMF program. The JFMF Program features
an orientation to Japan followed by visits to primary and secondary
schools, teacher training colleges, cultural sites, and industrial
facilities. Meetings with Japanese teachers and students and a home stay
with a Japanese family are also key components of the program.
Participants return home to share their new knowledge with students,
colleagues, and the local community, ensuring that more than just the
individual participants profit from the experience. As an additional
benefit to participants, graduate level credits are also available. The
deadline for applications for the 2006 program is December 10, 2005.

"Digital Imaging & Visual Learning Grants"
Olympus America, Inc. & Tool Factory, Inc. sponsor a classroom grants
program designed to strengthen education through digital imaging and the
power of visual learning. Maximum Award: $3,500. Eligibility: K12 and
special education schools in the US, its territories, and Canada.
Deadline: December 30, 2006.

"Toyota International Teacher Program"
This program allows participants to explore Japan's education, culture,
environment and technology, and examine how these affect industry and
society in Japan today. Maximum Award: a fully funded 10-day, study tour
of Japan. Eligibility: classroom teachers (grades 9-12) from Colorado,
Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan Missouri, Nebraska,
Ohio and Tennessee. Deadline: January 9, 2006.

"American Library Association & NEH"
The "We the People Bookshelf" program encourages young people to read and
understand great literature while exploring themes in American history.
Public and school (K-12) libraries are invited to apply to be among the
1,000 libraries selected to receive free books. Deadline: January 17, 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.

"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.

"Civic Connections Program"
National Council for the Social Studies Civic Connections Program links
local history inquiry with community service-learning activities. Teachers
will develop and adapt these activities based on their students' interests
and abilities, the needs or problems in the local community, and their
local social studies curriculum requirements. Maximum Award: $7500.
Eligibility: teams of three 3rd-12th grade teachers; members of the
National Council for the Social Studies (or agree to join if application
is accepted) and must partner with at least one local community agency.
Deadline: February 26, 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 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.

"When ideological division replaces informed exchange, dogma is the result
and education suffers."
-Hunter Rawlings, Acting President, Cornell University

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


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