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Articles in the Announcements category

Education headlines: N.Y. governor moves to cap superintendent salaries

When a single mother in Ohio was sentenced to jail for falsifying documents to enroll her two daughters in a neighboring school district, advocates for school choice rallied to her defense while critics said she’s a poor role model. NSBA is quoted in this Christian Science Monitor story explaining the complexities of the case… New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is proposing a cap on superintendents’ salaries, tying their maximum pay to $125,000 to $175,000, based on the size of their districts. The proposal is very similar to a plan from his neighbor in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, the New York Times reports…Following up on the Wisconsin budget crisis, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports: “State and local funding for general Wisconsin public school operations would drop 5.5 percent in 2011-’12 while Milwaukee’s private-school voucher program could be poised for a massive expansion under Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal.”

The House and Senate appear to have agreed on a budget plan that would avert a government shutdown for two more weeks, the Washington Post reports… A proposed federal budget deal would be particularly hard on early childhood education, with hundreds of thousands of children in Head Start and Early Start programs losing their spots this year, Education Week’s Early Years blog reports.

Joetta Sack-Min|March 2nd, 2011|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|

Education headlines: Unions’ role evolving in collective bargaining debates

Clashes between unions and lawmakers in several states, most notably Wisconsin and Ohio, are recasting the future political landscape for unions, the Washington Post reports… (NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant discusses the collective bargaining process in relation to student achievement in this blog for the National Journal).

Civic leaders in Wake County, N.C., have unveiled a new proposal for integration by achievement, where no school would have an overwhelming number of failing students, the New York Times reports. So far, both sides of the fractured board have found something to like about the plan… California school districts will give out a record number of pink slips to teachers and school staff this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 28th, 2011|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|

Education headlines: NSBA speaks out on child nutrition, board leadership

Schools are finding creative ways to force parents to pay up or get more kids enrolled in the free and reduced price lunch program, NBC’s Today Show reports. NSBA and the New York School Boards Association discuss the difficulty of the new requirements of the Child Nutrition Act… In a letter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun, NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant promotes school board leadership and NSBA’s new report, “School Boards Circa 2010,” as playing an evolving but critical role in improving student achievement. Her letter responds to a column by a Johns Hopkins University employee who questions the need for school boards.

And new GOP leaders in Ohio have begun the legislative process to dismantle former Gov. Ted Strickland’s education funding reforms, which included a full-day kindergarten requirement, funding for textbooks and other curricular materials, and community engagement. The Republicans argue that such programs were not funded and local districts should have the power to decide whether to raise taxes to create those, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 22nd, 2011|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|

State associations support governors’ moves to curb tenure, union influence

(updated to include letter from Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Ohio governor’s plans to scale back proposal).

As school board members, administrators, and teacher representatives met in Denver on Feb. 15 and 16 for the  first-ever conference on labor-management issues, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, lawmakers in several states were proposing plans to end or rework teacher tenure, collective bargaining, and other measure designed to curb the power of the unions. CNN reports that “States, GOP go after teachers unions in budget crisis.

Some of the most notable actions include:

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie’s education commissioner announced a plan that would grant tenure only after a teacher had been judged effective for three years in a row, and revoke tenure after two consecutive years of poor ratings, The Record reports. The plan would also base a portion of teachers’ evaluations on student performance.

The New Jersey School Boards Association supports the plan. “Tenure now serves as nothing more than a lifetime system of job protection that makes removal of an underperforming teacher difficult, time-consuming and expensive,” said NJSBA Executive Director Marie S. Bilik in a press release.

The Tennessee School Boards Association is supporting a move by the state legislature to repeal the state’s collective bargaining law for educator unions. The bill is expected to clear both chambers of the GOP-led legislature and has the support of new Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, The Commercial Appeal reports.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has proposed a “budget repair bill” that would remove most of the collective bargaining rights of public employees, including teachers. The measure would remove the ability of unions to bargain over pensions, health insurance and working conditions. Employees would be required to contribute significantly to pension funds and school districts would have more control over health insurance and Increases in wages would be limited to increases in the Consumer Price Index, according to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.

“Gov. Walker’s proposal will provide school boards with flexibility in containing benefit and wage costs. Together, these measures will assist school boards to ensure limited resources are going to the classroom to provide the best classroom experience for our state’s students,” WASB Executive Director John Ashley wrote in this statement. However, in a Feb. 15 letter to leaders of the state legislature, Ashley indicated that the state’s school board members were “deeply divided” on the issue of curtailing collective bargaining, as many were concerned that it could erode local control and established relationships between board and union leaders. While many WASB members appreciate the flexibility the measure could give them in crafting budgets, it “goes well beyond anything the
WASB’s members have requested in terms of altering the employer-employee relationship,” Ashley wrote.

In what could best be described as a volatile and political landscape, Gov. Walker threatened to lay off more than 12,000 state employees on Feb. 25, while union supporters in New Jersey and Indiana rallied to support the Wisconsin workers and stave off similar efforts in their states, the Washington Post reported.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, has also laid plans to dismantle most of the state’s collective bargaining laws for all public employees as part of his budget plan.  Republicans say the plan is needed to prevent the state from going bankrupt, but the state legislature made some modifications to allow negotiations over wages, the Associated Press reported.

And Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants to restructure the state’s pension system and require teachers and other public employees to make contributions. FSBA Executive Director Wayne Blanton explains the proposals and potential impact for school boards in this video:

Joetta Sack-Min|February 18th, 2011|Categories: Announcements, Educational Legislation, School Board News, Teachers|

Education headlines: Teachers unions may be shut out of many state-level discussions

Teachers’ unions can help solve many of the challenges facing public schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at the opening of the two-day Labor Management conference in Denver, sponsored by the Education Department. But Republicans in several states have proposed legislation in recent weeks that would bar teachers’ unions from all policy discussions, except when the time comes to negotiate compensation, the New York Times reports… A new, conservative school board in Douglas County, Colo., is exploring a voucher system to give parents — regardless of income — taxpayer money to pay for their children to attend private schools that agree to abide by district regulations, the Los Angeles Times reports… Meanwhile, a legislative committee in Virginia killed a plan to give businesses tax credits to provide private school scholarships to needy children, the Washington Post reports.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 16th, 2011|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|

Education headlines: Stimulus funds saved jobs, but will there be lasting results?

An analysis of programs funded by the two-year-old American Recovery and Reinvestment Act saved over 360,000 education-related jobs last school year, but improved academic achievement as a result of the stimulus remains to be seen,  Education Week reports… Harvard professor Dr. Ronald Ferguson, called a “national treasure” for his research on the achievement gap, visits “racially mixed public high schools” across the country and calmly presents facts to defuse high emotions about the racially driven issue, the New York Times reports… And the Washington Post reports that D.C. public school administrators will be evaluated based on their school or district’s teachers’ performances on IMPACT, the teacher evaluation program in its second year of existence.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 14th, 2011|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|

Education headlines: Illegal immigrant students face uncertain futures

After the Dream Act failed to pass both chambers of Congress last year, an estimated 1.2 million illegal immigrant students are left in “legal twilight” about their opportunity to attend colleges with the future of the bill in limbo, the New York Times reports. The Washington Post also reports on JROTC cadets who are barred from joining the military after high school because of their immigration status… In a related, nationally watched story, CNN reports that a top-ranked Miami high school basketball team has had to forfeit all its games this year because a star player was ruled ineligible after school officials did not submit the necessary papers proving his legal immigration status to the Florida High School Athletic Association… And Education Week reports that the federal government expects more schools to request waivers that would exempt them from a “hold harmless” requirement on special education funding, in order to free up more funds as state budgets grow even tighter.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 10th, 2011|Categories: Announcements, Immigrants, School Board News|

Education headlines: Rhee’s teaching record questioned, poll finds support to change NCLB

Facebook, podcasts and other Web tools are virtually eliminating the need for snow days, USA Today reports, as more teachers are using technology to keep their students on track… According to a new Gallup poll, 41 percent of Americans say Congress should keep the No Child Left Behind Act but with major revisions, while 21 percent favor keeping it as is and one in six want it eliminated… Schools are bracing for a much tougher budget cycle this year as the National Journal reports most states have spent nearly all of their education stimulus funds… And former D.C. Schools Chancellor-turned-consultant Michelle Rhee, who has recently taken her controversial brand of reform to the Florida legislature and several other states, build her credentials on claims that she dramatically boosted student achievement as a young teacher. But a 15-year-old report suggests those credentials may be greatly exaggerated, columnist Jay Matthews writes in the Washington Post.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 9th, 2011|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|

Education headlines: Districts shortchanged on impact aid funds

School districts that receive federal impact aid funds–those with military bases or other federal properties that cause them to lose property tax revenues–are receiving less aid than they are qualified to receive, and desperately need, according to USA Today… A school janitor who was sent home after a personnel dispute has been charged in the fatal shooting of an elementary school principal in Northern California this week, the Associated Press reports… And the Los Angeles school district has halted production of a reality television show, hosted by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, that focused on revamping a schools’ cafeteria food to give students healthier selections. The Los Angeles Times says that school officials were worried about how the school would be portrayed in the makeover.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 4th, 2011|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|

Education headlines: More governors move to end teacher tenure

GOP governors in at least five states have recently proposed eliminating teacher tenure, and the chances of such bills passing in those states and others is increasing because of state budget cuts, the New York Times reports…. The Atlanta school board is facing a loss of accreditation after a test-cheating scandal and internal politics, and NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant speaks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about fixing the issues with good alternatives to mayoral control… The race for the Los Angeles school board is heating up, with a group favoring Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa‘s picks receiving large contributions from developers and financial gurus, according to the Los Angeles Times, which also reports that the teachers’ union has withdrawn support for two of its candidates in the nationa’s second-largest school district…

Joetta Sack-Min|February 1st, 2011|Categories: Announcements, School Board News|
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