Articles in the Announcements category

Education Secretary named, BoardBuzz cheers!

The news that the education world has been waiting for has broken!  President-elect Obama has named Arne Duncan, the superintendent in Chicago Public Schools, as the next Education Secretary — and BoardBuzz is delighted.  After weeks of speculation, the choice was out last night and will be announced formally this morning at a news conference in Chicago. 

NSBA issued a statement on the choice, with Executive Director Anne Bryant saying,

We hope that Arne Duncan departs from the “top-down approach” that has been the norm for the past decade, and instead sustains a culture of partnership and support for states, as well as local school districts.  We believe a new federal role should “facilitate, not dictate.”  Duncan and the Chicago Board of Education have demonstrated that innovation can flourish when the school district puts student achievement first. 

Duncan represents a realistic view about what is possible in our schools and what will lead them into the future. 

 We are familiar with his accomplishments leading the Chicago Public Schools, a member of our Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE). With a solid background in public education and a commitment to improving teacher quality, Arne Duncan is a natural choice to support Obama’s goals of increasing school funding, creating assessments that accurately measure student achievement, and recruiting, retaining, and rewarding effective teachers.

You can read the full statement here.  Also be sure to check out NSBA’s recommendations for President-elect Obama and his team for A New Era in Education.  For more on Duncan, check out this article in the Washington Post.

Christina Gordon|December 16th, 2008|Categories: Announcements, Educational Legislation, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Is public education becoming “post-racial”?

An NSBA webinar this coming Friday will take on issues arising from one of the key intersections of race and public education in America. Details below, but first: A lot of the buzz surrounding Barack Obama’s victory focuses on what it heralds about race in American society and what it portends for the future on those questions. In some ways, the election of our first African-American president is the culmination of the civil rights movement. In other ways, some suggest, it represents a generational torch-passing—a page-turning that transcends the traditional 1960s paradigms of that movement.

So what about public education? The Supreme Court’s decision in the Seattle and Louisville student assignment cases, and its aftermath, focused attention on the reality of racial isolation in U.S. schools and left school boards and others re-evaluating whether and how to address the issue. Some analysts like Richard Kahlenberg have suggested that, as a matter of legal and social reality, it’s time to start focusing less on race and more on socio-economics. Others say we should just get over the diversity thing altogether and focus on good schools. At the same time, No Child Left Behind is quite overtly race-conscious, with its emphasis on closing achievement gaps among racial subgroups.

As these issues of race and public education play out, and as the nation grows more diverse, another focal point hits close to home: racial diversity on school boards. On that front, the results of one election last week were tossed out before voters even cast their ballots. A California judge had invalidated, in advance, the school board election results for Madera Unified School District, finding that the at-large election of the entire board was the reason only two Latino members have served in a district in which 82% of the students are Latino.

What does the law say about this? And does the racial composition of the school board make any real educational difference for children? Why would some districts want to use at-large elections anyway? And what are some options for boards?

NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) is offering a short webinar this Friday, Nov. 14, 2:30-3:00, to address these and other questions. Join NSBA Senior Staff Attorney Tom Hutton to review the most recent issue of the NSBA law and policy newsletter Leadership Insider, and what the research says. If you’d like to participate, just send an e-mail to CUBE’s Manager of Member services, Kevin Scott, at

Erin Walsh|November 10th, 2008|Categories: Announcements, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, School Law|

UPDATE: It’s a wrap — electorally speaking

BoardBuzz told you yesterday about NSBA’s statement and some of the additional buzz surrounding Barack Obama’s win on Tuesday. And today NSBA’s Executive Director Anne Bryant has posted an item on The Hill’s blog.

Bryant says that the President-elect should refocus the federal role to build stronger schools. She goes on to say:

NSBA believes President-elect Obama should use the megaphone of the presidency to articulate a national vision for education – one that addresses the correlation between strong schools in every community and the nation’s overall economic health; the critical role that parents, community-based and other groups can play in strengthening schools; and, how the federal government can best help states and local school boards – where the responsibility for educating students rests – in providing our students with the skills, knowledge and tools they will need to be college- and career-ready in the global economy in which we now compete. These elements should be reflected in a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with an accountability framework that recognizes student academic growth based on multiple measures of learning, not limited high-stakes tests, and acknowledges local decision-making and innovation.

Be sure to check out the whole blog entry and NSBA’s statement on the election. BoardBuzz is all kinds of excited to see what’s going to happen next . . .

Erin Walsh|November 7th, 2008|Categories: Announcements, Educational Legislation, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Log in and learn!

T+L is in full swing in Seattle, and you can get a direct line to the conference by checking out the conference blog. You can listen to the podcast interviews with two of the Twenty to Watch, Lenny Schad and Ryan Imbriale.

And today at 1:00 p.m. PT, be sure to check out the online discussion, “It’s Not Just Fun and Games” which will examine the educational benefits of using video games in the classroom.

Erin Walsh|October 28th, 2008|Categories: Announcements, Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Follow us to Seattle!

BoardBuzz is off to Seattle next week for the T+L Conference. Starting, well, a few weeks ago, actually, you can check out the T+L blog and see what’s going on in ed tech, in preparation for, and at the conference. You’ll get the conference perspective from attendees, which is especially exciting if you’re unable to attend. You’ll feel just like you’re there!!!

And don’t forget to log in to the two online discussions that will be taking place in Seattle: It’s not all fun and games! which will examine how can your school district find the best way to use educational video games on October 28, 1:00 p.m. PT. and Yours, Mine, and Ours which will discuss letting students use their own devices in schools on October 29 at 1:00 p.m. PT. Leave a question now and log in live next week!

Erin Walsh|October 24th, 2008|Categories: Announcements, Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Online learning from T+L

BoardBuzz is excited to announce two online discussions that will take place during the T+L Conference in Seattle. These hot topic discussions are sure to get tongues wagging (or fingers typing, at least), so be sure to tune in!

It’s not all fun and games!
How schools can harness educational games for learning

It’s no secret that kids love video games. And even an recent article in the New York Times has highlighted the advantages that some games can present. But how can your school district find the best way to use these games? Log in and learn from expert Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, the educational benefits of using gaming in the classroom. Submit your questions now for this online discussion which will take place during NSBA’s T+L Conference, October 28, 1:00 p.m. PT.

Yours, Mine, and Ours
Ways school districts can make it work with students’ personal technology devices

With all the talk of one-to-one computing, school districts are working hard to find ways to put technology in every student’s hands. Why not let students use their own devices – laptops, ipods, voice recorders – in school to enhance their learning? Kathy Rains, Director of Technology, in the Madison (AL) City Schools will discuss the ups and downs, the challenges and opportunities, of these options and how school districts can make it work. Leave a question for Kathy or tune in live on Wednesday, October 29 at 1:00 p.m. PT.

And don’t forget, we’ll be on the west coast, so be sure to tune in during Pacific Time. We hope to see you (and your questions) there!

Erin Walsh|October 23rd, 2008|Categories: Announcements, Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Let the learning begin . . .

We’re just about a week away from NSBA’s T+L Conference, and BoardBuzz wants to remind you to check out the conference blog. It’s already seen some action and is sure to pick up steam in the coming days.

And it’s not too late to attend the conference. Click here to learn more and find out how to attend. With keynote addresses from Paul Saffo, David Warlick, and Joe Caruso, as well as more than 200 sessions, a jam-packed exhibit hall, and special events, this conference is not to be missed!

Erin Walsh|October 20th, 2008|Categories: Announcements, Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, Teachers|

What’s working in high schools . . . discuss

BoardBuzz is watching with interest the US News and World Report Education Summit taking place today in Washington, D.C. The summit, “America’s High Schools: What Works? What’s Next?” aims to examine the state of high school education.

Our own Anne L. Bryant, NSBA’s executive director, is participating in one of the panel discussions hosted at the summit. The discussion, “Business in the Classroom: Can Private / Public Partnerships Make Better Students?” centers around, “how businesses and educators can develop and apply skills in the classroom with teachers, counselors and students. Panel members will review lessons learned in building business / education coalitions and identify strategies to better recognize students’ needs, strengths, and barriers.” And you can watch it unfold live on C-SPAN2. Bryant’s panel discussion airs from 11:15 a.m. ET until 12:30.

Erin Walsh|October 20th, 2008|Categories: Announcements, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Stand up and be counted

BoardBuzz thinks that there are few things more important than exercising your right to vote. And now we’ve caught wind of an upcoming event that allows some of our smallest citizens to be heard. The National Student/Parent Mock Election “seeks to turn the sense of powerlessness that keeps young Americans and their parents from going to the polls into a sense of the power of participation in our democracy,” according to the Web site.

On October 30, students and parents will cast their vote! And you can too! Click here to learn how. BoardBuzz also thinks you should check out the video message from retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who supports the program.

So check it out and get involved! Let your voice be heard — and while you’re at it, cast your vote in the real election on November 4.

Erin Walsh|October 17th, 2008|Categories: Announcements, Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

What can Brownsville do for you? (Version 2)

Well, it’s the best of times for the Brownsville Independent School District in Texas. Just two weeks ago, BoardBuzz told you about their success and celebtrating their accomplishment as the winner of the 2008 CUBE Award for School Board Excellence. And earlier today, they were awarded another prestigious award, the Broad Prize for Urban Education.

The Broad award gives a million dollars in scholarship money to the winning district for graduating high school seniors. Brownsville, in its first year as a finalist, was up against Miami-Dade; Aldine, Texas; Long Beach, California; and Broward County, Florida. Eli Broad, founder of the award and the Broad foundation said, “Brownsville is the best kept secret in America.”

BoardBuzz couldn’t agree more! For more information about Brownsville, check out our earlier posting and the article in the Urban Advocate. There’s so much we can learn from this distict, isn’t it worth taking a look at what they’ve done?

Erin Walsh|October 14th, 2008|Categories: Announcements, Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, Student Achievement, Teachers|
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