Articles in the NSBA Opinions and Analysis category

Creating green schools

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced a new initiative, The Center for Green Schools, with the goal of ensuring that all students attend a green school within this generation.

“At USGBC, we understand the profound impact green buildings have on our lives and the innovation they have poured into the marketplace, and we believe no other market speaks more powerfully to the benefits and potential of green buildings than our schools,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of USGBC. “The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is engaging educators in creating sustainable learning environments for their students and applying solid research to inform leadership – from school boards to college presidents – about the benefits of healthy, high-performing schools.”

BoardBuzz praises this new initiative as green schools can improve the school environment and with their energy efficient designs can save school districts money.

Alexis Rice|October 20th, 2010|Categories: Environmental Issues, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Condoleezza Rice pens new memoir and promotes the value of education

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has just released a memoir, Extraordinary, Ordinary People.  Surprisingly, instead of focusing on her years on the world stage, Rice explores her childhood in segregated Birmingham, Ala. during the 1960s in this book.

BoardBuzz was interested to note that her mother was a teacher and her father a guidance counselor.  Rice highlights the fact that she lived in a community of teachers where education was very important and she credits this with helping her become a confident and successful adult.

The Booklist review, excerpted on Amazon.com, calls this book “a frank, poignant and lovely portrait of a family” living through “…turbulent changes in American society.”

BoardBuzz was pleased to see Rice also emphasize the importance of education in a recent interview on the Pittsburgh Urban Media website. Asked how she can put her education and experience to work for others, Rice replies, “…I think it is a part of public service to help young people find their way…I’ve been very involved in K-12 education issues. I started a program back in 1992 called the Center for a New Generation, an afterschool enrichment program. I really do fervently believe that every child deserves to have the kind of access to educational opportunities…that I had.”

Rice will be the General Session speaker on Saturday, April 9, at the 2011 NSBA Annual Conference in San Francisco, where she will share her thoughts with attendees on education and the world today.

Barbara Moody|October 18th, 2010|Categories: Conferences and Events, Diversity, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Teachers|

NBC’s School Pride takes on school renovations

Tonight, NBC will be launching a new reality show called “School Pride.”

According to NBC this will be a “proactive, alternative series that tells the stories of communities coming together to renovate their aging and broken public schools. While transforming the school, the community also restores its sense of value and school pride.”

This reality show will “follow students, teachers and parents as they roll up their sleeves and rebuild their own schools, concluding with the unveiling of a brand new, completely transformed school” and that together with a team of professionals “will lead the community through the makeover process.”

The schools and communities highlighted in the series include Enterprise Middle School in Compton, Calif.; Lanier Elementary School in Baton Rouge, La.; Kingston Springs Elementary in Nashville, Tenn.; Communication and Media Arts School in Detroit, Mich.; Needles High School in Needles, Calif.; Hollenbeck Middle School in Los Angeles, Calif.; and Los Angeles Center for Enrichment Studies in Los Angeles, Calif.

Recently our Center for Public Education released a report on the dire state of funding for the nation’s K-12 schools. The report, “Cutting to the Bone: How the Economic Crisis Affects Schools,” notes that most districts are suffering from declines in both state and local funding and are cutting their budgets everywhere they can including deferring bulding maintenance.

So NBC, we need “School Pride” to help more than just a few schools!

Alexis Rice|October 15th, 2010|Categories: Center for Public Education, Educational Finance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Student Achievement|

Education technology leadership honored in this year’s “20 to Watch” list

From a school librarian who’s blog of book selections is read around the country to a kindergarten teacher turned top executive at a major digital education resources company who’s extolled the value of educational social networking along the way, this year’s “20 to Watch” list are movers and shakers in the education area who are as cutting edge as the technologies they utilize.

Check out these remarkable individuals and their impressive biographies.  They will be recognized at next week’s T+L Conference in Phoenix.

In the meantime, view Paul Andersen’s collection of instructional videos he posts on YouTube, called Bozeman Biology. No wonder he was also named the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year.

Below is one of Anderson’s videos that has received 7,969 views. Clearly Anderson doesn’t have that many students, so it is great to know that so many other are watching!

Naomi Dillon|October 14th, 2010|Categories: Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, Multimedia and Webinars, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , , , |

Technology is helping rural schools says Duncan

Yesterday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said during a visit to a rural high school in North Dakota, “I think technology can be a huge vehicle, a huge strategy to leveling the playing field and giving children access to higher level classes and college level classes that I think are so important.”

BoardBuzz agrees and issues concerning how technology is advancing rural education will be discussed at this year’s T+L Conference that will be held in Phoenix from October 19-22.

Alexis Rice|October 13th, 2010|Categories: Conferences and Events, Educational Technology, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Rural Schools|

Taking care of the mental health needs of students

These days we’ve all been seeing the news on bullying and its unfortunate, tragic consequences.  Those cases not only remind us of how important it is for schools to take strong actions against bullying, but also that it is essential that all of the mental health needs and concerns of students be taken into consideration.

On October 10, 2010 the whole world will be observing World Mental Health Day.  This event provides a great opportunity for schools to increase awareness of mental disorders and open up a dialogue on what needs to be done to prevent and treat those disorders.

According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), almost one in five young people have one or more mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) dis­orders at any given time. The IOM states that many MEB disorders have life-long effects that include high psychosocial and economic costs, not only for the young people, but also for their families, schools, and communities. Such disorders also interfere with young people’s ability to accomplish age and culturally appropriate developmental tasks, such as establishing healthy interpersonal relation­ships, succeeding in school, and making their way into the workforce.

A recent school-based survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, found, for instance, that during the 12 months before the survey, 26.1 percent of high school students nationwide had felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities.

Given these data and the recent news, it imperative that individuals, communities, and schools help tackle the mental health needs of students.  And establishing effective bullying prevention policies and program is a good start.  NSBA has several resources to help inform such policies and programs, including a cyber bullying prevention package, a school law webpage, and a School Health Programs webpage, which contains useful bullying links and other useful resources such as a “Coordinated School Health 101″ packet. So check them out!

Daniela Espinosa|October 9th, 2010|Categories: NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Wellness|

If online communities were on a world map

Web comic xkcd just updated his 2007 take on what a world map of social and new media would like and, my, how things have changed.

Naomi Dillon|October 8th, 2010|Categories: Educational Technology, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|

Baltimore City Public Schools makes a comeback

In the wake of “Waiting for Superman” and the hype surrounding it, there’s a district that has been working very hard to make some changes for the better, and they haven’t called any caped crusaders yet.  Last weekend, NSBA’s Council for Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) recognized Baltimore City Public Schools in its annual Award for Urban Boards of Education.  While much of the press surrounds urban districts woes, Baltimore and the three other finalists districts (Florida’s Broward County Public Schools, Texas’ Houston Independent School District, and Virginia’s Portsmouth Public Schools) have reasons to be proud in their communities.  Increased test scores, improved civic involvement, and narrowing the achievement gap, are just a few of the things to celebrate.  Baltimore has showed improved test scores, increased high school graduation rates, improved school safety, and has had an increase in the number of students attending their schools for the first time in decades.

Baltimore has also recently struck a tentative deal with their teachers’ union that many thought would never happen.

But don’t take our word for it.  Take a look at more of the details in School Board News Today, The Washington Post, and The Baltimore Sun.  There’s no doubt that while many are waiting for a Superman, Baltimore decided to get up and do something for themselves.

Kevin Scott|October 7th, 2010|Categories: Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, Student Achievement, Urban Schools|

The Daily Show takes on education reform

Who knew the debate on education reform could be so funny? What did you think of Lewis Black’s commentary from last night’s The Daily Show?

Here’s the video:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black – Education Crisis
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity
Alexis Rice|October 6th, 2010|Categories: Charter Schools, Multimedia and Webinars, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Student Achievement, Urban Schools|

The benefits of professional school board development

BoardBuzz was pleased to hear that at least one school board has decided to lift the restriction on members attending their state conference. The School Board for Thornton Fractional Township High Schools voted to give their members the option to attend the Illinois Association of School Boards Annual Conference in November. 

In a recent article in Times of Northwest Indiana, Board Member Donald Swibes said that “the benefits that board members derive from meeting with educational colleagues make it worth the cost,” adding “We all need to hear what is going on.”

It seems that when budgets are tight, professional development is one of the first items to be cut, which BoardBuzz thinks is unfortunate and short-sighted.  Getting ideas and strategies from your colleagues – both within your own state and from across the country – can often reap huge benefits for your district — benefits that in many cases will offset the cost of attendance.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has put together a list of tips for getting real value out of the conference experience, as well as a sample editorial article that you can customize to educate your community on this subject.  And, we hope you will make plans to attend the NSBA Annual Conference in San Francisco, April 9-11, 2011.

Barbara Moody|October 6th, 2010|Categories: Conferences and Events, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards|
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