As state legislatures reconvene and governors make state of the state speeches, state school boards associations are speaking out. New Jersey School Boards Association Executive Director Edwina Lee advocates moving the bulk of financial support for schools away from property taxes, in a story from the Associated Press about the New Jersey state of the state speech by Gov. James E. McGreevey. Check out this link at the NJSBA site for further response from Edwina Lee. The governor also pushed for giving working parents two paid days off to deal with sick children or attend parent-teacher conferences, and promised that New Jersey would become the first state to legally require such a benefit.
School Board News Today, an online publication of NSBA, provides timely and relevant stories and analysis from NSBA and other news outlets to school board members, administrators, and all others interested in K-12 education.
Articles in the Governance category
If you are an educator who recognizes the impact of technology in improving the learning experiences for all students, then you have a contribution to make to NSBA’s T+L2 Conference, Oct. 27-29, 2004. We will focus on empowering school district leaders with the tools and resources to improve and sustain student achievement and support models of continuous improvement. Click here to submit your proposal.
NSBA.org’s School Governance section includes links to a wealth of information on issues school boards need to know about, including NSBA’s important Key Work of School Boards. Stop on by. And you can also spend half a day learning how the Key Work relates to implementing and monitoring No Child Left Behind in a pre-conference workshop at NSBA’s Annual Conference. Join NSBA in Orlando to explore this topic and get yourself up to speed around issues related to student achievement. Click here for all the details.
The Senate returns in less than a week with a big vote on the omnibus federal spending bill that includes D.C. vouchers and too few dollars for America’s public schools. Public school advocates near and far are urging their senators to oppose the measure. The president of the Hawai’i State Parent, Teacher, Student Association penned a blunt letter in the Honolulu Advertiser (see the last item on that page), citing an NSBA poll on D.C. vouchers in the process. NSBA is urging a NO vote on the omnibus spending bill.
Throughout January, several state school boards associations and their school systems will be recognizing the work and dedication of school board members. NSBA through its Delegate Assembly initiated School Board Recognition Month in 1995, to honor the contributions of local board members. Find out more here. School boards are, and should be recognized, as a proud heritage of our country. They are democracy in action.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Pledge of Allegiance case on March 24. The issue is whether a school district violates the establishment clause of the Bill of Rights by requiring teachers to lead willing students in the Pledge, which includes the words “under God.” A parent argued this in his lawsuit against Elk Grove Unified School District in California, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.
NSBA has filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit and vindicate the school district. Assisted by the Texas Association of School Boards Legal Assistance Fund and the California School Boards Association, NSBA submitted a brief that stands out. Instead of just discussing separation of church and state generally, the brief focuses on the educational context: the Pledge’s place in a curriculum designed to help prepare students of diverse backgrounds to be informed, patriotic citizens in a pluralistic society.
No other American institution is more indispensable to citizenship and national unity than our public schools. The Pledge is a patriotic statement, not a religious one. School boards are entitled to some deference from courts on curricular matters, even controversial ones. They need to know they will not be sued every time a teacher introduces students to historically significant statements, like the Declaration of Independence, that refer to a deity or to providence.
More resources on the Pledge and public schools are available on the News and Issues section of NSBA.org.
With its first voucher program, enacted last year, already ruled unconstitutional and on hold, some Colorado lawmakers want to create a second one, modeled after Florida’s McKay voucher program for children with disabilities. Voucher advocacy researcher Jay Greene, in a Colorado op-ed says Florida’s program is a great model, citing his own 2003 report. NSBA reviewed that report and found it missed key points.
Today, here is a little of what is known about Florida’s McKay voucher program: There is zero evidence that it has improved academic achievement; 77 percent of the voucher schools do not even offer special education classes; Voucher students surrender their IDEA rights; And the program offers nothing for 98 percent of the state’s students with disabilities.
Lessons to be learned by other states? You bet, but not a program worth replicating.
Montana’s School Renewal Commission is discussing full-day kindergarten as part of its recommendations on providing a quality education, which it will forward to its state legislature. Lance Melton, executive director of the Montana School Boards Association (MTSBA), tells BoardBuzz that the commission is utilizing an adequacy study commissioned, in part, by MTSBA. He also notes that there are four present or former members of the MTSBA board on the Renewal Commission.
Education Week is hosting a live online discussion today about special education in the No Child Left Behind world. The discussion, “Count me in: Special education in an era of standards,” is from 3 – 4 p.m. (EST) today. Click here for more information. You also can submit questions in advance. Guests include a U.S. Department of Education official, an assistant superintendent from California, and a researcher from the University of Minnesota. NSBA called for greater flexibility for states and school districts with Adequate Yearly Progress requirements for children with disabilities, and the DOE did announce new provisions in this area.
With more than 70,000 students already enrolled in state-wide or school district-provided virtual school programs across the U.S., educators and public school leaders need to be well-versed with online education issues to help set state and local policies that (1) ensure that funding formulae are fair and workable for schools districts and all of their students, and (2) that homegrown online learning programs have credible accountability protections and quality outcomes measures in place. Via NSBA’s growing Online Learning Center, board members who participate in online training not only gather valuable information about their role as board members, but also gain an authentic understanding of the power of online learning for their school districts.