Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /ebs2/nsba-sbn/ on line 1

Articles in the Policy Formation category

NSBA calls for caution on data collection of students with disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education should exercise caution in collecting and analyzing data on students with disabilities based on their racial and ethnic backgrounds because of the unique circumstances of each students’ special needs, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) warns in a letter responding to a request for comment.

NSBA urges the Education Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) to hold off on policies for the data collection until it develops a cost-neutral solution that adequately accounts for differences among states and school districts, rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Further, OSERS risks overstepping its regulatory authority, NSBA cautions.

OSERS is seeking ways to collect extensive data based on race and ethnicity of students with disabilities to address the issue of significant disproportionality. The main federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires states to collect and examine data to determine whether there are disproportionate numbers of students, based on race and ethnicity, identified as disabled.

For instance, the law requires states to examine the numbers of students identified with particular impairments; the placement of children in particular educational settings; and the incidence, duration, and type of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions, to determine if the law is being applied correctly. If significant disproportionality is found, states must take action and direct a portion of federal IDEA funding toward fixing the situation.

But this type of information could be misinterpreted and lead to mislabeling of schools, NSBA says. It also would be costly, and that money might be better spent on educational services for students with disabilities.

OSERS requested comment on how it could build a “standard approach” to ensure states and school districts do not have significant disproportionality, and how to account for the inherent differences between individual states and school districts.
NSBA noted that there are many factors to consider, including:

• The demographics of student populations, including the number of students identified for special
education, change from year to year;
• Staff turnover and a national shortage of K-12 teachers certified in special education, which impacts
the number of personnel available at each school who are trained in the identification and evaluation process; and
• Redistricting and school consolidation directly impact student population data and can appear as disparities.

Most importantly, data should not be read or interpreted in a vacuum, NSBA says. For instance, small school districts or school districts with only small percentages of minority students might have a small number of minority students with disabilities, but proportionately those students can make up a sizable percentage of the special education enrollment and appear to be disproportionate.

Joetta Sack-Min|July 30th, 2014|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Policy Formation, Special Education|Tags: , , |

Resources help school districts address undocumented children

School districts may feel significant impacts in the coming year resulting from the influx of Central American children to our country and schools. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) and its Council of School Attorneys (COSA) along with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) can all help.

In addition to the many legal resources on immigration issues available to COSA members, COSA will be offering a webinar August 13, 2014 at 1-2:15 p.m. EDT: “Immigration Issues and Public School Attendance: Registering and Serving Undocumented Students and Employer Compliance.”

In this webinar, experienced school attorney Wesley E. Johnson and immigration attorney Marcos Gemoets, who has represented immigration clients throughout Texas and the United States, including unaccompanied minors from Central and Latin America, will provide a checklist of immigration-related issues that may be raised in your district this school year. During the presentation, Johnson and Gemoets will cover issues such as undocumented students’ rights, employer requirements, and how to prepare for enforcement activity by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The presenters also will provide a “what to do if” resource for school administrators featuring several immigration-related scenarios. Registration is now open.

In light of the new federal guidance issued with regard to the recent influx of undocumented, unaccompanied minors NSBA will be re-releasing its electronic 2009 guide entitled “Legal Issues for School Districts Related to the Education of Undocumented Children (2009).”

The guide will contain new FAQs designed to help school board members and school administrators navigate the legal concerns raised by this new wave of undocumented immigrant students. The new FAQs will also provide a list to cross agency federal guidelines on this topic in an easy-to-access format.

ED has published new guidelines about which documents schools can and cannot require as proof of residency when children register for school. A “Dear Colleague” letter, published jointly by ED and the U.S. Department of Justice, announced the new guidelines. The new guidelines stipulate that schools can request documents such as leases or phone or utility bills to prove student residency but are prohibited from requiring Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, or original or U.S. birth certificates from parents or children, among other directives outlined in ED’s accompanying fact sheet.

ORR’s School Impact Program provides grants to state and state-alternative programs for activities that help impacted school districts integrate and educate school-age undocumented children.

Margaret Suslick|July 29th, 2014|Categories: Immigrants, Policy Formation, School Law|Tags: , , , , , |

School boards encouraged by E-Rate modernization plan, but further improvements are vital

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) welcomes the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to improve the long oversubscribed E-rate program, while also noting remaining funding gaps. This was reinforced by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who announced that the FCC will consider added funding for E-rate in a future call for public input.

“The FCC made key revisions to its E-rate modernization proposal,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Though we must solve for remaining funding gaps, NSBA is very pleased with the FCC’s commitment to advance WiFi and broadband in America’s public schools and libraries and its willingness to seek public input for future E-rate funding.”

For the past two decades, NSBA has proactively supported the goals of the E-rate program. As a member of the Education and Libraries Network Coalitions (EdLiNC), NSBA expressed concern about proposals that rewrite the program’s need-based dissemination of funds, which risks hurting school districts and libraries with the greatest need.

Gentzel calls for sustained focus: “Absent a meaningful increase in funding, NSBA has long argued that the future of E-rate is undermined. E-rate’s need and demand is double its current funding cap of $2.4 billion. Clearly the program must continue to be expanded to ensure that adequate bandwidth does not stop at selective schoolhouse doors, but rather reaches every classroom and student across our great nation.”

Alexis Rice|July 11th, 2014|Categories: Educational Technology, Federal Programs, Online learning, Policy Formation, School Boards|Tags: , , , |

White House meeting examines substance use and student achievement

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) joined about 75 education and substance use experts at a White House event to learn about effective programs for K-12 students.

The event was co-hosted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Education.

Leaders from the two agencies showed the impact of substance use on student achievement and gave presentations on evidence-based programs with positive results.

“NSBA is interested in evidence-based programs that would result in increased student achievement among all students, including those who are substance users and in recovery,” said Reginald Felton, NSBA’s Assistant Executive Director for Congressional Relations, who attended the meeting. However, he added, “NSBA cautioned the group that schools and school districts do not have the capacity nor the resources to provide the level of services needed by student substance users and their families.”

NSBA encouraged continued collaboration that would address possible co-location of such services rather than to promote school-sponsored services and potential funding sources beyond local , state, and federal entities, Felton said.



Staff|June 11th, 2014|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, Nutrition, Policy Formation|

NSBA urges House committee to boost IDEA funding

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is urging members of the U.S. House of Representative’s Appropriations Committee to continue to sustain and protect spending for federal K-12 education programs, particularly the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the nation’s main special education law.

Below is language from a June 9 letter sent to members of the committee by NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel:

On behalf of the 90,000 school board members and the state school boards associations representing more than 49 million public school students throughout the nation, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is writing regarding the FY2015 Labor-Health & Human Services-Education Appropriations bill.

Your leadership to restore the majority of the budget cuts from sequestration for FY2014 was extremely vital to our students, school districts and communities; and, we urge you to sustain these key investments in Fiscal Year 2015.

NSBA greatly appreciates the Subcommittee’s efforts to protect key education investments that are helping improve student achievement, such as Title I grants for disadvantaged students and special education. Foremost, NSBA urges you to provide the highest possible allocation for grants under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Local school district budgets continue to face cuts while special education costs are increasing. Special education expenditures by local communities take up higher percentages of school budgets each year, often forcing school districts to either raise taxes or dip into general education budgets to make up the shortfall. A path toward full funding of IDEA is needed to help districts fulfill the federal IDEA requirement that has existed for almost 40 years, but has never been fully funded. For FY2014, the average federal cost share per student under IDEA is less than 16 percent, rather than the 40 percent promised by Congress when IDEA was first enacted in 1975. Protecting funding for this priority, as well as Title I, will help our school districts and states avoid reductions to the scope and delivery of education services and advancement.

A Fiscal Year 2015 funding bill that will enable our states and school systems to thrive without making further cuts to curriculum is essential. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you as the FY2015 appropriations process moves forward.

Joetta Sack-Min|June 10th, 2014|Categories: Budgeting, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Policy Formation|

NSBA urges U.S. House members to oppose school voucher bill

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel sent a letter today to members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging them not to support the CHOICE Act as it would provide federal resources for voucher schemes and fund private schools that are not fully accountable to the same laws and civil rights that govern public schools.

Representatives Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) are expected to introduce the CHOICE ACT on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The bill would provide vouchers to students educated under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students who reside in military installations, and students enrolled or waiting for vouchers through the DC Opportunity Scholarship program.

The letter notes:

On behalf of the 90,000 school board members who govern our nation’s public school districts which educate nearly 50 million students, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is writing in strong opposition to the CHOICE Act (Creating Hope and Opportunities for Individuals and Communities through Education Act) that is scheduled for introduction on May 29. Therefore, we urge you not to support the CHOICE Act.

NSBA urges Congress to maximize resources for our public schools, which serve all students regardless of gender, disability or economic status, and adhere to federal civil rights laws and public accountability standards. Hence, NSBA opposes private school vouchers and urges Congress to reject using any federal funds or incentives for a national voucher program, including any special education vouchers for military children and/or specific subgroups of ,students. NSBA also opposes amendments to make vouchers part of a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), or other legislation.

An overwhelming majority (70 percent) of Americans oppose private school vouchers, according to the 2013 PDK Gallup poll. Likewise, based on the policies adopted by our Delegate Assembly, NSBA opposes any efforts to subsidize tuition or expenses at elementary or secondary private, religious, or home schools with public tax dollars. Specifically, NSBA opposes vouchers, tax credits, and tax subsidies for use at non-public K-12 schools. Public funds should not be used directly or indirectly through tax credits, vouchers, or a choice system to fund education at any elementary and/or secondary private, parochial, or home school.

NSBA supports federal investments in our public school students and applauds Congress’ work to improve our nation’s public schools.

Alexis Rice|May 28th, 2014|Categories: Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, Policy Formation, Privatization, School Boards, School Vouchers|Tags: |

Gentzel calls for school board oversight of charters in USA Today letter

Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) said that federal legislation on charter school law should recognize the need for accountability for student performance in charters, given the low performance of the majority of charter schools. His letter to the editor was published in the May 21, 2014 issue of USA Today.

Gentzel wrote, “In 2013, Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes revealed that only 25% and 29% of charters outperformed traditional public schools in reading and math assessments, respectively. These low percentages were actually an improvement over the 2009 data. CREDO attributed many of the improvements to the actions that authorizers — key among these local school boards — are taking to close down ineffective charter schools.

“Strong local governance matters. It cannot and should not be excluded from education reform initiatives. To give America’s schoolchildren strong accountability centered on student outcomes, the National School Boards Association calls for local school boards to serve as the sole authorizers of charter schools.”

USA Today also published comments from Twitter related to charter schools. Read more.

Joetta Sack-Min|May 21st, 2014|Categories: Board governance, Charter Schools, Educational Legislation, Educational Research, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, Policy Formation, Privatization|Tags: , |

Call for proposals for NSBA’s 2015 Annual Conference

2015 NSBA Annual Conference

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is requesting proposals for breakout sessions to be conducted during our 75th Annual Conference in Nashville, Tenn., March 21-23. The conference will draw thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and guests representing nearly 1,400 school districts, and will feature distinguished speakers and hundreds of workshops, presentations, and other events that will help school board members develop leadership skills, boost student learning, and improve school districts’ operations.

If your school district or organization has an idea for a high-quality breakout session that focuses on a topic of critical interest to school board members for presentation at this conference, please complete a proposal online by the deadline of Monday, June 16 at 5 p.m. EDT. Only proposals submitted through the online process  will be considered. Breakout sessions will be 30, 45, or 75 minutes in length and will be scheduled throughout the conference.

Proposals are being solicited for the following focus areas:

• Innovations in District Management
• Legal and Legislative Advocacy
• Professional and Personal Development
• School Board/Superintendent Partnerships
• Student Achievement and Accountability
• Technology + Learning Solutions

“Myths and lies” threaten public schools, renowned researcher David Berliner says


David C. Berliner  participated in a no-holds-barred interview with the Arizona School Boards Association.

David C. Berliner, Regents Professor Emeritus of education at Arizona State University (ASU) and co-author of the recently released book “50 Myths & Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools,” recently spoke with the Arizona School Boards Association‘s (ASBA) Arizona Education News Service. Berliner discusses the policies, practices and popular beliefs that he believes are the greatest threats to Arizona’s public schools and shares his thoughts on how schools can better serve children. His co-author was Gene V. Glass, also a Regents Professor Emeritus of education at ASU.

The following question-and-answer session is republished with permission from ASBA.

Q: What three policies, practices and popular beliefs mentioned in the book affect Arizona’s public schools most?

A: The first and most important myth is that American students do not do well in international competition, which shows how poor our schools are. This is complete nonsense.

If you start to break up the scores of kids on the tests into five groups – one of which are kids that go to schools where less than 10 percent of the families are in poverty, and another group of schools where less than 25 percent of kids are in poverty –in the last big international test scores, the PISA, those kids actually scored among the best in the world.

In reading, they scored almost better than anyone else. Even in mathematics, which is not our strongest area in the U.S., they scored terrific.

It’s the other end of the spectrum – kids who go to schools where there are over 50 percent in poverty or at schools where there are over 75 percent of kids in poverty – they’re doing terrible.

The blanket statement that our schools don’t do well is factually incorrect.

The proper statement is that some of our schools are not doing well, and almost all of them are schools where poverty is endemic.

The second one that I would touch on is the absolutely stupid policy passed by our Legislature (Move on When Reading) to hold kids back if they are not reading well in third grade.

There is no better set of research in education than in that area. We know quite factually, as certainly as we know evolution and as well as we know global warming, that leaving a child back is a wrong decision for almost all of them. It’s a mistake.

The child who is left back has a much higher chance of dropping out of school. They don’t like school. When those students are interviewed, they call up the equivalent of wetting their pants in school, or losing a parent, or going blind. It’s a horrible occurrence for the family.

What’s more, the state has committed itself to putting in another approximately $8,000 because to leave that child back, means one more year of elementary school.

If they used that $8,000 for tutoring of the kid, you wouldn’t have to leave the kid back. The kid wouldn’t drop out of high school. The kid wouldn’t be a negative force in classrooms and wouldn’t be overage for their grade. You’d be much better off.

The third one I’d suggest is one promulgated by Arizona’s own Goldwater Institute, in which the president of the Goldwater Institute says early childhood education is no good.

She is factually wrong.

There are studies out showing that for all kids high-quality early childhood education makes a difference in their lives and for poor kids in particular it has really profound effects.

Those are three areas where Arizona, in particular, has got it all wrong.

Q: Which specific funding issues identified in the book need to be addressed most urgently and how?

A: There are a number of parts to this. Number one, teacher salaries in Arizona have gone way down. Other states, while they had to rescind some salaries during the recession, have restored them. During the recession, Massachusetts’ teachers’ salaries went up.

You cannot attract the best and the brightest to the field even if they want to be teachers, if you don’t pay them enough for the starting salary.

Maybe even worse for the long-term in Arizona is that state funding for the three state universities has gone straight down for the last 20 years while the demand for higher education and the demand for educated workers is up.

You can’t have a future in a knowledge economy without people possessing knowledge.

Also, we have not restored the funding that the state gives to school districts either. So we’ve had to cancel art and music classes, we’ve had to cancel a lot of special services for kids who need them, and after school programs, etc.

Not only have you hurt who you can attract to the field, but you’ve actually hurt the systems themselves.

Funding matters a lot. Other states are way, way ahead of us.

Q: You have identified a group of college-and-career ready “myths and lies.” What is the most prevalent issue related to this that you identify in the book?

A: We don’t think most people know what career- and college-ready means.

What we need is certainly a literate workforce, a numerate workforce, a scientifically literate workforce, but we’ve always needed that. I don’t think that’s anything new.

What we really need to save our state and our nation is a population that takes its role in citizenship seriously. We are more likely to lose our pre-eminence as a nation because of apathetic voters than anything else.

Q: How can schools better serve children?

A: Schools could be better if they were, in our more modern times, more encompassing of the child.

That means more after-school programs, because lots of families are not home for kids after school. It could be homework areas for kids with tutors, it could be sports, it could be music, it could be art.

There’s a fascinating study that says when people reach the age of 55 or so, which is usually around the peak earning parts of their lives, people who have studied the humanities out-earn people who have gone into business.

But what we see all over America is the cutting of the humanities – less government, less history, less art, less music.

What we’re doing is cutting off our humanities, when we need to keep them. We need the journalism club. We need the music classes. We need the art classes. That would make some schools better, but it also makes kids want to go to school.

I bet very few kids want to go to school to study mathematics. I bet lots of kids want to go to school to be part of the music program, the art program, and the sports program.

What you want are the hooks to keep kids in school, and those are the ones that we’re getting rid of. Every parent knows this, and every legislator doesn’t care.

Q: “Myths and lies” is a pretty inflammatory title. Why did you choose this as a way to discuss the serious issues facing America’s and Arizona’s public schools?

A: A good deal of what’s promulgated is self interest.

School uniforms companies tell everyone learning improves if you wear uniforms. Not true. Your laundry bill may improve, though.

Other companies sell iPads, and say it will help kids do better in school. Well, there’s no evidence of that.

Another part of it is simple failure to understand the research base. Like the passage of Move on When Reading.

(The interview was edited for length and clarity.)

Joetta Sack-Min|April 23rd, 2014|Categories: Assessment, Curriculum, Data Driven Decision Making, Educational Research, Governance, Policy Formation, Preschool Education, Privatization, Public Advocacy, School Reform, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , , , , , |

NSBA makes recommendations on Race to the Top Preschool Development Grants

Lucy Gettman, Director of Federal Programs at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) spoke at a public meeting on the Race to the Top Preschool Development (RTT-Preschool) Grants, which was held at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in Washington, D.C. on March 20.

The public meeting gave an opportunity for several education community voices to go on record with recommendations and priorities for the Department of Education and the Department of Health & Human Services as well as reply to questions from constituents about the upcoming grant competition.

Although ED has rolled out a new website to handle constituent feedback, NSBA wanted to ensure the public would be heard during this process. Gettman urged Department leadership to institute new processes for handling public feedback.

“Given the high interest in and importance of early learning, NSBA first and foremost recommends that implementation of the RTT-Preschool program include a formal Public Comment and rulemaking process through the Federal Register,” said Gettman. “This will ensure reliability for stakeholders submitting Comments, as well as transparency and responsiveness to public input.”

As part of the meeting, Gettman also stated NSBA’s six top-level recommendations to the Department to ensure local governance is getting the support needed to implement. NSBA urges the agencies to:

· Require significant local educational agency involvement in the development and implementation of state RTT-preschool applications;

· Support capacity building for local eligible entities, not just states;

· Refrain from conditioning receipt of funds on development, adoption or implementation of new nationally-recognized standards;

· Preserve local authority with regard to workforce issues;

· Require at least 80 percent of competitive grant funds be disseminated to local eligible entities as sub-grants;

· Publicly release the required report to Congress.

To listen to Gettman’s full statement, please navigate to the 10:00 minute mark on the recorded public meeting.

Learn more about NSBA’s position on early education.



Staff|March 21st, 2014|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Policy Formation, Preschool Education|Tags: , , |
Page 1 of 2212345...1020...Last »

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /ebs2/nsba-sbn/ on line 1