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.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering requiring school districts to remove a group of harmful chemicals—Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)—from facilities. PCBs are commonly found in old fluorescent lighting fixtures in public buildings built before 1980, including schools. This proposed regulation could pose significant financial and operational challenges to schools, which would be responsible to identify, inspect and upgrade light fixtures that were installed prior to 1980 to ensure PCBs are eliminated.
The National School Boards Association; AASA, the School Superintendents Association; and the Association of School Business Officials International are collaborating to make sure that the full impact of this proposed regulation is recorded as part of the discussion; we kindly request your assistance. Please take this short survey about district facilities and PCBs by March 17, 2014. Results of the survey will be forwarded to EPA for their consideration.
The Learning First Alliance (LFA), a partnership of 15 leading education associations representing more than 10 million parents, educators, and policymakers which the National School Boards Association is a part of, applauds recent initiatives to modernize the E-Rate program, including the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) approval of the E-Rate Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on July 19, 2013.
E-Rate has played a critical role in supporting school connectivity and student learning since it was initially enacted in 1996. However, given advances in telecommunications and education technology that have occurred since its inception, the need for E-Rate has grown significantly. Currently, the program receives requests for assistance that more than double the resources available for it.
As the FCC moves forward with the rulemaking process, LFA urges the Commission to approve a significant and permanent increase to the E-Rate funding cap. This increased funding will ensure that our nation’s students gain access to high speed broadband and digital learning opportunities that will help them acquire the skills necessary for success in the global community.
LFA also recommends careful consideration of the goals and other aspects of E-Rate in the context of the changes in the telecommunications landscape that have occurred since the initial enactment of the program.
LFA urges interested parties to provide feedback on the NPRM. Comments will be accepted until September 16, 2013.
“E-Rate is a vital source of assistance for high-need schools in maintaining Internet connectivity, enhancing digital learning opportunities and helping school districts set and meet 21st Century technology goals,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “NSBA welcomes this opportunity to energize the process of updating E-Rate and meeting the needs of students and schools. To assure that E-Rate is successful, it is important to provide adequate resources to schools. Requests for assistance by high need schools and libraries are more than double the current resources in the E-rate program. NSBA supports efforts to ensure efficient operation and integrity of E-Rate, increase the quality and speed of connectivity in our nation’s schools, and address the technology gaps that remain.”
Kanisha Williams-Jones, Director of Leadership & Governance Services at the National School Boards Association (NSBA), was a guest today on Education Talk Radio providing a preview of NSBA’s 2013 Annual Conference. Thousands of school board members, administrators, and other educators will be coming to San Diego to take part in the April 13-15 event.
The conference will feature more than 200 sessions on timely education topics, including federal legislation and funding, managing schools with tight budgets, the legal implications of recent court cases, new research and best practices in school governance, and the Common Core State Standards. A series of sessions will focus on school safety and security.
Expanded education technology programming will include site visits to the University of San Diego and Qualcomm’s Mobile Learning Center to explore its research laboratory on mobile learning; Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to examine the technology in science education and STEM; Encinitas Union School District to view its One-to-One Digital Learning Program; and the San Diego Zoo to learn about the cutting-edge learning tools used to teach at-risk students. U.S. Navy SEALs will show leadership and team building skills during another workshop.
The meeting also includes one of the largest K-12 educational expositions, with some 300 companies showcasing their innovative products and services for school districts.
General Session speakers include Academy Award winning speaker Geena Davis, who will be speaking about her work off-screen as founder of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Davis works with film and television creators to reduce gender stereotyping and increase the number of female characters in media targeted for children 11 and under. She will explain how media plays a key role in children’s development, and how her organization is making a difference.
Television star Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the world’s most engaging and passionate science advocates, will headline Sunday’s General Session. From PBS to NASA to Presidential Commissions, organizations have depended on Tyson’s down-to-earth approach to astrophysics. He has been a frequent guest on “The Daily Show”, “The Colbert Report”, R”eal Time with Bill Maher”, and “Jeopardy!”. Tyson hopes to reach “all the people who never knew how much they’d love learning about space and science.”
Learn more about the common core standards, new research on differentiated learning styles, and teaching “unteachable” children at the Focus On lecture series. Learn about new technologies for your classrooms as part of the Technology + Learning programs.
Mary Fertakis, a member of the Tukwila, Wash., school board and president-elect of the Washington State School Directors’ Association, wrote a column for the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog this week discussing competitive federal grant programs and the disadvantages many students and school districts face.
Fertakis posed the question, “Should children have to compete for their education?” to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at NSBA’s 2011 Federal Relations Network conference in February. Read the column and be sure to leave your comments.
In a recent webinar for National Affiliates, a leading researcher showed how school districts can use the 2010 U.S. Census data to project enrollment trends in their areas.
Ron Crouch, director of research and statistics for the office of employment and training for the Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet, showed how the data could be used to identify the ages of different areas and how those demographics could impact school enrollments.
Nationally, the data showed an uptick in the nation’s population in the past decade, particularly among Hispanic and Asian residents, but regional differences varied widely.
For instance, when looking at population trends through a map of the United States, Michigan was the only state to lose population from 2000 to 2010. Many southern and southwestern states saw population increases of 5 to 15 percent or more.
But when the data was analyzed by looking at counties, it was clear that many areas were losing residents, even in the states with increasing populations. Many of those areas were rural.
Crouch used demographic data to show how some counties have younger populations—for instance, the Seattle area has had a boom in residents age 25 to 34 who haven’t yet had children. In other areas, there are growing numbers of young workers who are having children, and race and ethnicity made a big difference in the number of children getting ready to start school.
“All the growth that’s really going on in this country is the Hispanic population,” Crouch noted. Many Hispanics tend to have larger families; and while the Asian population is also increasing at significant rates, Asians tend to have fewer children, he said.
The Asian population, for instance, tends to be more concentrated in areas on East and West Coast, while the Hispanic population is more widespread. And while there was still a great concentration of Hispanics in California and the Southwest, some are now moving into other regions, particularly the South.
In addition, more children are being identified as being of two or more races, he added. Demographic data showed that the vast majority of residents identified as two or more races was concentrated in young children and teenagers categories.
The webinar will be archived for National Affiliates at www.nsba.org/nawebinars. Crouch will also be presenting at NSBA’s 72nd Annual Conference, held April 21 to 23, 2012, in Boston.
Leaders from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and state school boards associations are participating in the Conference on Labor-Management Collaboration, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, taking place in Denver today and tomorrow. At this first-of-its-kind conference, national and local school leaders will hear from other superintendents, school boards, and teacher union leaders who are working together to redefine the labor-management relationship in their communities.
Earl C. Rickman III, President of NSBA, and Anne L. Bryant, Executive Director of NSBA, will represent NSBA at this conference. Rickman also represents Michigan’s Mount Clemens Community School District Board of Education, which he serves as board president. Mount Clemens is one of the 150 school districts from across the country participating in the conference.
Bryant will be part of the session tomorrow on “Leading a Movement to Advance Student Achievement Through Labor-Management Collaboration” which will be featured below live from 2:15 3:15 PM EST.
February 15 4 4:30 pm EST
Welcome, Framing, and Overview Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
February 15 4:30 5:30 pm EST
The Principles in Action: Structuring Labor-Management Collaboration for Student Success The plenary will feature the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, the president of the Hillsborough (Florida) Classroom Teachers Association and the president of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Board of Education.
February 16 11:30 am 12:30 pm EST The Difference You Can Make: The Positive Impact of Reform From the Perspective of Students, Parents, Teachers and Principals The plenary will feature participants from Denver and Douglas County (Colorado) Public Schools.
February 16 2:15 3:15 PM EST Leading a Movement to Advance Student Achievement Through Labor-Management Collaboration
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
Anne L. Bryant, Executive Director, National School Boards Association
Michael Casserly, Executive Director, Council of the Great City Schools
George H. Cohen, Director, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators
Dennis Van Roekel, President, National Education Association
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
Note: Video will only appear during the time of the live sessions.
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.
Super-Fast Fiber: The FCC’s E-rate Order will help bring affordable, super-fast fiber connections to America’s schools and libraries. It allows participants to use E-rate funds to connect to the Internet in the most cost-effective way possible, including via unused fiber optic lines already in place across the country and through existing state, regional and local networks. With these fiber networks, schools and libraries can provide students and communities with cutting-edge connectivity, while at the same time saving millions of dollars by bypassing more expensive options.
School Spots: The FCC is also opening the door to “School Spots” — where schools have the option to provide Internet access to the local community after students go home. With affordable fiber, these School Spots are a major step toward the National Broadband Plan’s goal of connecting an anchor institution in every community to affordable 1 gigabit per second broadband. School Spots will help ensure that people who otherwise lack access can use broadband.
Learning On-the-Go: The FCC is launching a pilot program that supports off-campus wireless Internet connectivity for mobile learning devices. Education doesn’t stop at the schoolyard gate or the library door. Digital textbooks and other innovative wireless devices allow students to learn in a real-world context, inside the classroom and beyond. Because of their low cost and accessibility, these mobile devices can also help advance digital equality, particularly for children from economically disadvantaged communities.
21st Century E-rate Program: The Order brings E-rate into the 21st Century by making the program more effective and efficient.
Issues concerning E-rate are one of many topics that will be addressed at this year’s T+L Conference, held in Phoenix from October 19-22. In addition, Karen Cator, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Education Technology will be a featured speaker at the conference and is incidentally the subject of the American School Board Journal’s monthly newsmaker profile.
Don’t miss either opportunity to keep your system and staff informed and ready to meet the future of education.