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.
Neil Putnam, a board member of Mitchell School District #17 in South Dakota, reflected on this month’s 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision in his local newspaper, the Daily Republic. Putnam also is a Western Regional Director for the National School Boards Association’s board of directors.
Growing up in South Dakota, Putnam noted that he was not exposed to the inequities faced by the students involved in the Brown lawsuit. So he asked two fellow school board members from Kansas and Mississippi to tell about their firsthand experiences as students after the landmark ruling, and how it has impacted their work with their school districts.
Putnam wrote, “Perhaps it is coincidence that three school board members whose families come from agrarian beginnings — Kansas exodusters, Mississippi sharecroppers and Dakota homesteaders — would eventually be presidents of our state school board associations and are having a conversation about the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. I rather think that is what is the legacy of Brown: all board members, educators, parents and citizens working together to insure all students regardless of abilities, circumstances and means can attend any public school. Now, 30 years later from the time I was handed a diploma, I am recognizing those who toiled and sacrificed for my education, but moreover commemorating those who fought for the right I took for granted.”
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
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel issued the following comments on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Public Notice on the Wireline Competition Bureau Seeks Focused Comment on E-rate Modernization to provide key recommendations to modernize the E-rate program and increase the quality and speed of Internet connectivity in our nation’s schools and libraries. NSBA applauds the FCC’s proactive 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.
“For nearly twenty years, NSBA has supported the goals of the E-rate program to increase Internet connectivity and provide digital learning opportunities to underserved students, schools and libraries. NSBA is steadfast in its support for the ConnectED initiative and applauds the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) focus on broadband deployment in education, so that students are prepared to be competitive and successful in the global marketplace.
“To successfully usher in a new future for E-rate, NSBA urges the FCC to ground modernization of E-Rate in the individual circumstances of the nation’s 14,000 school districts and 98,000 public schools. Put eloquently by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association: School entities across the nation are diverse in their composition and their needs. Local decision-making and local flexibility should be maximized in implementation of the E-rate program.
“Further, NSBA’s recommendations are predicated on the need for additional resources in the E-rate program. Simply repurposing or rearranging priorities for the $2.5 billion E-rate program is not sufficient to achieve the ambitious goals of the ConnectED initiative, and could impact school district finances and operations in ways that make it even more difficult for low-income and rural schools and libraries to meet the instructional needs of their students. Therefore, in addition to NSBA’s filings of September 16, 2013 and November 8, 2013, we recommend the following:
“1. Focus $2 billion in one-time funding for E-rate on Priority 2 services for broadband deployment, and assure that additional schools and libraries have access to the funds. The onetime funding described in paragraph 7 is best suited for initial and one-time investments in broadband deployment such as internal connections, as opposed to ongoing operating costs. Further, there has been a dearth of funding for Priority 2 in recent years, so that only a small number of schools benefit. NSBA recommends that affirmative steps be taken to assure that a one-time infusion of Priority 2 funds is disseminated to schools and libraries that have not had access to such funds in the last five years.
“2. Voice and other legacy services – Establish a menu of options for schools and libraries making transitions to broadband. NSBA supports refocusing E-rate on broadband connectivity, but cautions against eliminating eligible uses of E-rate funds without support for school districts during the transition. An across-the-board approach to elimination or phase down of support for legacy services as described in paragraphs 40 – 46 is not responsive to school districts, whose current equipment, hardware, connectivity, access to broadband, contracting obligations, and other circumstances will vary. NSBA recommends a case-by-case approach and flexible timeframes for transitioning E-rate eligibility to broadband.
“3. Demonstration and pilot programs – Eliminate demonstration programs, pilots, or other carve outs from E-Rate 2.0 unless they are resourced by other Universal Service or alternative funds. While there is great potential in the innovations described in paragraphs 55 – 61 to streamline E-rate and make the program more efficient and effective at meeting the needs of schools and libraries, they should not come at the expense of the School and Libraries Fund itself, which is severely oversubscribed.”
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.