Articles in the School Boards category

NSBA video: School board members encouraged to join “army of advocates” for public education

Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), and David A. Pickler, NSBA’s 2013-14 President, urge school board members to join NSBA’s “Army of Advocates” and fight for public education. Gentzel asks school boards to stand up to “those who abandon student achievement and sell off public schools and end local school board governance for their own profit,” and details some of NSBA’s new advocacy initiatives.

View the video:

Alexis Rice|February 5th, 2014|Categories: Multimedia and Webinars, School Boards|Tags: , , , , |

Following State of the Union, NSBA calls for prioritization of public education issues

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel issued the following statement following the 2014 State of the Union:

The National School Boards Association, working with our state school board associations and the 90,000 school board members across the country, looks forward to engaging with President Barack Obama and his administration on the education priorities raised in the State of the Union. We welcome the President’s proposals on early childhood education and high-speed Internet access for schools and we ask that the President work closely with local school boards as these initiatives are developed.

We share the President’s commitment to guaranteeing that every child has access to a world-class education and NSBA believes every community should have great public schools.

Public education must be a priority for the administration and the U.S. Congress. We are deeply concerned about maximizing federal investments in K-12 education. A lack of federal funding in tandem with cuts in state and local funding is jeopardizing local school district operations. This is having a devastating effect on our students by imperiling programs that directly impact student learning, including many programs that close achievement gaps; raise graduation rates; and improve teacher training, recruitment, and retention.

The U.S. Senate must take action on its bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Strengthening America’s Schools Act. School board members from across the country are anxiously awaiting progress on this important legislation given that the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of ESEA reauthorization last year. America’s school boards can’t continue to operate under a failed ‘No Child Left Behind’ system. Local school boards need the flexibility to create and implement innovative approaches to improve academic performance to prepare all students for post-secondary education or the workplace and ensure that the U.S. Department of Education does not encroach on community schools.

Alexis Rice|January 28th, 2014|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, No Child Left Behind, School Boards|Tags: , |

NSBA touts public schools as strong choices

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is calling for public schools to be schools of choice during National School Choice Week. It is warning lawmakers not to divert funds away from public schools in favor of unproven educational experiments.

Getting lost in the hype around National School Choice Week, school voucher legislation, and calls for expanded options for low-income students is the fact that public education already offers many options—including magnet schools and district-authorized charters. Further, some states are using taxpayer-funded vouchers and tax credits as an excuse not to fund their community public schools that educate all children, NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel said in a conference with reporters on Jan. 27.

“Public schools have a track record that we can be very proud of,” Gentzel said. It’s important to have innovations in education, he added. However, “experiments should not come at the expense of low-income children.”

Students suffer when “choice” schools go out of business, are shut down, or are allowed to continue to operate without any accountability.

In the call, Gentzel and other NSBA experts noted that:

  • Not all school choice is equal: Some forms of school choice operate outside the public system with little or no oversight and accountability for student learning and fiscal stewardship of taxpayer funds. Gentzel recommended what he dubbed a “nutritional label” that would require any school that receives public funds to be required to show the same results as students in the community public schools.
  • “Choice” is not a reform strategy: Research shows that the schools parents choose are more likely to be the same or even worse than the community public school they leave. Charter school successes such as KIPP Academies and the Harlem Children’s Zone are the exception rather than rule, Gentzel said, and many charter and voucher schools are performing significantly worse than traditional public schools.
  • Local school boards are in the best position to oversee school choice options and hold schools accountable for student learning and finances. Gentzel noted that NSBA supports charter schools and believes local school boards understand local communities’ needs and look out for their interests. Further, according to the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO), a major education research organization, states that empower multiple authorizing agencies are most likely to report the weakest academic results for charters.

The February issue of American School Board Journal discusses the regulation of charter schools and how lawmakers should build policies to avoid abuses of the system and failing schools. For example, in Columbus, Ohio, a record 17 charters closed last year for poor performance. Many of these charters had only been open a few months. Ohio allows for multiple authorizers.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|January 27th, 2014|Categories: Charter Schools, School Boards, School Reform, School Vouchers, Uncategorized|

Video: NSBA’s Massey discusses leadership for new Discovery Education webinar series

Watch the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Immediate Past President C. Ed Massey discuss “adaptive leadership” — the first talk in a new school leadership webinar series by Discovery Education designed to feature innovative leaders in K-12 education. The webinar took place on Jan. 16 and is available online. Massey has served on the Kentucky’s Boone County Board of Education for more than 17 years.

Adaptive leadership is a new form of leadership and governance that accepts and embraces – rather than recoils from — change.

“Adaptive leadership means that we have to have the ability to lead through change,” Massey said.

Massey discussed the many challenges facing education leaders today, his personal take on adaptive leadership, and how educators can foster this style of leadership within their own schools.

Watch the webinar now.

Alexis Rice|January 23rd, 2014|Categories: Announcements, Key Work of School Boards, Leadership, School Boards|Tags: , , , |

NCSBA lawsuit challenges constitutionality of voucher law

The following story was written by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA):

A lawsuit filed on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 in Wake County Superior Court challenges the constitutionality of legislation passed earlier this year that creates a private school voucher program using public funds. Under the legislation, which takes effect in the 2014-15 school year, a private school can receive up to $4,200 in public funding for each eligible student that it enrolls. The legislation does not require that a student struggle academically or attend a poorly performing public school in order to receive a voucher. It also does not require any assurance that public funds will be spent to provide students with an adequate education and one that is offered on a non-discriminatory basis.

The suit was filed by four individual taxpayers, three of whom have children attending public schools, and the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership association that represents all 115 local boards of education in the state and the Board of Education of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.

The legislation initially appropriates $10 million in public funds. The complaint alleges that public funding will rise to $50 million in future budget cycles.

“This challenge raises important questions about the use of public funds and our commitment to North Carolina’s students,” said Shearra Miller, president of the NCSBA and a member of the Cleveland County Board of Education. “By diverting funding from the public schools, vouchers have the potential to significantly damage individual school systems, particularly in smaller districts. As a local board member, I am concerned about the impact that will have on our students. In addition, the voucher program does not ensure that private schools that receive public funding will adhere to our constitution’s promise that students will have the opportunity to receive a sound basic education and will not face discrimination. Given all of these issues, the NCSBA Board of Directors felt strongly that the organization should raise these questions in court.”

The complaint asserts that the legislation violates the state constitution by:

• Using public dollars for a non-public purpose—private education opportunities outside of the constitutionally required “general and uniform system of free public schools;”

• Failing to require participating private schools to adhere to any substantive educational standards or practice non-discriminatory admissions;

• Diverting public dollars from the State School Fund, which is to be used “exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of public schools;” and

• Creating a system of selective secondary educational opportunities that denies students equal opportunities.

 

Staff|December 19th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Educational Finance, Policy Formation, School Boards, School Law, School Vouchers, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , , |

With budget passage, America’s school boards encourage Congress to prioritize education funding

Here is the statement from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel praising the U.S. Senate for passing the budget plan known as the Bipartisan Budget Act, which seeks to restore many of the cuts to prek-12 education:

NSBA thanks the U.S. Senators who put partisan differences aside and approved the Bipartisan Budget Act today. This measure will help mitigate the impact of the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration and restore critical programs to public schools across the nation. We are pleased that President Barack Obama has pledged to quickly sign the bill.

This budget is particularly critical for America’s public schools to continue to improve and educate a growing and diverse population of students. Our economy is dependent on our ability to prepare our next generation of students for college and career readiness in today’s complex global economy. That foundation begins at prek-12 levels.

As Congress now moves forward with the remaining work of the FY14 appropriations process, we urge the Appropriations Committees to write funding bills that prioritize federal education programs that are crucial to helping our most disadvantaged students, specifically Title I and grants for students with disabilities. These federal programs are essential to support long‐standing federal commitments and help offset the recent budget cuts, which have forced school districts to cut academic programs and have disproportionately hurt our neediest students and schools.

We especially thank Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray for their leadership in finding a solution that will help America’s public schools. We support their continued leadership to develop a long-term solution that will sustain federal investments in prek-12 education and put our students first.

Additionally, NSBA, along with other leading national education groups, sent a letter to members of Congress this evening to encourage that education priorities and federal commitments are addressed in the appropriations process.

Alexis Rice|December 18th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, School Boards|Tags: , , , , , , , |

NSBA praises new budget plan for prioritizing public education funding

Thomas J. Gentzel, the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), released the following statement on the bipartisan plan from Congressional leaders that would stop the automatic across-the-board cuts created by sequestration for two years:

“We are pleased to see leaders of Congress reach a budget compromise. This plan is an essential first step in the right direction for prek-12 education and public schools across America. NSBA is urging school board leaders to call upon Congress to approve this plan and stop the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration, which already has reduced funding from K-12 programs and Head Start by $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2013.

“This plan would sustain important educational programs that help close achievement gaps, raise graduation rates, and foster innovative learning environments. NSBA also is calling for a permanent end to sequestration, which has been a disinvestment in our nation’s students and schools.

“We thank Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin for their bipartisan collaboration to restore federal investments in our public schools. This important budget deal is welcome news to many of our school districts and school boards, because it will help to prevent teacher and staff layoffs, continue important after-school programs, and restore essential purchases for classrooms. We value lawmakers’ initial actions to support the success of our nation’s students, and hope to see future plans go even further.”

NSBA is encouraging school board leaders to call both of their senators and their representative regarding the budget agreement and urge them to vote “yes”, in support of the measure that will stop sequestration for two years. School board members can contact their members of Congress through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Alexis Rice|December 11th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards|Tags: , , , , , |

NSBA teaches architects about school boards at EdSpaces event

Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), will deliver an education session at EdSpaces in San Antonio on December 4. The session “Presenting Proposals to School Boards” is aimed at architects and dealers bidding on school design projects to help them bring the proper attention to their firm’s capabilities and expertise.

The start of a new school building project begins with a proposal to the school board that explains an architect’s vision for the site and how it will meet the needs of the student and educator population. Gentzel will provide advice on what architects and designers can do to set themselves apart from their competition and avoid costly mistakes.

“It’s important for architects and designers to understand not only the role of the school board but also the needs of the local community,” Gentzel said. “A school board may want to incorporate features such as environmentally friendly design or build areas for their community’s use, and architects must be able to decifer their needs and deliver those on what are always tight budgets.”

Gentzel noted that a school construction project is a major endeavor for any school district, and districts want designs that will be adaptable in coming decades.

“We’re delighted that NSBA is contributing education content that will help school leaders make the best decision for educational facilities of the future,” says Jim McGarry, President/CEO of NSSEA. “With over 120 school districts attending EdSpaces, school board members will be meeting with the vendors, dealers, architects and designers to discuss how trends are affecting the solutions available for today’s learning spaces.”

The National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA) produces EdSpaces, which is designed as the destination for school district and college officials to meet with manufacturers, dealers, architects, designers, and facilities planners to explore the impact of facilities on learning, discover new products and plan the Pre-K through higher education learning environments of tomorrow. EdSpaces includes a CEU-accredited education conference, led by many of the world’s top architects and designers, and focused on state-of-the-art, sustainable design and creative design/construction solutions. The EdSpaces exhibit hall showcases the most diverse range of innovative products for students of all ages.

For more information on this year’s event, held Dec. 4-6, 2013 in San Antonio, visit www.Ed-Spaces.com.

Joetta Sack-Min|December 4th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Budgeting, Conferences and Events, School Boards, School Buildings, School Security|Tags: , , |

NSBA promotes new vision statement for future of public schools

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has unveiled a new vision statement, “elevator speech,” and guiding principles, important aspects of a unified framework that helps education leaders become better advocates and boosts NSBA’s presence as a leading advocate for public education and school board governance.

A School Board Vision for Public Education

NSBA unveils ” A School Board Vision for Public Education”

The documents were written by NSBA’s Board of Directors to help NSBA members as well as members of the general public advocate effectively for public education.

The Board-approved unified framework aims to build NSBA’s ‘army of advocates’ and influence key federal legislative issues, NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel said in a video showcasing the new documents.

“School boards are different than any other player in the education community,” Gentzel said. “We are not a special interest, our local school board members are elected officials and they have a responsibility to stand up in the community and say ‘here’s what we think needs to happen.’”

Advocates can use the statement and principles in their messages to Congress and the public, as well as to aggressively pursue NSBA’s federal agenda, deal with an emerging environment in Congress, address critical priorities in education and school governance, and promote key strengths of NSBA.

A comprehensive statement entitled “A School Board Vision for Public Education,” lays out the vision and results that public schools should achieve. Those include accountability for the success of each child, closing the achievement gap, continuously meeting high expectations for student achievement and community satisfaction, and providing a safe learning environment that focuses on individualized instruction and protecting the civil rights of each child.

To do this, public schools need capacity to provide effective teachers, technology, and other resources; the necessary funding, research, and technical assistance to meet the educational demands of a dynamic world; active participation by parents and the community; locally elected school boards who work with the community and educators; and state and federal lawmakers who are committed to public education and the goals of their local schools.

A concise “elevator speech” highlights key tenets of the larger NSBA vision statement. NSBA also is printing pocket-size laminate cards for distribution at upcoming meetings and events.

The final part of the unified framework, “Guiding Principles for Implementation,” frames the development of specific resolutions in three key areas: Public Education, Local School Board Governance, and Equity and Excellence in Education.

Watch the video:

Joetta Sack-Min|November 7th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, Leadership, Legislative advocacy, School Boards, School Reform|Tags: , , , |

NSBA, NEA, and AASA issue FAQs to help schools and their employees understand same-sex marriage benefits

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) impacted more than a thousand federal laws providing benefits to spouses. To help school districts across the nation better understand this important ruling and the changes they will need to make, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) has led an effort to develop a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) in partnership with the National Education Association (NEA) and the AASA, the School Superintendents Association, on school district employers’ and employees’ issues related to the DOMA ruling.

The new document, “The Dos and Don’ts of DOMA: FAQs for school systems and employees on the United States Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage” reviews how employee benefits and plan and policy administration are affected by the ruling, including every policy and benefit that defines or refers to marriage or spouses in the application of a federal benefit. As U.S. school districts employ nearly 6.2 million individuals, the ruling has extensive reach.

“School districts are collectively the largest employers in the U.S. and they need to be aware of how this pivotal ruling changes employee benefits and benefit administration,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “This is a major breakthrough in federal employment law, and this document will help clarify the many questions school systems and employees will have as the Court’s ruling is implemented.”

Currently, 14 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages, and the ruling will impact certain federal benefits and rights in all states and could impact collective bargaining agreements. Federal agencies are currently reviewing the ruling under direction from President Obama to implement the Court’s decision “as quickly as possible.”

“The Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor was a major milestone in American history—a monumental decision and a huge step forward for civil rights,” said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. “The National Education Association in partnership with other national labor organizations filed an amicus in the case to document the need for the Court to end the substantial economic discrimination DOMA inflicted on lawfully married same-sex couples. In the wake of the Windsor decision, NEA is pleased to collaborate with the National School Boards Association and the School Superintendents Association on the DOMA Do and Don’ts publication to make sure that school districts and their employees understand how the Windsor decision affects their benefits.”
Key to the DOMA ruling is that employees in a same-sex marriage must receive the same benefits provisions as employees in an opposite-sex marriage, regardless of the state in which they live.

“Married couples should have access to fundamental benefits such as health care and social security,” said Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. “We were pleased to collaborate with the National School Boards Association and the National Education Association on this document because it provides important information for school system leaders and their employees about an important issue that affects many individuals and their families.”

Alexis Rice|October 30th, 2013|Categories: School Boards, School Law, Teachers|Tags: , , , , |
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