Articles in the State School Boards Associations category

NSBA highlights 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education decision

NSBA’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved a resolution commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, saying it “has had a profound, significant, and beneficial impact on all aspects of life in the United States.”

While the historic decision repudiated the doctrine of “separate but equal” — ruling that separate educational systems, by their very nature, could not be equal — the board noted that “many areas of our nation are still struggling with the vestiges of segregation in American.”

The resolution was proposed by Frank Pugh, Director of NSBA’s Pacific Region, and enthusiastically endorsed by Board President David A. Pickler.

Pugh called the ruling the most important educational decision of the past 100 years and worthy of continued reflection as public schools strive to make a world-class education available to all children, regardless of such difference as race, income, and ethnicity.

“It’s good for school boards to recognize how history has created the type of schools that we have today that are open to everyone and are equitable to all,” Pugh said. At the same time, he added, “there is a lot of work to be done” to ensure that all children have the opportunity to succeed.

The resolution now goes to NSBA’s Delegate Assembly, which meets April 4 at the association’s 74th Annual Conference in New Orleans

The Board of Directors has asked state school boards associations and school districts to issue their own commemorations of the historic civil rights decision made on May 17, 1954, and its resolution “encourages direct student participation through essays, creative arts, lectures, research and writing, community projects, and other activities to foster personal commitment to democracy.”

 

Lawrence Hardy|February 20th, 2014|Categories: Diversity, NSBA Annual Conference 2014, State School Boards Associations|

Report: Pennsylvania’s charters are costly to traditional public schools

Pennsylvania’s growing number of charter and cyber-charter schools do not save school districts money and, in many cases, add to their expenses, says a new report from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA).

“Charter schools do not charge a standard rate for their educational services,” says the report by PSBA’s Education Research and Policy Center. “In fact, the amount paid to charter schools varies greatly by school district, and is often completely unrelated to the actual operational costs incurred by charter schools.”

Tuition payments to Pennsylvania charter schools rose from $960 million in 2010-11 to more than $1.15 billion in 2011-12.

The tuition calculation for charter schools is much the same as for the per-student Actual Institutional Expense (AIE) of traditional schools; however, several cost elements excluded from the AIE —  for example, early intervention, vocational expenditures, and selected federal revenue — are included in the charter school tuition formula, thus driving up the cost of this subsidy, the report said.

“The problem is compounded by the fact that in most cases, less than 30 students from each district building attend charters, meaning districts are unable to reduce overhead costs, such as heating and electricity,” the report said. “Neither are school districts able to reduce the size of their faculty or staff.”

In addition, many students choosing to attend charter or cyber-charter schools were previously attending private schools or being home-schooled, meaning that these tuition payments are “an entirely new expense for school districts,” the report said.

PSBA’s report made several recommendations, among them requesting that the state set “reasonable limits” on the amount of unexpended tuition funds charters can receive from school districts and that these schools be required to return any unused balances to the district that sent them the money.

 

 

Lawrence Hardy|February 12th, 2014|Categories: Budgeting, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Privatization, School Vouchers, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , , |

Massachusetts Association of School Committees’ governance project honored with national award

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) honored the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) for a project that has helped Massachusetts school boards improve teaching and learning in their districts. MASC received a 2014 Thomas A. Shannon Award for Excellence at NSBA’s Leadership Conference in Washington on Feb. 2, 2014.

The Massachusetts District Governance Support Project (DGSP) is a joint initiative of MASC, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This project, which began in 2010 and was fully implemented in 2013, is part of a larger professional development initiative that includes a professional development program for principals, a new superintendent induction program, and a labor management partnership.

“The Massachusetts Association of School Committees has led an important effort to provide school boards with tools to improve their educational programs and operations,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Their project will ultimately lead to stronger public schools and greater student achievement in Massachusetts.”

MASC staff and collaborators produced a seven-part training program which focused on different strategies for the boards to understand and execute their roles in a way to improve outcomes for students. The MASC staff engaged in implementing training throughout the state to ensure that school boards understood the state’s new, comprehensive educator evaluation system. As part of the program, a highly detailed school committee evaluation tool was developed and utilized as well.

“Our goal was to use the research on how boards advance teaching and learning and to make our members part of the solution,” said MASC Executive Director Glenn Koocher. “If we want our democracy to include school governance, it’s a mission that must succeed.”

The Thomas A. Shannon Award, named after a former executive director of NSBA, is a national award for leadership in public education given annually by NSBA.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 2nd, 2014|Categories: Board governance, Educational Research, Governance, Professional Development, State School Boards Associations|

NSBA honors Illinois Association of School Boards leader for 50-year career

Patricia Culler of the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) received the 2014 Thomas Shannon Award for Excellence from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) at its Leadership Conference in Washington on Feb. 2, 2014.

Culler is IASB’s Assistant to the Executive Director and the Director of Meetings Management. She began working at IASB in 1964, when the organization had five employees. Today it has more than 70.

“In her remarkable career, Pat has become an extremely valuable asset to our Illinois affiliate,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Her work and the relationships she has cultivated over the past 50 years have helped build the organization, which in turn improves public schools for the children in Illinois.”

The Shannon Award, established in 1997 in honor of former NSBA Executive Director Thomas A. Shannon, is given annually to recognize extraordinary efforts performed on behalf of NSBA, local school board constituencies, and school communities.

“Pat Culler has demonstrated that one person can make a difference, not only to one state school board association, but to a national mission,” said Roger Eddy, IASB Executive Director. “When she started, IASB was a small organization working out of a few offices.  Now, largely due to Pat’s efforts over the years, it is among the national leaders in fulfilling the mission of excellence in local school governance in support of quality public education. She is retiring after 50 years of dedicated service to IASB and this award is a fitting capstone to an amazing career.”

Culler is responsible for managing IASB’s annual conference, which draws more than 10,000 attendees, and other organization events. She also works closely with IASB’s Executive Director and Board of Directors to facilitate information and communications. Most recently she helped organize events surrounding IASB’s 100th anniversary in 2013.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 2nd, 2014|Categories: Board governance, Conferences and Events, NSBA Recognition Programs, State School Boards Associations|Tags: |

Phil Gore to lead National Connection, BuyBoard

Phil Gore, a former staff member with the Washington State School Directors’ Association, has been named Director of NSBA’s State Association Partnership Services, where he oversees BuyBoard® National Purchasing Cooperative and National Connection, a service that provides high-quality, national resources for school districts.

In his former role as the Washington association’s Director of Leadership Development Services, Gore researched, designed, oversaw, and delivered board development consultation for Washington’s 1,477 school board members. During that time, he led the development of school board standards and a validated board self-assessment based on the standards.  He also led a statewide initiative to develop multiple approaches and instruments for superintendent evaluation in the state.

Before getting into education policy, Gore had a successful 20-year career in church ministry. While he was a local school board member, he returned to grad school to earn a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Washington and is completing his dissertation on the factors and sources of information that school boards consider when evaluating a superintendent.

Gore and his wife, Julie, who have three grown children, live in Alexandria, Va.

 

Lawrence Hardy|January 30th, 2014|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, Educational Finance, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , |

NSBA mourns the passing of longtime colleague Michael Eader

MichaelEader

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is mourning the death of Michael E. Eader, who had previously served as NSBA’s Associate Executive Director for Federation Member Services from 1985 to 1997, passed away Monday.

”Mike worked closely with state associations and built many lasting friendships during his service here and in his roles with state school boards associations and as a consultant to school districts,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “He was truly committed to public education and will be deeply missed by all of us who knew him.”

Most recently, Eader was an international education governance consultant, providing presentations, programs and workshops for NSBA, several state school boards associations, and local school districts. He was executive director of the Florida Association of School Administrators from 2003 to 2005, and executive director of the New Hampshire School Boards Association, from 2001 to 2003.

A native of Michigan, Eader also served as executive director of the Alabama Association of School Boards in the 1980s.

“Mike, a fellow Detroiter, and I go way back,” said Timothy G. Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association. “We met at an NSBA trainers’ conference in Atlanta in the early ‘80s.”

After that meeting, Kremer said that he and Eader were “fast friends and troublemakers from the start.”

“Quick smile, big hug, but also a smart, complex guy,” Kremer said. “I will miss you, Mike.  God bless you.”

Lawrence Hardy|January 15th, 2014|Categories: Governance, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , |

TSBA launches website with parent resources and school information

The Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) has developed a website, MyTennesseePublicSchools.net, with the idea that parents shouldn’t have to spend hours searching for answers to questions they have about public schools. Information should be easy to find. MyTennesseePublicSchools.net is a collection of resources and need-to-know information to help your child succeed in public school. Topics such as “School District and Individual School Information” will help parents and other interested parties get started, and topics such as the “School System’s Leadership” will deepen their understanding of the roles that various school personnel play in the operation of the educational process.

MyTennesseePublicSchools.net was created by TSBA to provide districts with a resource to help parents become acquainted with the Tennessee public school system. Though many of the specific questions parents have can best be answered by contacting the individual school, this site presents general information about how to enroll, understand the school system, and get involved with their child’s education. The site aims to create a comfortable experience for those entering the Tennessee public school system by providing quick access links and various insight on how best to be prepared.

This site has been designed specifically for parents who are new to the Tennessee public school system, and TSBA encourages other state school boards associations and school districts to use and distribute the information as well.

Staff|December 20th, 2013|Categories: Announcements, State School Boards Associations, Student Engagement|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: , , |

CABE leader: Mandela’s life holds important lessons on education

Robert Rader, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), penned this commentary on South African leader Nelson Mandela, who died Dec. 5, 2013, at age 95.

The revered Nobel Peace Prize winner, former leader of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, died yesterday as I write this. His is a story for all of us, from militant leader of the African National Congress and its military wing to long-term prisoner to the first democratically elected president of his nation and to world’s statesman.

But, in that biography, there are lessons for all of us about courage, commitment, communications and compromise. And, yes, about education.

His death holds special significance for me. As you might know, my wife, Megan, was born in South Africa and much of her family still lives there. We visited two years ago and plan to return this summer. I have watched through their eyes this amazing history.

I first went to South Africa in 1980, when Megan and I got married. Apartheid, the separation of the races, was still the law. We were shielded from seeing the worst of this abhorrent system, since whites were not allowed to go into black areas, such as the sprawling city of Soweto.

But, in 2000, years after Mandela’s release from prison in the early 1990s and after he had retired from the presidency, we took a trip to Soweto where we saw his original home, small, yet comfortable, but we were aware that he had been arrested there. It was very moving to think that the man who become such a beloved statesman had lived so modestly.

When we visited in 2010, his 90th birthday was celebrated in the media with articles about Madiba—his clan name, which is used as a sign of respect and affection.

Mandela, who was hunted, brought to trial and convicted twice and spent 27 years in prison, originally on stark, bleak Robben Island, four miles off the coast of Capetown. Contrary to what people might think, he was not a man without anger after his release from prison. However, as Richard Stengel, former Time editor-in-chief and Mandela biographer stated, he knew he needed to hide the bitterness of having been taken away from his wife and children, able to meet with ONE person for 30 minutes ONCE a year and allowed to receive ONE letter every six months. If he was to lead the nation, he could not retaliate for the losses he and other African National Congress leaders and followers had suffered.

It would have torn his nation apart.

To me, this is one of the most amazing feats of “turning the other cheek” in history. Think about it: once he had power, instead of revenge, his government set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—in which whites who had tortured, killed and oppressed blacks, including those in the army or secret police, had to confess their sins. But, after that confession, they served no jail time, were not fined and were allowed to return home. No one was sent to Robben Island.

It is a tourist attraction today.

Mandela gave up his power after one term and even surrendered some authority to his successor before he left office. Like our own George Washington, he understood the need to prepare those who would come after him. He hated the idea of being a President for life, which he could have easily been. That alone is a model for others, especially in Africa, where this does not often happen.

Mandela on Education

In Mandela’s view, education was critical if the blacks of South Africa and others around the world were to thrive. He was an attorney, his legal training at the University of Witwatersrand. Could you imagine what courage that took, especially as he was taunted with epithets and other indignities?

While on Robben Island, this remarkable man learned Afrikaans, the language of his oppressors and studied their thinking and their culture. He felt he had to do this in order to understand his enemies. He became a master of emotional intelligence, able to put himself in the shoes of his jailers.

Thus, the remarkable turning point of getting the support of the whites of Africa came when he emerged from a tunnel into a bright rugby stadium wearing the shirt of the Springboks, the symbol of white South Africa Later captured beautifully in “Invictus”). It was then that he showed in such a vivid way that he “got” it—that he understood the fear and anxiety that whites had in a country where they were suddenly without the power that they had all grown up with.

He spoke many times about education. It was his belief that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” He urged his people to” make every home, every shack or rickety structure a centre of learning”.

The South Africa of today is still a nation with many challenges. When we were last there, we had the chance to visit two schools in the suburbs of Johannesburg.

In a private school, the children had easy access to computers, the rooms had all the supplies the teachers needed and there was a feeling of optimism among those we talked to.

The public schools are dependent on federal funding, which just covers the basics. There was no music, art or athletics in the school we visited, because these are paid for by the community. It was 100 percent black, and though there were caring administrators, there were no supplies in the laboratories and little else that we would take for granted in our country.

That is not a recipe for long-term success for either the students or the nation. But, Mandela’s greatest characteristic might have been his ability to dream of a better future under even ghastly pressure. What he left to his nation, the children in that public school and to us, is the lesson that perseverance, a strong moral compass and the ability to understand and work with others can lead to unheard of success.

For most people, this is the type of legacy that is rarely within a person’s reach. But, even accomplishing a piece of it, whether through our daily lives, our service to others or our willingness to live up to our dreams and, as Lincoln would say, the better angels of our nature, we can help make this a better world for those who come after us.

Goodbye, Madiba. And, thank you.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|December 6th, 2013|Categories: Diversity, Governance, Leadership, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, State School Boards Associations, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |

OSBA: Results for Ohio school ballots “positive,” more districts look to voters for funds

Voters across Ohio approved 116 of 192 school tax issues during the Nov. 5 general election, the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) has reported.

“The overall results for this election are positive, with a 60 percent passage rate,” said OSBA Director of Legislative Services Damon Asbury. “It appears that our voting public understands that local support is a critical part of the school-funding equation.”

The passage rate for school issues on the ballot Tuesday is largely consistent with previous years. Faced with funding challenges, declining revenues and a difficult economy, many school districts are forced to turn to their local communities for support. Ohio schools that struggled on the ballot will likely be forced to make difficult budget decisions, including new rounds of cuts, OSBA leaders said.

“While there are signs the economy is improving in Ohio, many school districts in the state continue to experience funding challenges,” said OSBA Executive Director Richard Lewis. “In many cases, school districts have no choice but to turn to their communities to help maintain the high-quality instruction and services residents have come to expect.”

Some school tax issues approved on Tuesday will not qualify for the 10 percent and 2.5 percent rollback property taxpayers have experienced for decades. The state budget approved by lawmakers this summer eliminated the rollback for new and replacement levies beginning in November. The rollback was adopted in conjunction with the implementation of the income tax in the 1970s; some school leaders worry its elimination will make ballot issues harder to pass. The elimination of the rollback means more of the tax burden will be shifted from the state to local residents.

Joetta Sack-Min|November 6th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Educational Finance, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , |
Page 1 of 41234