Articles in the Teachers category

NSBA’s 2013 Annual Conference to feature Geena Davis, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Diane Ravitch

Registration and housing for the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) 73rd Annual Conference, to be held April 13 to 15 in San Diego, is now open. Join more than 5,000 school board members and administrators for an event with hundreds of sessions, workshops, and exhibits that will help your school district programs and help you hone your leadership and management skills.

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.”

Monday’s General Session features acclaimed researcher and author Diane Ravitch, who has become one of the most passionate voices for public schools. Her most recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, makes the case that public education today is in peril and offers a clear prescription for improving public schools.

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.

Special discounted rates are available for early registrants who sign up by Jan. 10, 2013. NSBA National Affiliate and Technology Leadership Network Districts save even more.

View the conference brochure for more details. Be sure to check the Annual Conference website for updates and more information.

 

 

Report: High-level high school courses and school counseling boost college graduations

Taking high-level math in high school as well as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses can have a dramatic impact on whether a student finishes college, according to a report released today from the National School Boards Association’s  Center for Public Education.

The “persistence rate” for students from above average socioeconomic backgrounds (SES) is 10 percent higher in four-year institutions if they had taken Pre-calculus or Calculus or math above Algebra II in high school. For low SES students, the effect is even greater: Those students who took higher level math are 22 percent more likely to persist in college. And the impact for both groups is even greater at two-year colleges.

In addition to AP, IB, and math classes, academic advising in college has a significant impact on a student’s propensity to stay in college, the report said.

“But we also believe that academic advising can be a great benefit when it starts earlier,” the report said. “Middle and high schools need enough counselors to monitor student progress so they can make sure all students are taking rigorous courses and have the support they need to be successful in them. Counselors also fill an important role in helping students plan for their futures after high school, including help choosing a post-secondary institution that best matches their goals, and navigating the college application and financial aid processes.”

Researchers project that by 2018, America will have produced 3 million fewer college graduates than the labor market demands. But that could be changed by better college outcomes, says Jim Hull, a senior policy analyst at the Center.

“If 90 percent of current freshmen continue and earn a credential, we would have an additional 3.8 million graduates by 2020, enough to meet the labor market’s needs,” Hull said. “This study points to clear-cut ways to help more students continue their work toward a degree, and that process begins in high school.”

Hull coauthored the report with lead researcher Kasey Klepfer, an Archer Graduate Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.

The study identifies three main factors that affect postsecondary students’ chances of staying on track to graduation, particularly for students who enter high school behind most of their peers and who come from families with low socioeconomic status:

  • Academic advising:  For both four-year and two-year students, talking to an academic advisor in college either “sometimes” or “often” significantly improved their chances to persist. Students in two-year institutions increased their chances of staying on track by as much as 53 percent just by meeting frequently with their academic advisor.
  • High-level mathematics: Consistent with previous studies, the Center’s researchers found the highest level of math in high school can be one of the largest predictors of college success. The analysis found that more affluent students who began high school with above average achievement had a 10 percent better chance of staying at a four-year institution if they had taken Pre-calculus or Calculus instead of completing math up to Algebra II, while students from low-income families and lesser academic achievements were 22 percent more likely to persist if they had taken high-level math classes. The impact is greatest for students in two-year institutions:  The persistence rates of students who took Pre-Calculus or Calculus in high school increased by 18 percent for the higher wealth, higher performing group and 27 percent for the lower wealth, lower performing students than had they only completed up to Algebra II.
  • Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate courses:  Taking an AP/IB course had a dramatic effect on students’ chance of persisting even when students fail the end-of-course test. Low achieving and high poverty students who took an AP/IB course were 18 percent more likely to persist in four-year colleges and 30 percent more likely to persist in two-year institutions. The more courses a student took, the higher their persistence rates.
  • Other high school factors also impacted students’ persistence rates in college, including students’ grade point average and the amount of time spent on homework in high school.

The good news is that this study shows actions that school leaders can take to improve their graduates’ chances for success in college,” said Patte Barth, the Center’s director. “Rigorous high school curriculum is important for all students’ future success. And the value of academic advising in college tells us that high schools can get a jump on it by helping their students with their after high school plans.”

Barth added, “Opening these opportunities can have the most impact for students who have traditionally been the least likely to succeed in college — those from low-income families and those who began high school as low achievers.”

The report can be downloaded at the Center’s website: www.centerforpubliceducation.org.

Also check out the upcoming November issue of the  American School Board Journal where this issued will be featured.

Lawrence Hardy|October 11th, 2012|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Center for Public Education, Dropout Prevention, High Schools, Mathematics Education, Student Achievement, Student Engagement, Teachers|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA to host Twitter chat during presidential debate at #debatedenverED

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) will be hosting a Twitter chat during the October 3 Presidential Debate, to be held from 9 – 10:30 pm EDT.

Be a part of this chat by using the hashtag #debatedenverED and share your thoughts about the debate and the emphasis placed on K-12 education. By using #debatedenverED in your tweets, you will be able to join in this virtual conversation. To see the entire conversation stream just go to Twitter and search #debatedenverED.

During the 2012 State of the Union, NSBA hosted a Twitter chat and according to Twitter, education was the top topic discussed. Now help us get education to be the top issue discussed on Twitter during the first presidential debate!

Alexis Rice|October 2nd, 2012|Categories: 2012 Presidential race, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, School Reform, Student Achievement, Teachers, Uncategorized|Tags: , , |

NBC releases details about 2012 Education Nation events

National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Anne L. Bryant and NSBA President C. Ed Massey will participate in the 2012 Education Nation National Summit in New York City next week. The annual event gathers more than 300 representatives from education, government, business, philanthropy and media to discuss issues in the field, and NBC is featuring numerous segments on education on its news broadcasts to coincide with the event.

The event will take place from Sept. 23 to 25 and will be web streamed live at www.educationnation.com. The agenda features a Teacher Town Hall, Student Town Hall, and the premiere of Won’t Back Down with a discussion before the movie. According to NBC News, the event “seeks to create a thoughtful, well-informed dialogue with policymakers, thought-leaders, educators, parents and the public, in pursuit of the shared goal of providing every American with an opportunity to achieve the best education in the world.”

NSBA encourages school board members to participate in conversations about education through NBC’s Facebook page and on Twitter @educationnation and share how school board leadership is making a difference in our public schools.

NBC notes that “Using the wide reach of the NBC News broadcast, and cable, and digital platforms, the 2012 Education Nation Summit will focus on successful examples of innovation in education.  Summit sessions, moderated by top NBC News journalists, and NBC’s on-air programming will highlight a series of case studies from communities across the country, providing tools, and takeaways for participants and viewers.”  Local NBC affiliates also may develop segments on education issues for their local news broadcasts.

On Tuesday morning, there will be “DECISION 2012 at Education Nation” with President Barack Obama sharing his vision for the nation’s education future in a taped interview. GOP presidential nominee Governor Mitt Romney will be attending Education Nation and sharing his vision for the nation’s education future as well as answering questions from Education Nation Summit attendees.

Additional interviews and sessions during the summit include:

  • Interview with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  • Interview with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
  • Interview with San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro
  • Addressing the skills gap: how stronger skills and higher levels of education can power America’s next great economic surge.
  • Higher education quality and accessibility
  • Blended learning, technology, and charter schools featuring former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida
  • One-on-one conversation with General Colin Powell
  • College/career readiness, business engagement, and turnaround schools with Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association and other panelists
  • Discussion on the education and skills with Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles, and Governor Beverly Perdue of North Carolina
  • Early childhood education and parent engagement
  • Wraparound services
  • Discussion of “solutions-driven unionism,” and what that could mean for the future of education, and the challenges ahead with Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers
  • CEO discussion on how the top business visionaries are addressing our education challenges (college and career readiness, and career academies)

For more information and the agenda, read the press release about Summit and schedule details.

Additionally, NBC is promoting that this year’s Education Nation Summit “will highlight 10 case studies of schools and programs from around the country that have implemented focused solutions in their communities, and have seen demonstrable success as a result. Accompanying each example will be a robust digital toolkit with details on each program’s history, how it works and is funded, and its results. Case studies will be incorporated into the Summit program, as well as featured on-air across NBC News, and available for viewing and download at www.educationnation.com  beginning Monday, Sept. 24.”

 

 

Alexis Rice|September 21st, 2012|Categories: Curriculum, Educational Technology, High Schools, Mayoral Control, Online learning, School Reform, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , |

NSBA urges action to prevent across-the-board federal cuts to education

Federal funding for education faces significant across-the-board cuts of an estimated $4.1 billion on January 2, 2013 unless U.S. Congress takes action. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is urging Congress to rescind the across-the-board cuts (sequestration) to education. Impact Aid would face cuts during this school year, and other education programs would face cuts beginning in July of 2013, affecting the 2013-2014 school districts’ budgets. See the U.S. Department of Education’s letter that details the timing. NSBA is encouraging school board members to contact their members of Congress, pass board resolutions, and send a letter to the editor about these drastic cuts to education.

Under the Budget Control Act of 2011 across-the-board cuts of 7.8 percent or more to education and other domestic programs will happen through a process called sequestration (the cancellation of budgetary resources), unless Congress intervenes.

Cuts would include:

  • A 7.8 percent cut to programs such as Title I grants for disadvantaged students would mean a cut of more than $1 billion, affecting nearly two million students.
  • Special education grants would be reduced by more than $900 million, impacting nearly 500,000 children with disabilities.
  • English Language Acquisition grants would be cut by approximately $60 million, affecting an estimated 377,000 students.
  • Sequestration’s budget cuts to these and other education programs would mean increased class sizes and less access to programs for children with special needs, as well as summer school, college counselors, early childhood education and after-school programming.

Most school districts have experienced significant budget cuts already in recent years, resulting in fewer course offerings, thousands of teacher and staff layoffs, four-day school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities, and reduced transportation services, for example. If further budget cuts from sequestration were to occur, several school districts would be forced to cut even more essential services over the long term.

As a school board member, utilize these talking points and background information and take a moment to customize this sample letter and send it to your senators and representative. Also consider customizing and adopting the sample board resolution, take the survey, and edit and send a letter to your local newspaper editor.

Please send NSBA a copy of your adopted resolutions on sequestration along with any published opinions that will help illustrate why Congress should reject sequestration and preserve funding for our schools.

Alexis Rice|September 12th, 2012|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , , , , |

New poll finds strong support for local schools and teachers

The latest Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll on public education shows Americans continue to strongly support their public schools, want rigorous teacher evaluations, support Common Core standards, and are divided about the concept of school choice.

By a considerable margin, the poll showed that a lack of funding is viewed as the biggest challenge facing public schools, cited by 35 percent of Americans and 43 percent of public school parents. The survey’s authors noted that only 23 percent of Americans saw funding as a problem in 2002, the same year that 39 percent cited fighting, gang violence, and drugs as the largest issue in public schools. Only 14 percent of Americans cited those factors as problems in 2012.

Half of the Americans polled said they believe Common Core standards will improve the quality of education in their communities (including 46 percent of those identified as Republicans, 60 percent of Democrats, and 43 percent of Independents).

And for the first time in 10 years, support for charter schools dipped slightly, with 66 percent of Americans overall supporting the schools. But 44 percent of Americans approve of vouchers for private schools, a 10 percentage point jump from last year’s all-time low of 34 percent. And 70 percent of Americans favor giving parents of children in failing schools the option of mounting a petition to remove the administrators and teachers.

In a separate poll conducted by Gallup on the No Child Left Behind Act, more Americans said the law and its testing and accountability requirements have made education worse rather than better. Twenty-nine percent said the law has made school worse, 16 said better, and 38 percent said it hasn’t made much of a difference. Gallup’s annual Work and Education Poll, released Aug. 20, has shown similar results in recent years.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|August 22nd, 2012|Categories: Educational Finance, No Child Left Behind, School Vouchers, Teachers|Tags: , , , |

NJ School Boards Association commends new teacher tenure law

The New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) praised Gov. Chris Christie and legislators for approving a new law that will reduce the time and cost of teacher tenure hearings.

Christie signed the law, called the TEACHNJ Act, on August 6.

“The new law creates an essential link between the tenure process and teacher performance.  It also calls for an objective evaluation system to help ensure consistency,” said Marie S. Bilik, NJSBA executive director, in a written statement. “We commend the bi-partisan effort, and hope to see further reforms in areas such as seniority, which would further strengthen school district leaders’ ability to ensure that the most effective teachers are in the classroom.”

While NJSBA had called for eliminating lifetime tenure and the “last in, first out” rules, the association is pleased with the changes made by this new law, particularly the bill’s emphasis on teacher evaluation and requiring four years of work instead of three before a school employee can initially earn tenure.

According to NJSBA, the legislation requires a superintendent to recommend the filing of tenure charges after consecutive annual evaluation ratings of ineffective.  The ratings are to be based upon an evaluation process approved by the commissioner of education. “This provision represents a major change in how the tenure laws have been applied up to now,” Bilik said.

“This new tenure law is an important step towards ensuring we have a great teacher in every classroom,” Christie, a Republican, said at the signing ceremony. “Now is the time to build on this record of cooperation and results to put in place further reforms focused on our students by ending the flawed practice of last in, first out and supporting both differentiated pay and banning forced placements of teachers.”

CNN reported that New Jersey has the oldest teacher tenure law on the books, first passed in 1909.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|August 8th, 2012|Categories: Educational Legislation, Governance, Legislative advocacy, State School Boards Associations, Teachers|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA: Fordham survey misses the mark on school funding

The National School Boards Association Executive Director Anne L. Bryant was asked to comment on a new survey by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation that shows how members of the public would cut funding for public schools. The survey found that many would prefer to downsize the ranks of administrative staff rather than teachers, freeze teacher salaries, or lay off teachers based on factors other than seniority. Bryant’s response is below.

Looking at the new Thomas B. Fordham Foundation’s survey, “How Americans Would Slim Down Public Education,” it’s abundantly clear that Americans are interested, engaged and supportive of their local schools. There is also an overriding sense that many of these hard choices must be made at the local level with a community’s input–thus showing clear evidence for the need for local school boards.

The authors have created a scenario of choosing between critical programs and staff for public schools—choices such as laying off teachers, instructional leaders, arts and music classes and extracurricular activities. However, this survey is about four years late–many public schools are already operating on a bare-bones administration and have been forced to make tough choices to lay off teachers and cut academic programs. And with the federal government looking to implement sequestration this January, K-12 programs may see further across-the-board cuts.

While reducing the number of administrators seems like the obvious answer, as 69 percent of respondents chose, many of these officials play key roles in developing curriculum, managing services, and performing other duties that are directly tied to student achievement. Like any business, school districts need officials to manage budgets and operations to ensure that students are safe and teachers and principals can focus on their jobs.

The public sent a clear message that they prefer forgoing raises or slight salary cuts for teachers and other staff in lieu of layoffs. We’ve seen many examples of school boards, administrators and union representatives working together to navigate these budget choices. For instance, school board members and officials in the Boone County Public Schools in Florence, Ky., worked with their teachers union on a plan to forgo raises in lieu of layoffs, so that student/teacher ratios could be maintained. The labor-management relationship “is truly a relationship built on trust, accountability and respect,” as school board member and current President of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) C. Ed Massey recently told me, and the board has brought in coaches to help all teachers improve their skills. That’s an investment that has paid off in continuous improvement in student learning and college and career readiness, as evidenced by average ACT scores that have climbed from 19.5 in 2008 to 20.9 in 2012.

Fordham should not be at all surprised at the tepid response for full-time cyber schools, as too many at-risk students are performing poorly, or simply not logging in. The Center for Public Education found in its recent report, “Searching for the Reality of Virtual Schools,”  that emerging research shows dismal results for some schools and there is little accountability for public funds.

One aspect of the survey is particularly flawed. The questions related to support for special education services show that, among other findings, 71 percent say programs should be evaluated on their effectiveness and “replaced” if deemed not effective.

The survey questions ignore the landmark 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)  law that mandates a “free appropriate public education” in “the least restrictive environment” for every student identified with a disability. This was a major victory for students with disabilities who previously had been denied an education or received inferior services. Since the law’s passage the numbers of students with disabilities have increased tremendously, largely because of better diagnoses of conditions such as autism and in part because better medical treatments have allowed some severely disabled students to live and attend mainstream schools. More recent reauthorizations of the law have instilled new accountability requirements onto school systems to ensure that students with disabilities are meeting high expectations.

Yet the federal government has never come close to funding the 40 percent of excess costs for educating these students as lawmakers had promised in 1975. Each year NSBA and thousands of school board members and educators lobby the U.S. Congress to request full funding; however, funding currently stands at $11.5 billion, or about 17 percent, and is in danger of being reduced by $900 million through sequestration. This program has been a priority of both parties, as it frees up state and local funding to be spent on programs that each community deems to be its priorities.

A strong public education system attracts and retains businesses that are essential to local economies. Public schools must have the resources to give our students the knowledge and skills needed for long-term global competitiveness. Our nation’s future economic success depends on how smartly and adequately all levels of government invest in public education today.

Erin Walsh|August 2nd, 2012|Categories: Educational Finance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, Special Education, Teachers|Tags: , , , , , |

Watch inspiring speeches by NSBA leaders on YouTube

Videos of NSBA’s leaders’ speeches given during NSBA’s 2012 Annual Conference, held April 21-23 in Boston, are now available on NSBA’s YouTube channel.

Mary Broderick, NSBA’s 2011-12 President, detailed a letter to President Obama she had written during her term as president, calling for a greater focus on nurturing children’s desires to learn rather than an emphasis on testing.

Speaking at the Second General Session on April 22, Broderick cited examples of federal and state policies stifling children’s motivation and learning through an overemphasis on standards and testing. She called for more focus on motivational research on students, and she also emphasized the need for public education systems to attract and retain good teachers and administrators by giving them flexibility to do their jobs.

Broderick’s letter to President Obama elicited several news stories and hundreds of Twitter “tweets.”

NSBA President C. Ed Massey also engaged attendees with a speech on adaptive leadership and ways that school boards can position their schools to adapt to a constantly changing world. Rethinking the ways the system has operated can improve students’ learning, and ultimately, the nation’s economy, he said at the Third General Session on April 23.

Massey called on national leaders and school board members to “commit to public education as a civil and moral right” and to make education a top priority in policy and budget discussions.

The NSBA YouTube channel also features videos of speeches by leaders and presenters at previous NSBA conferences.

 

 

Joetta Sack-Min|June 22nd, 2012|Categories: NSBA Annual Conference 2012, Teachers|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA signs shared vision for future of teaching

As part of this week’s Labor Management Conference, the National School Boards Association signed a “shared vision” for the future of the teaching profession that outlines seven elements to transform the field.

NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant participated in the opening panel of the conference, held May 23 to 24 in Cincinnati.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the shared vision focuses on three goals, which include ensuring all students should be prepared for college, career, and citizenship; improving opportunities and access to higher education for less privileged students; and preparing all students to be globally competitive. The seven core principles to achieve these goals include:

• A culture of shared responsibility and leadership;

• Recruiting top talent into schools prepared for success;

• Continuous growth and professional development;

• Effective teachers and principals;

• A professional career continuum with competitive compensation;

• Conditions that support successful teaching and learning;

• Engaged communities.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and representatives from six other national education organizations also signed the document.

“The principles outlined in the document represent ways to strengthen and elevate teaching as one of our nation’s most valued and respected professions,” said Duncan.

In addition to NSBA and Duncan, co-signers of the document include the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Council of the Great City Schools, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|May 24th, 2012|Categories: Professional Development, Teachers|Tags: , , |
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