Articles tagged with NSBA

NSBA lauds House ESEA bill, but calls to eliminate funding restraints

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) offered support for a House bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which the Education and the Workforce Committee passed June 19. But NSBA is concerned that its funding provisions would stifle federal and state education funding.

This week NSBA sent a letter to Chairman John Kline and Ranking Member George Miller that praised the legislation’s provisions that would help restore local governance and give local school districts more flexibility to improve student achievement based on local needs.

“H.R. 5 builds on the constructive features of [the No Child Left Behind Act] and eliminates many of those requirements that have negatively misdirected the federal role,” the letter states. “However, in supporting passage of the bill out of committee, we strongly urge that the state maintenance of effort (MOE) provisions be reinstated and the hard freeze on authorized funding levels over the six-year duration of the legislation be raised.

The letter also asks that H.R. 5 include the language of the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act, H.R. 1386, which is the NSBA-backed bill that would establish a framework for improved recognition of local school board authority when the U.S. Department of Education acts on issues that impact local school districts unless specifically authorized in federal legislation.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|June 18th, 2013|Categories: Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, Policy Formation|Tags: , , , |

NSBA, Impact Aid districts warn of consequences of federal budget cuts

Federal budget cuts are coming for every school district this fall—but the reality of teacher layoffs and program cuts already are here for school districts that receive Impact Aid.

Two district officials who already have endured the first round of scheduled cuts shared their experiences in a teleconference organized by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS).

NSBA is continuing to lobby Congress through its grassroots network to stop or mitigate sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board cuts that took place when Congress failed to pass a budget in March.

“We urge Congress to develop a plan that not only protects education as a civil right but also as a national security interest,” said NSBA President David A. Pickler, who added that while “federal dollars are going away, the mandates remain.”

Pickler, a member of the Shelby County school board in Memphis, said his district plans to lay off instructional coaches, who work with struggling learners and help prepare students for tests, and behavioral interventionists, who help students with significant behavioral issues.

Impact Aid, the fund that reimburses school districts that lose tax revenue because of federally controlled land, was the only major K-12 program that saw immediate budget cuts; other K-12 programs will be pared down about 5 percent beginning Oct. 1 and will see scheduled decreases over the next 10 years. Some Impact Aid districts have had to cut academic programs, teachers, and paraprofessionals in the middle of the school year.

Karen Gray, the president of the Silver Valley Unified School District’s board, said the district’s preschool that serves many special-needs children had seen the brunt of this year’s cuts. The Yermo, Calif., school district includes a military base, and educating students whose parents are deployed creates additional challenges, Gray noted.

“Our board and staff continuously adjust our finances,” she said. The district has avoided teacher layoffs so far by eliminating jobs through attrition.

Roy Nelson, a school board member in the Red Lake Independent School District in Red Lake, Minn., said his district had eliminated seven teacher jobs and three paraprofessional jobs and scaled back elementary music and tutoring programs.

Parents, though, are concerned about school safety given last year’s shootings in Connecticut and a shooting in 2005 that killed seven students at a Red Lake high school, Nelson said. But the district cannot afford to hire more security guards.

More than 700 school boards have passed resolutions asking Congress to pass a budget that fully funds K-12 education programs. Go to NSBA’s Stop Sequestration webpage for more information and sample resolutions.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|May 23rd, 2013|Categories: Arts Education, Board governance, Budgeting, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, Policy Formation, School Boards|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA Director writes about “Debunking the ‘reform’ agenda’” for ASBJ

In the June issue of American School Board Journal, National School Boards Association Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel writes about the importance of a strong public education system and the forces that make false promises  through “reforms” such as vouchers. Read his “Last Word” column here:

No human enterprise is perfect, and we all are capable of improving. That’s especially true when an institution faces continuing challenges and new demands. Such is the case with public education, which has undergone many

Thomas J. Gentzel

transformations since it was established — from its early agrarian roots, through the Industrial Revolution, two world wars, the cold war, and the Technology Revolution.

We often forget that during most of our nation’s history, public schools were expected to provide basic instruction to all students while preparing some to move on to higher education and the professions. This system of sorting worked well when family-supporting jobs in factories and mills were plentiful. Today, lower skill jobs are hard to find, let alone capable of sustaining a middle class existence.

Now, public schools are expected to do something never asked of them before: educate all students to a very high level. This, of course, is a good and necessary development if our nation is to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Remarkably, America’s public education system has responded to these heightened expectations in ways that once would have seemed nearly impossible. Our commitment to educating every child is unparalleled, as is our effort to help each one reach his or her potential. No other country in the world even pretends to do what Americans demand of our education system. Perhaps not surprisingly, we spend more time focusing on what remains to be done and less on what already has been accomplished. That’s not altogether a bad thing, since it has the effect of pushing educators to continue to improve. Yet, it has had some serious negative consequences, too.

Some critics of public education have relentlessly assailed the institution for failing to educate all children at the levels now expected. Here, we must pause to acknowledge that, despite dramatic gains in student achievement we have witnessed in most places, some schools have not performed nearly as well as they should. These pockets of deficiency are a source of real concern, since they often exist in communities with the greatest challenges, generally. This is a major problem; in fact, it is one that must be addressed in order to ensure all children are prepared to become contributing members of society.

We should have a candid conversation about how to address these issues, and we must work to ensure that every public school in America, regardless of zip code, is an excellent school. We should do these things but, instead, in the current education policy debate, children in these struggling schools have become pawns in a larger effort coordinated by some well-funded interests with an agenda of their own. Many of these “reformers” have pushed hard – and, often, effectively – for solutions that are either untested or have demonstrated only limited success.

How else to explain the drive to create as many charter schools as possible, despite clear evidence that most do not outperform traditional public schools (and in fact, many fare much worse)? Although advocates of tuition vouchers and tax credits argue these measures could provide options for children “trapped” in poorly performing schools, they acknowledge their proposals would help only a small percentage of such students, and they have virtually nothing to say about what should be done for the many who would remain in those schools.

I believe some proponents of the school choice agenda are sincere in their belief that competition will help all schools to be better. Unfortunately, those people are not driving this debate. To be blunt, certain interests that stand to make a lot of money are the ones most actively promoting the privatization agenda. If they were sincerely interested in ensuring that every child in America had access to a great public school where they live, they would be supporting early childhood education, mentoring programs for new teachers, and other investments that have been demonstrated to be effective. That they so steadfastly refuse to do so speaks volumes about what they really want – and that has a lot more to do with them and their own bottom lines than it does with children receiving a great education.

Joetta Sack-Min|May 17th, 2013|Categories: American School Board Journal, Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, NSBA Publications, School Boards, School Reform, School Vouchers|Tags: , , , |

Not much data available on school turnaround models, new CPE report finds

Turnaround strategies for low-performing schools are getting a lot of attention from states and the federal government—which are spending billions of dollars on those efforts. But do these strategies work?

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Center for Public Education (CPE)  finds that while there have been some successes there’s not much evidence yet that many of these strategies will work on a larger scale.

The report, “Which Way Up?  What research says about school turnaround strategies,” reviews numerous methods of school improvement to determine which, if any, hold the most promise, but finds that in most cases it’s too early to tell.

“With the significant federal investment and mandated models to ‘turnaround’ low-performing schools, we have limited research to date on the effectiveness of these strategies and little guidance on what actually works,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel.  “We know that school improvement funding is extremely important, but it should encourage innovation, instead of mandating unnecessary federal restrictions.”

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law has placed a larger focus on turnaround strategies by identifying schools with low performance and sizable achievement gaps. The main federal turnaround program, the School Improvement Grant (SIG), targets schools in the bottom 5 percent nationwide with four models of reform ranging from replacing staff to shutting down a school. These strategies are echoed in the federal Race to the Top grants and so-called Parent Trigger laws being introduced in a handful of states.

One federal study showed that two-thirds of SIG grant recipients posted gains with the infusion of federal funds, but because the report was based on only one year’s data, it was too early to draw conclusions.

“The focus on the nation’s lowest performing schools is vitally important so we can make sure all students have the benefit of a solid public education,” said Patte Barth, CPE’s Director. “In these efforts, education policymakers need to balance the need for evidence-based strategies while tapping the potential for local innovation, especially in cases like turnaround strategies where the data is limited.”

In examining research on the impact of school closure, restart, transformation, and turnaround models, the report concludes:

  • Research is limited. There is some evidence of success, primarily for schools undertaking more dramatic turnaround reforms, but data collected over a longer period of time is needed.
  • The vast majority of SIG schools — about three-quarters are choosing the “transformation model” which provides the most flexibility for local planners.
  • Replacing a majority of teachers—required in the turnaround model—presents challenges for some schools. Rural schools are particularly challenged to find enough teachers to meet the replacement requirements.
  • Rural schools also face difficulties with the restart model since they have limited access to private management organizations. The closure model also may not be feasible if they have no other schools in which to send students. Even in urban areas, a closure model seems to be promising only when students can transfer to schools with higher achievement rates.
  • Replacing a principal may show promise, as some studies indicate principals are second only to teachers in their impact on student learning.  But the strategy is new and again, the data is limited.

NSBA has repeatedly voiced concerns about the U.S. Department of Education’s mandates and overreach, which hinder school officials’ abilities to address their unique local needs. In response to NSBA concerns, the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act (HR 1386) has been introduced and now has 15 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would ensure that the agency engages local school boards much more to preclude federal requirements that are ineffective and beyond local school district capacity.

Joetta Sack-Min|May 1st, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Center for Public Education, Charter Schools, Educational Research, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Governance, Leadership, Legislative advocacy, Mayoral Control, School Reform, Student Achievement|Tags: , , , , , |

Video: NSBA’s Executive Director welcomes school leaders to 2013 Annual Conference

Watch National School Boards Association’s 2013 Annual Conference welcome message from Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel for the opening day of the conference.

Alexis Rice|April 12th, 2013|Categories: NSBA Annual Conference 2013|Tags: , , |

Gun lobby pushes to arm school personnel

School resource officers should receive more weapons training and “selected and designated school personnel” should also be trained and authorized to carry arms, according to a National Rifle Association (NRA) task force report, which was reported by Legal Clips, a publication of the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

The report was released last week as President Barack Obama urges Congress to consider several gun-control measures, which could include increased background  checks and bans on certain assault-style weapons. The Senate could announce compromise legislation as early as this week.

Public schools spend billions each year on school resource officers, according to a report on NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report. One officer could cost between $50,000 and $80,000 per year, depending on the district.

Responding to a gun emergency is a complex, multifaceted task that requires the coordination of trained law enforcement officers and other emergency response professionals, NSBA General Counsel Francisco M. Negrón, Jr. told NPR. “It’s not just simply about being able to defend,” Negrón said, “but about being able to address and respond quickly in the whole security scenario that law enforcement officers are trained to do.”

Lawrence Hardy|April 8th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, School Climate, School Security|Tags: , |

NSBA board members find lessons in Finland’s schools

Three members of the National School Boards Association’s board of directors saw the well-regarded education system in Finland on a recent academic trip. And while the two countries have major differences, there are some important lessons school boards can take away from the Scandanavian schools, said NSBA President C. Ed Massey.

Massey joined a group of researchers and educators from Northern Kentucky University for a guided tour of Finnish schools, where they saw classrooms from early education to postsecondary and career training. He invited fellow NSBA board members David A. Pickler, NSBA’s President-Elect and a school board member from the Shelby County School Board in Memphis, and Kevin E. Ciak, a school board member from the Saylorsville School District in New Jersey, to join the tour.

Massey noted that the country emphasizes the importance of education by giving all children access to high-quality schools from age one through college—and the government pays for it all.

“The biggest thing that struck me was that they only hire the best teachers,” said Massey, a member of the Boone County, Ky., school district’s board of education. “A teacher cannot be hired unless they have a master’s degree, and then they are treated as consummate professionals, on the same rank as a doctor or lawyer.”

Members of NSBA's Board of Directors pose with Bruce J. Oreck, U.S. Ambassador to Finland, on their recent trip. From left, NSBA President-Elect David A. Pickler, Oreck, NBSA President C. Ed Massey, and Kevin E. Ciak.

Students in Finland also learn three languages through immersion by the time they leave elementary school. One thing that schools do not have is sports teams—popular pastimes such as hockey take place in clubs after school. And the schools provide a free lunch for all students, regardless of their families’ income level.

Each school is run by a “counsel” made up of administrators, teachers, and parents, Massey said. A school district is governed by a municipal education board, where members are appointed by the country’s Ministry of Education.

There are some important differences between Finland and the United States that make any comparisons unfair, Massey noted. For one, the country only has about 5.5 million people and 540,000 students—much smaller than even Kentucky, which has more than 670,000 students. The population is largely homogeneous with very little immigration, Massey said, noting that there are 59 different languages spoken within Boone County’s student population.

And—perhaps the most significant difference–Finland pays for all its educational services by taxing its residents at much higher rates than U.S. governments, he added.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|April 4th, 2013|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Board governance, Educational Research, Governance, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Preschool Education, School District Reorganization, School Reform, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , , , , , |

NSBA and NYSSBA challenge unilateral placements in special education case

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is urging a federal appeals court to ensure that school districts are not required to reimburse parents who unilaterally choose educational placements for their children with disabilities if those placements are not appropriate under federal special education law.

NSBA joins the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) in an amicus brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to uphold a lower court decision in C.L. v. Scarsdale Union Free School District. The case was brought by parents who unilaterally placed their child, who has learning disabilities, in a private school then asked the school district for tuition reimbursement. School officials had determined that the child’s disability did not qualify him for special education services under the nation’s main special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law requires students with disabilities to be educated with non-disabled children in a regular classroom to the extent it is appropriate to their educational needs.

“IDEA is intended to promote collaboration between schools and families, and a school district should not be required to pay for an inappropriate private placement that was made without its input,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “A core tenet of IDEA is that students with disabilities should not be cut off from environments that include their non-disabled peers.”

The amicus brief written by NYSSBA responds to a U.S. Department of Justice position that the school district should pay for the restrictive placement unless it proves that there were other less restrictive private placements available to the parents but that those options were rejected without reason.

“School districts recognize the importance of working with families to determine appropriate placements for students with disabilities,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy  G. Kremer. “However, a school district shouldn’t be required to pay for a restrictive  private school unilaterally chosen by a parent.  School officials and parents should be partners not adversaries in this process.”

NSBA’s Legal Clips also has written about the case.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|March 25th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, School Boards, School Law, Special Education|Tags: , , |

NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network announces 2013 class of “20 to Watch”

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) has named its “20 to Watch” honors for 2012-2013. These education leaders from across the country are being recognized for their ability to inspire colleagues to incorporate innovative technology solutions that contribute to high-quality learning environments and more efficient school district operations.

“The ’20 to Watch’ honorees offer school board members and other leaders real-world stories that help them evaluate the intersection of policy and practice when it comes to today’s emerging technologies,” said Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Educational Technology. “These early adopters are naturally curious about technology’s potential to help transform learning and exhibit traits that inspire and motivate their colleagues to join them on the journey. Their voices and experience will inform local, district, and state approaches to education technology decisions for years to come.”

NSBA established the “20 to Watch” program in 2006. This year’s honorees will be recognized at 2013 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference on March 11th in San Diego and also at TLN-hosted luncheon at NSBA’s 2013 Annual Conference, also in San Diego, this April. TechSmith Corporation is sponsoring the “20 to Watch” celebration events and is providing software scholarships to the honorees.

The 2012-2013 honorees are (listed by state/territory):

Arizona:
Andrew Chlup, Director of Technology, Vail Unified School District, Ariz.
As the primary architect behind the Beyond Textbooks initiative, Andrew Chlup is among the national leaders transitioning from print to digital resources. New projects that can improve education include helping the community’s homeschooled students participate through blended learning, delving deep into the district’s Big Data, and finding other “cool stuff,” according to his superintendent.

Illinois:
Keith Bockwoldt, Director of Technology Services, Township High School District 214, Ill.
Collaborator and visionary are two terms used to describe Keith Bockwoldt’s leadership style, which has saved his district more than $120,000 annually by moving to the cloud. He also has successfully shown the district’s senior leaders how technology can transform learning, and he has established systems that support and inspire teachers to embrace iPads and “flipped” classes.

Indiana:
Ann Linson, Superintendent, East Noble School Corporation, Ind.
As an innovative technology leader, Superintendent Ann Linson has inspired her teachers to abandon textbooks, flip classes, and embrace the district’s 1:1 learning initiatives by providing professional development through building-level peer coaches. She is leading an online course pilot for current students and the homeschooled students in her community.

Theresa Shafer, Online Community Manager, New Tech Network, Ind.
From starting weekly international Twitter chats about project-based learning (#PBLChat) to using Pinterest boards for education, Theresa Shafer casts an ever-expanding net to willingly share what she knows about social media with colleagues and community members. Helping students think about the kind of digital footprint they are creating and how it might impact the future they desire has been a special focus.

Kansas:
Kelly Williams, Teacher, USD 115 Nemaha Central Schools, Nemaha Valley High School, Kan.
Kelly Williams’ blog has been an invaluable resource that has helped teachers understand that changing instruction from teacher-centered to student-centered is a complicated, but worthwhile, process. In his blog, he has discussed strategies to use technology, from iPads and social media to cloud-based tools and flipped classes.

Kentucky:
Ed Bonhaus, Technology Integration Specialist, Kenton County School District, Ky.
Ed Bonhaus provided critical firsthand knowledge about technology in Kentucky’s Race to the Top grant process. But he didn’t stop there—he is now providing online professional development and working on the first flipped classroom for the Kentucky iTunes campus. And inspired by what he saw during NSBA’s site visit to the Clark County (Nev.) School District in 2012, he is pursuing a vision to transform a low performing elementary school with minimal technology into a 21st century school.

Missouri:
Dr. Robert Dillon, Principal, Maplewood Richmond Heights School District, Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School, Mo.
Robert Dillon, “story-teller-in-chief,” provides a constant flow of information to parents and community members about the positive work of students in his school’s 7-year-old 1:1 program, where they engage and document authentic learning by bringing technology to the field, and using social media and digital story telling as teaching tools. His work with teachers to create electronic portfolios also provides a platform for deep reflection by students.

Nevada:
Jhone M. Ebert, Chief Technology Officer, Clark County School District, Nev.
Jhone Ebert embodies the essential skill set for a Chief Technology Officer, as she recognizes her primary role is to evaluate and implement technology solutions that further advance student achievement. In Clark County, the nation’s 5th largest school district, that includes supporting a robust infrastructure and a virtual school, introducing a more effective web presence, and leading the move toward competency-based education and blended learning.

New Jersey:
Jeanine Gottko, Master Technology Teacher, Westfield Public Schools, N.J.
The 21st century learning environments thrive at Westfield’s elementary schools, as Jeanine Gottko supports teachers in and out of their classes, in professional development sessions, and through her online resource blog as part of a $1.2 million technology initiative. By ensuring technology was effectively incorporated into the district’s other grant on literacy, her work serves as a model for others.

Kenneth Zushma, Technology, Design and Pre-Engineering Teacher, Livingston Public Schools, Heritage Middle School, N.J.
Although gender equity remains a concern for most STEM initiatives, Kenneth Zushma’s female engineering club, FemGineers, is inspiring a new generation of middle school girls to get involved and is boosting their confidence and achievement. The club participates in competitions like the National Engineers Week Future City Design Challenge that uses SimCity software, analysis and scale models to create a solution for an engineering problem.

New York:
Jenny M. Buccos, Executive Director & Founder, ProjectExplorer.org, N.Y.

Since 2006, ProjectExplorer.org founder Jenny Buccos has provided free resources through technology that encourage students to become aware of the world beyond their own communities by using video, photography, vocabulary, and lesson plans. After directing and producing more than 400 of these short films, her international work has been described as a “positive voice in a sea of global misunderstanding,” and is used across the United States and in more than 40 countries.

Jayne Clare, Special Education Teacher, Southampton Union Free School District, Southampton Intermediate School, N.Y.
Jayne Clare’s room was once described as “magical” by a colleague who observed students with multiple learning problems effortlessly navigating technology she had tailored to their needs. With time, that expertise blossomed into support for district technology initiatives, including iPad integration for grades 6-8, and the creation of her influential Teachers With Apps site.

North Carolina:
Jayme Linton, Director of Teacher Education, Lenoir-Rhyne University, N.C.

Building on years of practical experience in K-12 settings, Jayme Linton is training a new generation of teachers to effectively integrate technology into their classrooms and assume leadership roles with their peers. Her influence extends beyond her students as she shares and learns from others in her Personal Learning Network and works with in-service teachers in local schools and districts.

Ohio:
Jeremy Shorr, Educational Technologist, Mentor Public Schools, Ohio
Jeremy Shorr knows how to match the latest and most effective technology tools to the research-based Common Core resources and strategies to meet students’ and teachers’ instructional needs. Currently, Jeremy is working to deploy a district-wide 1:1 initiative as well as a building-wide blended learning environment at the middle school level.

Pennsylvania:
Dr. L. Robert Furman, Principal, South Park School District, South Park Elementary Center, Pa.
World Future Society member, author, and principal L. Robert Furman believes technology should be embraced as a standard educational practice. He leads by example, presenting the latest technological tools to inspire his teachers, engage his parents, and enrich learning each day for his students. He shares his ideas, both virtually and in person, with audiences across the country.

Thomas Stauffer, Director of Technology Services, Dallastown Area School District, Pa.
Students can have an entirely online educational experience, thanks to Thomas Stauffer’s work to develop the district’s virtual academy, or they can elect various blended courses that may better meet their needs. He has been instrumental in developing technology applications for administrators to use in their walk-through observations as the state moves towards a new teacher evaluation system.

South Carolina:
Dr. Christopher Craft, Teacher, School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, CrossRoads Middle School, S.C.
In Christopher Craft’s innovative middle school STEM program, students work on cutting-edge technologies such as building functioning hydrogen fuel cell model cars, app development for smart phones, and video game creation. His after-school program encourages at-risk students to explore robotics and reflects his belief that when children are provided with the appropriate technological tools, their potential is unlimited.

Texas:
Stephanie Green, Assistant Director Educational Technology/Director Library Services, Klein Independent School District, Texas

Stephanie Green has been instrumental to the district’s 1:1 tablet PC program serving more than 12,000 students and 700 teachers to make digital learning the norm. Her role takes on even greater significance as she shares that experience with state legislators through the Texas Capitol School House project. She has also led the transformation of the district’s libraries into 21st century learning and support centers.

Todd Nesloney, Fifth Grade Teacher, Waller Independent School District, Fields Store Elementary, Texas
While lots of teachers are “flipping” their classes, few have been as successful as Todd Nesloney’s effort. He earned a $100,000 grant that provided fifth grade students on his campus (where 66 percent of the students are on free and reduced lunch) and others in the district with an iPhone 4, pre-loaded Verizon data plan and internet access at home. A founding partner in the training company, The 3 Tech Ninjas, Todd is committed to sharing his experience with other educators.

Wyoming:
London Jenks, Science Teacher/Director of Technology, Hot Springs County School District 1, Thermopolis High School, Wyo.

Project-based learning, a paperless classroom and the effective integration of iPads into instruction are typical features of London Jenks’ science classes. But they also are among the ideas he shares with district colleagues in his role as Director of Technology, where he works with other educators to increase student engagement and academic rigor through the use of technology.

Since 1987, TLN has served local district leadership teams that establish policy and implement technology decisions to enhance teaching and learning, administrative operations, and community outreach.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|March 4th, 2013|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Educational Technology, Social Networking, Teachers, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , |

School boards look for more ways to cut budgets as sequester becomes reality

With across-the-board federal cuts taking effect today through sequestration, school boards will need to make tough budget decisions to account for the decrease in federal education funding. As school boards begin to craft budgets for the 2013-14 school year, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is calling for Washington leaders to work out a deal to ensure schools are able to continue programs and avoid teacher and staff layoffs.

“Congress and the Obama administration must act now to alleviate these cuts to education before school districts have to issue pink slips and inform parents that vital programs and resources are going to be cut,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director. “These new federal cuts to education will push back the progress our school districts have made in student achievement. School districts are going to have to make difficult choices as they develop their budgets for the next school year, and for years to come as the cuts continue.”

More than 700 school boards have passed resolutions urging Congress to avoid the sequestration process, which will now impose across-the-board cuts of about 5 percent to education and other domestic programs beginning in FY2013. Nationwide, K-12 programs and Head Start would face almost a $3 billion reduction for Fiscal Year 2013, according to the White House. These new cuts are an additional reduction to federal funding for education, as K-12 education programs were already reduced on the federal level with cuts to education funding in Fiscal Year 2011.

According to Feb. 14 written testimony by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Title I federal grants for disadvantaged students would be cut by $726 million, reducing instructional support to almost 1.2 million educationally disadvantaged children and eliminating more than 10,000 teachers and aides, and special education funding would be reduced by $579 million, shifting those costs to states and school districts. These federal budget cuts are scheduled to continue through 2021 and will have a substantial effect on our schools, eroding the base of funding for key programs year after year.

Earlier this week, NSBA President C. Ed Massey, a school board member for the Boone County Schools in Florence, Ky., was featured on NPR discussing the impact to his school district from sequestration noting that he expects to see a significant hit — between $1.1 and $1.3 million to Boone County Schools which would be a loss of approximately 15 teachers.

Joetta Sack-Min|March 1st, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Policy Formation, Student Achievement, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , , , |
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