Articles tagged with Thomas J. Gentzel

U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action ruling hampers diversity policies, NSBA says

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action will embolden groups opposing diversity to push for state constitutional proposals that could restrict or invalidate local school board-initiated policies that help facilitate diversity in public schools.

By upholding a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans the use of racial preferences in college admissions, the Supreme Court’s decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action on April 22, could limit school districts from adopting diversity policies by prohibiting the consideration of race and other factors in public education.

“The academic goal of diversity benefits all students, not just racial or ethnic minorities,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Diversity promotes student achievement both through improvement on standardized test scores in the short term and as preparation for participation in a pluralistic, democratic society.”

NSBA had urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Michigan’s Constitutional amendment in an amicus brief in the Schuette case . NSBA argued that instead of protecting the rights of public school students, the ill-conceived Michigan amendment would limit students’ opportunities by interfering with local control of education and local school boards’ abilities to design voluntary policies promoting the academic benefits of diversity.

“These kinds of state constitutional amendments will limit the use of race and therefore greatly limit the ability of schools to implement diversity policies that work,” said NSBA General Counsel Francisco M. Negrón, Jr. “We are concerned that in places that pass these kinds of constitutional provisions, public schools that want to maintain diversity policies will have to show that there is specific, invidious, or aggravating injury to minorities in order for those policies to pass a constitutional test.”

Negrón noted that school diversity policies can still exist under the Schuette ruling as long as they comply with the 2007 Supreme Court ruling in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, which stipulated that policies must be narrowly tailored to achieve academic benefits for all students.

Read more details about the ruling in NSBA’s Legal Clips.

Alexis Rice|April 23rd, 2014|Categories: Diversity, School Boards, School Law|Tags: , , , , , |

NSBA elects board leaders: Anne M. Byrne of New York to serve as president

School board leader Anne M. Byrne of New York’s Nanuet Union Free School District was named the 2014-15 President of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) at the association’s Annual Conference in New Orleans.

John D. Tuttle of Oklahoma’s Kellyville Public Schools was elected President-elect and Miranda Beard of Mississippi’s Laurel School District was elected Secretary-Treasurer by NSBA’s 150-member Delegate Assembly. Additionally, David A. Pickler of Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools, who served as the 2013-2014 President, will now serve as Immediate Past President.

Byrne has been a member of the Nanuet Union Free School Board for 32 years and has served as Vice President and President. She has served as President and Vice President of the Rockland County School Boards Association. She is also an executive board member and a past President of the Mid-Hudson School Study Council. She is a founding member of the Hudson-Long Island Coalition for responsible state funding, a nine-county coalition, and served as its chair.

In addition, Byrne has served as President during 2004-2005 followed by a term as Immediate Past President of the New York State School Boards Association. Byrne joined the National School Boards Association’s Board of Directors in 2006.

In the one-year term as NSBA President, Byrne plans to help NSBA become a “reservoir of research” for how engaged school boards positively affect student achievement. Byrne spoke at Annual Conference about how she wants NSBA to become an even greater advocate for public education.

“Research very clearly says that if a school board expects each child in their district to be successful and they devote the time, it happens. But school boards have to have that vision first,” said Byrne. “Once we make the decision to focus on leading children to excellence and turning around low-performing schools, we have an opportunity to change the conversation about public schools with the media and the public.”

NSBA’s Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel praised Byrne’s dedication to public education and school board governance.

“As a committed advocate for student achievement and school improvement, Anne Byrne is a champion for delivering quality education for all children starting at the local level,” said Gentzel. “Anne is the type of leader who will stand up for public education and engage in productive dialogue with school boards about how we can help all children to succeed.”

NSBA’s Delegate Assembly also elected the following school board members as regional directors to NSBA’s Board:

• ElizaBeth D. Branham of South Carolina’s Lexington School District Two was elected as a Southern Region Director;

• Anne Ritter of Idaho’s Meridian Joint School District #2 was elected as a Western Region Director;

• Viola Garcia of Texas’s Aldine Independent School District Board Member was elected as a Southern Region Director; and

• Charles Wilson, of Ohio’s Worthington School District was elected as a Central Region Director.

Serving as NSBA ex-officio directors on the NSBA Board for 2014-2015 will be: Van Henri White of New York’s Rochester City School District as the Chair of the Council of Urban Boards of Education; Ellis A. Alexander of Louisiana’s St. Charles Parish Public Schools as Chair of the National Black Caucus of School Boards; Guillermo Z. Lopez of Michigan’s Lansing Public School District as Chair of the National Hispanic Caucus of School Board Members; Gregory J. Guercio of New York’s Law Offices of Guercio & Guercio, LLP as the Chair of the Council of School Attorneys; Karen Echeverria of the Idaho School Boards Association as the Chair of the Organization of State Association Executive Directors’ Liaison Committee; and NSBA’s Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|April 10th, 2014|Categories: Announcements, Board governance, Governance, Leadership, NSBA Annual Conference 2014|Tags: , , , , , , , |

NSBA offers sympathies for victims in school stabbing incident

According to news reports, a teenage student went on a stabbing rampage at Franklin Regional Senior High School in Murrysville, Pa., seriously injuring at least 20 people. At the request of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) released the following statement on April 9:

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the 20 students and staff seriously injured in today’s stabbing rampage at Franklin Regional Senior High in Murrysville,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “As the police, school and local community begin to piece together facts on what led to this horrific crime, it is important to emphasize how rapidly the school district mobilized to keep district students at all levels – middle, high school, and elementary – safe.”

“While such violence is unimaginable, parents, families and the Pittsburgh community should take comfort in the rapid responses of the school principal and the school resource officer to contain the high school sophomore identified as the suspect. While America’s public schools are still one of the safest places we can send our children, this shows why when the unimaginable occurs, having strong safety plans and procedures in place has the power to save lives and protect communities.”

 

 

Joetta Sack-Min|April 9th, 2014|Categories: Announcements, Crisis Management, School Climate, School Security, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , , , , |

Video: NSBA’s Executive Director welcomes attendees to the first day of 2014 Annual Conference

In his video welcome message to the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) 2014 Annual Conference, Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel’s discusses the reshaping of NSBA as an organization and the strategic launch of the “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” national campaign earlier this spring.

Gentzel describes the first General Session, where attendees will hear from globally recognized journalist and New York Times bestselling author Thomas Friedman, who will share his insight into how our schooling has changed in the last century.

In addition to attending the General Session, attendees should be sure to walk through more than 260 vendors in the “NSBA Campus”. Gentzel encourages attendees to download the NSBA conference app for easy browsing of the conference program book; the app is available for mobile phones and tablet devices.

Watch the video:

Alexis Rice|April 5th, 2014|Categories: Multimedia and Webinars, NSBA Annual Conference 2014|Tags: , , , |

NSBA Executive Director tours successful schools, community partnerships in Cleveland

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel saw firsthand the successes of an urban school district during a tour of  high-performing schools in Cleveland last month.

Gentzel met with Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD) CEO Eric Gordon and CMSD Board Chair Denise Link in addition to CMSD board members Willetta Milam and Robert Heard. Milam also sits on the steering committee for NSBA’s Council for Urban Boards of Education.

Gentzel was particularly impressed with the school district’s emphasis on student achievement and its innovative programs.

“I toured schools in an urban district that clearly is achieving significant gains in student achievement, thanks to a reform plan that enjoys broad community and political support,” said Gentzel. “I was especially impressed with the district leadership’s commitment to being held accountable in very public ways for their work.”

One school even had a “countdown clock” for student achievement, he added.

Other exceptional programs included dual-language elementary programs, a partnership with Cleveland State University, and the district’s pioneering partnership with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Gentzel toured the museum with Ohio School Board Association Executive Director Rick Lewis to learn more about its curriculum, which integrates rock n’ roll into prek-12 lessons, from business to technology to English/language arts. A lesson might ask students to build a persuasive argument for their favorite band to be admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or teach business and contract management skills.

Lewis, for one, noted that  “a feeling of excitement and optimism for the future flourishes throughout the CMSD.”

“The Board of Education and community have collaborated to create several standout schools and programs that offer assurances for higher student achievement,” he said. “As you walk through the halls of these schools, you can’t help but feel the contagious spirit of faith and energy. The results of their transformational plan show that excellence is possible even in an urban district with enormous socio-economic challenges.”

Gentzel toured two top-performing schools, Buhrer Dual Language School and Campus International School on the campus of Cleveland State University.

Buhrer Dual Language School is a K-8 school with the first dual language education program in Ohio. All classes are taught in English and Spanish, and Buhrer students become proficient in both.  Students earn high school credit in Algebra I and Spanish I.

Situated on Cleveland State University’s downtown campus, Campus International School, is the only International Baccalaureate candidate school in the CMSD and prepares students in grades K-6 for international citizenship with a rigorous and comprehensive global curriculum. Each year the school adds a grade level until it will become a K-12 school.

“Our Board members and our CEO appreciated the opportunity to meet with Tom to discuss our school district’s ongoing transformation plan and our efforts to increase the number of high-performing schools in Cleveland,” said Link.

 

 

Joetta Sack-Min|April 2nd, 2014|Categories: Assessment, Curriculum, Dropout Prevention, Governance, High Schools, Urban Schools|Tags: , |

School boards encourage FCC to modernize E-rate program

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel issued the following statement on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Public Notice on the Wireline Competition Bureau Seeks Focused Comment on E-rate Modernization to modernize the E-rate program and increase the quality and speed of Internet connectivity in our nation’s schools.

For nearly twenty years, NSBA has supported the goals of the E-rate program to increase Internet connectivity and provide digital learning opportunities to underserved students, schools and libraries. NSBA also is steadfast in its support for the ConnectED initiative and Broadband deployment in education, so that students are prepared to be competitive and successful in the global marketplace.

To assure that these goals can be met, NSBA renews its call for the FCC to address the funding needs of schools and libraries. Other than inflationary adjustments authorized in 2010, there has been no increase in the $2.25 billion cap on E-rate resources since the program’s inception in 1996, and demand has consistently been much higher than the available funding. The current demand is $4.9 billion.

Modernization of E-rate is essential to increasing the quality and speed of Internet connectivity and to close technology gaps that remain, and NSBA will carefully consider the FCC proposal to explore a new future for the program. However, NSBA cautions against redirecting static resources without regard to the impact on the beneficiaries of the E-rate program – high-need students, schools and libraries.

E-rate has been successful largely because it allows school boards and other district and school leaders to make decisions based on their students’ and local communities’ needs. The Public Notice acknowledges NSBA’s position that local decision making has been one of the hallmarks of the E-rate program. Any changes to the E-rate program should not undermine innovation by local school districts through mandates and should maximize local flexibility.

Alexis Rice|March 6th, 2014|Categories: Educational Technology, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs|Tags: , , , , , |

Watch NSBA discuss digital learning at Discovery Education’s Future@Now

National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel is a featured panelist at Discovery Education’s second annual Future@Now forum, where he and other K-12 education leaders will discuss the transition from traditional classrooms to digital classrooms and the critical steps necessary to successfully implement digital learning.

E931FA4B-6A7C-4150-ACBF-6A983511A493-1Future@Now: Roadmap to the Digital Transition is designed to give educators the opportunity to hear practical advice and real success stories from K-12 and technology educators. This event takes place Feb. 26 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Rep. George Miller, Broad Prize Winner Superintendent Alberto Carvalho of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and leaders from other national education groups will participate as well. Duncan will lead attendees on a live visit to a digital classroom in Washington D.C. Panels will include student discussions of technology, how to transition to digital learning, creating a culture and community of change, developing teacher leaders, and integrating digital resources into the classroom.

The free event also will be live-streamed at Discovery Education. Register today to watch.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 21st, 2014|Categories: Curriculum, Data Driven Decision Making, Educational Technology, STEM Education, Student Achievement, Student Engagement|Tags: , , , |

Celebrities showcase public education in NSBA’s national campaign

In partnership with its state associations, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) has launched www.standup4publicschools.org, an all-new national campaign to highlight the success of public education. The campaign features advertisements with celebrity advocates and public school graduates to tell their stories of public education.

“Great public schools reflect the will of local communities and the strong governance of local school boards dedicated to advancing student achievement,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “This is an excellent vehicle for NSBA and our state associations to connect to share the great things happening in America’s public schools.”

Sal Khan ad ad

Sal Khan, founder of the not-for-profit Khan Academy, is a campaign advocate

Sal Khan, founder of the not-for-profit Khan Academy, is the campaign’s first celebrity advocate. Two other household names have joined upcoming phases of the campaign: basketball legend and business mogul Earvin “Magic” Johnson and talk show host and celebrity spokesperson Montel Williams. State school boards associations will be highlighting local celebrities in their campaigns as well, and more celebrities will be joining the national campaign over the next year.

“NSBA’s campaign intends to counter the aggressive, well-funded attacks on public education with national and local outreach that supports local school board governance and honors the achievements of America’s public schools,” Gentzel said.

The campaign operates against a simple premise: “Who I am today began with public education,” paired with the rejoinder, “Today’s public schools are better than ever.”

In one of the advertisements featuring Khan, he notes that “People talk about college and career readiness, but both are just a means to an end. What we really need to talk about is life readiness.”

The campaign website, www.standup4publicschools.org, includes more details on the campaign and how individuals can get involved and take action to support public schools.

Joetta Sack-Min|February 19th, 2014|Categories: Announcements, Leadership, Public Advocacy|Tags: , , , , , |

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: , , , , |

NSBA featured in major media on school choice concerns

After Republicans introduced legislation that would allow states to send up to $24 billion in federal funding toward school choice programs, National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel offered a reality check on the performance of charter schools, vouchers, and other measures. Gentzel appeared on Fox News and was quoted in The Washington Post and The New York Times stories on the measure.

“We certainly haven’t seen any consistent evidence anywhere in the country that these kinds of programs are effective or producing better results,” said Gentzel, who appeared on a segment during Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier on the Senate proposal, introduced this week by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has introduced legislation in the House that also would include some students with disabilities and use funds from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Watch the video segment.

In the New York Times article, Gentzel countered proponents of school choice who claim that traditional public schools have not improved fast enough, and that low-income families should have other choices.

“The big issue is really that lack of accountability,” Gentzel told the Times. “Frankly, our view is every child should have access to a great public school where they live.”

In The Washington Post, Gentzel discussed Alexander’s proposal, the “Scholarships for Kids Act,” which would allow states to create $2,100 scholarships from existing federal K-12 programs, including Title I, to “follow” 11 million children whose families meet the federal to any public or private school of their parents’ choice. The total cost would be $24 billion—41 percent of the current federal education allotment.

“School choice is a well-funded and politically powerful movement seeking to privatize much of American education,” he told the Post. “We’re not against public charters, and there are some that are well-motivated. . . . But our goal is that public schools be schools of choice. We need to invest and support public schools, not divert money and attention from them to what amounts, in many cases, to experiments.”

Reginald Felton, NSBA’s Interim Associate Executive Director for Federal Advocacy and Public Policy, also told Governing magazine that Title I would inevitably face cuts under Lamar’s plan, along with other programs that benefit disadvantaged children. For states that would choose not to opt into the proposed program, that means less money is available for their most vulnerable populations, he said.

“It’s hard for us to believe that a $24 billion reallocation could exist without drastically reducing funding for Title I students,” he told Governing.

The Ohio Schools Boards Association (OSBA) recently showcased how funding to choice programs hurts neighborhood public schools. In its December newsletter, OSBA notes, “Ohio Department of Education data shows traditional public schools will lose more than $870 million in state funding to charter schools in fiscal year (FY) 2014. That’s an increase of 5.4 percent over FY 2013, when approximately $824 million was transferred from traditional public schools to charters. This increase comes amid ongoing reports of charter school mismanagement, conflicts of interest and felony indictments and convictions.”

According to CREDO (Center for Research on Educational Outcomes) research on charters, states that empower multiple authorizing agencies are more likely to report the weakest academic results for charter schools. Local governance – enacted by local school boards – offers transparency and accountability along with a direct focus on student achievement versus profit.

In 2008, 64 percent of Ohio’s charter schools were on academic watch or emergency status, compared to 9 percent of traditional public schools, according to “The Regulation of Charter Schools” in the Jan./Feb. issue of American School Board Journal.

While the state changed its regulations in 2008, ASBJ cites the case of Hope Academy Cathedral, a K-8 charter school in Cleveland, as an example of the loopholes that exist in Ohio’s charter law. The school was ordered to close in 2011 after repeatedly being rated as in “academic emergency.”

Less than two months later, a new K-8 charter — Woodland Academy — opened in the same building, with 15 returning staff members, the same authorizer, and the same for-profit management firm, wrote ASBJ Senior Editor Del Stover. In its first year of operation, the new charter school also was judged to be in academic emergency.

 

 

Page 1 of 512345