February 26, 2008

Idaho Governor to Make Governance Changes

Idaho “’Gov. C.L. "Butch’ Otter said Monday he plans to make changes to the State Board of Education,” reports the Times-News.

February 22, 2008

Spellings and State Boards

This is the second state board of education meeting in a week Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has attended. One more and it will officially be a trend. http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/02/02212008.html

February 20, 2008

Texas State Board Member Pat Hardy gets the endorsement of the Star Telegram in the upcoming Republican primary.


February 19, 2008

Children, Poverty and Learning

“Poverty in early childhood poisons the brain,” says the American Association for the Advancement of Science by way of the Financial Times.

School Lunch Meat Recalled

143 million pounds of meat are being recalled – some which was consumed in the school lunch program - because of a slaughterhouse’s use of sick cows. “Agriculture officials said there was little health risk from the recalled meat because…much of the meat had already been eaten,” reports the NY Times.


No Knee Jerk Reaction

The conventional wisdom regarding ACL injuries in youths – that they rarely occur - is all wrong according to this NY Times article. In fact, diagnoses are on the rise thanks to MRIs and the increased risk of year-round sports competition. And girls are more susceptible (8x more susceptible) to the injury than boys. The results have big implications for a child’s growth and development, to say nothing of their future participation in athletic activities.


February 15, 2008

Tough Times in West Virginia

Marc Tucker, author of Tough Times, Tough Choicesis trying to convince the West Virginia State Board of Education to adopt some of the dramatic recommendations in that report. Among them: allowing high school students to forego their last two years of school if they pass a graduation test, raising teacher salaries above $100,000, and having school boards transfer most educational services to private vendors.

California State Board Member Reappointed

“James Aschwanden, 53, was reappointed Thursday to the state Board of Education by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Aschwanden has served on the board since 2006 and has served as executive director of the California Agricultural Teachers Association since 2003,” reports the Record.

Action in Jackson

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is in Mississippi today to meet with the State Board of Education and other school leaders.

February 14, 2008

KY Commissioner Withdraws Request for More Time

“Kentucky Education Commissioner Jon Draud today withdrew his request for additional time off.

Draud had asked the Kentucky Board of Education for 20 days of annual leave each year, instead of the 12 days to which he was entitled as a state government employee, and a one-time bonus of 30 sick leave days. Both were given to him by the state board yesterday…


Draud’s request, and the school board’s unanimous vote that granted him the extra days, raised questions from some, including [Governor] Beshear, as the state wrestles with a budget shortfall.

‘I question the appearance this creates during this time of financial crisis,’ Beshear said yesterday. ‘I trust that the state board took that into consideration before making its decision,’” reports the Courier-Journal.

Positive Press for Michigan State Board

“The [Michigan] state Board of Education should seek permission from the federal government to allow students in alternative high schools and dropout recovery programs an extra year to graduate,” says this Grand Rapids editorial. “The state Board of Education has a compelling case to present to the federal government. Board members should make the case, and in so doing be able to make Michigan's schools better.”


Education Curriculum War Avoided in Texas

“A potential fight over a rewrite of the state's English and reading curriculum fizzled Wednesday with the State Board of Education simply agreeing to improve an existing proposal instead of junking it,” reports the Houston Chronicle.

State Board Endorseement in Texas

Texas State Board Member Mary Helen Berlanga gets the re-election endorsement of her local paper.


Writes the Caller-Times, “We say the voters have been lucky because Berlanga has been a voice of reason on a 15-member board that has been, off and on, riven by ideologues with their own agenda. She has been a steady influence for professionalism in education. Without Berlanga on the board, along with those members who are allied to her side, you can be sure there would have been much mischief made with public education in Texas…


Berlanga for more than two decades has been a steady influence for the mainstream education professionals and classroom teachers. She pushed to keep spelling textbooks in the elementary grades. She has opposed efforts to politicize the Texas Education Agency as well as the State Board of Education. Her continued presence on the board could be critical as ideologues seek to gain an advantage and control what schoolchildren are taught in Texas classrooms.”


Inspecting the Cadillac

Called "the Cadillac" of deaf and blind education, the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind “has its supporters - and its critics. The State Board of Education is now considering cuts in the school's budget, leaving students here to think that officials have largely ignored their concerns,” reports the Times-News.

Congratulations to Herschend

The longest serving member on the Missouri State Board of Education was confirmed by the state senate for another term. Pete Herschend was appointed to the state board in 1991 and his new term will run through 2015.

More on Strickland Governance Surprise

“Education leaders say Gov. Ted Strickland’s plan to expand his control over education policy by creating a cabinet-level education director would politicize Ohio’s public schools,” reports the Times Reporter.

Buckeye Governor Seeks to Strip Board of Authority

“State Board Members Slam Governor’s School Plan” is the headline in the Dayton Daily News



Michigan Leaders Debate Raising Compulsory School Age

"We can't keep doing things the way we've been doing them, or they will continue to drop out," said Michigan State Board of Education President Kathleen Straus to state lawmakers at a hearing recently in support of the governor’s proposal to combat the dropout problem by raising the state’s compulsory school age to 18.

February 13, 2008

Increased Heart Rate = Increased Achievement

As NASBE has been saying since 1987, when we first partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to form the Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, exercise plays a critical role in improving student achievement. So says this Ed Week article published today..

Research that helps make the case:

  • One study found that "children who got good marks on two measures of physical fitness—those that gauge aerobic fitness and body-mass index—tended also to have higher scores on state exams in reading and mathematics. That relationship also held true regardless of children’s gender or socieconomic differences."
  • "Another study involving 163 overweight children in Augusta, GA, found, in addition, that the cognitive and academic benefits of exercise seemed to increase with the size of the dose."
  • "Students who took part in both an early-morning exercise program and extra literacy class showed 1.34 of a year’s growth on standardized reading tests, while the gain for the students in the literacy-only group was seven-tenths of a year."

It's a worthwhile read and helps solidify the point the PE has an important role in this standardized testing era.

February 12, 2008

Middleton Elected to Legislature

Colorado State Board of Education member Karen Middleton has been elected to fill a vacancy in the state legislature and is resigning her state board seat.

Commonwealth Changes

The Boston Herald doesn’t like the governance changes in Massachusetts that give Governor Deval Patrick new unilateral powers over education in the commonwealth.

February 6, 2008

Start Early

The New York Times wrote about the Parent-Child Home Program which aims to foster literacy and teach parents how to prepare their children for school. The program operates in 150 poor communities in 13 states.

"It may well become a national model as the effort to close the achievement gap focuses on how young children are being raised at home."

Read more of "A Head Start on Head Start" here- a worthwhile read for a fresh perspective on closing the achievement gap.

February 5, 2008

Playing Nice

Yesterday, in an interesting turn of events, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley asked legislative leaders to not move forward with a bill that would have effectively rescinded the new term of State Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick.

“Dr. Grasmick and I have had a real good talk and a direct talk about the need to come together and work to improve education for the future," O'Malley said.

Read more here and for a great picture, here.