Department of Education

Education Data Shows Disproportionate Minority Discipline, Opportunity Gaps For Public School Students

Newly collected data from the Department of Education shows that minority students are disproportionately subject to harsher disciplinary actions in public schools than their peers and offers insight into opportunity gaps for public school students around the country. More than 70 percent of students involved in school arrests or law enforcement referrals were black or Hispanic, according to the report. Black students were three and half times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white peers, the New York Times reported. The Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 gathered statistics from 72,000 schools, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students from kindergarten through high school. While the disciplinary data is probably the most dramatic, the statistics illustrated a range of racial and ethnic disparities.

Washington State’s High Court Rules Legislature Not Doing Enough to Fund Education

The Washington State Legislature has failed to meet its constitutional responsibility to fund public education for the last three decades, according to a ruling by the state’s Supreme Court. “By the Legislature’s own terms, it has not met its duty to make ample provision for ‘basic education,’” wrote Justice Debra Stephens in an 85-page opinion. “This court cannot idly stand by as the Legislature makes unfulfilled promises for reform.”

In 2009, the Legislature passed a bill meant to reform funding formulas, HB2261, and update the 1977 Basic Education Act by 2018. In Justice Stephens’ opinion, the high court reaffirmed its jurisdiction to oversee the Legislature’s timely implementation of those changes. “Ultimately, it is our responsibility to hold the State accountable to meet its constitutional duty,” Justice Stephens writes in the opinion.

Photo Credit: Wesley Fryer/Flickr

Spanking at Home and in the Classroom, What’s Right and Wrong?

A recent YouTube video of a Texas judge beating his then 16-year-old daughter with a leather belt has reignited the debate over the effectiveness and morality of corporal punishment in the home. Judge William Adams, 51, contended he did nothing wrong and was simply punishing his daughter for stealing after the teen was caught downloading illegally distributed music from the internet. Local police in Aransas, Texas have launched an investigation into the judges actions, but under state law — provided the actions were administered in the interest of “reasonable punishment” – prosecutors may not have a statute to stand on. Corporal punishment in the home had long been permissible under Texas law, and in 2005 state legislators took steps to strengthen those rights. House Bill 383 effectively set the standard for parental discipline as “reasonable punishment” and placed the burden of proof for abuse cases in the hands of the prosecutors.

the whole world in my hands

Students Hit the Road with Road Scholarship

Since 2002 the SYTA Youth Foundation (SYF) has offered grants up to $1,000 for qualifying students in need of financial assistance for educational and group travel. SYF is a sister organization of the Student & Youth Travel Association. To qualify applicants must be younger than 25, participating in some sort of student or youth group travel and demonstrate a need for financial assistance. Visit the website for a complete list of requirements. Between 40-60 grants are issued be four-month funding cycle.

cox grants logo

Virginia-Centric Funding: Science, Technology and Literacy

Virginia-based Cox Charities offers annual funding for eligible non-profits focused in the areas of “science and technology, mentoring, literacy and other areas promoting the education of youth” within the state of Virginia. Grant requests should be for either $5,000 or $10,000 outlining the specific community(s) and services your organization seeks to impact. Second year funding is availanle pending a review of outcomes measures from the previous funding period. This grant is local, specific and has a tight grant window. All grant applications for the 2012 fiscal year must be in by Nov.

The Flipped Classroom and the Changing Role of the Educator? [infographic]

It’s no secret that technology is reshaping the educational landscape, but how exactly? This infographic from Knewton and Column Five Media offers a rather visual look at one new model of education. In the ‘flipped classroom’ no longer do teachers feel the ‘sage of the stage’ role, lecturing for hours on end, but instead shift to helper bee as a ‘guide on the side.’ Class time can be reserved for hands-on activities and problem solving, while internet-based video lecturers are the new homework. The statistics look promising, representing a substantial increase in performance by college freshman.

Encouraging Responsible Parenting and Sportsmanship

Responsible Sports is offering grants of $2,500 to non-profit youth sports organizations or educational athletic programs to promote responsible parenting and sportsmanship. Coaches and parents complete online coursework and subsequent quizzes for a chance at the grant awards. 6 to 7 grants are awarded depending on organization class, but applying organizations can only receive the grant once. Additionally, sport organizations must be registered with Responsible Sports and are encouraged to contact an administrator with the organization if not already in the database. Deadline is on-going.

The word of the week for Whitefoord students of the Intel Computer Club is "innovate."

The Whitefoord Approach to Community, Health and Education

At a glance it can be hard to see the impact of the breadth of services offered by the Whitefoord Community Program (WCP) on the cluster of Atlanta neighborhoods they serve. The non-profit runs four health clinics in nearby schools, offers child development and pre-K services, after school programs, digital media training, summer reading and math workshops and even a Bike Rite health initiative.

In a time of tight city and state budget, more and more municipalities are looking for ways to deliver services to the communities that need them. In Atlanta, one such program, the WCP, has been in place for years and could prove to be a model for the nation. Through grants and other funding the project has proven sustainable. Through community involvement it has proven useful and effective.

Look a little closer at the project and you’ll see the evolution of a community support system that weaves together family, health and education. What stated with a one-square mile area and a single health clinic in Whitefoord Elementary School on the east side of Atlanta more than 15 years ago has evolved into a system that reaches into a number of communities in that area of the city.

All of these services work in tandem from just about the time the child leaves the womb until he or she graduates high school with one goal in mind: providing the children of this inner-city community with the tools they need to complete their education.

Clarence Jones, director of the WCP’s Beyond School Hours program, has been with the organization since shortly after it’s founding.
At nine weeks, infants can enroll, space provided, in the WCP’s Child Development program and start gearing up for their formal education. Unlike traditional daycare, this nationally accredited child development program employs HighScope Curriculum, a style of early childhood teaching and learning focused on active participation and educational development.

GOCF Executive Director Katie Jo Ballard

Georgia’s Governor’s Office of Children and Families Gains Footing with New Executive Director

Newly appointed executive director Katie Jo Ballard will be the first to tell you that the Georgia Office of Children and Families (GOCF) has a heck of a job. Since 2008 the organization has been charged with implementing “a spectrum of prevention, intervention, and treatment services for all children” in Georgia.

That means identifying effective programs and delivering funding across four areas of service: youth development, family violence, juvenile justice, and prevention programs.

“We’re looking for people that can provide 360 kinds of care for a family,” says Ballard. “Like really wrap themselves around a family and support them in every aspect.”

The GOCF doesn’t deliver any services directly. Rather, the organization distributes a combination of federal and state funds to community-based programs through a competitive grant process.

Since taking office in mid-August, Ballard has been trying to wrap her head around everything the organization does. The agency offers so many grants in so many areas, and some of those grantees offer sub-grants, she says, so there’s a lot to take in.

“I’m a very visual person, so I’m actually going out there and trying to visit sites so I can see what they do,” she says. “That’s what’s been the most rewarding to me, actually meeting a survivor of domestic violence, meeting a child that survived sexual exploitation, hearing those stories and how our programs have helped them… That’s the best part, but it’s also the hardest.”