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High School Student-Led, On-Campus Voter Reg & Education Laws

As of this writing (November 2014), 10 states have laws to enable 17-year olds to pre-register, or in some cases, to enable students to lead peer-to-peer, campus-based voter registration efforts. See here: Several states, including Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Maine, Wisconsin, Missouri and Texas – now allow 17-year-olds to pre-register. In Hawaii, 16-year-olds may pre-register so that their voter status is automatically activated when they turn 18. Wisconsin, according to a report from New America Foundation, reaches out to young voters through a state law establishing at every high school a “registration deputy,” filled by a volunteering teacher or staff member. The article further discusses how it works in California: The statute also reiterates that the last two full weeks in the months of April and September – now known as “high school voter weeks” – be designated as “high school voter education weeks,” and it authorizes each school administrator to name one or more students as voter outreach coordinators to encourage student registration during that time. “We know that when young people experience the importance of voting and a culture of civic engagement in high school, they are much more likely to be active voters once they are eligible,” Secretary of State Debra Bowen said in a statement last week. “We also know peer-to-peer education is one of the most effective ways to develop students’ interest in democracy, and we’ve seen wonderful examples of it throughout the state.” Getting the word out to the state’s nearly 2,000 schools with grades 9 to 12, however, may be the more difficult task. And, even then, planning and coordinating a school-wide voter registration event takes a willing administrator and an active student council to see it through. If your state does NOT yet have a law like this, maybe it’s time to work toward one. The way to combat voter suppression and caging is to make sure we always have a new crop of freshly registered voters who are conversant in civics and understand all aspects of the democratic process. Additional resources and reports: Project Vote has great sample legislation, research, and recommended practices for putting into place high school voter registration programs. League of Women Voters has a comprehensive toolkit and high school voter registration training manual, current as of 2013. Fair Vote has an abundance of resources in general and a very interesting section on the ability of state-recognized parties to permit 17 year olds to participate in partisan primaries and caucuses.

K12NN Site Admin November 7, 2014 November 8, 2014 high school voter registration
From COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates): Charter Schools and Students With Disabilities, January 2012

This is a great report put together by advocates who know education law, as they’re parents and attorneys, and have children with special needs. The focus here is on charter schools, which have a notorious reputation for “skimming” or “creaming” only the most motivated and test-savvy children, and pushing children with disabilities or other challenges back into the neighborhood school system. Charter Schools and Students With Disabilities Final

K12NN Site Admin May 21, 2012 May 21, 2012
Wall Street Connections to Charter Lobbyists

Those wonderful folks at Muckety created a map that shows Wall Street 1%ers funding charter school chains in NY state and elsewhere. What’s interesting to note is that you’ll see lots of banks and “charitable foundations.” It’ll take another Muckety map to tease out the relationships between bank executives and boards of philanthropic foundations. In order to understand why charter schools are so appealing to the 1%, you’ll also want to see the New Markets Tax Credits map and how this “community development” incentive has been the accelerant fueling bank and hedge fund interest in creating more charter schools. See below.

K12NN Site Admin May 10, 2013 July 9, 2014 charter lobbyists, charters and foundations, New Markets Tax Credit, Wall Street and charter lobbyists
WA State’s I-1351: Successful K-12 Class Size Reduction

Great news for WA state coming out of the 2014 elections! Voters there passed a class size reduction ballot initiative. Provisions include: Initiative 1351 would lower class sizes for kindergarten through 12th grade and create 25,000 more jobs, including about 7,400 for teachers. The state Office of Financial Management estimates the measure would cost $4.7 billion through 2019. Mostly supported by teachers’ unions, the measure would establish limits for class sizes – 17 students for kindergarten through 3rd grade and 25 students for grades 4 through 12. Low-income schools would have smaller classes. Read about the margin of voter approval and other details having to do with the funding requirements to support this new policy change here. Bill text from the state of Washington is attached as a pdf.

K12NN Site Admin November 13, 2014 November 13, 2014 class size reduction, laws (passed)
Types of Public Schools: Overview

Alternative: publicly-funded schools where children (“discouraged learners”) who have behavorial, disciplinary, addiction, pregnancy, or other at-risk issues that make it difficult for them to succeed at everyday neighborhood public schools can be educated with the guidance of specially-trained teachers and staff. Here is research surveying the landscape of alternative schools by Gay G. Gnutson, Phd, Professor Emeritus of Education, Carroll College: “Alternative Schools, Models for the Future?” Examples of public alternative schools: Al Kennedy Alternative High School, Cottage Grove, OR News articles:  “Oregon’s Al Kennedy Alternative High School in Cottage Grove devotes its curriculum to sustainability,” OregonLive “RETHINKING EDUCATION: Al Kennedy High School Tries a New Approach,” University of Oregon Broadway Alternative Learning Center at Longfellow (for pregnant and parenting mothers), Minneapolis, MN News articles: “Unique school educates two generations,” Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder “Redefined high school for pregnant and parenting mothers,” Insight News Harvey Milk High School, NYC “The Controversy Over the Harvey Milk School,” NY Magazine Community: publicly-funded schools that tie together social service agencies, community groups, local businesses, and health and adult learning resources, usually in low-income or distressed neighborhoods, to ensure that children and families have the support they need to succeed. The school may offer longer hours, such as in the evening or on weekends, to ensure that families can truly utilize the school as a resource. Read the FAQ by the Institute for Educational Learning’s Coalition for Community Schools. (above) This is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussing community schools and how they might function as 24-7 resources to the neighborhood. Aquila Elementary School, St. Louis Park, MN (from the website): ACT Program The ACT is a comprehensive package of school-based services at Aquila and Peter Hobart Elementary Schools and in St. Louis Park that includes case management for at risk families, teacher consultation, counseling intervention, and a school wide prevention program.  It is a joint effort of the schools and Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Minneapolis (JFCS). The objectives are to improve a child’s self-esteem and ability to succeed in school, improve family functioning, and assist teachers with student social or behavioral concerns. ACT offers four services: Case management for families that need resources for housing or transportation, or support for any problem that might inhibit a child in growing and developing within the school. A social skills curriculum taught weekly in most classrooms to help children boost self-confidence and effective peer interaction. Individual and group counseling for children at school. Volunteer tutors or ‘lunch buddies’ for children who could benefit from the guidance and support of an adult role model. Students often bring their family life and any problems they have to school.  The key to ACT is to improve the connection between home and school to meet students’ needs.   Neighborhood: publicly-funded local schools in residential areas, often within walking/bicycling distance or an easy car drive, that serve all students within a geographically designated boundary. Generally students living outside the boundary must apply for a permit to attend the school if there are any open spaces after students living within the boundary are served. All children’s needs are met, whether they come with special needs due to learning/physical/cognitive disability, or if their first language is other than English. Magnet: publicly-funded schools that can be either a “school within a school” or an entire school given over to a theme, specialized approach, or pre-professional emphasis. Entry can be universal by geographic boundary, by application (test score, portfolios of student work, perofrmances showing student ability), or a mixture of geographic boundary and application for entry. Criteria for entry must be transparent and well-publicized. Magnet Schools of America is an association of public magnets that helps disseminate information about this type of school. Read its mission here. Examples of magnet schools: The “Fame” High School, Fiorella La Guardia School of Music, & Art and Performing Arts The second-largest city public school district in the nation, Los Angeles Unified’s portal for magnet school information and applications A magnet for gifted students in a school in a low-income Charlotte, NC neighborhood, where devoted middle class parents shower the school with attention and have helped turn it around. And this brings us to — Charter Schools: Are they public? No less an authority on public school education than Professor Diane Ravitch asks this question. Take a look at the part of the FAQ devoted to charter schools to see the discussion there.

K12NN Site Admin May 26, 2012 May 26, 2012 alternative schools, community schools, local neighborhood schools, magnet schools, public school main characteristics, taxpayer-funded schools, types of public schools
Greatness By Design: Supporting Outstanding Teaching to Sustain a Golden State

Greatness By Design: Supporting Outstanding Teaching to Sustain a Golden State by k12newsnetwork

K12NN Site Admin October 7, 2013 October 7, 2013 California, Teachers, Teaching credentials, Teaching profession
Presuming Incompetence: Decolonizing Epistemologies of Deficit Thinking by Rebeca Burciaga

Presuming Incompetence: Decolonizing Epistemologies of Deficit Thinking by Rebeca Burciaga Email Message from local administrator: “Hi Rebeca, […] Do you know of anyone at SJSU who is an expert on Latino issues in education maybe in the area of decolonizing epistemology?” My thoughts as I read the email: I have known this school administrator for five years and I’ve discussed my work with her on this very topic, so why was she looking for someone else? Perhaps I need to be more clear. I have “this nagging preoccupation of not being good enough.” I decided not to respond to her email immediately because I was not sure if she did not remember our conversation, or because she presumed me incompetent and wanted to speak with someone else. I am becoming more accustomed to seeing surprise when I tell people I am a faculty member – their faces convey a clear message that I am not the one they are expecting. There are assumptions people make about what professors look like – I am not a White male. A must read. Here’s a condensed bio of Dr. Burciaga: Rebeca Burciaga is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and a member of the Core Faculty for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education at San José State University. Dr. Burciaga’s research centers on understanding and challenging educational practices and structures that (re)produce social inequalities for historically marginalized communities, including/specifically Latino students.  Her research in schools and communities spans over 20 years and includes mixed-methods research on pathways from preschool to the professoriate, the experiences of students who leave high school before graduation, and the ways in which geographic regions structure inequalities. She specializes the study of qualitative research methodologies including testimonio and ethnography. Her current research and teaching is focused on cultivating asset-based mindsets in teachers and administrators that work with youth of color.  Dr. Burciaga is a co-founder and co-coordinator of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California at Los Angeles.  Her research has been supported and recognized by the Spencer Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and the American Association of University Women. Her most recent scholarship can be found in Equity & Excellence in Education, the Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, and the Educational Administration Quarterly.

K12NN Site Admin November 30, 2014 November 30, 2014 deficit thinking, implicit bias
Impact of Governor Walker’s Budget Cuts on Wisconsin Public Schools (11/11/2011)

Via the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s YouTube channel. Please see the rest of the important information on budget cuts and the harm they inflict on public schools at the link. Only a partial summary of the resources are listed here. This press conference was held November 10, 2011, at Monona Grove High School to address the issue. Speakers include: – State Superintendent Tony Evers – Superintendent Craig Gerlach, Monona Grove School District – School Board President Susan Fox, Monona Grove School District – Superintendent Jamie Benson, River Valley School District – Sue Howe, family and consumer education teacher, Monona Grove School District – Dana Kingsley, parent, Wisconsin Dells – Kemal Kirchmeier, student, Pardeeville High School Map showing loss of teacher jobs in Wisconsin: http://dpi.wi.gov/eis/pdf/wasdasurveyresults.pdf#page=5 News release: http://dpi.wi.gov/eis/pdf/dpinr2011_127.pdf WASDA Survey: http://dpi.wi.gov/eis/pdf/wasdasurvey.pdf WASDA Survey Results: http://dpi.wi.gov/eis/pdf/wasdasurveyresults.pdf Video produced by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

K12NN Site Admin June 4, 2012 June 4, 2012 cuts to higher ed, cuts to K-12, school funding, WI budget cuts, WI Department of Public Instruction
Model School Board Resolutions: Jefferson County Public Schools District

See the clarification of what principals must do if approached by ICE and how any approach must go through the Superintendent: No Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers or other immigration law enforcement personnel shall be granted access to JCPS schools or facilities for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws unless: The Superintendent is notified of the intention to enter, with adequate notice so that the Superintendent can take steps to provide for the emotional and physical safety of students and staff; Those requesting to enter provide the Superintendent with credentials, the reasons for the requested entry, and written authorization, provided by law, for such entry; and The Superintendent determines, upon consultation, as appropriate, with District legal counsel, that the requested access should be granted. See also the inclusion of employees, contractors, volunteers, and representatives who are not allowed to inquire or report information about a student or his/her family’s immigration status. JCPS employees, contractors, volunteers, and representatives shall refrain from inquiring about a student’s, parent’s, or guardian’s immigration status. JCPS employees, contractors, volunteers, and representatives shall refrain from requiring any student, parent, or guardian to produce documentation regarding immigration status.

K12NN Site Admin February 10, 2017 February 10, 2017 Kentucky, Safe Haven, school boards
Tennessee’s 2014 Community Schools Law

In 2014, State Representative Gloria Johnson passed a law to facilitate the creation of Community Schools in Tennessee. These schools are described in the law, Section 3.8: (8) A community school is a traditional school that actively partners with its community to leverage existing resources and identify new resources to support the transformation of the school to provide enrichment and additional life skill opportunities for students, parents, and community members at large. Each community school is unique because its programming is designed by and for the school staff, in partnership with parents, community stakeholders, and students; Social services, adult ed, health clinics, and other resources for the entire family are offered at Community Schools. See our brief description of what a Community School is in the FAQ here. Check out the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships on Community-Student Partnerships and also from UPenn, their examples of Community-Assisted Schools.   Here’s what the law’s text says: Tennessee Community Schools Law, 2014

K12NN Site Admin January 10, 2015 January 10, 2015 Best Practices, community schools, Tennessee

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