2008-09 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology

The Siemens Competition seeks to promote excellence by encouraging students to undertake individual or team research projects. It fosters intensive research that improves students’ understanding of the value of scientific study and informs their consideration of future careers in these disciplines. Entrants can compete as an individual or as a member of a team. Individual projects promote independent research. Team projects foster collaborative research efforts, as well as individual contributions to the cooperative endeavor.

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Disney Minnie Grants

Youth Service America (YSA) and Disney know that youth of all ages can be involved in volunteer service projects. Children can solve community problems by working with their families, schools, friends, and neighbors. Grants are available to support youth-led service projects taking place from October 15-November 15, 2008.

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2009 Healthy Vision Community Awards

The Healthy Vision Community Awards Program provides awards of up to $10,000 each and is intended to stimulate collaborative initiatives that support the vision objectives in Healthy People 2010. The objectives address examinations and prevention, eye diseases, injury and safety, and vision rehabilitation.

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Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program

The purpose of the grant program for statewide longitudinal data systems is to promote the generation and accurate and timely use of data that are needed to: comply with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and other reporting requirements; and facilitate analyses and research to improve student academic achievement and close achievement gaps.

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Technology-Based Learning (TBL)

This grant expands access to training resulting in an increased number of workers trained, particularly in high-growth, high-demand occupations, and to meet the needs of industry for skilled employees.

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Seeds for Education Grant Program

Wild Ones/SFE members and chapters work with schools and nature centers to plant and maintain natural landscapes in these centers of learning. Wild Ones is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the use of natural landscaping with native plant species as an ecologically better alternative to traditional landscaping practices.

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2009 School Counselor of the Year Nominations

ASCA’s School Counselor of the Year program honors school counselors who are running a top-notch, comprehensive school counseling program at either the elementary, middle, or high school level. This newly enhanced program brings 10 finalists and their nominators to Washington, D.C., in late January, where they participate in a congressional briefing, tour Washington, D.C., and are honored at the School Counselor of the Year Gala. From these 10 finalists, one school counselor of the year is selected.

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Picturing America School Collaboration Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities invites proposals for projects that foster collaboration between K-12 educators and humanities scholars to encourage engagement with the rich resources of American art to tell America’s story. The grant is designed to help teachers and librarians whose schools display the Picturing America images form connections with courses in the core curriculum.

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Ruling favors schools in web-use case

The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a South Carolina school district did not discriminate against a local activist when it refused to publish links to school voucher information on its web site.

Randy Page, head of South Carolinians for Responsible Government, filed a lawsuit in March after Lexington County School District 1 did not post links to web sites advocating school-voucher programs. The school system’s web site included links to sites that argued against vouchers in South Carolina and across the country. Kevin Hall, an attorney for Page, did not immediately return phone messages left by eSchool News.

Hall argued this spring that a taxpayer-funded school district web site should be required to post links to online articles that showed both sides of a policy debate.

"What he’s asking for is equal access," Hall said in an April interview with eSchool News. (See "Lawsuit challenges school system’s web use.")

The appeals court ruled that Page’s argument depended on the "implied conclusion that by including a link to another organization’s web site, the school district made the contents of that other web site part of its own web site." Lexington County school officials "sufficiently controlled this channel of communication so that its speech remained government speech, and it did not create a limited public forum by including links to other web sites," the court said in its opinion.

The court ruled that school officials should be allowed to support laws that could have an impact on the school system. The court said it is "appropriate for the school district to defend public education in the face of pending legislation that it views as potentially threatening of public education."

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NECC COVERAGE COMING

Starting June 30, catch eSN’s real-time coverage

of NECC 2008. For highlights of what to expect,

just point your browser to

http://www.eschoolnews.com/conference-info/necc/

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David Duff, an attorney who represented the Lexington County School District 1, said earlier this spring that legal precedent showed government web sites were not required to promote policy stances that stood directly opposed to officials’ viewpoints. The Supreme Court has ruled that public officials and government agencies have the right to push for policy stances they agree with, without providing opposing viewpoints, he said.

"When the government is communicating its own message, it does not create a forum for debate by those who have an opposing point of view," Duff said in an earlier interview.

In 2005, the Lexington 1 school board opposed state legislation known as Put Parents in Charge, which would have provided public funding for private-school vouchers.

Fighting for equal access to publicly funded web sites is important as more people go to the internet for their news and information, Hall said. Refusing some points of view, he said, would be equivalent to denying access to public spaces for political demonstrations.

Despite the school district’s refusal to post Page’s web links, South Carolina is among those states at the forefront of the school-choice movement. Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, led a charge that allowed school vouchers for South Carolina pre-kindergarten students.

Sanford also helped create a charter school district—allowing parents to transfer their children from assigned neighborhood schools to charter schools—and is pushing to provide vouchers for every student in the state. Sanford has argued in recent years that South Carolina’s largest school districts receive much more funding than schools in rural parts of the state. This inequality has left some school districts without the technology, qualified teachers, and resources enjoyed by schools in urban areas of the state, he says.

Along with many other organizations, teacher unions—including the National Education Association, a union of 3.2 million members—have long opposed school vouchers. Vouchers, opponents say, compete for government funding with public schools, diverting resources and money away from public-school problems such as teacher shortages, overcrowded classrooms, and technology gaps between urban and rural schools.

Links:

Lexington County School District 1

Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Page v. Lexington County School District 1 (court opinion)

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