On today's episode of Take 5, Gary shows off the new board room artwork, shares the process MASA will use to develop the 2015 legislative contact plan, and wishes all a wonderful holiday break...
The MASA Board of Directors met on December 10th and a number of significant decisions were made by the during this meeting. I’d like to share a few...
First, the Board approved the 2015-2017 MASA Strategic Plan. The plan calls for MASA to continue to move forward in providing services to our members which truly meet your needs. Also, MASA will strive to serve as the unifying voice for public education in Minnesota. In January, we will be seeking members to serve on the four action teams so please watch your emails and consider participating. The strategic plan will be available to review on our website.
Second, the Board approved the 2015 MASA Legislative Platform. Thank you to the members of the Legislative Committee for crafting a focused plan. The plaftform provides us with our “marching orders” as we navigate the 2015 legislative session. Look for an electronic copy of the platform in the coming week.
Lastly, the Board froze membership dues for the 2015-2016 school year at the current levels.
As always, please feel to contact me (651.319.1211) if I can be of service to you.
On today's episode of Take 5, Gary provides an update on the recent committee meetings, encourages board position and award nominations, and reminds members the 2015 legislative session will begin on Tuesday, January 6...
Our guest blogger today is Shari Prest, President of ARK Associates. Shari's InvestMN articles are for reference and sharing by educational leaders in Minnesota. We encourage our members to use the following as a tool...
Key Message: Unless you invested in the first microwave ovens or were on board with the initiation of Microsoft or Apple, you are unlikely to reap a more significant return on your investment than you will through your investment in public education.
The value of education means different things to different people. To some, value may be how much they or their children earn. Others may see the value of education as the scope of future job opportunities or employers available for the future or the prosperity of the communities and state in which they live. For you, value could mean something different, such as lifetime contributions or the social benefits you gain as an educated person.
The economic benefits of Minnesota’s world-class schools are boundless. The data show that the greatest challenges facing our country – from school dropout rates, to crime, to rising health-care costs, to the necessity of competing in the global marketplace – can only be met by focusing on child development, beginning at birth.1
The report Early Childhood Development with a High Public Return, compares early education investments to other kinds of state investments, with the conclusion that early education investments yield a return that far exceeds the return on most public projects that are considered economic development.
"Public schools are not a drag on the system but a major contributor to the health of our communities." - Barbara Heckman
Economic benefits of high quality public schools, from early childhood through post secondary, for both individuals and society, are enormous: higher employment and lower costs. The process itself provides jobs for employees who in turn spend wages and pay taxes. School systems purchase goods and services. On a longer-term basis, society experiences lower costs for remedial, special education, and grade repetition when schools are wisely led and broadly supported. People who complete high school are more likely to earn more, contribute more in taxes, experience a higher quality of life and require fewer social and criminal justice services.
Nationally, the average high school dropout can expect to earn an annual income of $20,241, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (PDF). That's a full $10,386 less than the typical high school graduate, and $36,424 less than someone with a bachelor's degree. Participation in public education raises wages and lowers unemployment.
The Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University conducted a study examining the risks and rewards of education in the State of Maryland. Many of those measures are likely replicable in Minnesota and other states as well. Some of the findings follow.
The "achievement gap" is not a metaphor. It is a social outcome that we can see and measure. Research shows that the achievement gap appears long before children reach kindergarten – in fact it can become evident as early as age nine months. So let’s examine the impacts of education from early childhood and work our way up.
At-risk children who don't receive a high-quality early childhood education are:1
Failure is expensive.
If the high school students who dropped out of the Class of 2011 had graduated, the nation’s economy would likely have benefitted from nearly $154 billion in additional income over the course of their lifetimes, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education’s issue brief, The High Cost of High School Dropouts.
Everyone benefits from increased graduation rates. The graduates themselves, on average, will earn higher wages and enjoy more comfortable and secure lifestyles. At the same time, the nation benefits from their increased purchasing power, collects higher tax receipts, and sees higher levels of worker productivity.
"[Minnesotans] should not spurn the increase in public costs necessary to give all children the opportunity to achieve their full potential." - Jeff Van Wychen, former fellow for Minnesota 2020
Onward and Upward.
The benefits of greater investment in our children and our schools are clear, but challenges remain. Schools are expected to do more with less. Although a popular maxim, this is not always possible.
"One thing we can all agree on, 'Our children deserve to receive the best education our country can provide for them." - United States Senate paper
The sources for these materials include the following: The Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University, Maryland study; ounceofprevention.org; The High Cost of School Dropouts, Education Alliance for Eduction Excellence, Issue Brief 2011; Art Rolnick and Rob Grunewald, Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return, March 2003; James J. Heckman and Dimitriy V. Masterov, The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children, October 2004; Jeff Van Wychen, The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40, November 2004; National Center for Educational Statistics; Gary Marx, Education Week Press, 2014; By the Numbers: Dropping Out of High School, www.pbs.org
Today's guest blogger is AASA Executive Director, Dan Domenech. Each month we will feature a post from Dan to inform our members of what AASA is doing on the national level for superintendents...
The mid-term elections are over and anticipated changes in Congress have taken place. The Republicans now control both houses. What are the implications for education?
Last July, at AASA’s Legislative Advocacy Conference in Washington D.C., U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander spoke to our group. Alexander will be the next chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. During his presentation, he referred to the U.S. Department of Education as the National School Board. This was a not very subtle reference to the increased intrusion into local school affairs that we have witnessed during the current administration.
During the current Congress, which expires at the end of the year, both the House and Senate made serious progress toward ESEA reauthorization. The House moved its bill (which AASA endorsed) through both the Education & Workforce Committee and the full House floor. The Senate moved its version through committee, but momentum stalled and the bill has yet to go to the floor. The bills are expected to expire at the end of this Congress without any additional action.
It’s expected that during the remainder of the current administration’s term, we will see efforts by Congress to curtail the dominance that the Department of Education has exerted over local affairs. Sen. Alexander has already indicated that reauthorizing ESEA will be a priority. We anticipate the House to move a bill much like the one they moved this Congress, and for the Senate to consider a bill similar to one Alexander floated in the chamber a few years ago.
We can anticipate that both the House and Senate will continue to rail against the administration’s continued reliance on waivers as a way to deliver limited relief from NCLB. Both chambers will complement this effort with a proposal to reauthorize ESEA and tighten language around how the Secretary can (and cannot!) use waivers and will be devoid of reference to Race to the Top and other competitive programs that the Department has instituted that we have opposed. We could also expect the bill would return the responsibility for accountability and assessment back to the states—positions we have supported.
Our problem will undoubtedly be with elements of the bill that will be favorable to the growth of charters, vouchers (including portability) and choice. We will be watching closely for any effort to provide Title I portability that would enable children leaving public schools to take their Title I allocation. Whatever happens to Title I as it relates to vouchers and portability is likely to be what will happen to funding in other major K-12 education programs, including IDEA and Perkins.
The legislative process has always been about compromise, something that has been in short supply in recent legislative sessions. As we develop our strategies for the upcoming legislative session, it will be important for us to know our priorities as defined by you, our members.
Do we want pooled Federal dollars giving us greater discretion in how to spend them but with the risk of reducing the pot, as will undoubtedly be the case as the Republicans cut the budget?
Can we hold our noses and go along with charters, vouchers and choice in exchange for lessening Federal intrusion in local affairs? Are we ready to support changes to NCLB accountability framework and current mandates for teacher and principal evaluation?
Let us know what you think. Email me at email@example.com with your ideas. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.
On today's episode of Take 5, Gary shares his notes from this week's Federal Advocacy Committee meeting, explains how MASA will build this year's legislative contact plan, and encourages members to attend the 2015 AASA National Conference on Education...
The 2014 election campaign has come to an end. About 80% of the bond and levy requests were approved by various communities. Congratulations to those who gained community support for your district initiative(s). For those that did not receive community support, I want to thank you for your efforts. I know from personal experience that you put your heart and soul into the campaign. I know that each of you will do a masterful job of continuing to work with your communities to provide the best education possible to your students.
The Minnesota House of Representatives will be controlled by the Republicans. Every legislative session has an ebb and flow. It will be very interesting to see how the 2015 session progresses. I’m looking forward to working with the members of the Legislative Committee to craft our MASA platform in a few weeks.
The United States Senate is now controlled by the Republicans. Should make for an interesting two years. I’m hoping that we see movement toward the reauthorization of ESEA. I believe that the House and Senate will be able to come to an agreement. The question of course will be, does the President move toward the direction of the Congress? It will be interesting to see if compromise becomes more prevalent in Washington D.C.
Over the next two months we will be creating the 2015 MASA legislative contact plan. I look forward to working with all of you as we work on behalf of all children in the the state of Minnesota!
Thanks for all you do every day!
On today's episode of Take 5, Gary reminds the membership of upcoming committee meetings, encourages all members of MASA to take advantage of the professional development opportunities offered by the CLM Conference, and shares the strategic plan update timeline...
Being a school superintendent is one of the toughest jobs in America, but also, one of the most rewarding.
Last year, the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) launched a National Superintendent Certification Program. They received positive feedback from those who participated and are excited to now offer a Midwest Cohort.
I'd like to encourage you to consider participating in the National Superintendent Certification Program. This robust professional development experience grants participants an opportunity to learn from the best in the business by sharpening the skills and practices that are necessary for student success. Participants will also have an opportunity to design a capstone project that suits their needs and the needs of their district.
For more detailed information about the program and application materials, please visit AASA's website.
On today's episode of Take 5, Gary encourages members to secure their employment contracts for the upcoming year, shares highlights from the November CLM Conference, and discusses the importance of educating your district community on inclement weather protocals...
It’s hard to believe that MASA launched the Minnevate! program almost a year ago. I'm pleased to report that we have prepared an activity report detailing the data gathered during the nine Minnevate! events as well as reflection on the process this year. I urge you to review the progress report to gain an understanding of how your colleagues feel about the future direction of education in Minnesota. I also encourage you to share this report with your communities. You can access the report by clicking here.
The MASA strategic plan core team will be meeting in the end of October to update our organization’s strategic plan. The Minnevate! activity report will provide valuable data to the team as they craft the future focus and direction of MASA. I want to thank our Minnevate! conveners Mia Urick, John Moravec and Aaron Ruhland, and everyone who has participated in Minnevate! over the past year, for their commitment in moving this effort forward.
Please keep in mind that Minnevate! is not an event, it is an opportunity to build grassroot support for the direction of public education in our state. This activity report will serve to inform our communities about Minnevate! and continue to engage a wider audience in the conversation. We have additional work to do, so stay tuned for future opportunities for you to Minnevate!.
Today's guest blogger is AASA Executive Director, Dan Domenech. Every month we will feature a post from Dan to educate our members on what AASA is doing on the national level for superintendents...
An advocate’s work is never done. Take the FCC and the changes to the E-Rate. Last July, thanks to the many letters, phone calls and personal visits that many of you made, we were able to thwart what would have been some damaging long-term changes. But the work is not over. There are still details to be worked out and much education and clarification that needs to take place due to the new FCC order.
Those of you in rural communities need to pay particular attention. I recently sent a letter to FCC Chairman Wheeler and to the other Commissioners regarding the FCC’s inquiry into the need to establish appropriate broadband speeds to meet the needs of schools, especially in rural areas as it relates to the use of Connect America Funds. We want our rural schools to have access to broadband connectivity that is comparable to that of our urban and suburban colleagues. As the use of digital devices by more and more of our students and faculty increases, thus placing greater demand on having the appropriate broadband, we do not want our rural students to be “left behind” by virtue of a digital gap.
The FCC has set an expectation that eligible telecommunications carriers will offer broadband to rural schools “at rates that are reasonably comparable to offerings to (schools) in urban areas.” To the extent that the Connect America Fund continues to expand connectivity, it is vital that the FCC require CAF fund recipients to serve rural schools. That is significantly different from the current language that “urges” CAF recipients to confer with schools when planning network design of CAF-supported infrastructure. “Requiring” is a necessary step that complements the recent efforts to modernize the E-Rate program to better support the President’s ConnectED initiative in all of our schools. Those of you in rural areas are urged to contact your congressional representatives and have them communicate with the FCC commissioners the need to require, not urge.
And while you’re at it, you should also mention how important the E-Rate has become to serving the needs of your students. It is a substantial source of support for technology in our schools, especially given the reduction in technology aid in the education budget. Realizing the President’s goal to have most of our schools connected will require additional funding. Lifting the E-Rate cap is out of the question prior to the November elections since it would be labeled as a tax increase. Nevertheless, the reality is that our schools will need the additional support. We will continue to advocate on your behalf.
The MASA staff is 10 days away from leaving for our Fall Conference in Brainerd! The detailed work our staff does behind the sceens to bring this conference to life is truly amazing, like watching a fine tuned instrument play in concert...
Our conference theme is “Pulling Together - Leading Strong School Communities." We look forward to exploring this topic and seeing you Sept. 28 - Sept. 30 at Madden's in Brainerd. Registration materials are available on the MASA website at www.mnasa.org. We have approximately 160 individuals registered. I hope you have an opportunity to attend this outstanding professional development opportunity!
The annual MASA Strategic Plan survey will arrive in your electronic mailbox on Friday, September 12th. I sincerely request that you take five minutes to complete this survey. The data generated will assist our organization in determining how we have progressed in achieving the two goals contained in our strategic plan. THANK YOU in advance for completing the survey. The survey will close on Friday, September 19th.
I hope your school year has gotten off to a successful start! Always remember the significant role you play in the development of the children in your community. It is an awesome responsibility! You have the skills and attitude to lead. Thank you for your daily effort and dedication!!!
As always, please feel free to contact me at 651.319.1211 if I can be of service.