Conference Daily

Boarding schools and segregation

American historians have written volumes about school segregation and integration, mostly involving African-American youth in the 1940s and 1950s. But much less is known about how the times affected American Indian society and history.

Brenda Child wants to change that, especially how that history is intertwined with U.S. development a century and a half ago.

Creating a unified vision

Could education stakeholders in your state create a unified vision on how to educate every child to fulfill his or her potential? And could that help school leaders lead the conversation on improving public education?

Wahl: Don't be afraid to fail

There’s growth on the border of chaos and order.

Erik Wahl, graffiti artist, author, and entrepreneur, gave attendees of the School Leaders Luncheon on Saturday at NSBA’s annual conference a taste of what that concept means. Wahl announced that as we strive to get away from standardized tests, keynote talks should no longer be standardized either.

No Key of Life without Innervisions

Columbia University’s Christopher Emdin pointed to Stevie Wonder’s classic Songs in the Key of Life album to make a point about the foundational work that has to be done by school board members if they are to help transform education in their communities.

Before releasing Songs, Wonder created the album Innervisions. It was self-reflective, political, and innovative, and laid the foundation for the megahit to follow, said Emdin, an associate professor in the department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Columbia’s Teachers College.

Rather: Look abroad for educational models

Although public education in the U.S. used to be a model for the rest of the world, Americans now must look abroad for some of the best ideas on how to improve schools, newscaster Dan Rather said at the opening General Session Saturday at NSBA’s Annual Conference in Boston.

Reauthorizing ESEA

The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was a decade in the making. “Everyone knew what was wrong and not working, and that it required legislative change, but there was no political capital for the change,” says Michael Zola, NSBA’s associate executive director of federal advocacy and public policy.

Gentzel: Education is the new frontier

It’s time for school board members to champion public education as the key to a brighter future for America—and to put the issue of education front and center in today’s political debate.

That was the call to action NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel shared today with school leaders at NSBA’s 76th Annual Conference in Boston at the first General Session.

“We need to get that message out. That message must be heard,” he said. “Public education is too important an issue to sit on the sidelines.”

School boards and the First Amendment

School board members and their First Amendment rights was the topic of a Friday session at the Council of School Attorneys (COSA) School Law Seminar, held in conjunction with NSBA’s Annual Conference in Boston.

The session was presented by Karla Schultz of Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo, & Kyle, PC, in Austin, Texas, and Mark Tilley of the Texas Association of School Boards, also in Austin.

Both presenters used case law as examples of what school board members, as elected official and private citizens, can and cannot do under their right to free speech.

Video surveillance and the law

Is Big Brother watching you? In a session that invoked George Orwell’s famous treatise on the government and privacy, panelists discusses the legal ramifications of video surveillance in schools.

The Friday session was part of the Council of School Attorneys (COSA) School Law Seminar, held in conjunction with NSBA’s Annual Conference in Boston.

The panel included Kathleen Styles, chief privacy officer with the U.S. Department of Education. Also on the panel were two lawyers with the Union County Public Schools in Monroe, North Carolina: Michele Morris and Deborah Smith.

Williams calls on board members to stand up, step up, speak up for public schools

Motoring the floor between rows of attendees at Monday afternoon, radio and TV personality Montel Williams provided an energizing close to NSBA’s 75th annual conference in Nashville.

Sporting a bright red “Stand Up 4 Public Schools” badge, Williams delivered – “shot gunned,” as he put it – his assertion that school board members must spread the word about issues such as how U.S. public schools graduated a record 82 percent of high school seniors last year, including more than 140,000 minorities.


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