Post-Secondary Grant Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Education has been busy recently and here is another announcement of another grant opportunity.  This one is looking for consortia of educational institutions to develop post-secondary partnerships with European Union institutions.  Enjoy.

Special Education Contingency Fund Deadline

Schools in Pennsylvania have until January 30, 2009 to apply for special education contingency funds.  The Pennsylvania School Boards Association issued the following statement.

The Department of Education is reminding school administrators that applications for special education contingency funds currently are being accepted via the Web-based application system. Local education agencies that wish to submit contingency fund applications have until Jan. 30 to complete the application process. The user identification and password from the previous year may used for the 2008-09 applications. LEAs that have not previously received passwords should request them from to access the e-application and complete the process. If you have not received a response to your password request within a day, notify Dr. Ron Wells at or call (717) 783-6882. Applications will not be accepted after Jan. 30. The guidelines are available here.

Pennsylvania Open Records Office Forms

The following announcement appeared in Saturday's Pennsylvania Bulletin. 

Under section 505 of the Right-to-Know Law (65 P. S. § 67.505), the Office of Open Records must create and make available a Uniform Request Form that can be used when making request for records. This form is available on our web site at, click on the FORMS link.  Local and Commonwealth agencies are permitted to create and use their own forms, but should be advised that the law requires that they must accept a request submitted on the Office of Open Records Request Form.

Click here for the "forms" page.

Federal grant aimed at preventing high-risk drinking and violence by college students

The U.S. Department of Education announced today another grant program, this time for colleges, consortia, etc.  This grant program is aimed at preventing high-risk drinking and violent behavior by college students.  Here is the link.


U.S. Department of Education invites applications for Charter School grants

In yesterday’s Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Education announced  that it was seeking applications for grants to support charter school access to capital. 

The program provides grants to enhance charter school access to private-sector credit for facilities projects (acquisition, construction, and renovation). Competitive preference will be given to applications that (1) target services to areas where a large proportion of public schools have been identified for school improvement; (2) target services to geographic areas where a large proportion of student perform below proficient on state assessments; and (3) target services to areas with a large proportion of low-income families. The details are contained in the announcement. 

The Department appears to be targeting state and regional agencies as well as consortia of charter schools or educational management organizations, but there is no bar to individual charter school applications. 

Response To Comments, Fall 2008

Its time again to write about some comments. I wrote about the District of Columbia School Chancellor’s efforts to implement performance pay in “Teacher pay and tenure: creating a free agent market.”  Professor Fox added a comment regarding improvement to the current common rater method of assessing performance. I also wrote a piece about confederate flag waiving students (“Yet another confederate flag case”)” that garnered a response from Lynn accusing me of revisionist history and political correctness (me!). Craig wrote an interesting question in response to the entry “College-Student Disciplinary Contract Claims.”  Finally, in “Fourth Circuit Placement Decision Revisited: the last word,” I brought readers up to date on the case at issue and responded to a previous comment critical of my suggestion that open and honest communication can be a salve to the bad decision. Well, I got a comment from Nagla in support of my view!  Thanks for all your comments, even if I don't get to address each one.  Now to the four comments.

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Lewd, but not too lewd: discipline for off-campus speech probably depends on degree of offensivness

The blog has been off for a while, but now guest blogger Tim Gilsbach, starts off with the first a series of new entries.  This one brings to mind Justice Stewart's remark that he knows pornography when he sees it by showing that offensive speech is, apparently, no less subjective.  For educational agencies, this lack of bright line clarity, means an honest, well-documented, entire-circumstances approach is required for any discipline, and that school lawyers will continue to be busy with speech disputes.  And now, onto Tim's entry. . . .

 In two recent cases, the different federal district courts in Pennsylvania have considered on-line speech by students regarding facility members that occurred off campus, but nonetheless impacted the school setting. However, the courts reached differing conclusions on whether the speech was protected under the First Amendment, leaving school districts to guess when they can or cannot discipline the student for the conduct. A review of these two cases is illustrative of the problem.

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