In 2012, Public Education Network (PEN) closed its doors after 21 years. PEN was a network of local education funds (LEFs) -- community based organizations in high poverty school districts across the United States -- that continue to work with their school districts and communities to improve public education for the nation's most disadvantaged children.

At the national level, PEN raised the importance of public engagement as an essential component of education reform. It brought the voice of LEFs and the communities they represent into the national education debate. Finally, PEN gave voice to the essential nature of the connection between quality public education and a healthy and thriving democracy.

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Open to the Public: The Public Speaks Out on No Child Left Behind - A Summary of Nine Hearings September 2005-January 2006

April 21, 2006

Between September 2005 and January 2006, Public Education Network (PEN) held a series of public hearings to give students, parents, and community members -- audiences very much affected by the law, but usually left out of the policy debate -- an opportunity to tell their side of the NCLB story.While education organizations and Congress hold forums and hearings to solicit feedback from educators and school administrators about the impact of NCLB, they seldom look beyond schools to see the impact of the law on the public and on communities. But because schools play such a critical role in community life, understanding how the law affects students, families, and the broader community is critically instructive to policymakers and to others who are trying to make sure the law meets its goals.The hearings serve four purposes: They provide venues through which a public record of the local capacity to implement NCLB can be compiled. They serve as a means to inform and mobilize the public on issues pertaining to public education and what it takes to improve its quality. They give PEN and its national partners the information needed to bring public voices and concerns into the debate about reshaping NCLB. And, finally, they create a public "resume" for review by policymakers in the context of the law's reauthorization.

No Child Left Behind in Massachusetts: Tough Questions from the Public - Reports from the 2005 Public Hearings (Long Version)

April 5, 2006

Between September 2005 and January 2006, Public Education Network (PEN) held a series of public hearings to give students, parents, and community members -- audiences very much affected by the law, but usually left out of the policy debate -- an opportunity to tell their side of the NCLB story. State reports are available for California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

No Child Left Behind in Massachusetts: Tough Questions from the Public - Reports from the 2005 Public Hearings (Short Version)

April 5, 2006

Between September 2005 and January 2006, Public Education Network (PEN) held a series of public hearings to give students, parents, and community members -- audiences very much affected by the law, but usually left out of the policy debate -- an opportunity to tell their side of the NCLB story. State reports are available for California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Online No Child Left Behind Survey Responses from Massachusetts vs. the National Average

December 19, 2005

The PEN national office launched a 2005 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) online survey to follow up on the 2004 survey. The 2004 survey generated 12,000 responses and greatly influenced the recommendations in the "Open to the Public" report released in March 2005. PEN was particularly interested in reaching grassroots constituencies, but the voices of everyone -- including educators -- were counted.

Open to the Public: Speaking Out on "No Child Left Behind", A Report from 2004 Public Hearings - Massachusetts

March 31, 2005

Shortly after NCLB was passed in 2001, Public Education Network (PEN) began an intensive examination of the law to determine the rights and privileges it accords to parents and community members. Approximately 10,000 print copies of the resulting publication, "Using NCLB to Improve Student Achievement: An Action Guide for Community and Parent Leaders", have been requested by organizations throughout the country, with more than 40,000 copies downloaded from the PEN website. In addition, a series of NCLB action briefs, developed by PEN in partnership with the National Coalition for Parent Involvement In Education, have been downloaded more than 25,000 times.With this demand for information on NCLB as background, PEN held a series of state hearings to give the public a structured way to enter the debate on the pros and cons of NCLB and the effects, both positive and negative, the law is having on schools and students. Nine hearings took place in eight states over a five-month period. Each state hearing was conducted in partnership with local organizations and presided over by a panel of state and national hearing officers.PEN hopes these forums broadened the public debate about NCLB and provided policymakers with information on how their work encourages or discourages quality education for children. The findings from PEN's NCLB hearings were transmitted to decision makers at the national, state, and local levels to help them determine which aspects of NCLB the public supports, what are the primary concerns, and what mid-course corrections are needed to achieve the most beneficial results for all students.

Meeting the Challenges of Health Education Curriculum Development

May 12, 1999

In 1994, the Public Education Network (PEN) entered into a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC/DASH) to integrate comprehensive school health programs (CSHP) into a larger, systemic school reform effort at the local and national levels. Under this agreement, PEN worked with and provided funds to six local education funds (LEFs) to implement local projects that would establish, enhance, and/or institutionalize school health programs within their districts -- and in the case of one LEF, throughout the state. This case study documents the experiences of these LEFs and their partners in the second year of the implementation of this project, which focused on activities reforming the health education curriculum reform.PEN was able to explore and delineate the issues surrounding comprehensive services through its first federal grant from the CDC. Through the Comprehensive School Health Initiative (CSHI), PEN, along with its partner LEFs, aims to link school health and school reform by approaching the issue of school and adolescent health, including HIV prevention, with public engagement as a major component. This report looks at the challenges LEFs faced as they engaged a wide array of entities in examining health education curriculum and reform efforts to make it more comprehensive, age-appropriate and developmental.