OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
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News Archive for 2003
Archived Information

Read about OVAE and other Department of Education announcements, including administrative changes and grant information. From the field, see Other News and Initiatives and Articles and Media Information.

Please note that the some of these archived articles may no longer be available at the URL listed. Registration may be required to access older articles.

Department News
The U.S. Department of Labor, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education, has developed this useful web tool that helps bridge the gap between education, skills, and opportunities in the workforce.

Federal Student Aid
This website assists students of all ages plan for education beyond high school.

National High School Leadership Summit (October 8, 2003)
The Summit kicked off a new leadership initiative for high schools called, "Preparing America's Future."

NCES Report on Postsecondary Attainment (NCES, 2003)
Using postsecondary transcript data, NCES researchers have compiled a tabular summary of the postsecondary attainment, attendance and performance of a sample group of students.

Smaller Learning Communities Program (SLCP). OVAE announces the FY 2002 SLCP implementation and planning grantees. See the announcement and list of grantees.

Tech Prep Demonstration Program (TPDP). OVAE announces the FY 2002/2003 TPDP grantees. See the announcement and list of grantees.

Community Technology Centers Program (CTC). OVAE announces the FY 2003 CTC general and novice grantees. See the announcement and list of grantees.

Susan Sclafani Named Acting Assistant Secretary.
President Bush also announced the intent to nominate Susan Sclafani to be Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education.

OVAE Representation at State Vocational Education Conferences
One of OVAE's Deputy Assistant Secretaries, Hans Meeder, spoke at five regional Career-Technical/Vocational Education conferences, from July 22 to August 4. He visited North Carolina, Nevada, Tennessee, Ohio and Kansas to talk about the proposed Secondary and Technical Education Excellence Program. More details to come.

Distance Education: Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2000-2001 (NCES, 2003)
Report with data on postsecondary distance education programs, including data on program goals, enrollments, degree programs, technologies used, and accommodations for students with disabilities.

Condition of Education, 2003 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003)
NCES has released the latest version of The Condition of Education, which summarizes important developments and trends in education using the latest available data.

Performance Measurement Initiative
OVAE invites state teams to apply for participation in this initiative conducted by the Academy for Educational Development (AED), in collaboration with MPR Associates, Inc. and Johns Hopkins University to explore building a new performance accountability system.

Grant Reviewers Needed
The Division of High School, Postsecondary and Career Education is looking for field/peer reviewers to evaluate applications in upcoming grant competitions.

FY 2004 Budget Proposal Released
The Administration has released its education budget proposals for fiscal year 2004. View the budget overview for the entire Department of Education, and for OVAE.

Secondary and Technical Education Excellence Program Proposed download files
Included in OVAE's FY 2004 budget proposal is a new program to ensure that high school students receive high-quality academic and skills preparation that will lead them to higher education and good jobs (Perkins Reauthorization).

Updated Guidance on High Quality Teachers. Guide for state officials on standards for highly qualified teachers under No Child Left Behind. The provisions require educators in core academic areas to be licensed by the state, hold a bachelor's degree, and demonstrate competence in their subject area.

Take Part in the State Scholars Initiative!
The Center for State Scholars is now accepting applications from State business and education coalitions and State business partnerships that are committed to improving high school students' academic achievement. In collaboration with the Center for State Scholars, States can establish policy and incentive systems to support high school students in completing a rigorous course of study, preparing them for postsecondary education and careers.

Implementation of No Child Left Behind
Materials from regional conferences, including presentations on accountability, annual yearly progress, teacher quality and other important facets of NCLB.

Request for Applications: Adolescent Literacy Research
Successful applicants will conduct research projects to identify what contributes to the development of reading and writing abilities in adolescents. The projects also will help create methods for the identification, prevention, and remediation of reading and writing disabilities in adolescents. Letters of intent are due February 26 and are non-binding. Applications are due March 26, 2003.

Three Exciting New Initiatives Underway at OVAE
Read about three exciting new initiatives underway at OVAE: College and Career Transitions Initiative; Community College Labor Market Responsiveness Initiative; and Performance Measurement Initiative.

What Works Clearinghouse
The Department of Education has established a clearinghouse for effective, research-based practices in education. The group is currently soliciting topic areas for review.

Department Announces "Evidence Report" Topics for the What Works Clearinghouse
Among the initial topics for which the Department is seeking exemplary programs, practices, products, policies and studies are: (1) curriculum interventions to increase high school math proficiency; (2) high school dropout prevention; and (3) programs for increasing adult literacy.

Other News and Initiatives

School Choice: Doing It the Right Way Makes a Difference (Brookings Institution, 2003) .
The National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education has released their report on how communities can benefit from school choice and avoid any potential damage presented by choice options.

NetDay Students Speak Up (NetDay, 10/29/03)
On October 29th, students across the country will go online to speak up about how technology can be used in schools.

blue flag bullet Why We Need a New Secondary School System: An Agenda for State Leaders (JFF, 2003)
Hilary Pennington of Jobs for the Future proposes a secondary school system that is closely connected to postsecondary education to ensure that students are prepared for additional education after high school.

blue flag bullet Manufacturing Talent Shortage Looms (National Association of Manufacturers, 2003)
The NAM has released a report detailing an upcoming talent shortage in manufacturing, and calling for a national initiative to let young people know there are high-skilled, high-paying jobs available in manufacturing.

blue flag bullet Small Schools and Race (Voices in Urban Education, Annenberg Institute for School Reform, October 2003)
Articles from a number of school reform experts on how (and if) the small schools movement translates into an urban school environment with a large minority enrollment.

blue flag bullet Conference on Information Technology (League for Innovation in the Community College, 2003)
October conference on using information technology to improve teaching and learning, student services and institutional management.

blue flag bullet Competition Helps Schools (Manhattan Institute, 2003)
A new report says that Florida schools that felt most threatened by competition from vouchers (under Florida's A+ program) improved the most.

Cross-sectoral Alliances in Education (Center on Educational Governance, 2003)
The Center on Educational Governance has issued a report on strategic alliances between charter schools and outside organizations that have a stake in education issues.

President Bush Discusses Top Priorities for the U.S. (Press Conference of the President, 7/30/2003)
With regards to a question concerning the fundamental changes in the work force and the economy, President Bush offered up community colleges as an option for continuing education.

Now That I'm Here: What America's Immigrants Have to Say About Life in the U.S. Today (Public Agenda, 2003) download files
Key Findings from this report prepared by the Public Agenda organization for the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

UNESCO Publishes New Bulletin (UNESCO-UNEVOC, April 2003)
UNESCO has published a new bulletin with updates on international efforts in the field of technical and vocational education.

Community Colleges Eligible for Excellence Awards (Jobs for the Future, 3/28/03)
Community colleges can apply now for the 2004 Metlife Excellence Awards, given to colleges that are particularly effective in helping students from underserved populations succeed in postsecondary education (deadline August 1, 2003).

Collaborative to Improve State Higher Education Policy (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, March 2003)
Three national higher education policy groups are collaborating to help states evaluate their postsecondary education results and make improvements.

MIT Offers Invention Grants to High School Teams
High School InvenTeams--made up of students, their teacher and an industry mentor--can apply for an MIT grant to invent something of value for their school or community.

Bridge Project Releases Final Report on K-16 Links
Stanford University's Bridge Project has released its final report documenting the disconnection between K-12 and postsecondary education, and making recommendations to policy makers for making the transition between high school and college much smoother.

Connecticut Charter School Evaluation (Western Michigan University, 2002)
An independent evaluation of Connecticut charter schools found positive effects on student achievement within the context of the state's strong accountability systems.

Commitment to Youth in Australia (Dusseldorp Skills Forum)
Australia's Dusseldorp Skills Forum has put together a package of material on the benefits of providing every young Australian with 12 years of learning and access to decent work. The package includes a policy paper, a report on focus groups with young people, five fact sheets on key issues related to youth learning and transition to work, a presentation from the business perspective, and additional resources and links.

Philadelphia Introduces Major High School Reforms
The Philadelphia school district plans to completely overhaul its high school system, offering more challenging academic courses, providing twice as many guidance counselors, ensuring that entering freshman are well-prepared, and engaging in a five-year capital construction effort.

California's Teacher Quality Index
A California legislator has spurred the development of a teacher quality index for California school districts that reveals the overall quality of teaching in a district and the spread of quality teaching among district schools.

21st Century Skills Initiative (Benton Foundation, 2003)
The Benton Foundation has announced an initiative to help underserved young adults acquire "21st Century Skills" through community-based strategies that use media and communications tools.

Youth Policy Fellowship
The American Youth Policy Form has announced annual fellowships to young scholars or scholar-practitioners. Fellows study issues in youth policy, practice, research or program evaluation, focusing particularly on disadvantaged youth. The first Fellowship begins in Summer 2003.

New Family Literacy Initiatives
The Partnership for Reading is introducing two new family literacy initiatives that will bring research-based practice to bear on professional development for family literacy professionals.

Teens and School Success
Involved parents, high expectations and mentoring are some of the factors that relate to positive achievement for teens at school.

Excellence in Community Colleges (Jobs for the Future and Metlife)
Community colleges can apply this spring for the Excellence in Community College Practice awards, which focus on colleges that are especially effective in helping students from underserved populations succeed in postsecondary learning.

No Child Left Behind Reference Guide
The Department of Education has issued a desktop reference guide for the No Child Left Behind Act, outlining its effects on each program supported under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and describing the new law's four guiding principles (accountability, flexibility and local control, parental choice, and what works).


Articles and Media Information

An Early Taste of College (ASCD Eduation Update, December 2003)
The Early College High School Model shows promise in motivating average or low-performing students to achieve.

Report Examines Motivation Among Students (Education Week, 12/10/03)
The National Research Council released a report showing that many high school students are disengaged from learning, but schools can make changes to motivate their students.

In ESEA Wake, School Data Flowing Forth (Education Week, 12/10/03).
Education Week looks at state education data two years after the passage of NCLB, and assembles comparative data across the states in several key areas.

Why Choice is Good for Teachers (Education Next, Winter 2004).
David J. Ferrero argues that teachers would be happier and work better in schools that supported their own philosophies of teaching, which means we need a wide variety of schools from which to choose.

Engaging the Disengaged (American School Board Journal, December 2003).
High school students are susceptible to outside influences that take their attention away from the classroom, but teachers can structure lessons so learning is meaningful and students are fully engaged.

Beyond Testing: The 7 Disciplines for Strengthening Instruction (Education Week, 11/12/03).
District leaders can make systemwide changes to improve teaching and learning.

No Drive-by Teachers (Carnegie Perspectives, October 2003)
Lee S. Shulman argues that accountable teachers are those who take the time to make sure students are learning to high standards, and to make changes in method if they are not.

Schools Offered Money to Go Small (The Oregonian, 10/31/03)
A business group in Portland has offered to fund the breaking up of large high schools into small schools focused on achievement.

No Parent Left Behind (Christian Science Monitor, 10/28/03)
NCLB has spurred school districts across the country to find innovative ways to reach out to and include parents in their children's education.

Rethinking Thinking (Christian Science Monitor, 10/14/03)
Colleges are trying to instill criticial thinking in their undergraduate students, so they have the skills for lifelong learning.

Career Programs Under Construction (Catalyst, October 2003)
Chicago Public Schools is revamping its career and college transition programs to help students make a smooth transition into life after high school.

States Urged to Make High School a Priority, or Face Consequences (Education Week, 10/8/03)
A group of state leaders, policymakers and business representatives met to talk about how American high schools could offer more choices and graduate students who are more prepared for work or college.

Online School Keeps Kids in Line (Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/8/03)
A Cincinnata virtual high school learns how to keep students on track and achieving in an unconventional atmosphere.

The Great Escape (Christian Science Monitor, 10/7/003)
There are enough teachers for hire at the moment, but teachers are leaving the profession faster than they're entering it.

Deciding to Teach Them All (Educational Leadership, October 2003)
Using a challenging curriculum for all students leads a teacher to deeper questions about student abilities and achievement.

blue flag bullet City School Rules on Hiring Found to Deter Teachers (Education Week, 9/24/03)
Urban districts lose out on quality teachers because of hiring practices, not lack of qualified candidates.

blue flag bullet NY Charter Schools Surpassing Public Schools (, 9/11/03)
A state report shows that charter schools in New York are showing "dramatic increases" in student performance compared to their traditional public school counterparts.

Flexible School Facilities (DesignShare, September 2003)
School design can incorporate the needs of the future as well as those of the present.

blue flag bullet Got Skills? (Christian Science Monitor, 09/02/03)
There will be a shortage of skilled employees in 10 years, but employers can take steps now to foster a skilled workforce.

blue flag bullet Small Schools Encouraged in San Francisco (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/25/03)
The San Francisco school district is providing resources and encouragement to entrepreneurs within the public school system who want to start and run small schools.

AP Courses Not for Everyone, Educator Says (Washington Post, 8/5/03)
Some think AP classes should be limited to top students, but there is evidence that mid-level students can rise to the challenge.

Grades That Mean Something (George Lucas Educational Foundation, 2003)
A California charter school breaks grades down into eight specific categories so students can identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Where are the Future Scientists? (Christian Science Monitor, 7/29/03)
Science-technology companies are trying to attract girls to the field by showing them its interactive, team-oriented side.

Who Needs Certification? (Wall Street Journal, 7/29/03)
The Summerbridge program uses dedicated high school and college students to teach disadvantaged urban youth in a rigorous academic setting.

The Ultimate Shop Project: $1.3 Million Home (Washington Post, 7/10/03)
Fairfax county students combine academics and building skills in a unique vocational education program.

Agent of Change (Education Week, 7/09/2003)
Superintendent Eric J. Smith believes that all children can learn, and he's making big changes in Maryland's Anne Arundel County to prove it.

Program Sends Kids to College for Free ( 1/30/02)

The 100 Best High Schools in America (Newsweek, 6/2/03)
Newsweek has chosen the 100 best high schools in the U.S. based on the percentage of students taking challenging Advanced Placement course.

Schools Seek a Higher Standard for Grades (Washington Post, 4/14/03)
Montgomery county school leaders want grades to reflect academic achievement only, not effort or behavior in the classroom.

Grammar Valued More in College Than in High School (Chicago Sun-Times, 4/9/03)
College instructors are looking for proper grammar in student writing but high school English teachers often don't teach grammar.

Colleges to Create 15 High Schools to Help Kids At Risk (Sacramento Bee, 4/3/03)
California community colleges will create 15 small high schools where students can earn both a high school and an Associate's degree, smoothing the transition to postsecondary education for disadvantaged students.

America's High School Crisis: Policy Reforms That Will Make a Difference (Education Week, 4/2/03)
Tom Vander Ark of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation puts forth essential elements for high school reform (requires registration; free).

"Bot" Competition Inspires Technical Teamwork (Christian Science Monitor, 4/1/03)
A national robotics competition for high school students emphasizes teamwork as much as results.

Bush Eyes Changes to Vocational Schools (Boston Globe, 3/31/03)
The Administration wants to ensure that vocational programs give students a rigorous academic grounding as well as a trade.

City School District Charting Revolutionary Course (Buffalo News, 3/30/03)
The Buffalo School District is looking into the idea of setting up district-sponsored charter schools.

Radio Rookies (What Kids Can Do, March 2003)
New York City students create radio projects at the Columbia School of Journalism lab and take their personal stories on the air.

Forging Habits of Inquiry at Urban Academy (What Kids Can Do, March 2003)
High school students at a New York academy learn to ask the questions and defend their answers in a rigorous, self-directed learning program.

Where Girls and Tech Make a Match (Washington Post, 3/20/03)
Women in technology fields are mentoring girls to overcome perceived barriers to careers in science and technology.

Paige Backs Reform in Certification of Teachers (Washington Times, 3/19/03)
The Secretary of Education gave his support to alternative certification for teachers that focuses on subject matter knowledge instead of education degrees.

A Radical Formula for Teaching Science (Washington Post, 3/18/03)
Joy Hakim has written a textbook that emphasizes the story of science instead of disconnected facts, and many in the scientific community applaud the effort.

Bill Would Simplify Teacher Firings (Houston Chronicle, 3/18/03)
School administrators in Austin, Texas want more discretion to fire incompetent teachers.

Teaching the American Way (Washington Post, 3/11/03)
Columnist Jay Mathews says American education methods that encourage independent thinking are appreciated and emulated by educators and parents around the world.

Western Governors University Opens New Online College for Teachers (Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/11/03)
Western Governors University will let prospective teachers earn certification online, and that may help ease the nationwide teacher shortage.

Charter Laws Targeted in Fiscal Tilts (Education Week, 3/5/03)
In lean budget times, some states are seeking to scale back or eliminate charter schools.

Students Learn Skills in Restaurant Project (Houston Chronicle, 3/5/03)
A Houston school now has its own Outback Steakhouse, which is acting as a business laboratory for budding entrepreneurs.

The Rote Stuff (Teacher Magazine, March 2003)
The No Child Left Behind Act provides funds for a math development program designed by a parent and featuring timed tests. (Requires registration to view)

Is the Shine Off the A.P. Apple? (American School Board Journal, March 2003)
More students are taking challenging A.P. courses in high school because of the College Board's commitment to access and equity, but some fear equity comes at the price of excellence.

Administrators Join Testing Support Group (Catalyst, Cleveland, February/March, 2003)
School district administrators in Cleveland find they can make more sense of data when they combine their efforts.

Rural Schools Use Place-Based Learning to Help Students Achieve (Rural School and Community Trust, 02/03)
Building curriculum from projects connected to the local community helps rural schools keep students interested and raises achievement.

Grants for Alternative High Schools (Gates Foundation, 2/26/03)
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is sponsoring nine organizations that will create partnerships to develop alternative high schools nationwide.

Great Expectations and Creative Teachers (Christian Science Monitor, 2/25/03)
A Boston high school business class combines classroom learning with solid workplace experience, and helps students save for college.

They Fail to Connect (New York Daily News, 2/10/03)
Reporters from the Daily News called school districts rated as "failing" under No Child Left Behind to ask about transferring children to better schools. School officials gave wrong or bad advice about 50% of the time (For the real facts on parents' options to transfer their children out of underperforming schools, see the No Child Left Behind webpage on parent choice).

Parent Involvement in Migrant Education is at Home, Not at School (Ascribe Newswire, 2/3/03)
Traditional school parent involvement programs may not take different cultural patterns into account.

District Turns Focus to High School Improvement (Cleveland Catalyst, December/January 2003)
The Cleveland school district is reforming high schools by creating smaller learning communities, eliminating remedial classes and scheduling classes to run for 90 minutes instead of 40 (includes links to related articles).

CSU Freshmen lag in English, Math (Sacramento Bee, 1/29/03)
Incoming freshmen to California's state university system need extensive remediation in basic skills.

Class Menagerie (Education Week, 1/29/03)
Cincinnati high school students can take part in the Zoo Academy, which stresses strong academic skills and hands-on experience in studying and caring for animals.

Schooled the Sundance Way (Christian Science Monitor, 1/28/03)
Students in Park City, Utah get their start on a film career through a middle school screen writing program.

Not for the Timid (Education Week, 1/22/03)
Hayes Mizell says that communities, school systems and schools need to work together for bold education reform.

Geek is Chic (Florida Educational Technology Corporation, January 2003)
Two Florida educators develop a program that attracts girls to technology--with the help of the girls themselves.

Turning Senior Year on Its Ear (Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/16/03)
Cherry Hill High School East in New Jersey is giving seniors more to chew on in their final year, including meaningful work and projects.

R.I. Plans to Personalize High Schools (Education Week, 1/15/03)
Rhode Island's state board of regents approved a plan to make high schools smaller and more personal, and to institute performance-based assessments.

Where The Girls Aren't (New York Times, 1/12/03)
Educators struggle to get more girls into advanced computer classes.

School Indicators for Parents (Center for Community Change, 1/03)
Summary of how well individual school report cards convey information to parents, and suggestions for parents on what to look for in the report cards.

Myths vs. Realities on No Child Left Behind (Education Trust, 1/03)
The Education Trust exposes some myths about the No Child Left Behind Act and encourages states to use the law to improve education for all children.

Teacher Quality Lacking in High-Minority, High-Poverty Schools (Education Week, 1/8/03)
An Education Week analysis reveals that teachers in high-minority, high-poverty schools are less likely to have majored in their subject and more likely to be inexperienced than their peers in more affluent schools.

Effective Instructional Strategies (NCCSR Bookmark Series, January 2003)
The Assistant Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools (VA) describes how the district developed instructional strategies that resulted in greater understanding among students and contributed to a reduction in the achievement gap.

Teacher Quality Lags in Poorer Schools (Christian Science Monitor, 1/7/03)
High-poverty schools have more teachers without a major in the subject they teach and more inexperienced teachers than low-poverty schools.

A Decade of Charter Schools (Christian Science Monitor, 1/7/03)
After ten years, charter schools show both successes and failures, but it is likely their full impact has not yet been measured.

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Last Modified: 02/04/2011