Preparing for College
Access to Technology
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
Earlier this week, the Department announced that Florida and Seattle Public Schools would receive additional financial flexibility in exchange for increased accountability. Florida is the first state to be approved under the State Flexibility Authority Program, or State-Flex. With this authority, Florida may: (1) consolidate and use certain state-level federal funds for any educational purpose authorized under No Child Left Behind; (2) specify how school districts in the state use Innovative Program funds under Title V, Part A; and (3) enter into performance agreements with four to ten districts (half of which must be high poverty), allowing them to consolidate certain federal funds to meet the goals of No Child Left Behind and make adequate yearly progress. The Secretary is authorized to approve up to seven State-Flex states. Seattle Public Schools is the first district to be approved under the Local Flexibility Demonstration Program, or Local-Flex, which provides similar flexibility to up to 80 districts in non-State-Flex states. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/nclb/freedom/local/flexibility/.
In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, "It's Not About the Money," Secretary Paige challenges the perception that the No Child Left Behind Act is underfunded, translating "into plain English" the difference between authorizations and appropriations and reiterating "President Bush has increased K-12 education spending by 40 percent since he took office." Instead, as the title alludes, the Secretary believes critics are "using the funding argument...as a way to attack the law when what they really do not like is that there will be accountability in education." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2003/10/
The Department has released non-regulatory guidance on using Migrant Education Program (MEP) funds to develop and implement supplemental educational and support services to help migrant children. MEP funds are allocated by formula based on state's per-pupil expenditure for education and counts of eligible migratory children residing within the state. In 2001-02, an estimated 700,000 students received migrant services during the school year or the following summer. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/mep/
Preparing for College
The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (November 18, 8:00-9:00 ET) will discuss critical academic and financial steps to prepare for postsecondary education. Research illustrates that academic success in college is directly related to the rigor of the coursework leading up to that point. Therefore, students and parents need to carefully plan -- starting as early as middle school -- building a strong academic foundation. Likewise, early financial planning is an essential component in the college equation. With over $60 billion in federal student aid, grants, and loans and billions more available through state and local programs, private scholarships, or in exchange for military or volunteer service, the system is both comprehensive and overwhelming. Remember, over a lifetime, a person with a bachelor's degree earns nearly twice that of a person with only a high school diploma. For more information, please go to http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/
event-flyer.asp?intEventID=171. (You can watch live and archived webcasts at http://www.connectlive.com/events/ednews/.)
Three worthwhile recognition periods are scheduled for the next two weeks:
- National Veterans Awareness Week (November 9-15) encourages schools to invite veterans into their classrooms in the days leading up to and following Veterans Day (November 11). Veterans are asked to share their experiences and teach students lessons about the history and significance of Veterans Day, helping students reflect upon the importance of the ideals of liberty, democracy, and freedom. For more information, please go to http://www.va.gov/vetsday/.
- International Education Week (November 17-21) recognizes the importance of educating students about people and nations throughout the world in preparing students to live in a diverse and tolerant society and succeed in a global economy. This year, most days have a theme: Tuesday will highlight international studies in schools, Wednesday special education, Thursday higher education, and Friday the teaching and learning of foreign languages. For more information, please go to http://exchanges.state.gov/iew/. (The Department's list of activities is at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/
- American Education Week (November 16-22) celebrates teachers and school staff. The 2003 theme, "Great Public Schools for Every Child -- America's Promise," is intended to remind people that teaching and learning is a team effort. As part of the week, support staff (bus drivers, cafeteria workers, janitors, teachers' aides) will be honored on Wednesday and substitute teachers will be singled out on Friday. For more information, please go to http://www.nea.org/aew/.
Access to Technology
According to two new reports by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), although public schools have made huge improvements in providing computer and Internet access, the "Digital Divide" persists outside of regular school hours. The first report, "Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2002" (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2004011), provides "trend analysis" on the progress of public schools and classrooms in connecting to the Internet (in 1994, just three percent of classrooms had access; by fall 2002, 92 percent had access) and the ratio of students to instructional computers with Internet access (today, there are 4.8 students for every one computer, an improvement from 12:1 in 1998). "Computer and Internet Use by Children and Adolescents in 2001" (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2004014), the second report, examines the use of computers and the Internet by Americans between the ages of five and 17. The data shows there is no significant difference in the use of computers to complete homework assignments between racial groups with home access. Yet, 41 percent of blacks and Hispanics use a computer at home, compared to 77 percent of whites. Moreover, 31 percent of students from families earning less than $20,000 use computers at home, compared to 89 percent of those from families earning more than $75,000.
Also: Using Department funds, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) and Laboratory for Student Success launched e-Lead (http://www.e-lead.org/), a free, web-based resource dedicated to providing states and districts with guidance about and information on the professional development of school principals. e-Lead has identified six principles, anchored in current research, which should guide principal training: focused, driven, conducted, anchored, designed, and evaluated. The site also houses a searchable database of existing quality programs.
Seeking to fill a couple of critical vacancies in the Department's leadership structure, the White House has announced its intent to nominate the current Undersecretary of Education, Gene Hickok, to be Deputy Secretary of Education, and Edward McPherson, who currently serves as Chief Financial Officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to be the new Undersecretary. Since July, Hickok has served as both Undersecretary and the Acting Deputy Secretary. He remains a policy advisor to Secretary Paige on all major programs and management issues, including the No Child Left Behind Act (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2003/11/11032003a.html). If confirmed, McPherson, with years of financial experience in government and the private sector, would serve as an advisor to the Secretary on matters ranging from the budget and strategic planning to policy implementation (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2003/10/10282003a.html). Also, Anne Radice, who has held executive positions in various non-profit and government organizations, has been named the Secretary's Chief of Staff (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2003/10/10282003.html) and Gerald Reynolds, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, is taking another federal post (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2003/10/10312003a.html).
In partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Education Department is offering a guidebook, "Disability Employment 101," to acquaint business leaders with programs and resources available to assist them in hiring individuals with disabilities. The guide provides information on vocational rehabilitation agencies, Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers, and Centers for Independent Living. It also includes a disability-friendly business checklist. One in five Americans has a disability, and their unemployment rate is the highest for any group of Americans. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/
Quote to Note
"This is a time to join together, not play semantic games for political posturing. We should all work to solve the educational inequities in this country. Education should not fall prey to partisan bickering and diversionary gamesmanship. The future of our children and our nation is too important for division and sparring by policymakers. Thanks to the President and the Congress, we have the right tools for the job. Now, let's replace vitriol with vision, and wisecracks with wisdom, for the sake of children."
Secretary of Education Rod Paige (10/29/03)
On November 13, NCES will release results from the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress reading and math tests for the nation and participating states. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/.
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Last Modified: 02/26/2007