Parent and Teacher Info
English Language Learners
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
On December 9, the Department will publish a final regulation in the Federal Register affecting students deemed to have the most significant cognitive disabilities by their states. Under the rule, these students would be tested against standards appropriate for their intellectual development and, for accountability purposes, their scores would be counted as part of their school's performance. The intent is two-fold: to protect children with disabilities from being excluded from accountability systems that provide valuable information to parents and educators and to ensure that schools receive credit for the progress of all children. The number of "proficient" scores counted for adequate yearly progress may not exceed one percent of all students in the grades tested (about nine percent of students with disabilities), although states may appeal for a higher limit. Without this flexibility, those scores would have to be measured against grade-level standards and considered "not proficient." For more information on tuesday, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister/.
Until December 10, you can hear a digital audio replay of the Business Roundtable's second annual forum on the No Child Left Behind Act. Leaders in politics, policy, and education gave the law a grade of A or A-, while implementation efforts received anywhere from a B to "incomplete." For more information, please go to http://www.businessroundtable.org/press.cfm/1062/.
For the first time, the Department has published the applications for schools selected as No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools. The applications supply a wealth of data and narratives about the 233 recognized schools. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/2003/applications/.
Lawmakers have struck a tentative deal on the Fiscal Year 2004 Department of Education budget. Under the spending plan, funding for the agency's discretionary programs would increase from $53.1 billion in FY 2003 to $56 billion in FY 2004. Highlights include:
- $12.3 billion for Title I grants to local education agencies, up from $11.7 billion;
- $1 billion for Reading First and nearly $95 million for Early Reading First;
- $219 million for charter school grants and $37 million for charter school facilities;
- $10.1 billion for special education grants, an increase of $1.2 billion (13 percent); and
- $12 billion in Pell Grants for over five million low- and middle-income undergraduates.
Parent and Teacher Info
Reminder! The "Tools for Student Success" catalog provides brief descriptions of available material for parents and teachers, as well as information on how to obtain these publications in hard copy or online at no cost. Also, "Tools" will be updated as additional resources become available. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/tools-for-success/.
Two new brochures by Parent Leadership Associates offer parents helpful tips on using their school's report cards (http://www.plassociates.org/eight.html) and, for those who do not exercise school choice, securing a better education for their child in their neighborhood school (http://www.plassociates.org/ten.html).
English Language Learners
Kicking-off the Department's second annual summit on English language acquisition, Secretary Paige and Deputy Undersecretary Maria Ferrier unveiled "Ten Key Benefits of English Language Learners," a summary of No Child Left Behind provisions that concern the nation's approximately five million English language learners. According to the law, parents can expect:
- To have their child receive a quality education and be taught by a highly qualified teacher.
- To have their child learn English and other subjects, such as reading/language arts and math at the same academic level as all other students.
- To know if their child has been identified and recommended for placement in an English language acquisition program and accept or refuse such placement.
- To choose a different English language acquisition program for their child.
- To transfer their child to another school if his or her school is identified as "needing improvement."
- To apply for supplemental services for their child, if the child's school is identified as "needing improvement" for two years.
- To have their child tested annually to assess his or her progress in English language acquisition.
- To receive information regarding their child's performance on academic tests.
- To have their child taught with programs that are scientifically proven to work.
- To have the opportunity for their child to reach his or her greatest academic potential.
In a recent speech to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, during International Education Week, Secretary Paige acknowledged, "Foreign language instruction should be part of every child's education.... Every language is a precious resource that must be studied, used, and preserved precisely because a language opens the mind to new possibilities." Moreover, to critics who charge No Child Left Behind threatens foreign language study in schools, the Secretary explained that foreign language is considered a "core academic subject" under the law, meaning all foreign language teachers must be "highly qualified" and states can use their Title II teacher quality aid on professional development and other initiatives to get their foreign language teachers so qualified. "I have gone furtherI have urged local school districts to include a wide and deep set of offerings in foreign languages...," he added. "The government, corporations, and academia are desperate for speakers of Arabic, Farsi, and other languages, and there has been a steady demand for speakers of Chinese and Japanese. The need of bilingual Spanish speakers is so prevalent that I'm even taking instruction in Spanish." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2003/11/11212003.html. (The Council has declared 2005 as "The Year of Languages.")
A new report from the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) compares data from NCES' 1995 and 2000 surveys on remedial course offerings, student participation in remedial programs, institutional structure of remedial programs, and the delivery of remedial courses through distance education. Twenty percent of entering freshmen at four-year public institutions and 42 percent of entering freshmen at public two-year colleges enrolled in at least one remedial course in fall 2000. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2004010.
Also: Tired of older data? NCES' "Projections of Education Statistics to 2013" projects key statistics, such as student enrollment and expenditures, for elementary and secondary schools and degree-granting institutions. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2004013.
Quote to Note
"We heard just a moment ago two of our young learners recite a poem on what it means to be bilingual. They represent the five and a half million children in America who speak nearly 400 languages other than English. We are a true nation of immigrants, and we always have been. Some would note that many of these children have limited English skills. But, in truth, they are not limited. Rather, they are blessed with the opportunity to learn multiple languages. At a time when most Americans speak just one language, these children are a bridge between two cultures. Helping them learn English while at the same time providing a quality education is the single most important thing we can do to help them achieve the American Dream."
Secretary of Education Rod Paige (12/2/03)
The Department's next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast, titled "Closing the Achievement Gap: the Second Anniversary of No Child Left Behind," is scheduled for January 20, 2004. For more information, please go to http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/event-flyer.asp?intEventID=172. The National School and Business Partnerships Awards, created by the Council for Corporate and School Partnerships, recognize exemplary school and business partnerships across the country. Partnerships involving public schools and/or school districts and businesses are eligible to apply for the award. The Council will present six awards this first year. Those selected will receive $10,000 to support partnerships efforts. Applications must be postmarked by January 29, 2004. For more information, please go to http://www.corpschoolpartners.org/award.shtml.
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Deputy Assistant SecretaryKen Meyer, (202) 401-0404, Ken.Meyer@ed.gov
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Last Modified: 05/05/2008