Jobs for the 21st Century
Choice in D.C.
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
In the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education's first-ever webcast, ED staff and two experienced educatorsChris Coxon, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning for Boston Public Schools, and Walt Gibson, a Community Superintendent for Montgomery County (Maryland) Schoolsdiscuss school and district improvement, from theory to practice. Among the intriguing video segments are "Monitoring for Continuous Progress," "Requirements for School Improvement and School Improvement Plans," and "Supporting the Implementation of School Improvement Plans." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/improve/sigwebcast.html. (Those tech-adverse can still read the guidance on school and district improvement at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/schoolimprovementguid.pdf.)
Meanwhile, on January 16, the Department released a revised and expanded version of the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Non-Regulatory Guidance. This guidance incorporates the sections on highly qualified teachers released on September 12, 2003, with recently revised sections that pertain to the administration of the Title II, Part A program. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacherqual/guidance.pdf.
As part of the No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony, principals that demonstrated particular strengths presented their strategies and discussed with their peers tactics for boosting student achievement. The key ideas from the discussions are summarized in a new report, titled "Critical Issues PanelsDiscussion Report" (http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/2003/2003-final-report.pdf). Later this spring, syntheses from other sections of the pre-ceremony request for information will appear on the Blue Ribbon Schools web site: http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/.
Yesterday, Secretary Paige participated in the launch of the School Information Partnership web site. The site, http://www.schoolmatters.com/, offers timely, relevant, and comparable school, district, and state data required to be reported under the No Child Left Behind Act. "Information is power," the Secretary declared. "The data will help advance a national debate about the performance of our educational system. It can no longer be hidden in the shadows." The web site was created by Standards & Poor's and contains interactive analytical tools from S&P's School Evaluation Services and the National Center for Educational Accountability's Just for the Kids. Six states are already online; by summer, a majority of states should be available.
Jobs for the 21st Century
In his State of the Union Address, President Bush unveiled "Jobs for the 21st Century," a comprehensive plan to better prepare workers for jobs in the new millennium by improving secondary education and strengthening postsecondary education. "Jobs" includes over $500 million in new funding for education and job programs, including:
- A new $100 million Striving Readers Initiative that would make competitive grants to develop, implement, and evaluate effective reading interventions for middle and high school students reading "significantly" below grade level. This initiative would complement Reading First, which provides aid for students in kindergarten through third-grade.
- A $120 million increase for the existing Mathematics and Science Partnership Program, nearly doubling the $150 million total for this program in fiscal 2004.
- More than doubling federal spending, to $52 million, for the Advanced Placement Program, supporting state and local efforts to increase access to AP courses and tests in low-incomes schools.
- $40 million for a new Adjunct Teacher Corps, intended to create opportunities for professionals to teach middle and high school classes in the core academic subjects.
- About $12 million for the State Scholars Program, which encourages high schoolers to take more rigorous classes to prepare for higher education.
- The establishment of a $33 million program to enhance, by up to $1,000 a year, Pell Grants for students who take part in the State Scholar Program. Next year, approximately 36,000 low-income graduating high school seniors would be eligible to receive an enhanced grant.
Note: On Monday, February 2, Secretary Paige, Acting Deputy Secretary Gene Hickok, and Budget Director Tom Skelly will review the President's fiscal 2005 budget request. The briefing will start right at 3:00 p.m. All are welcome; reservations are not required. Budget materials will also be available at http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/ by 1:00 p.m. that afternoon.
Choice in D.C.
Last Friday, President Bush signed into law the omnibus appropriations bill, establishing a $14 million school choice demonstration program in the District of Columbia. The program will allow at least 1,700 low-income D.C. public school students to receive vouchers, worth as much as $7,500, to help pay the tuition, fees, and transportation expenses for a private school education. Eligible students will have to be admitted to a private school and must cover costs exceeding their vouchers. "With school choice, whether under the transfer provisions of No Child Left Behind or opportunity scholarships in the District and elsewhere, all parents can exercise their right to make educational choices for their children," Secretary Paige said in a statement. "School choice is one policy that will help create an educational system that makes no distinction between the poor and the privileged in terms of the quality of education received." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2004/01/01222004.html.
Also: Secretary Paige emphasized choice in his remarks at the Heritage Foundation earlier this week. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2004/01/01282004.html.
Belated congratulations to Community Consolidated School District #15, which serves seven municipalities in northwest suburban Chicago, Illinois, for becoming only the third school system to win a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The award, founded in 1998, spurs excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the quality and performance achievements of organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. Judges lauded District #15 for its success in raising student performance (in the 2002-03 school year, 84 percent of district second-grade students were reading "at or above grade level") and innovative efforts to "gauge" student, parent, and faculty satisfaction. Moreover, in tracking what it calls "market performance," the district has shown that it spends less per percentage point of student achievement on state tests than three comparable districts. (Previous winners: Alaska's Chugach School District and New York's Pearl River School District.) For more information, please go to http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/district15.htm. (District #15's application can be found at http://www.ccsd15.net/WhatsNew/Baldrige/PDFs/Baldrige_2003.pdf.)
The Education Department is partnering with the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies and scientific societies to sponsor activities for this year's Excellence in Science, Technology, and Mathematics Education (ESTME) Week (March 15-20). It is hoped that the week will ignite student interest in math and science by:
- drawing attention to the many ways their lives are enhanced by scientific and technological advances;
- stressing the ways that young people, themselves, can apply science and technology to benefit their community, their country, and their planet;
- highlighting the international nature of science, and stressing the importance of math and science education in today's era of globalization; and
- emphasizing how U.S. citizens benefit from scientists of diverse backgrounds and cultures working together to solve the complex problems of today.
Quote to Note
"Last night, the President talked in his State of the Union about...the problem of children who have reached junior high or high school and can't read.... Every one of us...can just imagine what it would be like to be in the seventh- or eighth- or ninth- or tenth-grade and not be able to read very well, because all of your work by the time you're in high school depends upon being able to read in a very good way, with great skill. So it's very important that we address this issue. And a lot of the students who can't read are the ones who drop out because of frustration, because of embarrassment, because of all the social problems that come with illiteracy. So I'm excited to be here [Discovery Middle School, Orlando, Florida] to announce the $100 million that's part of the Striving Readers program from the President's budget."
First Lady Laura Bush (1/21/04)
February 2 is National Job Shadow Day. For more information, please go to http://www.jobshadow.org/.
National School Counseling Week, February 2-6, focuses public attention on the unique contributions professional school counselors make within American school systems. Visit http://www.schoolcounselor.org/ for sample press releases, proclamations, and certificates.
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Last Modified: 12/07/2007