Shaping America's Future
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
The second Department webcast in a series related to the implementation of No Child Left Behind focuses on supplemental educational services. Senior education officials, headlined by Deputy Undersecretary for Innovation and Improvement Nina Rees, and a representative panel of practitioners discuss the who, what, when, where, and why of supplemental services and their implementation across the country. As of April 2004, 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico had posted lists of approved supplemental service providers online. Those lists profile a total of 1,788 providers, including private companies (1,230), local school districts and schools (442), colleges and universities (41), and others (75). For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/admins/comm/suppsvcs/seswebcast.html. (The inaugural webcast, on school improvement, is at http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/improve/sigwebcast.html.)
Last week, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education released guidance on two critical topics. The Standards and Assessments Peer Review Guidance seeks to inform states about what would be useful evidence to demonstrate that they have met No Child Left Behind standards and assessments requirements and, consequently, guide teams of peer reviewers who will examine the evidence submitted by states and advise the agency as to whether a state has met the requirements. The Parental Involvement Guidance is geared to help states, school districts, and schools meet parental involvement mandates under Title I, Part A of No Child Left Behind. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/edpicks.jhtml (select "View All Resources").
President Bush recently signed an executive order aimed at improving the education of American Indian and Alaska Native children. The EO creates a federal working group, co-chaired by Secretary Paige and Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, charged with helping tribal students meet the high standards established by the No Child Left Behind Act. The EO also directs Paige to conduct a "multi-year study of American Indian and Alaska Native education" to report on the order's progress and provide the latest data and research on tribal students. For more information, please go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040430-10.html. (For remarks, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040430-3.html.)
Shaping America's Future
The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (May 18, 8:00-9:00 ET) will showcase efforts to create an engaged and informed citizenry. The study of history is essential to the preservation of American democracy and freedom; knowing our history enables us to understand the nation's traditions, as well as its central ideas, values, and organizing principles. Conversely, a lack of historical memory deprives us of a sense of national identity and, in the words of Lynne Cheney, "a perspective on human existence." Unfortunately, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), less than one-quarter of America's students are proficient in either American history or civics. Among other questions, the broadcast will explore: what high-quality history and civics instruction looks like; what students should be learning in history and civics at the elementary, middle, and high school levels; and how can parents encourage their kids to learn history and civics outside of the classroom? And, Secretary Paige and the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bruce Cole, will converse on the federal government's role in improving the teaching of American history and civics and making historical resources more accessible to teachers and students. For more information, please go to http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/event-flyer.asp?intEventID=176. (You can watch live and archived webcasts of each show at http://www.connectlive.com/events/ednews/.)
Speaking of history, May 17 is the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Therefore, Secretary Paige's current speeches speak directly about or make reference to the occasion. "In my view, the Brown v. Board of Education case is one of the most important decisions in our history," he told students at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. "I am not a lawyer or historian. But the best law is understandable and evident to everyone.... As someone who lived through segregation, I know that Brown made our country more equitable, more just, and more decent." Of course, the Secretary warned, "We have a long way to go, [but] education is still the best place to continue pushing for changes that will make our society as equitable and as just as our country deserves." One week later, at Amistad Academy in Connecticut, he reminded students, "You are a living testament to Brown's commitment.... Every class you take makes you stronger. Every minute in school is preparing you for success. Your education is the best investment in your future." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2004/04/04222004.html.
Note: The Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission, established by Congress on September 18, 2001, publishes a weekly newsletter on anniversary events. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/brownvboard50th/.
The Presidential Scholars program, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, honors some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. (In 1979, it was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts.) Each year, 141 students are named, including at least one young man and woman from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad. Another 15 scholars are chosen at-large, and 20 awardees are scholars in the arts. The 25-member Commission on Presidential Scholars (appointed by the president) makes the final selection from a field of 2,700 candidates. Also, each Presidential Scholar is asked to invite the teacher who has had the greatest impact on his or her academic success to travel to Washington, DC, to participate in the recognition ceremony and receive a certificate of excellence. Since the program began, nearly 5,000 students have been honored. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/psp/.
At an April 26 Department briefing, the State Educational Technology Directors' Association (SETDA) unveiled its second annual toolkit to help states with the No Child Left Behind Act's technology requirements. Developed with input from state and national experts, the kit offers resources and best practices in five content areas:
- building partnerships and leveraging resources;
- technology leadership skills for the 21st Century;
- data driven decision making and data collection;
- building high quality professional development programs; and
- virtual schools and distance learning.
These areas were identified at the SETDA 2003 National Leadership Institute, held last December. The institute was attended by over 100 education technology leaders from 46 states, 10 Department representatives, and various other interested parties. For more information, please go to http://www.setda.org/toolkit2003/index.htm.
Also: During the Cable in the Classroom Conference, Secretary Paige outlined technological priorities for the Department: improve student data management systems; improve online assessments; and enhance online learning opportunities. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2004/05/05042004.html.
The last issue detailed the No Child Left Behind Summer Reading Achievers Program, which is being implemented in 10 pilot cities and one state. In a similar effort to raise awareness about the loss of reading skills over the summer months, Reading is Fundamental (RIF) is encouraging families to take a "virtual" Summer Reading Journey. Visitors to the RIF web site will have the opportunity to explore reading motivation tips for families; ideas for teachers and librarians to encourage summer reading; stimulating family activities for road trips, vacations, or time-together at home; a contest for those ages 5-18 to read and review books for a chance to win cool prizes; and much more. For more information, please go to http://www.rif.org/summer/.
Quote to Note
"Two score and 10 years have passed since Brown. It may take generations to finally achieve equality of opportunity. But a race-free society must start with fair and inclusive education. That is where we must build the foundation of fairness, hope, and decency. We must make our schools equitable in order to make our society and culture equitable. Our work for the future begins now, and it begins in our educational institutions."
Secretary of Education Rod Paige (4/22/04)
Start spreading the word: on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, at 3:00 p.m. local time, Americans are asked to stop what they are doing and spend one minute in a Moment of Remembrance. The time was chosen because it is the time when many Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. For more information, please go to http://www.remember.gov/.
Here is the schedule for Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative summer workshops: Denver (June 21-23), Portland, OR (June 28-30), Pittsburgh (July 6-8), Orlando (July 12-14), Anaheim (July 21-23), St. Louis (July 28-30), and Boston (August 2-4). The Research-to-Practice Summit, teaming prominent education researchers and effective teachers, will be held July 20 here in Washington. For more information, please go to https://www.teacherquality.us/default.asp/.
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