Moment of Remembrance
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
Last week, in three separate education events, President Bush reaffirmed his support for the No Child Left Behind Act and re-introduced his proposals to strengthen reading, math, and science at the secondary level. "We are not going back to those days where we just kind of hope something happens," he declared at Butterfield Junior High School in Van Buren, Arkansas (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/05/20040511-5.html). "We believe in raising standards. We believe in giving schools the resources and flexibility they need. We have begun a new era in public education for the good of the United States of America." One day later, at the National Institutes of Health's headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/05/20040512-8.html), the President moderated a conversation on the Reading First program. "[R]eading is more of a science than people think," he stressed in his opening comments. "I believe that when you can figure out the key to reading and convince people to use the proper strategy, every child can learn to read." Then, at Parkersburg South High School in West Virginia (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/05/20040513-4.html), the President suggested "a goal that...every high school student finishes high school and is capable of finding a job or capable of going on to college." To reach that goal, the administration is promoting a Striving Readers intervention program, new Math and Science Partnerships, and an expansion of Advanced Placement programs in low-income schools (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040406-3.html).
A recent report by the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, "Choosing Better Schools," presents a detailed study of the implementation of No Child Left Behind's school choice provision. Researchers found the transfer option is being used much more widely than generally has been reported; almost 70,000 students included in the survey (47 states and 137 school districts) exercised transfer options this year, although the number of transfer requests is significantly higher than the number of acceptances. In addition, choice has bolstered racial and economic desegregation efforts in some districts. For more information, please go to http://www.cccr.org/ChoosingBetterSchools.pdf.
What about supplemental educational services? A new web site, established via a grant from the Office of Innovation and Improvement, provides information and tools to help parents, educators, and policymakers ensure eligible children get the free, extra academic help they need. For example, parents can click on a map to found out what providers are servicing their child's area. For more information, please go to http://www.tutorsforkids.org/.
Moment of Remembrance
In a letter to educators, Secretary Paige asked for support in reclaiming Memorial Day for its intended purpose: honoring those who died in service of the country (http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/secletter/040501.html). On May 31, at 3:00 p.m. local time, Americans are asked to stop what they are doing and think for a minute about the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. Those who are driving are asked to turn on their vehicle's headlights. The idea of a moment of remembrance was born in May 1996 when children touring Washington, D.C., were asked what Memorial Day meant to them. They responded, "That's the day the pools open!" The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance was formally established by an act of Congress on December 28, 2000. For more information, please go to http://www.remember.gov/.
Note: The Patriots Patrol Program is a remembrance ceremony for schools to be observed sometime prior to Memorial Day. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/secletter/memorial.pdf.
On May 17, Secretary Paige joined President Bush in Topeka, Kansas, to dedicate Monroe Elementary School as the Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site. Linda Brown, the eldest daughter of Rev. Oliver Brown, the case's namesake, attended school at Monroe. "Here at the corner of 15th and Monroe, and at schools like it across America, that was a day of justiceand it was a long time coming," the President said. "Yet, segregation is a living memory.... The habits of racism in America have not all been broken. The habits of respect must be taught to every generation" (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/05/20040517-4.html). The Secretary voiced a similar theme: "There are some who say the decision remains unfulfilled. They are right! Brown opened the doors of our schools. Now we must build on that decision to make education fully inclusive and fair" (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2004/05/05172004.html). Earlier, Secretary Paige elaborated on his Brown experienceboth personal and professionalin remarks at the Cato Institute (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2004/05/05112004.html) and an op-ed for USA Today (http://www.ed.gov/news/opeds/edit/2004/05142004.html).
As further evidence of the post-Brown work that remains, Education Trust released revised "State Summary Reports" documenting achievement, attainment, and opportunity gaps for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The reports have state-specific data on:
- How many students are proficient in reading and math on state assessments? How does achievement on state assessments compare with the state's proficiency rates on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)?
- How do achievement gaps compare across states? Where are gaps the biggest, and where are gaps the smallest?
- In which states are minority students making the largest gains over time on NAEP?
- Who makes it through high school?
- Who makes it to college?
- Who makes it through college with a degree?
- What are the participation/success rates for different groups of students in high-level courses, such as Advanced Placement?
- Who gets assigned to teachers who have a major in their field?
- Who gets more state and local dollars invested in their education?
On every measure, students of color and low-income students continue to get less than their "fair share" of public education's critical resources. For more information, please go to http://www2.edtrust.org/edtrust/summaries2004/states.html.
The administration has unveiled its final blueprint for revamping the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, the federal government's largest single investment in American high schools, as well as its largest investment in the preparation of young people for postsecondary education and the workforce. Building on the principles codified in the No Child Left Behind Act, the new program would shift from providing traditional vocational education to a stronger focus on supporting up-to-date career and technical education pathways for youth and adults that are offered in coordination between secondary schools and postsecondary education and training partners. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/.
Now for a little self-promotion... This office's Information Resource Center (IRC) finished first in the third annual Government Customer Support Excellence Awards. The IRC captured the "Teamwork Excellence" award, beating out two notable finalists: the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service and the State of Florida's web portal. Overall, 32 federal, state, and local organizations were under consideration. For those of you who do not already know, the IRC is a central entry point for the Department's customers, serving them by telephone at 1-800-USA-LEARN and email at email@example.com. IRC specialists help with inquiries about the administration's education priorities and provide information or referrals on Department programs, funding opportunities, teleconferences and other events, and a wide range of other school-related topics. On average, the center responds to 14,000 telephone calls and 500 email messages per month. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oiia/irc.html.
Quote to Note
"[M]y experience in the pre-Brown classroom may not be all that different from what a lot of children experience today.... They are constantly given the poorest quality teachers, their schools are unsafe, and achievement levels are low. There has been little they can do about it. Until now. No Child Left Behind will improve the quality of education for all our children and all our schools, no matter where they are. Parents are empowered with information and options.... The system will be forced to improve."
Secretary of Education Rod Paige (5/11/04)
On June 1, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. here in Washington, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will hold a briefing on the results from "The Condition of Education 2004." This report contains 38 indicators on trends in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education, with a special analysis regarding paying for college. To RSVP, please contact Emily Holt at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 26. (On June 1, the report, itself, will be posted by 9:00 a.m. at http://nces.ed.gov/.)
The Department's next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast, on keeping kids healthy, physically fit, and learning during the summer months, is planned for June 15. For more information, please go to http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/
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