Back to School Checklist
From the Interagency Staff...
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
In a recent letter, Secretary Paige reminds the nation's superintendents that the arts are a core academic subject under the No Child Left Behind Act andcontrary to prevailing opinionNCLB provides funding and flexibility that can be used to improve art education. "I believe the arts have a significant role in education, both for their intrinsic value and for the ways in which they can enhance general academic achievement and improve students' social and emotional development," he asserts. "The arts, perhaps more than any other subject, help students to understand themselves and others, whether they lived in the past or are living in the present." The Secretary cites Title I (disadvantaged students), Title II (teacher quality), and Title V (innovative programs) as funding streams to support the core subjects. For example, Arizona is utilizing $4 million in Comprehensive School Reform (Title I, Part F) funds to support the arts at 43 schools throughout the state. He also references research that shows the arts serve as a "critical link" to help students develop thinking skills and become motivated to achieve at higher levels. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/040701.html.
As states release their 2003-04 student achievement data, the Education Trust, a non-profit organization whose mission is to make schools work for all children, has released two documents explaining the accountability and public reporting provisions of No Child Left Behind. "ABCs of AYP" (http://www2.edtrust.org/NR/rdonlyres/37B8652D-
84F4-4FA1-AA8D-319EAD5A6D89/0/ABCAYP.PDF) details new rules for limited English proficient students, students with disabilities, and participation rates. "Questions to Ask About NCLB Reports" (http://www2.edtrust.org/NR/rdonlyres/8ABC094A-8403
-471B-A9F4-9C9D28A751AF/0/QuestionstoAsk.pdf) is a guide to information that should be publicly available.
Revised guidance regarding the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act addresses three issues: whether children awaiting foster care placement are eligible for McKinney-Vento services; whether children displaced from their homes by a disaster are eligible for McKinney-Vento services; and whether a school district must provide transportation services to homeless children attending preschool. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/homeless/guidance.pdf.
Back to School Checklist
With some students already back in school and most returning in the upcoming weeks, Secretary Paige unveiled a three-page checklist of questions and tips for parents, schools, and the community. The checklist is sorted by "Academic Curriculum and Achievement" ("Does the school district have written guidelines on the amount of homework given for each grade level?"), "Helping Parents and Students," "Teacher Training and Quality," and "Student Discipline." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov//parents/academic/involve/nclbchecklist.html.
Also: OIIA's "Tools for Student Success" catalog presents 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. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/tools-for-success/.
TQ Source (http://www.tqsource.org/), a new collaboration between the Education Commission of the States (ECS) and the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, contains a multitude of resources for teacher quality issues. Currently, TQ Source provides resources for teacher preparation, recruitment, and retention. Resources under each of these issues include: state policy (policy information for all 50 states); data (user-customized graphs and tables based on reliable data); publications (summaries of publications and research); and initiatives (information about teacher quality initiatives and programs). Resources for other teacher quality issues, such as certification, licensure, and professional development, will be posted as they become available.
Accountability is a mantra Secretary Paige not only advocates on the road but practices at home. As evidence, the "U.S. Department of Education's Results Agenda" highlights valuable results that the people of the agency are producing, describes how the agency is operating more effectively to produce results, discusses how a results-oriented enterprise benefits the people of the organization, and outlines additional results that are in the process of being realized. Consider the following paragraph:
"From a financial management perspective, the Department of Education is unique among federal government agencies. The Department has a high number of appropriations (over 200) for which it must manage, consolidate, and account. Yet it maintains the smallest number of employees while managing the third largest discretionary budget of Cabinet-level agencies.... This achievement is evidenced by the Department's 'clean opinions' on the audits of its fiscal year 2002 and 2003 financial statements. (In the history of the Department, a clean opinion has been received only once before in 1997.)"
Bulleted lists of results are also offered for elementary and secondary education, postsecondary education, special education and rehabilitative services, evidence-based education, and civil rights. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/results2004/.
According to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 1.1 million children, or 2.2 percent of the country's children ages 5-17, received their education at home in 2003. That number represents a 29 percent increase from 1999, when 850,000 children, or 1.7 percent of the country's school-age children, were being homeschooled. And, more than 60 percent of the parents who homeschooled said they did so for one of two reasons: they were concerned about the environment in their children's regular schools or they wanted to provide religious or moral instruction. Only 16 percent claimed dissatisfaction with the academic instruction at other schools as the most important reason for homeschooling. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2004115.
From the Interagency Staff...
Thanks to a $320,000 grant from the Qwest Foundation, the congressionally charged National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial is distributing educational CD-ROMs that allow students to explore important aspects of the expedition through the eyes of historians and American Indians. The CD-ROM includes a curriculum for fourth- through twelfth-grades designed by a team of educators from Philadelphia and St. Louis and linked to National Council for Social Studies and National Science Teachers Association standards; teachers can easily incorporate three to six lesson units into existing lesson plans. For more information, please go to http://www.backtoschoolwithlewisandclark.org/.
Quote to Note
"There is a culture of callousness around us. Everywhere we see violence, crime, disrespect, hatred, indifference, and disregard. The culture of callousness spreads like a disease, infecting our music, our movies, our motives, and our minds. Skepticism, nihilism, and relativism threaten any effort at value formation. We see the results. Polls over the past several years have shown that a majority of our citizens identify a decline in moral values as one of the major causes of our problems. A much larger percentage of our citizens say that our values have weakened over the past generation. But there are those who remain committed to a life of responsibility. Individual personal responsibility is key to fulfilling the obligations we owe both to our families and ourselves. It also is the way we fulfill the obligations we owe to our community and to our nation."
Secretary of Education Rod Paige (8/3/04)
September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, sponsored by the American Library Association. For more information, please go to http://www.ala.org/ala/pio/piopresskits/
The first "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast of the season, "Back to School: Ready to Read, Ready to Succeed," is scheduled for September 21 at 8:00 p.m. For more information, please go to http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/event-flyer.asp?intEventID=178.
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Deputy Assistant SecretaryKen Meyer, (202) 401-0404, Ken.Meyer@ed.gov
Program AnalystAdam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
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