National Preparedness Month
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
Want to know how the No Child Left Behind Act is making a difference in your state? The Department's Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs has developed a PowerPoint slide with notable academic and budgetary improvements for each state, culled from Department resources and local media. The slides will be updated regularly. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/nclb/overview/importance/difference/.
To aid in some key calculations, the Department has published Fiscal Year 2004 Title I allocations by school district. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, school districts must spend up to 20 percent of their Title I, Part A allocation to cover school choice-related transportation costs and pay for supplemental educational services. Districts have some discretion to determine the allocation of funds between transportation and supplemental services, but districts must spend at least one-quarter (five percent) of the 20 percent "reservation" on each activity if there is demand for both. Moreover, for supplemental services, districts are required to pay the lesser of the actual cost or an amount equal to the district's Title I, Part A allocation divided by poor students in the district, as determined by Census Bureau estimates. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/titlei/fy04/. (Note that the actual amounts received by school districts will be smaller than shown due to state-level adjustments.)
Speaking of money, the Department recently released final guidance on transferability. Transferability is a unique flexibility authority that permits states and school districts to transfer a portion of the funding they receive under certain federal programs (see I-B-1 and II-B-1 for a list of program funds that may be transferred) to their allocations under other programs, so they can more effectively address specific needs. In general, the authority is available to all states and districts. However, districts identified for improvement have more limited authority (30 percent, versus 50 percent), and districts identified for corrective action may not transfer funds. Even if you have already read the draft guidance issued in October 2002, Appendix C provides detailed examples for calculating amounts permitted for transfer, including multiple transfers, transfers with carryover funds, and transfers for districts identified for improvementprior to and during the school year. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/transferability/legislation.html.
This week, Phi Delta Kappa International and Gallup unveiled its 2004 "Public Attitudes Toward the Public Schools" poll, which documents significant trends in public opinion and explores the latest approaches to school improvement (http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/k0409pol.htm). While the poll found only one-third of the public considers itself well informed about No Child Left Behind, the percentage of public school parents saying they know "a great deal" or "a fair amount" has increased from 22 to 37 percent in the past year. Plus, the more the public knows about the law, the more likely they are to favor it. Regarding specific No Child Left Behind provisions, 56 percent believe the goal of having a highly qualified teacher in every classroom by 2006 will be met; 62 percent say there is "not enough" or "about the right amount" of emphasis on testing; and 86 percent say it is important the academic gap be closed (with 56 percent stating it is the responsibility of schools to close it). Overall, 51 percent believe the law will improve student achievement in their schools. On the other hand, the public is concerned about using a single test to evaluate a school or student; emphasizing English and math, exclusively; disaggregating data by race/ethnicity; and expecting special needs students to meet the same standards as other students.
Other findings: (1) local schools continue to be regarded favorably, with 70 percent of public school parents giving the school their oldest child attends either a grade of A or B; (2) the public supports adding rigor to the high school curriculum, with 78 percent favoring at least four years of English, math, and science in order to receive a diploma; and (3) while 54 percent of those surveyed oppose vouchers, given a full-tuition voucher, 56 percent of respondents would choose a private school for their child.
National Preparedness Month
Throughout September 2004, the Department and more than 50 national organizations will host a series of events to highlight the importance of emergency preparedness. Schools and communities are encouraged to get involved by learning how to prepare for emergencies (try http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/crisisplanning.html), offering volunteer opportunities in preparedness efforts, and receiving training on first aid and CPR. For more information, please go to http://www.ready.gov/ or call 1-800-BE-READY.
During this week's "Ask the White House" chat (http://www.whitehouse.gov/ask/20040824.html), a parent asked Secretary Paige what could be done to increase children's awareness of the importance of a "great education." As part of his answer, the Secretary recommended the "Education Pays: Stay in School" web site at http://www.educationpays.org/. Here, parties can access a calculator that allows them to select (1) an occupation they would like to pursue and (2) how much school they plan to have when they enter the workforce. The result is a fact sheet providing information about expected income and unemployment for different educational attainment levels. To really accentuate the point, earnings may be converted into CDs or movie tickets. For example, compared to physical therapists with a two-year college degree, those with a four-year degree could buy 1,201 more CDs or 2,644 more movie tickets every year.
Created through the support and vision of the NFL and the NFL Players Association and developed in collaboration with Scholastic, One World is an interdisciplinary, multi-tiered program for teachers, students, and their families in grades 4-6 that "tackles" prejudice and stereotyping and teaches diversity and understanding. The program builds upon ten key lessons; the lessons (from "Understanding Who We are Through Identity" to "Roots of Stereotypes and Prejudice" and "Choices and Consequences of our Actions") may be taught in the days preceding or immediately after a 9/11 commemorative event or at any time during the school year where there is a need to build community. And, the lessons are designed to be taught individually as well as in sequence, allowing teachers to incorporate single lessons into their lesson plans as needed. For more information, please go to http://www.scholastic.com/oneworld/.
For the first time since 1997, the national average score for the ACT exam increased, from 20.8 (on a scale of 1 through 36), the average each of the past two years, to 20.9, a statistically significant gain. English, math, reading, and science scores also rose one-tenth of a point over last year. At the same time, the scores indicate that an "alarming number" of graduates are not ready for college math and science courses. In fact, only 26 percent earned a score of 24 or higher on the science test, while just four in 10 earned a score of 22 or higher on the math test. (Students who reach these scores have a high probability75 percentof earning a "C" or better and an even chance of earning a "B" or higher in college biology and algebra courses, respectively.) This data is unchanged from 2003. For more information, please go to http://www.act.org/news/releases/2004/8-18-04.html. (Secretary Paige's statement is available at http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2004/08/08182004.html.)
Quote to Note
"In the coming weeks, children across our nation will begin a new school year. They're looking forward to meeting new teachers, learning new subjects, and making new friends. And, thanks to good schools and good policies, we can be confident this year will be a year of achievement for America's students and families.... The pattern is clear and encouraging. The No Child Left Behind Act is bringing progress and hope to America's students, parents, and educators. We are gaining momentum, and we will not turn back."
President George W. Bush (8/21/04)
On September 14, in St. Louis, Missouri, the White House and the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Labor are hosting a conference to help faith-based and community organizations learn more about President Bush's Faith-Based and Community Initiative. For more information, please go to http://www.fbci.gov/. (Note: The deadline for registration is September 3.)
Childnet International is inviting the best young web developers from around the world to enter a competition to win a place at the Cable & Wireless Childnet Academy 2005. The competition is open to young people (ages 18 or under) who are developing exciting online projectseither as individuals or in conjunction with a school or not-for-profit. The competition is also open to those with innovative ideas for using technology to benefit other young people. Winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to attend the Academy, which will take place in Jamaica, and a grant from a web fund to help them enhance their web project. For more information, please go to http://www.childnetacademy.org/. (Note: The deadline for applications is December 6.)
Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe
Please feel free to contact the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with any questions:
Deputy Assistant SecretaryKen Meyer, (202) 401-0404, Ken.Meyer@ed.gov
Program AnalystAdam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
To be added or removed from distribution, or submit comments (we welcome your feedback!), please contact Adam Honeysett. Or, visit http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edreview/index.html.