From the Interagency Staff...
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
In successive letters to the nation's Chief State School Officers, Deputy Undersecretary for Innovation and Improvement Nina Rees and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Ray Simon offer local education agencies additional guidance on (1) calculating costs for transportation under No Child Left Behind's public school choice provision and (2) imposing requirements on supplemental service providers that go beyond those set forth by states as part of their approval process. In the first letter (http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/stateletters/choice/
choice081804.html), Rees and Simon reiterate that a district that is "able to provide transportation to all students under its existing transportation program, without having to create new bus routes or incur other new transportation-related expenses...cannot use Title I funds to pay for the transportation of children changing schools under the Title I choice provision, because doing so would violate the 'supplement, not supplant' provision of the statute." However, such a district "may count, toward the 20 percent expenditure requirement, the portion of its transportation budget that is attributable to providing choice to students exercising the Title I option." What exactly is "attributable?" The letter lays out three specific criteria for district determinations. In the second letter (http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/stateletters/choice/
ses082604.html), Rees and Simon confirm, "Conditions relating to criteria for approval of a [supplemental service] provider are the responsibility of the state, and a district may not alter, or add to, those criteria." Nevertheless, a district "may impose reasonable administrative and operational requirements...that are consistent with requirements imposed, generally, on the district's contractors and that do not limit 'educational options' for parents." For example, if a district requires it for all entities with whom it enters into contracts, a district may require that all employees of a provider undergo full background checks. Also, a district may require that each provider carry a set amount of liability insurance, again, if that is what it requires from other contractors. A district may not require that providers offer a certain number of hours of services, that providers employ only state-certified teachers as tutors, or that they use one-on-one tutoring as their sole delivery mechanism, because such requirements would undermine their state's authority to set criteria for approval.
"The Secretary's Third Annual Report on Teacher Quality" is divided into four sections. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the highly qualified teacher requirements of No Child Left Behind and highlights new opportunities for states to demonstrate leadership through recently enacted flexibility provisions. Chapter 2 details the major activities the Department and other organizations have undertaken over the last year to support the raising of academic standards for teachers, while at the same time reducing unnecessary barriers to teaching. Chapter 3 provides a snapshot of state progress along numerous dimensions of the teacher quality challenge. Chapter 4 concludes the report with a description of forthcoming teacher quality-related activities at the Department. For more information, please go to https://www.title2.org/index.htm.
In recognition of the anniversary of September 11, the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site is promoting several learning resources, including:
- 9.11.01 Remembrance, presenting first-hand accounts of September 11, 2001, by National Park Service employees from a dozen sites. One siteFederal Hall National Memorial, located a few blocks from the World Trade Centerprovided shelter to more than 150 people after the towers fell.
- September 11: Bearing Witness to History, with images, objects, and stories collected by the National Museum of American History.
- Witness & Response: September 11 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress, sharing original materials (photos, prints, drawings, poems, eye-witness accounts and personal reactions, headlines, books, magazines, songs, maps, and videotapes) related to September 11, 2001.
For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/free/.
The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (September 21, 8:00-9:00 ET) marks the beginning of the third full school year under the No Child Left Behind Act, and, already, the benefits to America's school children are evident. Indeed, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading tests are well above levels recorded in 1998 and 2000; African-American, Hispanic, and low-income students account for the most significant improvement in NAEP scores; and students in the largest urban school systems showed significant improvement in reading and math in the initial year of the law. This good news will be the focus of the broadcast, as the program explores why the first and most important goal of education should be to ensure that every child develops proficiency in reading. The live discussion and videotaped reports will examine ways schools and families can help students develop the knowledge, skills, and habits needed to master literacy skills, as well as underscore the critical role of highly qualified teachers in improving reading achievement. For more information, please go to http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/event-flyer.asp?
intEventID=178. (As always, you can watch live and archived webcasts of each show at http://www.connectlive.com/events/ednews/.)
Caught up in the money? "Federal Support for Education: Fiscal Years 1980 to 2003" provides a comprehensive picture of total federal financial support for education since the U.S. Department of Education was created in May 1980. Excluding tax benefits, federal support rose to $171 billion in fiscal year 2003, an increase of $108.2 billion, or 172 percent, since fiscal year 1990. After adjusting for inflation, federal support rose 102 percent. Notably, the Education Department accounts for less than half the "on budget" federal funding for education. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2004026.
From the Interagency Staff...
Twenty-two federal agencies meet monthly, under the auspices of the Federal Interagency Committee on Education (FICE), to coordinate the federal investment in education. This month, the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will host the meeting. Here are just a few of OJJDP's education projects:
- December 6-8, OJJDP and the Education Department's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools will host a two-day conference titled "Partnering to Prevent Truancy: A National Priority" (http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/2004TruancyConference/).
- "Blueprints for Violence Prevention" (http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/publications/
PubAbstract.asp?pubi=11721) and "Lessons from Blueprints" (http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/publications/
PubAbstract.asp?pubi=11719) profile 11 model and 21 promising violence and drug prevention programs.
- Through its Juvenile Mentoring Program, or JUMP (http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/jump/), OJJDP supports one-to-one mentoring projects that target youth at risk of becoming delinquent, being involved in gangs, failing in school, and dropping out of school. Since 1994, OJJDP has funded 299 JUMP sites across the nation, teaming more than 9,200 youth with mentors.
A record 37 percent of the 1.4 million college-bound seniors who took the SAT exam last school year were minoritiesup from 31 percent in 1994and the percentage of first-generation college-bound seniors grew to 38 percent of all testers, 53 percent of black testers, and 69 percent of Hispanic testers. In addition, despite this challenge, the average score remained unchanged from 2003: 1026 out of 1600. At the same time, minority students did not keep pace with their white peers, whose 2004 score was 1059, 20 points higher than in 1994. African-American students' scored 857, an eight point improvement over the decade. Mexican-American students' scored 909, a three point improvement over the decade. After Asian students, American Indian students showed the best 10-year improvement: 28 points. For more information, please go to http://www.collegeboard.com/press/article/0,,37478,00.html. (Secretary Paige's statement is available at http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2004/08/
Quote to Note
"The President's [new] proposals reflect his desire to continue the culture of achievement and accountability. We want to ensure that our children enter schools ready to learn at a young age and that they leave ready to enter the 21st Century workplace or higher education institutions, as they choose. That's why he has proposed focusing on early literacy, continuing with the Early Reading First and Reading First initiatives, and helping children in middle and high school with the 'Striving Readers' program. Investment in the education of our nation's youths is a top national priority."
Secretary of Education Rod Paige (9/3/04)
On October 14, communities around the country will celebrate Lights On Afterschool!, bringing attention to the need for afterschool programs that keep kids safe, help working families, and improve academic achievement. An Afterschool Alliance project, the rally is sponsored by JCPenney Afterschool and supported by the Department's 21st Century Community Learning Centers. For more information, please go to http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa_2004/index.cfm.
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