After-School Evaluation (Part II)
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
In an October 12 letter to Chief State School Officers, the Department offered additional guidance on the use of Title I funds in schools and school districts that have been identified in need of improvement. For example, "[No Child Left Behind] does not expressly address the situation of how the school improvement provisions apply when a school receives Title I funds in one year but not the next." In these instances, states "have flexibility to establish their own guidelines." However, the law also requires districts "to serve schools in rank order of poverty, so that schools moving in and out of Title I will most likely be a [district's] lowest poverty Title I schools." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/stateletters/uofcssos.html.
The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education's (OESE) latest webcast dealt with Title I, Part A requirements for "meaningful parental involvement." Moderated by Lorraine Wise, OESE's contact for parental involvement activities, the production featured the perspectives of a school district superintendent (Sonia Diaz-Salcedo of Bridgeport, CT), a state education agency executive (Ronald Houston of Delaware), and a technical assistance provider (Robert Witherspoon of RMC Research Corporation). For those who are tech-adverse, a transcript of the panel discussion is also available. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/admins/comm/parents/
On October 18, the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) unveiled the fourth of six booklets on promising practices to be released this year. "Innovations in Education: Creating Successful Magnet School Programs" (http://www.ed.gov/admins/comm/choice/magnet/) identifies six school districts whose thriving magnet programs offer a range of contexts, experiences, and perspectives that may be helpful to others. The districts include two whose experience in implementing magnet schools spans more than a quarter century and one whose magnet schools experience began only four short years ago. Moreover, all of these districts have received support through the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program at one time or another, but they have also demonstrated a capacity to sustain their schools after the funding ended.
Speaking of OII, it recently co-hosted a conference titled "Innovations in Education: Building a Public-Private Partnership Model for K-12 Reform" with the School District of Philadelphia and Drexel University. "A dynamic partnership between government, teachers, business, and parents transforms our schools, helps end the achievement gap, and makes American education inclusive for all students," Secretary Paige said in his remarks. "A united community effort means a better education for children." Philadelphia boasts a number of unique partnerships, from for- and non-profit organizations running schools to local churches providing mentoring and tutoring. Indeed, the Microsoft Corporation has agreed to build a new high school as a prototype for the use of technology in school. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2004/10/10082004.html.
The Education Department is seeking public comment on proposed regulations that guarantee equal access to public school facilities for the Boy Scouts of America and other "patriotic" youth groups. The proposed regulations enforce existing law, which requires public schools that receive federal education funding afford the Boy Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Little League Baseball, etc., with equal access to school facilities as compared to outside community and youth groups. The law also requires that these groups be granted equal access to school activities and school-related communication tools. Any comments must be postmarked or sent through the Internet on or before December 3, 2004. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/2004-4/101904a.html.
Also: The Secretary issued a strongly worded statement challenging Bruce Fuller's new No Child Left Behind report. The statement provides a detailed summary of states with positive results. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2004/10/10082004.html.
On October 26, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Susan Sclafani will join Miami Dolphins All-Pro Sam Madison and other NFL players at a USA Football event in Miami to launch the Tackle Reading Web Site for Kids and the Tackle Reading Playbook. Tackle Reading is a public awareness campaign that promotes academics and learning. In January, Secretary Paige joined Green Bay Packers All-Pro Donald Driver at a similar event during Super Bowl Week. For more information, please go to http://www.eduplace.com/tacklereading/.
A newly released National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report presents 2001-02 data on K-12 private schools in the U.S. The findings, split into four sections, include:
- In the fall of 2001, there were an estimated 29,273 private elementary and secondary schools in the U.S., an increase of 2,050 over the number estimated in the fall of 1999.
- The region with the most private schools was the South (9,171), while the regions with the fewest were the West (6,092) and the Northeast (6,556).
- Among the private schools in existence in 2001-02, there was considerable diversity as to orientation and affiliated. Of the three primary types, other religious schools (49%) were by far the most numerous, followed by Catholic schools (28%) and non-sectarian schools (23%).
- A total of 5,341,513 students were enrolled in the nation's private schools in 2001, an increase of 178,829 over the students estimated in 1999. Private school students represented approximately 10 percent of the total elementary and secondary enrollment in the U.S. in 2001-02.
- Forty-three percent of all private school students attended schools in central cities, 43% attended schools in a large town, and 15% attended schools in rural areas.
- More students were enrolled in Catholic schools than in other religious schools, 47% and 36%, respectively. Enrollment in non-sectarian schools was 17%.
- The nation's private school students were taught by 425,406 teachers in 2001, representing an increase of 30,089 over the teachers estimated in 1999.
- In the fall of 2001, there were 6,622 of these schools, enrolling 98,413 students and employing 15,398 teachers nationwide.
For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2005305.
Also: Next year, NCES will conduct the first ever National Indian Education Study. The study's goal is to describe the condition of education of American Indian students by focusing on their academic achievement and educational experiences in the fourth- and eighth-grades. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/studies/nies.asp.
After-School Evaluation (Part II)
According to a national evaluation by Mathematica Policy Research of the Department's 21st Century Community Learning Centers (after-school) programthe second of three evaluationselementary students who attended the federally funded, school-based after-school programs reported feeling safer, and middle school students missed less school and had higher expectations for graduating from college. However, the program did not affect reading test scores or grades for elementary students, and middle school students showed no change in English, math, and science. Additionally, the program did not increase whether either group completed their homework. (Note: The No Child Left Behind Act restructured the program and focused greater attention on its potential for improving academic outcomes, whereas Mathematica's study is limited to the 2000-01 and 2001-02 school years.) For more information, please go to http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/Press%20Releases/21stcenturysecond.asp.
Quote to Note
"In the last few weeks my Department has received data from a number of cities and states indicating...remarkable, rapid improvements. We see an emerging pattern of positive data. The achievement gap is closing. There is a lot more to do.... We are just three years into this process. We are merely witnessing the 'twilight of the dawn.' But as we remain steadfast to the principles and requirements of the law, we will see greater improvements with each passing year."
Secretary of Education Rod Paige (10/8/04)
The Department's next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast, on dropout prevention, is scheduled for November 16. For more information, please go to http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/event-flyer.asp?intEventID=180.
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