Condition of Education 2005
Funding Opportunities: Research
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
On May 22 and 23, Secretary Spellings became the first Secretary of Education to visit Jordan, leading a U.S. delegation to the inaugural meeting of education ministers from the G8 industrialized nations and the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative, or BMENA. The ministerial was a follow-up to the G8 meeting last year (at Sea Island, Georgia), where the U.S. joined its G8 partners in committing to help the countries of the BMENA implement education reforms and expand literacy to 20 million more people over the next decade. "Although we come from many nations," the Secretary stated, "we share some things in common. We all share a passion for education and understand its critical importance. Not everyone is so blessed."
According to some U.N. estimates, 65 million Arab adults are illiterate, two-thirds of them women. Moreover, 10 million children do not attend school, a figure that is expected to increase by 40 percent by 2015. Yet, the Secretary readily admitted, "In my own country, over one-third of American fourth-graders and one-quarter of eighth-graders are not reading at what we have defined as the "basic" level.... We also face a large educational achievement gap between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots.' It's a challenge we all face in the global community." That is why, the Secretary continued, "This must be a region-led effort, with each individual nation determining its own priorities and needs. We're here at this ministerial to share ideas and set goals.... I believe America's experiences can prove useful to this effort. Three-and-a-half years ago, President Bush signed our education reform effort, the No Child Left Behind Act. It is restoring high standards and accountability...to our classrooms."
During the meeting, roundtables addressed four issues: critical success factors for education; literacy and access; equity and social inclusion; and quality and relevance. Ministers of education and other high-ranking officials from Jordan, Britain, Egypt, France, and Pakistan also made remarks. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2005/05/bmena.html. (The Secretary's remarks are available at http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2005/05/05232005.html.)
The last "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast of the 2004-05 season (June 21, 8:00-9:00 ET) will focus on an explicit strategy to help young people grow up to be good, responsible citizens: service learning. Service learning connects the classroom to the "real world" by integrating meaningful community service with the academic curriculum. Such programs develop habits that are essential to civic life, by encouraging students to put their knowledge and ideas into practice to help solve actual community problems. However, establishing effective projects can be a challenge. To have a long-lasting impact on student citizenship and performance, service learning must engage students for a significant duration; expect students to interact with people and not work in isolation; require students to reflect on the work; and benefit the organization and the student. The broadcast will highlight examples of comprehensive service learning programs and resources available to help parents engage their children. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/av/video/edtv/. (You can watch live and archived webcasts at http://www.connectlive.com/events/ednews/.)
Also: In a recent Federal Register announcement, the Education Department outlined how it plans to implement Citizenship Day/Constitution Day, a teaching mandate passed by Congress last year. Essentially, every school and college that receives federal aid must teach about the Constitution on September 17, the day the document was adopted in 1787. (If September 17 falls on a weekend or holiday, schools must schedule a program immediately before or after that date.) Neither Congress nor the agency dictate a specific curriculum or particular interpretation, but the announcement does suggest some web sites, including one run by the National Archives, for assistance. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/other/2005-2/052405b.html.
Condition of Education 2005
On June 1, the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released its annual report (required by law) on the condition and progress of education in the U.S. "The Condition of Education 2005" includes 40 indicators in six main areasparticipation in education, learner outcomes, student effort and educational progress, elementary and secondary education contexts, postsecondary education contexts, and societal support for learningand a special analysis that describes the teacher workforce and the movement of teachers into and out of teaching. Trends "continue to show promise and challenge, as well as underscore the importance of schooling." For instance, progress in reading achievement is uneven (between 1992 and 2003, the performance of eighth-graders increased but the performance of fourth-graders did not change), while achievement has risen in math (between 1990 to 2003, the performance of fourth- and eighth-graders increased steadily). Also, although the high school dropout rate declined from 1972 to 2002, it has remained fairly stable over the last decade. Meanwhile, while 17 percent of the teacher workforce in 1999-2000 were newly hired teachers at their school, only about a quarter of these teachers (or five percent of the workforce) were brand-new teachers. Each year, the majority of newly hired teachers are experienced teachers who have transferred from another school or who have taken a "break" from teaching for a year or more. And, the average age of brand-new teachers was 29, suggesting many of them did not enter the workforce "right out of college." For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/.
Funding Opportunities: Research
NCES is one center in the Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which is soliciting applications under a variety of grant competitions for Fiscal Year 2006:
National Center for Education Research: cognition and student learning research; education finance, leadership, and management research; high school reform research; math and science research; reading and writing research; and teacher quality research.
National Center for Special Education Research: assessment for accountability research; early intervention and assessment for young children research; Individualized Education Program (IEP) research; language and vocabulary development research; math and science research; reading and writing research; secondary and post-secondary outcomes research; significant behavior disorders research; and teacher quality research.
For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ies/programs.html.
President Bush intends to nominate Henry Johnson to be Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education and Tom Luce to be Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. Johnson currently serves as State Superintendent of Education for Mississippi. Previously, during his more than 30-year career as an educator, he served as a teacher, a principal, a middle school director, and Associate State Superintendent of Education for North Carolina. Luce served as chairman of Just for the Kids and the National Center for Educational Accountability until late last month, when he resigned to accept his nomination. Previously, he was a founding and managing partner of Hughes & Luce, LLP, in Dallas, Texas. Under Secretary Spellings' reorganization plan, the existing Office of Elementary and Secondary Education is integrating all K-12 initiatives (i.e., the High School Initiative), and the new Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development will administer the functions of the Budget Service, Office of Educational Technology, Policy and Program Studies Service, and Strategic Accountability Service and coordinate and integrate policy development across the Department's principal offices. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2005/05/05202005.html and http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2005/06/06012005b.html.
Also: Raymond Simon has been confirmed as Deputy Secretary of Education.
According to NCES' "The Road Less Traveled?," attending more than one institution during the course of undergraduate enrollment is a common practice. Among students enrolling in 1995-96, 40 percent had attended more than one institution as of 2001, while among 1999-2000 college graduates, nearly 60 percent had done so. Of course, transferring and co-enrolling were associated with longer average times to completion. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2005157.
Quote to Note
"That we agree on education's importance is, in itself, a sign of progress. Decades ago, education might have been viewed as a luxury or a privilege. Today, it is an imperative. Learning and literacy are critical to fostering cultural understanding among nations, and they are critical to economic growth and trade between nations."
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (5/23/05)
The Department's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is hosting a series of public meetings to solicit feedback on the proposed regulations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. (A Notice of Proposed Rule Making, or NPRM, is expected to be published very soon.) The meetings will be held 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Nashville, TN (6/17), Sacramento, CA (6/22), Las Vegas, NV (6/24), New York, NY (6/27), Chicago, IL (6/29), San Antonio, TX (7/7), and Washington, DC (7/12). OSERS will supply location information through the NPRM. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/osep/idea/public-meetings.html. (Note: The meeting in San Antonio, previously announced in the Federal Register for June 6, has been rescheduled for July 7.)
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