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November 4, 2005 ED Review
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 November 4, 2005
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Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
NCLB Update
IDEA Anniversary
Recognition Weeks
Youth Initiative
Digest of Education Statistics
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/)

This week, to streamline the process for getting furniture and other supplies to schools affected by the recent hurricanes, Secretary Spellings announced the Furniture for Schools Task Force. This task force—consisting of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Logistics Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the General Services Administration (GSA)—allows federal agencies to combine resources and expertise to quickly provide surplus bookshelves, cabinets, computers, desks, and room dividers to schools in devastated areas. Already, the task force has arranged for nearly 1,100 desks to go to school districts in the hardest hit areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. "Across this country, we are seeing families, schools, and communities open their hearts and doors to children displaced by the hurricanes," the Secretary said. "We are committed to doing everything we can to help local communities provide educational opportunities for these children. The Furniture for Schools Task Force will ensure that surplus federal government property is made available...." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2005/11/11012005.html.

Also, the Department's Hurricane Help for Schools web site (http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/) continues to make solid "matches" (as of November 1, 420!) between schools requesting supplies and companies and organizations looking to help, and the Department is working continuously to stay in contact with governors, Chief State School Officers, state education agencies, and districts to identify schools' needs—particularly those without electricity or Internet access.

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NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)

Last month, the Department granted the Chicago Public Schools the flexibility to serve as a supplemental educational services provider, even though the district has been identified in need of improvement and thus, under No Child Left Behind, would normally be prohibited from providing its own tutoring program. This month, the Council of the Great City Schools announced negotiations are underway to grant similar flexibility to six additional districts: New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Memphis, Anchorage, and Dayton (OH). If approved, these systems would become part of the agency's pilot program aimed at boosting participation rates, improving student achievement, and enhancing the effectiveness of supplemental services. Up to 10 systems are expected to benefit. For more information, please go to http://www.cgcs.org/pdfs/UE-October%2005.pdf (page 4).

Epitomizing the breadth of constituencies touched by the No Child Left Behind Act, Secretary Spellings, over the last two weeks, addressed Davidson College (NC) students (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2005/10/10222005.html), administrators and school board members in her home state of Texas, with an emphasis on helping students with disabilities (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2005/10/10312005.html), and American Indian tribal and community leaders assembled in Oklahoma (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2005/10/10312005a.html). Then, yesterday, Deputy Secretary Ray Simon helped Education Trust honor five high-performing and gap-closing schools (http://www2.edtrust.org/NR/rdonlyres/115A9682-B860-4ED9
-8D5E-082523FB99F6/0/2005ConferenceBook.pdf
, pages 21-25).

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IDEA Anniversary

The next "Education News Parents Can Use" (November 15, 8:00-9:00 ET) broadcast will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which later became the Individuals with Disabilities Education, or IDEA, Act. Today, thanks to this legislation, a growing majority of children with disabilities are being educated in their neighborhood schools and in regular classrooms alongside their non-disabled peers; high school graduation rates and employment rates among youth with disabilities have increased dramatically; and postsecondary enrollment among individuals with disabilities continues to rise. Yet, with the advent of No Child Left Behind and the recent reauthorization of IDEA, a "new era" in special education has commenced—one that does not seek to meet minimum requirements but rather embraces increased academic achievement and real results for every child. Consequently, the program will profile researched-based, early identification and intervention initiatives, as well as showcase successful inclusion programs in schools. 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/.)

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Recognition Weeks

Three worthwhile recognition periods are scheduled for the next two weeks:

  • National Veterans Awareness Week (November 6-12) encourages schools to invite veterans into their classrooms in the days leading up to and following Veterans Day (November 11). Veterans are asked to share their experiences and teach students lessons about the history and significance of Veterans Day, helping students reflect upon the importance of the ideals of liberty, freedom, and democracy. For more information, please go to http://www.va.gov/vetsday/. (Note: A school kit is posted at http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/schoolkit.htm.)

  • American Education Week (November 13-19), co-sponsored by the Department and 12 other organizations, celebrates teachers and school staff. The 2005 theme, "A Strong America Starts with Great Public Schools," highlights the importance of bringing together the community in a united effort to build great public schools. As part of the week, support staff (teachers' aides, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, janitors, etc.) will be honored on Wednesday and substitute teachers will be honored on Friday. For more information, please go to http://www.nea.org/aew/.

  • International Education Week (November 14-18) recognizes the importance of educating students about people and nations throughout the world in preparing students to live in a diverse and tolerant society and succeed in a global economy. This year marks the sixth annual commemoration of the week, jointly sponsored by the Departments of Education and State. For more information, please go to http://iew.state.gov/. (Note: Individuals and institutions are encouraged to view and submit activities at http://iew.state.gov/events.htm.)

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Youth Initiative

On October 27, First Lady Laura Bush convened the White House Conference on Helping America's Youth at Howard University in Washington, D.C. More than 500 parents, educators, civic leaders, faith-based and community service providers, foundations, researchers, and experts in child development gathered to discuss various problems facing America's youth and proven solutions in overcoming those challenges. And, during the event, the First Lady unveiled the Community Guide to Helping America's Youth (http://guide.helpingamericasyouth.gov/), a web-based guide with up-to-date research on youth development and effective programs. For more information, please go to http://www.helpingyouthconference.org/. (You can watch the entire conference at http://www.helpingyouthconference.org/webcast.htm.)

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Digest of Education Statistics

The 2004 edition of the "Digest of Education Statistics" is the 40th in a series of publications. Its primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education, from pre-kindergarten through graduate school, drawn from both government and private sources, but especially from surveys and other activities carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). For example, the publication contains information on the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, federal funds for education, libraries, technology, and international comparisons. Supplemental information on population trends, education attitudes, characteristics of the labor force, and government finances provides background for evaluating education data. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/.

Note: Major evaluation reports by the Department's Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, including a new cross-cutting study on single-sex education, are compiled at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html.

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Quote to Note

"If it's Halloween, it must be time to scare the children. This time, the bogeyman is testing. Critics claim it's a trick and that high schools should keep the treats—taxpayer dollars—without showing accountability for results. This is nonsense. Accountability assessments are valuable tools. They let students see the rewards of hard work, teachers intervene before problems become intractable, and parents know if their child's school is measuring up.... What is scary is an education system that keeps parents, educators, and policymakers in the dark. That's what we had before the No Child Left Behind Act."
— Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (10/20/05)

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Upcoming Events

Speak Up Event 2005 is a unique, online opportunity for students and teachers to share their views on how technology is supporting the development of modern learning environments—both in- and out-of-school. The survey, which has already attracted over 45,000 students and 4,000 teachers, will be open through November 18. The data is used to inform local, state, and national policies and plans for education technology. For more information, please go to http://www.netdayspeakup.org/.

December 8-9, the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education will hold its second meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/hiedfuture/.

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Last Modified: 01/13/2009