Press Room NEWSLETTERS
March 10, 2006 ED Review
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 March 10, 2006
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NCLB Update
Hurricane Relief
Engaging At-Risk Students
STEM Activity
Spotlight: Dropouts
New Listserv
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

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

Last week, Secretary Spellings announced eight grants, totaling $30 million, to support the implementation of Striving Readers programs across the country. Striving Readers, which complements the successful Reading First (K-3) Program, focuses on Title I-eligible middle and high schools that have significant numbers of struggling readers and that are striving to meet No Child Left Behind's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements. Grantees may use the funds for interventions for middle and high school-aged students to improve basic reading skills, motivation, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension using research-based programs; professional development aligned with scientifically based research; valid and reliable reading assessments; and the design and implementation of a rigorous evaluation. President Bush's Fiscal Year 2007 budget requests a $70.3 million increase in Striving Readers, for a total of over $100 million. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/strivingreaders/. (For a Striving Readers fact sheet, see http://www.ed.gov/nclb/methods/reading/
strivingreaders.html
.)

Of course, Striving Readers is just one of the programs the Secretary is discussing as part of the Bush Administration's emphasis on the upper grades. For specific language, read through her recent Congressional testimony: http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2006/03/
03012006.html
and http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2006/03/
03092006.html
.

As further justification, a new report from the Education Trust finds most states have made progress in raising achievement in the elementary grades, but secondary schools still struggle to close the gaps between minority and poor students and their white and more affluent peers. For more information, please go to http://www2.edtrust.org/NR/rdonlyres/
15B22876-20C8-47B8-9AF4-FAB148A225AC/0/
PPSCreport.pdf
.

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Hurricane Relief (http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/)

Also last week, Secretary Spellings joined Donald Powell, the federal coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, to announce the availability of over $1.1 billion in funds to help states meet the educational needs of displaced students and restart school operations in the region. The funding, part of the Hurricane Education Recovery Act, consists of:

  • $645 million in emergency impact aid to help school districts pay for the hurricane-displaced students they enrolled in both public and private schools during the 2005-06 school year. (Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia will receive funding. Funds may be used to hire teachers; provide books and other classroom supplies; offer in-house or outside supplemental services, such as tutoring, mentoring, and counseling; and cover transportation and health care costs.)

    • A first installment of $120 million is being made immediately. The remainder of the $645 million will be provided in three payments before July 31, 2006.
    • The formula is based on the number of displaced students that states reported for the first quarter: 157,743.
    • For the first quarter, applicants will receive $750 per student and $937.50 per student with disabilities. Once the agency has received data for all quarters, increases to the amounts may be made, based on the final number of students.

  • $496 million to restart operations in the states whose education communities were most severely damaged. (Several states will receive some funding. Funds may be used to defray expenses related to the reopening of, restart of operations in, and the re-enrollment of students in schools that serve the affected areas.)

    • These funds are the remainder of the $750 million appropriated by lawmakers. In January 2006, the Secretary released $253 million in funds.
    • Louisiana will receive $345.6 million, Mississippi will receive $122.5 million, and Texas will receive nearly $28.2 million. Earlier, Alabama received $3.75 million.

For more information, please go to http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/030206-factsheet.html. (For state-by-state data on relief allocations, see http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/proginfo/aid-amounts.pdf.)

Also: On March 8, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush visited Gautier, Mississippi, where they announced a special fund to help the school libraries in the region. For more information, please go to http://www.laurabushfoundation.org/gcslri/.

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Engaging At-Risk Students

The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (March 21, 8:00-9:00 ET) will explore the President's Helping America's Youth (HAY) Initiative. Led by First Lady Laura Bush, HAY helps the country's children and teenagers find success by bringing attention to their needs—especially those of youth who have been traditionally underserved—and by empowering community partnerships that support the cornerstones of youth development: strong families, effective schools, and caring communities. In turn, the broadcast will focus on what schools can do to help engage children in their studies, promote healthy behaviors, and prepare students for successful lives after graduation. 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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STEM Activity

There is much to report on the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) front:

  • On February 28, addressing leaders of the Girl Scouts, Secretary Spellings announced the first-ever National Math and Science Summit for Girls (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/02/
    02282006.html
    ).
  • On March 2, Assistant Secretary Tom Luce testified before a House committee on the President's American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2006/03/
    03022006.html
    ).
  • On March 6, the Secretary chaired the a meeting of the Academic Competitiveness Council. The council was established by the Deficit Reduction Act and includes federal agencies that have STEM education programs. The council's core mission is to evaluate the effectiveness of each program, identify areas of overlap, and recommend ways to efficiently integrate and coordinate in the future. It will also ensure that these programs are aligned with the principles of No Child Left Behind (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/03/
    03062006.html
    ).
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Spotlight: Dropouts

According to a survey released this month by Washington, D.C.-based Civic Enterprises, most high school dropouts recognize that they made a mistake in quitting school: 81 percent said they now believe graduating from high school is important to success in life; 74 percent said, if they were able to relive the experience, they would have stayed in school; and 47 percent agreed it was hard to find a good job without a diploma. Why did these students drop out? Not because of grades: 88 percent had passing grades, and 70 percent said they could have graduated if they had tried. Instead, 47 percent said classes were not interesting. Almost 70 percent said they would have worked harder if more had been expected of them. For more information, please go to http://www.gatesfoundation.org/nr/downloads/
ed/TheSilentEpidemic3-06FINAL.pdf.

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New Listserv

The Department's Center for Rural Education has created a new listserv to facilitate communications with rural constituents. The listerv will be used to disseminate information on the Secretary's Rural Education Task Force, as well as articles of interest for rural educators. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/ovaereview/2006/
022506.html#1
.

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Quote to Note

"When [the Girl Scouts] organization was founded in 1912, Girl Scouts were working on badges like Matron Housekeeper, which focused on vacuuming and polishing a floor. And when I was a Girl Scout in the late 1960s, the popular badge was called Social Dancer. Now, I certainly have nothing against a well-kept home, and who doesn't like to dance? But all of us know that today, girls need more advanced skills to succeed.... Today's Girl Scout troops can earn up to 75 badges that make math, science, engineering, and technology relevant. Like Math Whiz, which teaches girls to calculate their daily lives from flight times to sports statistics. Or Science in Action, which turns them into junior forensic scientists, learning to identify fingerprints and extract DNA from fruit flies.... You've made a great start. But, as a nation, we need to do more."
— Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (2/28/06),
addressing a Girl Scout leaders conference in Orlando

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Upcoming Events

The Education Department's Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ERCM) Technical Assistance Center is offering a pilot training session to assist school districts in developing and strengthening their crisis response plans. The session—Friday, March 31, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Washington, D.C.—will focus on the phases of crisis planning: (1) mitigation/prevention, (2) preparedness, (3) response, and (4) recovery. Additionally, participants will have an opportunity to learn about the agency's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program and the ERCM Grant Initiative. For more information, please go to http://rems.ed.gov/.

New Faith-Based and Community Initiative conferences/workshops are scheduled for Jacksonville (4/12), Cincinnati (5/12), and Las Vegas (6/6). For more information, please go to http://www.dtiassociates.com/FBCI/.

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

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Last Modified: 05/22/2009