Safe Schools/Healthy Students
Supplemental Student Aid
Monitoring America's Children
Quote to Note
NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)
By July 1, the Department had notified all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico of the status of their standards and assessment system under the No Child Left Behind Act. Four states (Maryland, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia) received "full approval," six states (Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah) received "full approval with recommendations," and four states (Alaska, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Massachusetts) received "approval expected" from a team of experts using a peer review process (see http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/peerreview/ for the components). Most of the remaining states received "approval pending, no withholding" designations, indicating they are missing one or two of the fundamental components and, to avoid sanction, must provide (within 25 days) a plan and timeline for meeting those components by the end of the 2006-07 school year. However, eight states received "approval pending, withholding funds" designations for missing three or more components, and two states received "not approved" designations because they "will not be able to administer a fully approved assessment in the 2006-07 school year." These 10 states have 20 days to respond to the findings. Otherwise, the agency is prepared to redistribute 10-25 percent of their Title I, Part A administrative funds directly to school districts. Also, states that are not in full compliance may not apply for additional flexibility under the law. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/nclbfinalassess/.
Meanwhile, July 7 was the deadline for all states to submit revised plans for meeting the No Child Left Behind Act goal of having all core academic subject classes taught by Highly Qualified Teachers. During the week of July 24, state-level practitioners and teacher quality experts will peer review each state's plan and evaluate how successfully it addresses the remaining challenges in reaching the 100 percent goal. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacherqual/hqtltr/.
As part of the Gulf Coast Summer Reading Initiative, the Department co-sponsored three mid-June events to highlight the importance of reading throughout the summer. And, as reported earlier, the agency is handling the distribution of 250,000 books to schools, libraries, and literacy organizations in hurricane-affected communities across the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. First Book "secured" the donation of the books from a Massachusetts wholesaler (Strictly-By-The-Book) and two publishing companies (Simon & Schuster and Townsend Press). For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/06/06122006.html.
Safe Schools/Healthy Students
In a joint effort to create safe learning environments that prevent youth violence and drug abuse and promote healthy childhood development, the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice have awarded over $31 million in Safe Schools/Healthy Students grants to 19 school districts in 14 states. Under this initiative, districts, partnering with law enforcement, juvenile justice, and mental health agencies, implement a comprehensive plan focused on six elements, including safe school environments, early childhood emotional development programs, and mental health treatment services. Grantees proposed plans that addressed those issues with a thoughtful, well-coordinated strategy linking existing and new services in a more systematic manner. Since 1999, these agencies have provided some $1 billion for partnerships. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/07/07112006a.html.
Supplemental Student Aid
The Department's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) has assembled a variety of resources relating to Academic Competitiveness (AC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants in one convenient location. At http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/ac-smart.html, students, parents, and counselors will find:
A list of recognized rigorous secondary school programs of study for each state for the 2006-07 school year. To be eligible for an AC grant, students must have completed one of their state's recognized programs. (http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/about/
A list of recognized fields of study in STEM fields and critical foreign languages for the 2006-07 school year. To be eligible for a SMART grant, students must be pursuing a four-year degree with a major in one of these fields. (http://www.ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN0606.html)
The interim final regulations for both grant programs, specifying the eligibility requirements for a student to apply for and receive an award under these programs for the 2006-2007 award year. These interim final regulations also identify the roles of states, school districts, and colleges and universities in administering the programs. These regulations will be effective for the 2006-07 award year. However, the Secretary is soliciting comments on all aspects of these regulations and may amend and finalize them for the 2007-08 award year; comments must be received by August 17. For regulations that would take effect for the 2008-09 and subsequent award years, the Secretary intends to conduct negotiated rulemaking, as required by law. (http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/
On July 1, the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Office sent 1.182 million notices to Pell Grant-eligible students who may qualify for AC grants.
Always recruiting talent, Secretary Spellings recently made three key appointments. First, she named Morgan Brown as Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII). Since 2003, Brown has served as Director of the Minnesota Department of Education's Division of School Choice and Innovation. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow with the Center of the American Experiment, as well as Director of the Minnesota Education League and the Partnership for Choice in Education. OII administers 28 grant programs and coordinates No Child Left Behind's school choice and supplemental educational services provisions (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/07/07062006.html). Second, the Secretary named Katherine McLane as Press Secretary. For the last two-and-a-half-years, McLane was California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's spokesperson on education, federal affairs, and homeland security and military matters. She was also responsible for web-based communications. Previously, she worked on communications planning, television production, and regulatory advertising. The Press Secretary is the agency's lead spokesperson (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/07/07112006.html). Third, she named Camille Cain as Director of Regional Services for the Office of Communications and Outreach (OCO). Cain spent three years at the Justice Department, supervising the activities of representatives within the states and territories. Previously, she served as Director of Planning for the Governor of Texas. OCO oversees 10 regional offices (http://www.ed.gov/about/contacts/gen/regions.html). In addition, OCO's fearless leader, Kevin Sullivan, is moving on up! He has been named Assistant to the President for Communications.
Congratulations to Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson's Charter Schools Initiative and the Urban Academies Program of the School Board of Broward County (FL), winners of 2006 Innovations in American Government Awards. Founded in 1986, the awards honor city, county, state, tribal, and federal government initiatives that are truly creative, measurably effective, meet a significant need, and have the potential to be transferred to other jurisdictions. More than 1,000 initiatives submitted applications to compete for this year's awards; only seven were named winners. For more information, please go to http://www.innovations.harvard.edu/spotlight.html?id=140.
Monitoring America's Children
According to the 2006 edition of "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being," compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, the teen birth rate declined to a record low in 2004 (the most recently available data); the infant mortality rate declined to its former, lowest ever, level after increasing from the previous year; and the proportion of children exposed to second-hand smoke is down. On the other hand, the birth rate for unmarried women and the proportion of infants with low birth weight increased. For more information, please go to http://childstats.gov/americaschildren/index.asp. (Note: The education section details results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.)
Quote to Note
"Last month, I had a meeting with Tom Friedman, the New York Times columnist and author of the bestseller The World is Flat. He told me the number one skill our children will need to survive in this new, flat world is learning how to learn. And to learn how to learn, you've got to love to learn, and that's triggered by a great teacher. He said ask your friends what classes they love and, regardless of the subject, take that class because chances are it's being taught by a great teacher."
|||Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (7/12/06),
addressing teachers at a summer workshop near Boston
Over the next two weeks, the Education Department will be exhibiting at the NAACP's annual convention in Washington, DC (July 15-20); the American Federation of Teachers' convention in Boston (July 19-23); the American Legislative Exchange Council's annual meeting in San Francisco (July 19-23); and the National Urban League's annual conference in Atlanta (July 26-30). If you are attending any of these events, please stop by.
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