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November 3, 2006 ED Review
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 November 3, 2006
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Higher Education Action Plan
Emergency Planning Webcast
Teaching Foreign Languages
NCLB Update
Single-Sex Regulations
International Education Week
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Higher Education Action Plan

During the last two weeks, Secretary Spellings presented her action plan for improving the accessibility, affordability, and accountability of America's higher education system at three different venues. First, on October 23, she addressed students and faculty at Ohio State University's John Glenn School of Public Affairs. "In 1957, the year I was born, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik and set off the space race. Senator Glenn and many others risked their lives to secure America's leadership on this new frontier.... Today, we have no symbol as obvious as a Russian satellite streaking through the sky to galvanize our nation to action, but there are many smaller signs approaching on the horizon. The world is changing faster than ever. We must act to make sure our system of higher education remains the best in the world..." (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2006/10/
10232006.html
). Then, on October 26, she delivered remarks at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. "For generations, a college education has meant the difference between a life lived on the edge of promise and one lived in the full embrace of the American Dream. Among college graduates, the unemployment rate is a mere two percent—compared to 4.6 percent overall. Moreover, the earnings difference, between a worker with a college degree and one with a high school diploma, is almost 40 percent" (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/10/
10262006.html
). Finally, on November 2, she keynoted the National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success, a three-day forum on what constitutes success and what factors impact the chances of success for different types of students in different types of institutions ( http://nces.ed.gov/npec/symposium.asp). For more information on the plan, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/09/09262006.html.

In other higher education news:

  • The College Board recently released its annual analysis of the cost of colleges and universities. For the third consecutive year, the average increase in tuition and fees at four-year public schools slowed—increasing 6.3 percent from 2005-06 to 2006-07, versus 13 percent in 2003-04, 10 percent in 2004-05, and seven percent in 2005-06. However, adjusting for inflation, costs are still up 35 percent from five years ago. The group also unveiled a report on student aid (finding total aid is up but not keeping pace with costs) and a supplement to a 2004 study on the monetary and non-monetary benefits of higher education (finding men ages 25-34 with bachelor's degrees earned 63 percent more than those with high school diplomas, while for women that age the difference was 70 percent). For more information, please go to http://www.collegeboard.com/press/releases/150634.html.
  • "Where Are They Now?," a new study by the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), provides a detailed overview of the status of 1992-93 college graduates 10 years after graduation. Specifically, the study looks at five areas: graduate education (by 2003, 20 percent had earned a master's degree), employment, opinions about education, family status, and civic participation. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007159.
  • The Department's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) has announced it will establish up to four negotiated rulemaking committees to prepare regulations under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The last of four regional hearings to solicit issues that should be considered by these committees is scheduled for November 8 at the agency's Washington headquarters. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/
    reg/hearulemaking/2007/hearings.html
    .
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Emergency Planning Webcast

In follow-up to the Conference on School Safety, the Department's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) will host a webcast (November 15, 1-2 p.m. ET) to review emergency planning and share ways schools can help mitigate, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a crisis. Details on the webcast, including registration and how to submit questions, will be posted shortly at http://www.ed.gov/emergencyplan/.

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Teaching Foreign Languages

The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (November 21, 8-9 p.m. ET) will feature a conversation with experts from school districts, associations, and other organizations about what is being done in our nation's schools and communities to ensure that students graduate with the ability to communicate in critical languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, and Hindi. The benefits of studying foreign languages are well known, from expanding one's view of the world to improving one's knowledge of one's own language. And, in a world where security and economic and political success depend on mutual respect and understanding, it is vital that American students learn additional languages. Yet, less than one percent of American high school students study any of the critical-need languages. That is why the President proposed, and the Department is helping implement, the National Security Language Initiative, designed to dramatically increase the number of Americans learning critical foreign languages. Just last month, the agency awarded $22 million in grants to states and school districts. 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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NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)

On October 23, in Ohio, Secretary Spellings announced the first of 16 Teacher Incentive Fund grants, totaling $42 million, to be awarded through the coming weeks. The funding will provide financial incentives for teachers and principals who boost student achievement in high-need schools (where at least 30 percent of students are receiving either free or reduced-price lunch). The funding will also be used to recruit effective teachers to those schools, especially for hard-to-staff subjects like math and science. The goals of the program are two-fold: to improve student achievement by increasing the effectiveness of teachers and principals and to increase the number of high-quality teachers for minority and disadvantaged students. Another $43 million in grants will be awarded next spring. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacherincentive/.

Concerning teachers, the "Secretary's Fifth Annual Report on Teacher Quality" gathers data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and outlying areas on such items as the completion rates for regular and alternative route teacher preparation programs, state teacher assessments and certifications, and use of emergency licenses and waivers. The 2005 data shows states have made considerable progress toward the nation's goal of a highly qualified teacher in every classroom as well as describes areas that need improvement. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/.

Today, as part of Education Trust's 17th National Conference, the Secretary will help honor five "Dispelling the Myth" schools. For more information, please go to http://www2.edtrust.org/EdTrust/Press+Room/DTM+Winners+2006.

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Single-Sex Regulations

Recognizing that some students learn better in single-sex environments, the Department last week released amended Title IX regulations that grant more flexibility to offer single-sex classes, extracurricular activities, and schools at the elementary and secondary education levels. Title IX regulations have always permitted school districts to provide single-sex schools under certain circumstances. The new regulations expand on this exception and make it easier to offer additional choices while still upholding non-discrimination requirements. Interested schools must have an "important objective," like improving the educational attainment of students; provide a "substantially equal co-educational class" in the same subject; make student enrollment in a single-sex class completely voluntary; and re-evaluate their single-sex programs every two years. The regulations take effect on November 24. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/10/10242006.html.

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International Education Week

This year marks the seventh annual celebration of International Education Week (November 13-17), jointly sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Education and State. This year's theme is "International Education: Engaging in Global Partnerships and Opportunities." Keeping with that theme, the Education Department is partnering with NASA to highlight the importance of a rigorous math, science, and foreign language curriculum. The agency will also link up with local schools to showcase foreign language studies. For more information, please go to http://iew.state.gov/.

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Quote to Note

"The world is changing faster than ever, shrinking distances and barriers between people. And the ramifications are felt across every aspect of our society. For example, issues we have always put in a domestic policy box, such as health care and education, have taken on global dimensions. This is seen in our efforts to combat diseases such as pandemic flu and AIDS and also our work to prepare students for a world where what you know means far more than where you live."

        Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (10/26/06),
delivering remarks for DePauw University's Discourse 2006

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Upcoming Events

November is National American Indian Heritage Month, honoring American Indians and Alaska Natives who have added to the character of the U.S. For more information, please go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/
20061030-16.html
. (For a list of relevant FREE resources, see http://www.ed.gov/free/past/2005/111.html.)

On November 15, NCES will release results from the Trial Urban District Assessment in science. Ten school districts participated in this pilot effort. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/.

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Last Modified: 05/22/2009