Transforming Higher Education
Grad Student Report
Early Ed for Hispanics
Quote to Note
On successive days last week, President Bush visited schools in New Orleans, Louisiana, and New Albany, Indiana. His purpose was two-fold: (1) to herald "no excuses" schools dedicated to high standards, assessments, and accountability and (2) to promote reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. "There's nothing better than being in the middle of a bright spot, a place that just shines with optimism, in a part of the world that has gone through some really difficult times," he said at New Orleans' Samuel J. Green Charter School (see http://www.whitehouse.gov/
news/releases/2007/03/20070301-13.html), which reopened five months after Hurricane Katrina to serve an expanded student body (from grades 6-8 to K-8). "I like a system that is willing to challenge the status quo when the status quo is failing. One of the reasons I've come to this school is that it represents a group of citizens... who said, we're tired of mediocrity in the school system.... And so the storm came and it did terrible devastation, but it gave a chance for renewal. And one of the areas where renewal is most evident is in the school system of New Orleans, in the charter system right here at Green." At New Albany's Silver Street Elementary School (see http://www.whitehouse.gov/
news/releases/2007/03/20070302-8.html), the President was more direct: "I appreciate very much that Silver Street has met state standards for progress under No Child Left Behind every year since 2002.... Without a measurement system, you would be saying, 'Well, we anticipate that we are doing well. We certainly hope that we're meeting state standards.' Under this system you can say, 'We know we're meeting state standards.' And that should give parents who pay attention to this school a great comfort, and give the teachers who teach here great pride.... Watering down No Child Left Behind would be doing thousands of children a disservice..." At both venues, President Bush emphasized the importance of local control, insisting on the flexibility of the law.
Meanwhile, to assist on No Child Left Behind implementation, the President has designated Kerri Briggs as Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education and intends to nominate her to be Assistant Secretary. Briggs currently serves as the Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. Previously, she worked in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, as senior policy advisor. She replaces Henry Johnson, who retired at the end of December. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/03/03062007.html.
Also, adding to the dialogue on strengthening American education, the Center for American Progress and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have released "Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Effectiveness." All 50 states and the District of Columbia are graded in nine areas, including rigor of standards, academic achievement (using National Assessment of Educational Progress data), postsecondary and workforce readiness, and return on investment. The conclusion, the researchers assert, "is unambiguous: the states need to do a far better job of monitoring and delivering quality schooling." For more information, please go to http://www.uschamber.com/icw/reportcard/.
Transforming Higher Education
The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (March 20, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) will feature award-winning educators, university leaders, and students discussing the Secretary's Commission on the Future of Higher Education's final report and the Secretary's ensuing Action Plan for Higher Education. Specifically, guests will explore how parents, schools, higher education institutions, and the U.S. Department of Education can put the Commission's recommendations into action to better prepare students for college, to help them succeed once enrolled, and to make college affordable. For generations, the U.S. postsecondary education system has been the envy of the world. Today, however, it is clear the system needs some repair. For example, although two-thirds of high-growth, high-wage jobs require a college degree, only one-third of Americans have one. Also, while 90% of the fastest-growing jobs in the economy will require higher education, more than 60% of Americans ages 25-64 have no postsecondary education credential. As a result, a U.S. worker with only a high school diploma makes almost 40% less than one with a bachelor's degree. Put succinctly, in an era when what students know is the key to the American dream, too many students are forgoing college. 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/.)
Note: KnowHow2GO is a three-year effort aimed at helping low-income students understand the steps they need to take to get into college. Co-sponsored by the Ad Council, the American Council for Education, and the Lumina Foundation for Education, the campaign is initially targeting eighth- to tenth-graders. For more information, please go to http://www.knowhow2go.org/.
Grad Student Report
On to advanced degrees. A new report by the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), "The Path Through Graduate School," uses longitudinal data from an earlier study to examine characteristics related to graduate degree enrollment, persistence, and completion among 1992-93 bachelor's degree recipients. About 40% of these students had enrolled in a graduate degree program by 2003. On average, most students waited two to three years to enroll, and, among those who enrolled between 1993 and 2003, some 62% had earned at least one graduate degree by 2003. Master's degree students took an average of three years to complete their degree; first-year professional students took four years; and doctoral students took more than five years. Notably, after controlling for a range of variables, rates of persistence and completion were higher among students who entered graduate school immediately after earning a bachelor's degree, who attended full-time and enrolled continuously, and who enrolled in multiple graduate degree programs. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007162.
Be sure to review the FY 2007 Grants Forecast (as of March 1) at http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/find/edlite-forecast.html, which lists virtually all programs and competitions under which the Department has invited or expects to invite applications for awards and provides actual or estimated dates for the transmittal of applications under these programs. The lists are in the form of chartsorganized by principal program officeand will be updated regularly through July. (Note: This document is advisory only and not an official application notice of the U.S. Department of Education.)
One grant competition that is already underway is the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program. This program complements the President's early reading initiative by funding replicable professional development programs that improve the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators who serve in high-poverty communities and who primarily work with children from low-income families. Eligible applicants are partnerships consisting of one or more institutions of higher education and one or more public or private entities (including faith-based organizations). Applications are due April 20. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/eceducator/.
Early Ed for Hispanics
"Para Nuestros Niños: Expanding and Improving Early Education for Hispanics," the final report from the National Task Force on Early Childhood Education for Hispanics, urges that Hispanic children be enrolled in quality education programs as early as possible in order to make more rapid progress in closing the Hispanic-white achievement gap. Growing evidence suggests toddler/infant and pre-kindergarten programs are producing school readiness gains for Hispanic children who have the opportunity to participate. Yet, Hispanic children continue to be under-represented in such programs due to an inadequate supply of affordable preschool seats in many communities, a lack of program information for Hispanic parents, and language barriers with program operators. For more information, please go to http://www.ecehispanic.org/.
Late last month, the Education Rate (E-Rate) Program reached an important milestone: 10 years of operation. Administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (http://www.universalservice.org/sl/), under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission, the E-Rate is a federally funded program that provides up to $2.25 billion a year in discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal networking to U.S. public and private schools and local libraries. To date, nearly $19 billion in discounts have been provided. And, according to a report by two technology education coalitions, the program is working. Indeed, the E-Rate has increased the number of public school classrooms with Internet access from 14% in 1996 to 95% in 2005. Moreover, the E-Rate allows 100% of public libraries to provide free Internet access to their communities. Nevertheless, work remains: libraries and schools need to expand bandwidth capacities to ensure students, teachers, and the public keep pace with technology. For more information, please go to http://www.edlinc.org/pdf/NCTETReport_212.pdf.
Quote to Note
"The real challenge facing this country is whether or not we're going to be competitive; whether or not we've got the skill set necessary to fill the jobs of the 21st century. If we don't, they'll go elsewhere. That's just what happens in a globalized world. The No Child Left Behind Act is the beginning of a comprehensive, competitive program, and we want to work with you to make sure it works properly..."
|||President George W. Bush (2/26/07),
addressing the nation's governors at the White House
Over the next two weeks, the Department will be exhibiting at the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute's national conference in Atlanta (March 14-18); a Federal Interagency Group on Limited English Proficiency meeting in Bethesda, Maryland (March 15-16); the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development's annual conference in Anaheim (March 17-19); and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' annual meeting in Atlanta (March 21-24). If you are attending any of these events, please stop by the Department's booth.
Updated schedules for the Department's four higher education negotiated rulemaking committees are posted at http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2007/nr.html.
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