New Assistant Secretary
Condition of Education 2007
D.C. Scholarship Report
Quote to Note
As of May 24, the Department is using a revised mission statement that reflects educational priorities for the 21st century and beyond. The new mission statement retains the agency's historical role of "providing equal access to a high-quality education." However, it also emphasizes the complementary need to improve the academic performance of all American learners. The updated statement reads as follows:
The U.S. Department of Education's mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
This mission statement is part of the Department's "Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2007-12," which also took effect on May 24. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/strat/.
On May 24, Secretary Spellings announced the approval of two additional high-quality, growth-based accountability models. Iowa's model is immediately approved to use for the 2006-07 school year. Ohio's model is also approved on the condition that the state adopt a uniform minimum group size for all subgroups, including students with disabilities and limited English proficiency, in Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations for the 2006-07 school year. The Department intends to approve no more than 10 models for the pilot program. In May 2006, North Carolina and Tennessee received approval to implement their models during the 2005-06 school year. Then, last November, Arkansas, Delaware, and Florida (conditionally) received approval to implement their models during the 2006-07 school year. Thus, three slots remain. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/growthmodel/. (Note: The Department proposed expanding growth models in its reauthorization proposal.)
Earlier, at two separate events, the Secretary delivered strong remarks on the importance of reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act. At the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) Seventh Biennial Daisy Bates Education Summit in Little Rock (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/05/05192007.html), she called NCLB a "civil rights law." "We honor the actions of the Little Rock Nine by fighting for the new civil right of a quality education for all," she said. "The No Child Left Behind Act is up for renewal in Congress this year. I believe it is not just an education law. It's a civil rights lawdesigned to make America's promise a reality for all its citizens." At the Manhattan Institute's Education Reform Conference in New York City (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/05/05222007.html), she offered a similar line of thought. "We have a moral responsibility to give every student the opportunity to achieve," she explained. "Only a good education can build the skills, habits of mind, and knowledge for children to grow into productive citizens. This idea goes back to our founding and is part of what has always made America a place of innovation, durable democracy, and big dreams."
The Department has released guidance for testing recently arrived limited English proficient (LEP) students. The guidance does not create policy. Instead, it summarizes the flexibility offered in the Title I regulations finalized in September 2006. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/lepguidance.doc.
With temperatures rising, the final "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (June 19, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) of the 2006-07 season will focus on structured programs during the summer months to sustain academic skills and avoid the "summer slide." After the final school bell has rung, too few students are engaged in summer activities designed to maintain and sharpen their academic skillsparticularly critical reading skillsthat were gained during the school year. As a result, students experience summer learning loss: students score lower on reading and math achievement tests at the end of the summer than they did on the same tests before the break, and teachers are frequently required to spend up to six weeks repeating the same lessons their students were taught the previous school year. The broadcast will showcase award-winning and effective summer learning programs; explore innovative strategies to academically engage and nurture disadvantaged and lower-income youth during the summer; profile library-, community-, and corporate-based initiatives designed to encourage students to read and discover during the break; and spotlight the efforts of organizations dedicated to providing students with access to reading materials over the summer and throughout the year. 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/.)
New Assistant Secretary
President Bush intends to nominate Diane Auer Jones to serve as the Department's Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. Jones currently serves as principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). Before joining OPE, she served as Deputy to the Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Previously, she served as an associate professor at the Community College of Baltimore County, program director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Director of the Office of Government Affairs at Princeton University. Jones received her B.S. from Salisbury State University and her M.S. (applied molecular biology) from the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/05/05222007a.html.
Also: President Bush just recognized 93 educators with 2006 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation's highest honor for teaching in these fields. Winners will receive a $10,000 prize from the NSF, the agency that administers the program. For more information, please go to http://www.paemst.org/.
Condition of Education 2007
On May 31, the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released its annual report (required by law) on the condition of education in the U.S. "The Condition of Education 2007" includes 48 indicators in five major areasparticipation in education, learner outcomes, student effort and educational progress, elementary and secondary education contexts, and postsecondary education contextsand a special analysis on high school coursetaking. Regarding the latter, increases in high school credits earned in English, math, and science have not caused a decline in other coursework, partly because students are taking more advanced courses. Comparing 1982 and 2004 data, graduates earned an average of 4.0 versus 4.3 credits in English, 2.7 versus 3.6 credits in math, 2.2 versus 3.2 credits in science, 3.2 versus 3.9 credits in social studies, 1.4 versus 2.1 credits in the arts, and 1.1 versus 2.0 credits in foreign languages. Overall, the average number of credits earned by high school graduates increased from 21.7 to 25.8 credits. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/.
D.C. Scholarship Report
According to a second-year report on the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) from Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute, participating families are increasingly confident in OSP's operations, citing improvements in information sources, financial policies and procedures, and communication between parents and their children, independent schools, and program administrators. Moreover, families noted improvements in their children's attitudes and behaviors toward learning, indicating that they would return to the program for at least another year. "The promising results and positive feedback in this report underscore the importance of giving families options," the Secretary said in a statement. "By expanding school choice, No Child Left Behind helps parents act as real advocates for their childrenwhich remains one of the President's top priorities." OSP, launched in the fall of 2004, is the first federally sponsored K-12 scholarship initiative, affording at-risk students the opportunity to attend one of 58 D.C. private schools at public expense. For more information, please go to http://www.georgetown.edu/research/scdp/.
Quote to Note
"[W]e cannot fix education without accountability and without the imperative of 2014. Flexibility without accountability is funding failure. We cannot afford to go back to throwing money at problems and letting children slip through the cracks. If you are committed to turning around our chronically underperforming schools, we must renew NCLB this year. If you are committed to fixing our high schoolsreforming the dropout factories that threaten the civic and economic future of our countrythen we must renew NCLB this year. And if you are committed to preserving the momentum for choice, local control, and flexibility, then we must renew NCLB this year."
|||Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (5/22/07),
at Manhattan Institute's Education Reform Conference
Following a national tour of 14 school districts (see http://www.ed.gov/nclb/choice/help/ses/outreach.html), the Department is hosting a National Summit on Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and Public School Choice June 27 and 28 in Arlington, Virginia. The summit will bring together states, school districts, SES providers, comprehensive centers, parents, and agency staff to share strategies and tips for better implementing the SES and school choice provisions of No Child Left Behind.
Further out, don't miss the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools' 21st National Conference (August 2-4, http://www.osdfsnationalconference.org) and the Office of English Language Acquisition's sixth annual Celebrate Our Rising Stars Summit (October 29-31, http://www.oelasummit.org).
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