Press Room NEWSLETTERS
August 24, 2007 ED Review
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 August 24, 2007
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Organizational Assessment
Back to School
NCLB Update
Letter of Appeal
ACT Scores
Poor Role Models?
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Organizational Assessment

As part of the Department's annual organizational assessment, the Office of Communications and Outreach (OCO) is soliciting feedback from customers for each of its primary publications, including ED Review. This short, five-question survey should take no more than five minutes to complete and will remain confidential. Your participation is strongly encouraged; your responses enable OCO and the Department to serve you more effectively. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edreview/.

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Back to School

It's that special time of year! In preparation for the return to school, the federal government's web portal, USA.gov, has posted an impressive collection of web sites (http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Back_to_School.shtml), with resources for students, parents, and educators. In particular, browse the Census Bureau's annual Back to School feature (http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/
archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/010218.html), which highlights customary statistics on students, teachers, and learning, as well as data concerning back to school shopping ($7.1 billion was spent at clothing stores in August 2006, surpassed only by November and December), lunchtime (10 billion apples were produced in the U.S. in 2006, half from the State of Washington), and the rewards of staying in school (with an advanced degree, the average annual earnings of workers 18 and older in 2005 was $79,946; with a bachelor's degree, $54,689; with solely a high school diploma, $29,448; without a diploma, $19,915). The Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) also issued selected Back to School statistics: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372.

During Back to School, the Department is honoring 2007 American Stars of Teaching—teachers who are improving student achievement (some of them nearing 100% proficiency!) and using innovative strategies to make a difference in the lives of their students. One American Star will be recognized in every state and the District of Columbia with surprise school visits. Nominations for 2008 American Stars will be accepted beginning in January. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/tools/
initiative/america-stars-factsheet.html
.

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NCLB Update

The Department has published Fiscal Year 2007 Title I allocations by school district. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, districts must use up to 20% of their Title I, Part A allocation to cover school choice-related transportation costs and pay for supplemental educational services. Districts have some discretion to determine the allocation of funds between the activities, but they must use at least one-quarter (5%) of the 20 percent "reservation" on each activity if there is demand for both. Also, for supplemental services, districts are required to pay the lesser of the actual cost of the services or an amount equal to the district's Title I, Part A allocation divided by the number of poor students in the district, as determined by Census Bureau estimates. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/titlei/fy07/. (Note: Due to state-level adjustments of allocations, the actual amounts received by districts will be smaller than shown.)

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Letter of Appeal

In a letter to colleges and universities, lenders, and loan guarantee agencies, Secretary Spellings asked for the voluntary adoption of the "principles" embodied in draft regulations the agency proposed in June. "Although the Department has published for public comment the proposed regulations on student loans (http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/
2007-2/061207a.html
), the final regulations will not take effect until July 1, 2008," she said. "I urge you to act now—to assure students and parents that we have their best interests at heart in providing competitive student loans." Specifically, she asks institutions to protect the borrower's choice of lenders, basing lists of preferred, recommended, or suggested lenders solely on the best interests of the student or parent borrowers (considering factors like interest rates, fees, and loan benefits provided by the lender to the borrower), and to not request or accept any payments or benefits from a lender in exchange for being included on a list. Similarly, she asks lenders to fully disclose any offers or promises made to be included on a list relating to the terms of the loans or services to borrowers and to not provide any payments or benefits to an institution or its employees in exchange for being included on a list. For more information, please go to http://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/attachments/
0809SMSLetterCoverAttach.pdf
.

Also: Looking for higher education data? The Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently unveiled "Differential Characteristics of Two-Year Postsecondary Institutions" (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007164) and "Persistence and Attainment of 2003-04 Beginning Postsecondary Students: After Three Years (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007169).

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ACT Scores

The 2007 national average ACT composite score is 21.2 (on a scale of 1 to 36), up from 20.8 in 2003 and from 21.1 last year, even with a record number of test takers and a sizable increase in minority test takers. (Since 2003, the number of ACT-tested students has increased 11 percentage points, with African-American students up 18 points and Hispanic students up 23 points.) Scores improved on all four subject-area tests (English, math, reading, and science), and all racial/ethnic subgroups—with the exception of black graduates, whose composite score dropped one-tenth of a percentage point—posted an increase on their composite score. Nevertheless, the results suggest students must continue to take courses beyond minimum high school requirements to adequately prepare for college. In fact, just 15% of graduates who took Algebra I and II and geometry earned a score of 22 or higher on the math test (compared to 40% of graduates who also took trigonometry), while only one in five who took general science, biology, and chemistry earned a score of 24 or higher on the science test (compared to 40% of graduates who also took physics). (Students with these ACT scores have a high probability—75%—of earning a "C" or better and an even chance of earning a "B" or higher in college algebra and biology courses, respectively.) Among the Class of 2007, 51% of test takers reported taking ACT's recommended high school curriculum, with four years of English and three years of math (algebra or higher), science, and social studies. For more information, please go to http://www.act.org/news/data/07/. (The Secretary's statement is available at http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/08/08152007.html.)

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Poor Role Models?

According to a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll, one in four adults (27%) have not read a single book in the last year. Moreover, on the whole, adults claimed to have read just four books within the past year. (The figure rises to seven books if adults who have not read any books are excluded.) Not surprisingly, some groups are more voracious readers than others: women read more than men, people over the age of 50 read more than younger adults, and college graduates read more than the less educated. The Bible and other religious texts were read by two-thirds of adults in the survey, followed by popular fiction, histories, biographies, mystery novels, and romance novels. Classical literature was named by fewer than 5% of readers. For more information, please go to http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/act_hit_cntr.cfm?id=3613
&Region=us&PDF_name=mr070821-4topline.pdf
.

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Quote to Note

"Computers, commerce, and the media link our world, but there is still no replacement for actually being there—living someplace new, making new friends, and learning new rhythms of life. I'm a firm believer in the value of these experiences, so much so that I recently sent my daughter, Mary, to study in Latin America."

        Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (8/22/07),
addressing college students in São Paulo, Brazil

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Upcoming Events

Register today to join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce and over 400 leaders in business, education, workforce development, and policy at the annual Education and Workforce Summit, September 24-26 in Washington, D.C. The Department's Scott Hess, Chief of College and Career Transition Programs, will present at a workshop titled "Workforce Development Funding 101." Other sessions: "Redesigning Education in America," "The Economic Impact of Education" (featuring Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke), and "The Challenge of Aligning K-12 with Postsecondary and the Workforce." For more information, please go to http://www.uschamber.com/icw/strategies/icwsummit.htm.

Planning is underway for the Department's eighth annual International Education Week (November 12-16, coinciding with American Education Week). The week provides schools, colleges and universities, and communities the opportunity to promote and celebrate the benefits of international education worldwide. This year's theme is "International Education: Fostering Global Citizenship and Respect." Individuals and institutions are encouraged to join the IEW listserv and submit a report on planned IEW activities. For more information, please go to http://iew.state.gov/.

Next month, the Department will be exhibiting at the 22nd annual National Council of Negro Women's Black Family Reunion Celebration on the National Mall (September 8-9) and the Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology Week conference at the University of Texas-Pan American (September 24-29). If you are attending either of these events, please stop by the Department's booth.

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

Please feel free to contact the Office of Communications and Outreach with any questions:
Director, Intergovernmental Affairs—Rogers Johnson, (202) 401-0026, Rogers.Johnson@ed.gov
Deputy Director—Marcie Ridgway, (202) 401-6359, Marcie.Ridgway@ed.gov
Program Analyst—Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
To be added or removed from distribution, or submit comments (we welcome your feedback!), please contact Adam Honeysett. Or, visit http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edreview/index.html.


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Last Modified: 01/29/2008