NCLB: Teacher Quality
Quote to Note
On September 5, Secretary Spellings delivered remarks on reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act to members of the Business Coalition for Student Achievement (http://www.biz4achievement.org/). "Thanks to No Child Left Behind, for the first time, families have a right to expect that their child will be performing at or above grade levelby 2014," she noted. "That's seven years from nowplenty of time, especially since we set this goal in January 2002. We're talking grade-level work. Not nuclear physics. Just fundamental grade-level work...." And, the Secretary continued, many schools are "doing it!" The latest results show more than 70% of schools met annual progress goals last year. "Do we still have room for improvement? Absolutely. Can we do a better job of challenging kids with advanced math and science? Can we do a better job of getting kids and schools extra help to improve? Can we make assessment, accountability, and measurement systems far more effective and more sophisticated? Absolutely." Indeed, the administration issued a reauthorization proposal in January incorporating these improvements (see http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/nclb/buildingonresults.html). Still, she cautioned against making "the law so 'flexible' that it loses its power or its urgency.... Everybody knows that the more complicated the system, the easier it is to manipulate or obfuscate the bottom line." What is the Secretary's "bottom line" on reauthorization? "If we don't reauthorize No Child Left Behind this year, the law does not go away. But, it does likely stay in place without the added resources and flexibility that will help all our students improve. So, going forward, if a policy results in more kids getting more help and more kids performing at or above grade level, I'm for it. If it obscures or mitigates against our responsibility to educate every child, I'm not." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/09/09052007.html.
A week earlier, the House Education and Labor Committee issued a staff discussion draft to reauthorize Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act (http://edlabor.house.gov/micro/nclb.shtml). The committee plans to hold a hearing on September 10 and will introduce a revised bill based on solicited comments and testimony. The Secretary recently submitted a four-page letter (http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/070905.html) expressing serious concerns in the areas of complexity and transparency, accountability, school improvement and parental options, students with disabilities and with limited English proficiency, and high schools.
NCLB: Teacher Quality
Based on findings from two federally funded studies, an interim report from the Department's Policy and Program Studies Services (PPSS) describes the progress that states, school districts, and schools have made implementing the teacher and paraprofessional qualification provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act through the 2004-05 school year. Generally, the studies found:
Most teachers meet their states' requirements to be considered highly qualified under NCLB. Yet, state policies regarding highly qualified teachers varied significantly, both in the passing scores that new teachers must meet to demonstrate content knowledge on assessments and in the extent to which High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation (HOUSSE) policies give existing teachers credit for years of prior teaching experience.
The percentage of teachers who are not highly qualified under NCLB was higher for middle school teachers (9%), teachers of limited English proficient (LEP) students (6%), and special education teachers (15%), as well as teachers in high-minority and high-poverty schools. Even among teachers who were considered highly qualified, teachers in high-poverty schools had less experience and were less likely to have a degree in the subject they taught.
About two-thirds of instructional paraprofessionals were considered qualified under NCLB, but nearly one-third (28%) did not know their status or did not provide any response to the study question.
For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/teaching/nclb/.
A special Back to School edition of "Education News Parents Can Use" (September 18, 8:00-9:00 ET) will focus on the ways in which parents and schools are working together under the No Child Left Behind Act to ensure students receive a high-quality education. A parent is a child's first and most important teacher. Therefore, the law prioritizes giving parents timely information and, when their public schools do not live up to their promises, better options (including charter schools, magnet schools, public school choice, and intensive tutoring). The broadcast will discuss how and why these options work, offer tips for parents on staying informed and involved, and share the good news on how No Child Left Behind is working to narrow the achievement gap. It will also highlight the agency's work over the summer and preview the Secretary's Back to School bus tour (9/19-21) through Ohio and Indiana. 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: This fall, the Department will release an "Empowering Parents School Box" packed with brochures, a bookmark, a door hanger, and a poster that cover multiple topics. To place your order for a free copy of the school box, call 1-877-4ED-PUBS.
Just in time for the new school year, the Department has awarded grants under key competitive programs:
- Early Reading First Program: three-year grants to 32 school districts, colleges and universities, and other non-profit organizations totaling $115 million (http://www.ed.gov/programs/earlyreading/).
- Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Program: one-year grants to 91 districts across 32 states totaling $27 million (http://www.ed.gov/programs/dvpemergencyresponse/).
- Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative: up to four-year grants to 27 districts across 18 states totaling $37 million in the initial year (http://www.ed.gov/programs/dvpsafeschools/).
The agency has also published a list of eligible districts for the Rural and Low-Income School Program at http://www.ed.gov/programs/reaprlisp/eligible07/.
Although the average national score on individual sections of the 2007 SAT exam fell no more than six-tenths of a percentage point, student performance declined on all three sections (critical reading, math, and writing) of the test. Reading fell one point, from 503 (on a scale of 200 to 800) in 2006 to 502 in 2007. Math and writing fell three points, making their scores 515 and 494, respectively. (Over the long-term, reading scores have declined three points since 1988, while math scores have grown 14 points over that same period.) Notably, this class of SAT-tested students is the most diverse on record, with 39% minority, 24% whose first language is not exclusively English, and a 31% increase (over two years) in the number receiving SAT fee waivers, based on eligibility for federal free or reduced-price lunch. In terms of course-taking trends, when compared to 1997, more students are taking pre-calculus (40%-53%), calculus (23%-30%), chemistry (85%-89%), and physics (48%-54%), but fewer students are taking English composition (71%-66%). For more information, please go to http://www.collegeboard.com/press/releases/185222.html. (The Secretary's statement is available at http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/08/08292007a.html.)
Also: Congress has almost completed work on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (H.R. 2669). If President Bush signs the measure, most of the changes will take effect October 1. For more information, please go to http://edlabor.house.gov/micro/ccraa.shtml.
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/.
Quote to Note
"Hurricane Katrina broke through the levees. It broke a lot of hearts. It destroyed buildings. But it didn't affect the spirit of a lot of citizens in this community. This spirit can be best reflected when you think about a principal [Doris Hicks], who refused to allow a school to be destroyed by the flood and worked hard to not only rebuild the building but keep [her students together].... [New Orleans] is better today than it was yesterday, and it's going to be better tomorrow than it was today. And there's no better place to find that out than in the school system."
|||President George W. Bush (8/29/07), at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Charter School for Science and Technology in the Lower Ninth Ward on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina|
To mark the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, Congress has mandated that educational institutions receiving federal funds take one day to teach the document that shaped America's democratic government. To support students and teachers in their studies, a variety of online resources are available from the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site. Additional resources are available from the National Archives and Records Administration. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/fund/guid/constitutionday07.html.
On Citizenship Day/Constitution Day (9/17), schools are also encouraged to participate in "Pledge Across America." The synchronized Pledge will begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT; 1:00 p.m. CDT; 12:00 noon MDT; 11:00 a.m. PDT; 10:00 a.m. in Alaska; and 8:00 a.m. in Hawaii. For more information, please go to http://www.celebrationusa.org/.
On October 18, Lights On Afterschool!, a coast-to-coast rally organized by the Afterschool Alliance, will illuminate the nation by celebrating afterschool programs and the need they meet in keeping students safe, helping working families, and improving academic achievement. Last year, 7,500 afterschool programs, such as the Department's 21st Century Community Learning Centers, hosted activities. For more information, please go to http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/lights_on/index.cfm.
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Director, Intergovernmental AffairsRogers Johnson, (202) 401-0026, Rogers.Johnson@ed.gov
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