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October 26, 2007 ED Review
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 October 26, 2007
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NCLB Update
NAEP Forecasting
Other K-12 Reports
Senate Confirmation
Focus: Higher Education
Speak Up Survey
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

NCLB Update

As Congressional members continue to debate legislative language for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush issued a stern warning to those who would change the law's focus on student achievement. "Any effort to weaken No Child Left Behind will get a presidential veto," he said during a town hall-style meeting in Arkansas. "I believe this piece of legislation is important, and I believe it's hopeful, and I believe it's necessary to make sure we've got an educated group of students who can compete in the global economy when they get older." While the No Child Left Behind Act does not formally authorize spending for its programs beyond fiscal year 2007 (which ended September 30, 2007), it included an automatic extension for fiscal year 2008 (which started October 1, 2007). Nevertheless, the leaders of both chambers' education committees have pledged to approve a bill to reauthorize the law by the end of the year. For more information, please go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/
10/20071015-5.html
.

To ensure more students will receive supplemental educational services (SES), the Department has granted flexibility to four school districts identified in need of improvement to become SES providers. Normally, sanctioned districts are prohibited from serving as SES providers. Also, the agency has granted flexibility to four states, allowing some of their districts to offer SES to students in Title I schools in the first year of improvement (in lieu of public school choice). If a school is identified for a second year, it would have to offer both choice and SES. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/nclb/choice/help/ses/07agreements.html.

The Department's LEP Partnership seeks to improve the assessments of English language proficiency, reading, and math for limited English proficient (LEP) students. The partnership's web site holds transcripts of public meetings (the next meeting is October 28), practical guidelines for the education of LEP students, and descriptions of six technical assistance projects. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/lep-partnership/.

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NAEP Forecasting

A recent study by the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) attempts to relate student achievement on the twelfth-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in math in terms of postsecondary educational outcomes. For example, of the seniors who scored below NAEP's "Basic" level, 46% did not go on to higher education and only 18% went on to receive a bachelor's degree. In contrast, of the seniors who scored at NAEP's "Basic" level, 82% went on to college (53% to a four-year institution) and 50% went on to receive a bachelor's degree. Moreover, of the seniors who scored at NAEP's "Proficient" level, most students (95%) went on to college (84% to a four-year institution) and 79% went on to receive a bachelor's degree. And, of the seniors who scored at NAEP's "Advanced" level, nearly all students (98%) went on to college (94% to a four-year institution) and 91% went on to receive a bachelor's degree. On their own, the study's findings are intuitive. Yet, in light of an earlier NCES study (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007482), which found that most state fourth- and eighth-grade proficiency standards fall at or below NAEP's "Basic" range, they do suggest the need to raise expectations to improve students' odds in higher education. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007328.

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Other K-12 Reports

Several new K-12 reports are worth noting:

  • "Why Rural Matters 2007" (http://www.ruraledu.org/site/apps/nl/
    content.asp?c=beJMIZOCIrH&b=3508831&ct=4537855
    ), from the Rural School and Community Trust, analyzes the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calls attention to the urgency with which policymakers should address rural issues. Overall enrollment in rural schools is up by 15%—reversing years of declines—and there has been a 55% increase in rural minority students, with some states experiencing increases of more than 100%.

  • A cost-benefit analysis of high-quality teacher induction programs (http://www.newteachercenter.org/pdfs/hill-brief-release.pdf), from the University of California at Santa Cruz's New Teacher Center, finds that every $1 spent on such programs generates a return of $1.66, after five years. The return on investment is primarily enhanced student learning and reduced teacher turnover costs.

  • "The School Health Policies and Programs Study" (http://www.cdc.gov/SHPPS/), by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proclaims U.S. schools have made "significant progress" in health, fitness, and nutrition over the last six years. 30% of school districts have eliminated junk food from vending machines (up from 4% in 2000), and the percentage of schools that sell french fries a la carte in their cafeterias has decreased from 40% to 19%. On the other hand, about one-fifth of schools still do not require any physical education.

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Senate Confirmation

The Senate has confirmed Williamson "Bill" Evers as Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. As assistant secretary, he will serve as the principal advisor to Secretary Spellings on all matters relating to K-12 and higher education policy development and review, performance measurements and evaluation, and budget processes. Evers joined the Department in February 2007 as a senior advisor to the Secretary. Previously, he worked at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, where he was a research fellow and a member of the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education. In 2003, he was senior advisor for education to Administrator Paul Bremer of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Evers received his bachelor's degree, master's degree, and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/
pressreleases/2007/10/10172007.html
.

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Focus: Higher Education

On October 25, the Department announced national and state-level data from the first year of Academic Competitiveness (AC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants. These grants encourage students to take more challenging courses in high school and pursue college majors in high demand in the global economy—math, science, technology, engineering, and critical foreign languages. The agency's goal is to double the number of AC/SMART grant recipients by 2011. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/smart/performance.html.

Other higher education-related resources:

  • "First Look at the Initial Postsecondary Experiences of the High School Sophomore Class of 2002" (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2008308), an NCES brief, provides selected, nationally representative information about the transition of 2002 high school sophomores to college.

  • As promised, the Department has posted clips from the 2007 Community College Virtual Summit (http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/
    cclo/virtualcc07.html
    ). The event targeted the two-to-four-year transition, approaches for serving adults and working students, accountability, and leadership. A panel of community college leaders interacted with a live audience in Washington, D.C., and four downlink sites.

  • The College Board recently released its annual "trends" reports, "Trends in College Pricing 2007" and Trends in Student Aid 2007" (http://www.collegeboard.com/press/
    releases/189547.html
    ), with data on the price of higher education and the financial aid available to help pay that price.

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Speak Up Survey

Through December 15, K-12 students, teachers, administrators, and parents from across the nation have the opportunity to share their ideas and opinions on how technology should be used in the education process through Project Tomorrow's fifth annual Speak Up survey. This year's survey features new questions, addressing student interest (and parent support) in math, science, and technology careers; utilizing web 2.0 tools, like MySpace, in school; the merit of 21st century skills, such as learning a new language; the value of emerging technologies, such as video games, in education; and designing the ultimate, 21st century school. Results are shared with participating schools and school districts so they can use the data for planning and community discussion. Results are also used by government agencies and various organizations to inform new programs and polices. For more information, please go to http://www.netdayspeakup.org/.

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Quote to Note

"Education is not something that is done best in isolation. It's most effective when private sector, government, and educators work together.... Through shared collaboration of ideas and invention, we can make our world and the world our children inherit one of great promise and opportunity. And, as we pioneer new frontiers in health, energy, and space, let it be a race we run together and in doing so accomplish great things for both our nations and our citizens."

        Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (10/22/07),
speaking at Moscow State University in Russia

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Upcoming Events

National Veterans Awareness Week (November 11-17) reminds schools to invite veterans into their classrooms in the days leading up to and following Veterans Day (November 11). Veterans are asked to share their experiences and teach short lessons about the history and significance of Veterans Day, helping students reflect upon the ideals of liberty, freedom, and democracy. For more information, please go to http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/. (Note: A school kit, with sections for students and teachers, may be downloaded at http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/schoolkit.asp.)

The Department's next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast, concerning higher education, is scheduled for November 20. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/av/video/edtv/.

The Department will be exhibiting at the National Coalition of ESEA Title I Parents' 34th Annual In-Service Training Conference in Rochester, New York (October 31-November 4). If you are attending this event, please stop by the Department's booth.

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Director, Intergovernmental Affairs—Rogers Johnson, (202) 401-0026, Rogers.Johnson@ed.gov
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Program Analyst—Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
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Last Modified: 01/29/2008