In Her Words...
Student Loan Access
Doing What Works
NPI: Title III
Quote to Note
In Her Words...
Over the last two weeks, Secretary Spellings has delivered remarks at a number of venues. Below are selected excerpts from those addresses.
National Academies Convocation on "Rising Above the Gathering Storm Two Years Later " (4/29, http://www.ed.gov/news/
pressreleases/2008/04/04292008a.html): "President Bush echoed many of the Gathering Storm report's recommendations in his 2006 State of the Union address. And last year, he signed into law the America COMPETES Act, which moved many of these recommendations forward.... But, in the education world, there are some fronts on which we have not acted adequately: successful math strategies, rigorous high school coursework, and promoting foreign languages.... While there's support and energy for these initiatives, we often take the 'thousand flowers blooming' approach. At the federal level, there are over 100 programs in 12 federal agencies which received over $3.1 billion in funding. The problem is, almost half of the STEM programs received $1 million or less. It's hard to implement sustainable, scalable programs in this way."
Higher Education Summit for Global Development, jointly hosted by the Departments of Education and State (4/30, http://www.ed.gov/news/
pressreleases/2008/04/04302008.html): "Knowledge has become the single most valuable currency in this changing world, and education continues to be the surest path to opportunity. It's not a panacea but a necessary foundation upon which progress is built. In the global knowledge economy, higher education, in particular, has gone from nice-to-have to a must-havefor individuals as well as societies. We must all educate more students to higher levels than ever before, and we need to do this in the context of a broader world.... Community colleges are an American invention. They combine elements of traditional universities with practical, vocational training, a model that can be adapted to meet the needs of economies around the world.... Education is not a zero sum game. The cascading benefits of a single, smart strategy, shared widely, can benefit students and communities from Boston and Birmingham to Bangkok and Bangalore."
Miami Dade College Commencement Address (5/5, http://www.ed.gov/news/
pressreleases/2008/05/05052008a.html): "I went to college at the University of Houston. I commuted from home. I worked as an office cashier at a grocery store called Handy Andy. People who hold jobs when they go to college, or have families, or attend part-time, or don't go straight out of high schoolin the academic community, we are sometimes called 'non-traditional.' Personally, I prefer to think of us as 'pioneering,' or 'pionero.' Whatever term you prefer, I believe the people who do things a little differently are often the ones who drive improvement for everybody else.... Miami Dade is all about inviting people in [with students from 150 countries].... And, it's all the more important, now that 90% of our fastest growing jobs require education beyond high school."
Massachusetts state roundtable and school visit (5/6, http://www.ed.gov/news/
pressreleases/2008/05/05062008a.html): "Massachusetts is a champion of accountability and has some of the nation's highest standards. I commend Massachusetts for already using a cohort longitudinal graduation ratein line with that of the National Governors' Association." At a Boston charter school, the Secretary also announced the distribution of 850,000 new, free books as part of the 2008 Summer Reading Initiative (see http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/
Council of the Americas Conference (5/7, http://www.ed.gov/news/
pressreleases/2008/05/05072008.html): "Computers, commerce, and media link us together, but there is still no replacement for actually being thereliving someplace new, making new friends, and learning new rhythms of life. Exchanging students and faculty means campuses are enriched with new scholarships, perspectives, and innovative approaches to learning. Most importantly, the more our governments, business leaders, higher education leaders, and students partner together, the better prepared we all will be to meet the challenges of our changing world."
Student Loan Access
On May 7, President Bush signed into law the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act (H.R. 5715), which, among other actions, increases the annual and aggregate federal loan limits, allows parents to defer payments on federal PLUS loans while their children are in school, and grants the Secretary the authority to purchase loans from lenders in the federal guaranteed loan program (to ensure lenders continue to have access to capital to originate new loans). The House initially approved a bill in April. The Senate then passed multiple amendments, including sunsetting the Secretary's authority to designate entire colleges for the "lender of last resort" program at the end of the 2008-09 academic year and directing savings derived from the legislation to increase funding for the Academic Competitiveness (AC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grant programs. Congress cleared the final bill on May 1. Most provisions become effective on July 1. For more information, please go to http://www.house.gov/apps/list/
The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (May 20, 8:00-9:00 ET) will focus on preparing all teachers to lead students toward success by: exploring how effective teaching is at the core of America's competitiveness; highlighting progressive strategies to recruit, train, and reward effective teachers; and showcasing award-winning teachers who are dedicated to improving student achievement. Studies show teachers are the single most important factor in raising student performance. Yet, many schools, especially those in high-need areas, suffer from a lack of qualified teachers. (Indeed, half the math teachers in high-poverty middle and high schools did not major or minor in the subjects they teach.) It is becoming increasingly apparent that teacher preparation and compensations systems developed in the 20th century do not fully address the nation's 21st century challenges. In turn, to help fill teaching shortages and, ultimately, increase the number of effective educators, the President proposed key programs and initiatives, such as the Teacher Incentive Fund and student loan forgiveness. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/edtv/. (You can watch archived webcasts at http://www.connectlive.com/events/ednews/.)
Note: Educators are encouraged to register for one of the Department's free summer workshops, where teachers and researchers will share successful strategies to raise student achievement. The workshops, co-hosted by other federal agencies and programs, are being held in 12 cities. For more information, please go to http://www.t2tweb.us/Workshops/Schedule.asp.
On April 30, in a Rose Garden ceremony with President Bush and Secretary Spellings, science teacher Michael Geisen was named the 2008 National Teacher of the Year. Geisen, who just nine years ago was a forester, teaches at Crook County Middle School in Prineville, Oregon. His unique teaching style emphasizes lessons that engage both sides of the brain, combining movement and singing with analysis and logic. During his first two years as department chair, his school's science proficiency scores jumped from 55% to 72%. He is the 58th recipient of the award. The National Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the ING Foundation, designates an outstanding representative from among 56 State Teachers of the Year (representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, several outlying territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity). The winner is selected by a panel of the 15 leading national education organizations. For more information, please go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/
A day later, the President named 99 middle and high school teachers as winners of Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation's highest honor for teaching in these fields. For more information, please go to http://www.paemst.org/.
Also on May 1, the Secretary announced the selection of 2008 Presidential Scholars. The program was established by Executive Order in 1964 to honor academic achievement by graduating high school seniors. It was expanded in 1979 to honor students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the arts. Each year, 141 students are named, including at least one young man and woman from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American families living abroad. Another 15 students are chosen at-large, and 20 students are scholars in the arts. (This year, two students were selected in both academics and the arts, for an overall count of 139 scholars.) Over 2,700 candidates qualified on the basis of significant ACT or SAT scores or nomination through the national youngARTS competition of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. The Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by the President, chooses finalists. Scholars will be recognized June 21-24 in Washington, D.C. Each scholar will invite the teacher who had the greatest impact on his or her success to participate in the activities and receive a certificate of appreciation. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/psp/awards.html.
Then, on May 4, the Secretary announced recipients of the 2008 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, rewarding middle and high school students for outstanding community service. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/05/05052008b.html.
Doing What Works
The Department-funded What Works Clearinghouse (http://whatworks.ed.gov/), a central source of scientific evidence for what works in education, has released its latest practice guide, "Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools." The guide offers four specific recommendations to quickly and dramatically improve student performance in such schools and indicates the quality of the evidence that supports the recommendations. It also describes how each recommendation can be implemented. For more information, please go to http://whatworks.ed.gov/pdf/Turnaround_pg_04181.pdf.
Meanwhile, the Department's Doing What Works web site (http://dww.ed.gov/) has added a feature on encouraging girls in math and science, based on the recommendations outlined in a previously released practice guide. Overall, the guide and the corresponding content online provides five recommendations, such as "exposing girls to female role models who have succeeded in math and science." The content on the site is organized into three areas: learn what works, see how it works, and do what works. For more information, please go to http://dww.ed.gov/topic/
NPI: Title III
The Department recently published in the Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Interpretations (NPI) regarding Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act. In the notice, the Secretary proposes interpretations of several provisions of Title III related to the administration of English language proficiency assessments to limited English proficient (LEP) students served by Title III, the establishment and implementation of annual measurable achievement objectives for states and school districts receiving Title III funding, and state and local implementation of Title III accountability provisions. Comments are due by June 2. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/
Quote to Note
"Secretary Spellings is delighted with the judge's decision and emphasized that today's decision is a resounding victory for children and their families who seek to make a brighter future for themselves through education. The No Child Left Behind Act provides parents and educators with the tools they need to measure their children's progress and to ensure their access to the American dream."
|||Press Secretary Samara Yudof (4/28/08), in a written statement after the U.S. District Court dismissed the State of Connecticut's last remaining claim in its lawsuit against No Child Left Behind|
Don't forget! The agency is holding four regional meetings to receive comments on proposed regulations to clarify and strengthen Title I of No Child Left Behind: on May 14, in Boston; on May 15, in Dunwoody, GA; on May 19, in Kansas City, MO; and on May 22, in Seattle. Individuals who wish to present should register at Special.Events@ed.gov. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/04/04292008.html.
The History Channel is awarding Save Our History grants of up to $10,000 to fund partnerships between schools or youth groups and history organizations on projects that teach students about local history and actively engage them in its preservation. Applications are due by June 6. For more information, please go to http://www.saveourhistory.com/.
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