NEWSLETTERS
June 6, 2008 ED Review
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 June 6, 2008
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Commencement Addresses
Community Service
NCLB Update
OSDFS Grants
Condition of Education 2008
Supplemental Student Aid
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Commencement Addresses

In both of his 2008 commencement addresses—at the Air Force Academy on May 28 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/
2008/05/20080528-2.html
) and Furman University on May 31 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/
2008/05/20080531-3.html
)—President Bush extolled students for "a resurgence of personal responsibility" and pushed them to continue their commitment to family, community, and country. "You're the 50th graduating class in the history of the academy," the President noted before cadets in Colorado Springs. "Each of you is a volunteer who stepped forward to accept the burdens of war, knowing all the dangers you would face upon graduation. You willingly risk your lives and your futures so that our country can have a future of freedom and peace.... A nation that produces citizens of virtue, character, and courage like you can overcome any challenge and defeat any adversary." Similarly, in Greenville, South Carolina: "I was impressed when I heard that nearly two-thirds of you balanced your academic studies this year with outreach to your community," the President said. "Through such works of compassion, you've learned early in life that nothing is more fulfilling than putting the needs of others ahead of your own.... And, as you leave this campus today, my call to you is this: strengthen this rising culture of responsibility by serving others, contributing to our civic life, and being accountable to yourself and your families."

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Community Service

Continuing this thread, the final "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (June 17, 8:00-9:00 ET) of the 2007-08 season will showcase the work of the USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and other federal, state, local, private, and philanthropic programs devoted to creating a "culture of service and responsible citizenship." Like the members of generations who came before them, America's youth have time and talents to share with those in need. Solid research indicates that young people have a lot to gain from volunteering—including increased academic achievement, increased civic engagement, and positive character development—and, in turn, feel more empowered and connected to their community. Through dedicated service, students can see how their actions make an impact, are exposed to positive role models, and become vested in organizations that make contributions to society. The broadcast will also feature a special segment on reading and learning during the summer, highlighting the Department's Reading First program. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/edtv/. (You can watch archived webcasts at http://www.connectlive.com/events/ednews/.)

Note: At USA Freedom Corps' "Call to Summer Service" web site (http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/about_usafc/
special/summer.asp
), you can search hundreds of thousands of volunteer opportunities by location and area of interest and tap resources to get started.

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NCLB Update

In a June 3 letter to Chief State School Officers (http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/saa.html#peerreview), Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Kerri Briggs commended states for the work they have done to implement high-quality standards and assessment systems and furnished a fact sheet with information on the Department's standards and assessment system status designations and implications of those designations. As of now, the systems in 32 states have received "full approval" or "full approval with recommendations," while the systems in three states have been designated "approval expected." It is unlikely that all the remaining states will have fully approved standards and assessment systems by the end of the 2007-08 school year. Moreover, some states that have approved systems may revise their standards or assessments in ways that result in systems that do not meet all No Child Left Behind requirements. Accordingly, the Department will continue its usual practice of designating states to reflect their level of compliance.

Starting next week, The Achiever newsletter will be available solely online, providing a greater focus on how successful schools across the U.S. are working toward the goal of the No Child Left Behind Act: to have every student reading and doing math at grade-level by 2014. The latest story, presented as a photo narrative, spotlights a Kansas school on a military base. At one time, Ware Elementary School was considered a chronically under-performing school. Today, as a result of specific reforms (detailed within), 99.6% of students are proficient in reading and 100% of students are proficient in math. And, Ware has exceeded the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals for Kansas, earned a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School designation, and received a Title I Distinguished School Award. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/achiever/.

Education Week's third-annual "Diploma Counts" report explores the rapid growth of state-level P-16 or P-20 councils and how they seek to create a more seamless schooling continuum. The report also updates a unique, online mapping tool that allows users to zoom in on each of the nation's school districts and access graduation rate data for that district or its high schools. For more information, please go to http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2008/06/05/. (Note: Education Week is offering free access to "Diploma Counts" through June 10.)

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OSDFS Grants

On June 4, Secretary Spellings announced new awards under two discretionary grant programs administered by the Department's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS). First, she announced $24 million in grants to 92 school districts in 34 states to help them enhance and fortify their readiness and emergency management plans. Plans must address all four phases of emergency management: prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Plans must also commit districts to: (1) coordinate with officials in local government, law enforcement, public safety, public health, and mental health; (2) train school officials in emergency management; and (3) supply a method for communicating emergency and reunification procedures to parents. Second, she announced $5.78 million in grants to 49 districts and other entities in 20 states to develop and implement—or expand—school-based mandatory random or voluntary drug testing programs for students in grades 6-12. Projects must be part of a comprehensive drug prevention program in the schools served and cover the referral to counseling or treatment of students identified as users. Projects must also be consistent with constitutional principles and state and federal laws and ensure the confidentiality of testing results. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/06/06042008.html AND http://www.ed.gov/programs/drugtesting/08awards.html.

Also: The Bystander Study, a joint effort by the Department and Secret Service, identifies what might be done to encourage students to share information they learn about potential school-based violence. For more information, please go to http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac/bystander_study.pdf.

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Condition of Education 2008

On May 29, 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 2008" includes 43 indicators in five major areas—participation in education, learner outcomes, student effort and educational progress, elementary and secondary education contexts, and postsecondary education contexts. (Later this summer, NCES will release a special analysis on community colleges.) Among the findings: in 2009-10, public school enrollment is expected to top 50 million students for the first time in history; in 2005-06, about one-third of African-American students and one-third of Hispanic students attended high-poverty schools, compared with 4% of white students; and, since 1970, women's undergraduate enrollment has increased more than three times as fast as men's. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/.

Also: An NCES First Look presents findings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) spring 2007 data collection, including enrollment, graduation rates, and financial statistics. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2008173.

Also: What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) quick reviews are designed to provide practitioners and policymakers with timely and objective assessments of the quality of the research evidence from recently released research papers and reports. For more information, please go to http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/quickreviews/.

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Supplemental Student Aid

With all the talk about college loans, don't forget about grants! Pell Grant-eligible students who participate in a recognized secondary school program of study may qualify to receive an Academic Competitiveness (AC) grant of up to $750 for the first-year of higher education and up to $1,300 for the second-year of higher education. The Department's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) has updated the list of recognized programs for each state for students graduating in 2008 (see http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/about/ac-smart/
2008/state-programs-08.html
). Additionally, National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants tender $4,000 to third- and fourth-year Pell Grant-eligible students who major in math, science, or critical foreign languages; are enrolled full-time; and maintain a 3.0 GPA in college. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/ac-smart.html.

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Quote to Note

"[T]he best way, by far, to improve economic opportunity and to reduce inequality is to increase the educational attainment and skills of American workers.... As we think about improving education and skills, we should also look beyond the traditional K-12 and four-year college system, as important as it is, to recognize that education should be lifelong and can come in many forms. Early childhood education, community colleges, vocational schools, on-the-job training, online courses, adult education—all of these are vehicles of demonstrated value in increasing skills and lifetime earning power."

        Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (6/4/08), addressing Harvard College's graduating seniors on Class Day

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Upcoming Events

Professional resumes are being accepted for the 2009 Broad Superintendents Academy, a rigorous, 10-month executive management course designed to prepare leaders from both inside and outside education to become successful urban superintendents. Participants keep their current jobs while attending. All tuition and travel costs are covered. The submission deadline is July 20. For more information, please go to http://broadacademy.org/.

In just over a week, the Department will be exhibiting at the Council of Chief State School Officers' National Conference on Student Assessment in Orlando (June 15-18). If you are attending this event, please stop by the Department's booth.

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

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Director, Intergovernmental Affairs—Rogers Johnson, (202) 401-0026, Rogers.Johnson@ed.gov
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Last Modified: 05/21/2009