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June 18, 2008 ED Review
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 July 18, 2008
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Teaching Ambassador Fellows
NCLB Update
IDEA Determination Letters
Student Loans Guide
STEM Progress Report
Monitoring America's Children
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Teaching Ambassador Fellows

On July 10, Secretary Spellings announced the selection of 25 teachers for Teaching Ambassador Fellowships with the U.S. Department of Education for 2008-09. Five Washington Fellows (Stephanie Canada, elementary physical education, Shawnee, OK; Jonathan Eckert, seventh-grade science, Franklin, TN; Steven Hicks, kindergarten and first-grade, Los Angeles, CA; Bobbi Houtchens, high school English and English as a Second Language, San Bernardino, CA; and Julie Shively, fourth- and fifth-grade gifted math, Lawrenceville, GA) will become full-time Department employees in Washington, D.C., for one year, engaging in policy discussions, working with different program offices, and participating in a variety of projects. Twenty Classroom Fellows will remain in their classrooms and be paid for assignments throughout the school year on a part-time basis. “I know we will benefit from the fellows' knowledge and experience in the classroom,” the Secretary said. “While the Department offers multiple avenues for teachers to participate in policy discussions, this is truly a unique opportunity+. I hope it becomes part of the fabric at the U.S. Department of Education for many years to come.” More than 1,000 teachers across the U.S. applied for the fellowships. Representing 22 states, all grade spans, and a range of subjects, fellows were selected based on their clear impact on student achievement, record of leadership, and potential for contribution to both the Department and the field. The program kicked-off this week with an orientation and policy conference in Washington. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/07/07102008.html.

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NCLB Update

The Department has published Fiscal Year 2008 Title I allocations by school district. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, districts must spend an amount equal to 20% of their Title I, Part A allocation to cover public school choice-related transportation costs and pay for supplemental educational services (SES). 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% “reservation” on each activity, if the cost of satisfying demand for each exceeds 5%. Moreover, for each student receiving SES, districts are required to pay the lesser of the actual cost of such services or an amount equal to the district's Title I, Part A allocation divided by the number of poor children within the district, as determined by Census Bureau estimates. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/titlei/fy08/. (Note: Due to state-level adjustments of Title I allocations, the amounts received by districts will be smaller than shown.)

Speaking of SES, on July 7, the Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) announced a new grant competition to encourage the establishment or expansion of partnerships between supplemental educational services programs and 21st Century Community Learning Centers projects, in order to increase the academic achievement of low-income students in Title I schools identified for improvement, correction action, or restructuring. Through this demonstration, OII will fund proposals that will serve as national models of how these two federally authorized after-school initiatives can be coordinated so that a greater number of students enroll in, participate in, and complete academic after-school services. A “notice of intent” to apply is due July 21, while the deadline for applications is August 12. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/sesdemo/. (Note: In the near future, the Department will be holding a technical assistance conference call for interested applicants. Details will be posted on the program's web site.)

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IDEA Determination Letters

As required by statute, the Department recently issued determination letters regarding states' implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Each state was evaluated on key indicators under Part B (ages 3 through 21) and Part C (infants through age 2) and placed into one of four categories: meets requirements, needs assistance, needs intervention, and needs substantial intervention. Staff carefully considered states' Annual Performance Reports, information obtained through monitoring visits, and other public records. Overall, most states fell into the top two categories. Thirteen states earned the highest rating for Part B, and 21 states earned the top rating for Part C. No states were in the lowest category on either part. For states in the lower categories, the IDEA identifies technical assistance or actions which the agency must take under specific circumstances. The Department will work with states that need assistance or intervention using its network of technical assistance centers. New determination letters are issued annually. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/monitor/factsheet.html.

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Student Loans Guide

The Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have published a consumer guide to help students and their families navigate the maze of offers they may face when seeking new student loans or consolidating existing loans to pay for higher education. The new guide, “Student Loans: Avoiding Deceptive Offers,” provides detailed information about the different benefits and terms of federal and private loans, as well as tips on recognizing questionable practices. The guide also includes several resources for information about student loans and filing a complaint against various types of lenders. “As we carry out our commitment to ensure the availability of federal student loans, we must also make sure that students and their families are armed with critical information to help them recognize and avoid deceptive lending practices,” Secretary Spellings explained. “This brochure will help families be wise consumers of higher education and financial aid.” For more information, please go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre43.shtm.

Meanwhile, today (July 18), the Secretary will address the 2008 Higher Education Summit, “A Test of Leadership: Committing to Advance Postsecondary Education for All Americans,” in Chicago. She will challenge participants to build on the efforts of her Commission on the Future of Higher Education (see http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/hiedfuture/), as well as discuss global competitiveness and the workforce needs of the 21st century.

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STEM Progress Report

This week, Tapping America's Potential (TAP), a coalition of 16 leading U.S. business organizations, released a report assessing the progress made over the last three years toward the TAP goal of doubling the number of students earning bachelor's degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The report, “Gaining Momentum, Losing Ground,” indicates that, while the number of degrees rose early in the decade (from 201,055 degrees in 2001 to 208,243 in 2002 and 220,360 in 2003), the number of degrees has leveled off at about 225,000 per year -- substantially off track of reaching 400,000 by 2015. The report also updates TAP's recommendations for advancing U.S. competitiveness: boosting and sustaining funding for basic research; reforming visa and immigration policies to enable the U.S. to attract and retain STEM students from around the world; upgrading K-12 math and science teaching; and building public understanding and support. For more information, please go to http://www.tap2015.org/news/tap_2008_progress.pdf.

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Monitoring America's Children

The 2008 edition of “America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being,” compiled by the 22-member Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, presents indicators in seven sections: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. In 2007, the report cited under education, scores of fourth- and eighth-graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were higher in math than in all previous assessments and higher in reading than in 2005. Other favorable changes: a decline in childhood (ages 5-14) deaths from injuries (from 8.2 per 100,000 children in 2004 to 7.7 per 100,000 in 2005) and a decrease in the percentage of eighth-graders who smoked daily (from 10% in 1996 to 4% in 2006 and 3% in 2007). On the other hand, there was an increase in low birth weight infants (less than five pounds, eight ounces), and the birth rate among adolescent girls (ages 15-17) increased for the first time in 15 years. For more information, please go to http://childstats.gov/americaschildren/.

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Quote to Note

“[W]e are shifting our educational center of gravity away from generic traditions and toward the needs of the individual -- more mobile, more connected, and more familiar with technology than ever before…. Imagine Cup finalist Louis Sayers said it well -- 'There's no one telling us that we can't do something. If we don't like [it], we change it, and, at the end of the day, we know that [it] was built by us.' That is how we build a global platform for collaboration. It is the opposite of isolation. And it's exactly what we need right now!”

        Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (7/7/08), delivering remarks at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Education Leaders Forum in Paris

Note: The U.S. Department of State is calling for applications for the U.S. Commission for UNESCO Laura W. Bush Traveling Fellowship. This fellowship will allow an undergraduate or graduate student (ages 18-25) to conduct work in a foreign country related to the mandate of UNESCO, using education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and/or communications and information to forge ties among nations. The deadline for applications is August 5. For more information, please go to http://www.state.gov/p/io/unesco/103476.htm.

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Upcoming Events

Register today for the 2008 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week Conference, September 7-10 in Washington, D.C. Approximately 600 representatives from black colleges and universities, federal agencies, corporations, and foundations are expected to participate in discussions on issues of interest to the HBCU community. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/inits/list/whhbcu/edlite-markcalendar.html.

October 6-7, in Washington, D.C., the Department, in partnership with the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences, will host the first in a series of National Math Panel forums with the goal of building a sustained effort to improve math education. As the panel's findings are extensive and cover many areas, this initial forum will focus on four of seven recommendation topics: learning processes, instructional materials, teachers and teacher education, and research policies and mechanisms. Other topics, such as curricular content, instructional practices, and assessment, may be discussed and will be addressed during future forums. Interested parties committed to improving the teaching and learning of math are encouraged to register by August 8. For more information, please go to http://ime.math.arizona.edu/2008-09/1007_forum.html.

Over the next two weeks, the Department will be exhibiting at the National Conference of State Legislatures' Legislative Summit in New Orleans (July 22-26), the UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., Convention in Chicago (July 23-27), the American Legislative Exchange Council's Annual Meeting in Chicago (July 30-August 2), and the National Urban League's Annual Conference in Orlando (July 30-August 2). If you are attending any of these events, 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: 07/01/2009