Transforming Higher Education
ADA Anniversary/Wounded Warriors
Analysis: CTE and Adult Literacy
Volunteering in America
Quote to Note
Transforming Higher Education
On July 18, Secretary Spellings delivered remarks at the 2008 Higher Education Summit in Chicago. "While I still have the bully pulpit, I want to speak frankly to you about what I think needs to be done," she said. "The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems estimates, to keep up with international competition, at least 20 million more Americans must access higher education by 2025.... To meet this challenge, we must improve the 'Three A's' of access, affordability, and accountability." "We, at the federal level, are doing more," she continued. In 2008, Pell grantees will benefit from the largest increase in their annual award in 30 years, and all students will benefit from new tools to help them choose a college and apply for financial aid, including College.gov, the FAFSA4caster, the College Navigator, and a "Federal Aid First" brochure. "In addition," she noted, "I'm heartened that a pioneering band of innovators is embracing my commission's recommendations," such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's free, open courseware and Stanford University's podcasts of hundreds of free courses. "At the same time, I am disappointed that many challenges of leadership remain unmet.... So, I feel honor-bound to remind you that, in the absence of continued leadership in education, others will step in. When public demand reaches critical mass, policymakers are compelled to act, whether they're in Congress or state legislatures." The Secretary concluded with a challenge. "To meet our need for 20 million by 2025, we must broaden and elevate the conversation," she said. "Let's start by giving ourselves a deadline to reach the halfway point by the next presidential election in 2012. We have only begun to tap the potential of the American population." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/07/07182008.html.
Also: After 14 extensions and months of intense negotiations, Congress has approved a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The bill, which sets federal higher education policy for at least the next five years, now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it into laweven though the administration has expressed concern about the creation of more than 60 new programs. For more information, please go to http://edlabor.house.gov/micro/coaa.shtml. (The Secretary's statement is available at http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/07/07312008.html.)
On July 22, professional golf player Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy visited the Department to emphasize the importance of math and science by showing local students how these subjects influence the game of golf. On a mini-golf course temporarily assembled on the floor of the Department's auditorium, the golfer known as "Lefty" adeptly demonstrated how angles, friction, and motion all contribute to the direction a golf ball rolls. The Mickelsons help sponsor the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teacher Academy, which gives teachers practical, hands-on ways of making math and science interesting in the classroom. The academy's annual summer camps have prepared 1,200 teachers. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/07/07222008.html.
Later that same day, the Mickelsons testified before the House Education and Labor Committee on how business-education partnerships can help drive innovation and strengthen math and science education. The stellar panel of witnesses also included astronaut Sally Ride, Tom Luce of the National Math and Science Initiative, and top representatives from IBM, Raytheon, and Texas Instruments. For more information, please go to http://edlabor.house.gov/hearings/fc-2008-07-22.shtml.
ADA Anniversary/Wounded Warriors
In a recent "Dear Colleague" letter, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Stephanie Monroe commemorates the 18th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). "America is undeniably stronger because of the ADA and contributions individuals with disabilities have made to every aspect of our society," she stated. "The Department's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has played an important role in implementing and enforcing the ADA, by working with state and local education agencies, as well as postsecondary schools, to make groundbreaking strides in providing access to opportunities for students with disabilities on a non-discriminatory basis." Nevertheless, she added, "Today, we face new challenges and must implement creative solutions to meet those new challenges. In that vein, I am pleased to announce a... Wounded Warriors Initiative." Many veterans returning from Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom are individuals with disabilities who intend to pursue higher education (aided by the revamped GI Bill). Yet, because these "wounded warriors" acquired disabilities during their service, they have no history of receiving disability-based accommodations in high school. Accordingly, they are less familiar with their disability-related rights and responsibilities. Moreover, most colleges and universities have limited experience accommodating students with the types of disabilities associated with these individuals. Under the initiative, OCR will support veterans with disabilities who have questions about their ADA rights and responsibilities, work with institutions and service providers wanting to know how best to support veterans with disabilities, and encourage institutions to adopt innovative approaches to serve this important population. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/
Note: A new OCR publication, "So You Want to Go Back to School" (http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/
back-to-school-2008.html), supplies detailed information on ADA and higher education for veterans.
With the new school year just around the corner, the Department continues to award grants under major competitive programs:
Improving Literacy Through School Libraries: $18.25 million to enhance school libraries in 59 low-income school districts across 22 states (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/
Foreign Language Assistance Program: $2.2 million to increase the number of students learning foreign languages critical to national security or commerce in seven districts and one charter school across seven states (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/
Special Education: a $1.5 million grant to the University of Illinois at Chicago for a national center that will help minority institutions locate funding for projects that serve students with disabilities, especially in personnel development (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/
2008/07/07222008a.html), and $2.4 million to help train teachers of students with high incidence disabilities in 20 institutions across 15 states (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/
Emergency Management for Higher Education: $5.2 million to develop and implement plans for preventing and responding to campus violence and natural disasters at 13 college and universities across 11 states (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/
Also: Five states (FL, ID, NY, OR, and UT) are receiving grants under the Charter Schools Program, which supports efforts to plan, design, implement, and disseminate information about charter schools. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/charter/.
Analysis: CTE and Adult Literacy
"Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the United States: 1990-2005," the latest compendium on CTE from the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), looks at CTE offerings, who participates in CTE, what types of CTE students take, who teaches CTE, and the labor market and further education outcomes attained by CTE participants. The report documents that, between 1990 and 2005, the number of CTE credits earned by public high school graduates remained steady, despite the trend of more academic coursetaking in high school. The report also found that, at both the high school and college level, student participation increased in the occupational areas of health care and computer science, while it decreased in business. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2008035.
"Bridges to Opportunity: Federal Adult Education Programs for the 21st Century," the report of the Interagency Adult Education Working Group, identifies ways to improve federal education programs for adults who need to better their basic literacy skills. The report makes six specific recommendations to help ensure: (1) federal programs serving adults will be utilized in a manner that increases the effectiveness, efficiency, and availability of such programs and (2) literacy skills of adults will be strengthened, thereby improving their opportunities for transitions to postsecondary education and employment. Need examples? The report spotlights 11 adult literacy programs across five agencies and four federal entities that are authorized to conduct and disseminate research on adult education. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/eo13445.pdf.
Volunteering in America
This week, USA Freedom Corps and the Corporation for National and Community Service launched a new web site, http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov, with volunteering trends throughout the U.S. Users can access volunteering data and information for the entire nation, regions, states, and 162 large and mid-sized cities. Users will also be able to view how states and cities rank by volunteer rates and hours. Nearly 61 million Americans volunteered in their communities, giving 8.1 billion hours of service worth more than $158 billion. For the third straight year, Utah was the top state with a volunteer rate of 43.9%. Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked first among large cities, with 39.3%, and Provo, Utah, ranked first among mid-sized cities, with a remarkable 68.3%.
Note: Volunteers spend approximately 15 hours watching TV in a typical week, compared to 23 hours for non-volunteers. That eight-hour difference that adds up to over 400 hours over the course of a year.
Quote to Note
"One of the biggest barriers to change [in postsecondary education] is a lack of coordination between high schools and higher education. Too often, high school coursework is not rigorous or varied enough to act as a springboard to success in college.... The problem is not a lack of resources. My agency recently returned more than $500 million in Academic Competitiveness (AC)/National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants to the U.S. Treasury. Why? Because we could not find enough college-ready students from low-income families to take them. That is $500 million that has gone unused, and countless more untapped human potential."
|||Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (7/18/08), at the 2008 Higher Education Summit in Chicago|
Are you interested in serving as the superintendent in a large urban school district? Or, is there someone you would strongly recommend? The Broad Superintendents Academy is currently seeking candidates for its 2009 class. The academy is an executive program designed to prepare America's most effective leaders (whether from government, education, civic, corporate, or military backgrounds) to transform the nation's most challenged school districts. Participants remain in their current positions while attending; tuition and travel costs are covered. Please contact Julie McGinity at (310) 922-7965 or firstname.lastname@example.org by August 15. For more information, please go to http://broadacademy.org/.
This week, the Department will be exhibiting at the Progressive National Baptist Convention in Atlanta (August 3-8). If you are attending this event, please stop by the Department's booth.
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