NEWSLETTERS
September 26, 2008 ED Review
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 September 26, 2008
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Hurricanes Gustav and Ike
NCLB Update
College.gov
Title IX Compliance
New Chief of Staff
Projections to 2017
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike

On September 1, Hurricane Gustav made landfall along the Louisiana coast. Then, twelve days later, Hurricane Ike struck the Texas coast. The U.S. Department of Education is in close contact with leaders in both states to determine the needs of students, teachers, and schools and stands ready to support them through the recovery process. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/hurricane/. (Note: For volunteer opportunities in both hurricane-affected areas and local communities, see http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/
about_usafc/special/hurricane_2008.asp
.)

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NCLB Update

On September 15, at the Aspen Institute's National Education Summit, Secretary Spellings announced five education indicators that complement No Child Left Behind by providing a snapshot of national trends. "For years, we've measured our economy with the leading economic indicators," she said. "So what are the leading education indicators? Do kids know how to read and do math? Are minority students lagging behind their classmates? Are students graduating from high school on time? Are they prepared for college work? And, have they earned a degree? These five indicators—Achievement, Achievement Gap, High School Graduation, College Readiness, and College Completion—are national, results-based, and reliable. Together, with No Child Left Behind, they provide a barometer of success." The Secretary looked at each of the indicators, weighted them equally, and came up with a number that both parents and policymakers can follow. The U.S. has improved by five points since 2000. "I want Americans to follow our progress," she emphasized. "I want them to hold us accountable for keeping our promise to provide a quality education to every single child—the only outcome that matters. If they're informed, they'll care. They'll expect and demand change. They'll join us in our fight for reform. Meaningful reform can only be sustained with public support.... President Abraham Lincoln said America cannot long survive half-free. I believe it cannot long survive half-educated, either." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/nclb/accountability/results/trends/. (Note: A detailed fact sheet is available at http://www.ed.gov/nclb/accountability/results/
trends/indicators.html
. The Secretary's full remarks are posted at http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2008/09/09152008.html. Videos of the Secretary's presentation and subsequent panel discussion are posted at http://www.aspeninstitute.org/site/c.huLWJeMRKpH/
b.4442375/k.60E8/National_Education_Summit.htm.)

Last week, the Secretary also announced a couple of significant No Child Left Behind grant awards. First, she awarded $106 million in Early Reading First grants (http://www.ed.gov/programs/earlyreading/) to 31 recipients in 19 states and the District of Columbia. This program supports the development of early childhood centers of excellence to ensure low-income students learn the language, cognitive, and pre-reading skills that prepare them for school success. Second, she awarded $7.5 million in Enhanced Assessment Instruments grants (http://www.ed.gov/programs/eag/) to four states and the District of Columbia. This program supports the development of new assessment products or procedures and is, especially, aimed at upgrading evaluations of students with limited English proficiency and students with disabilities.

This week, the Secretary delivered remarks at the Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) symposium, entitled "Closing the Achievement Gap in Education and Employment Outcomes for At-Risk Minority Youth." She discussed student achievement under No Child Left Behind and continuing efforts to close the achievement gap and improve graduation rates. "This is the first time in the history of American education that we're able to talk about achievement for all students in terms of facts and realities, not just hopes or habits," she noted. "All of this is because of No Child Left Behind. We're seeing progress in the early grades because that's where we've focused our efforts, but older students need more help. I'm glad that JAG is working to help us become a 'nation without dropouts.'" For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/09/09232008a.html.

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College.gov

Everyone is college material! College.gov, a new, student-focused web site recently unveiled by the Department, is designed to inspire and motivate students to continue their education beyond high school. The site—a gateway to credible information—has three main sections: why go to college, what to do to get to there, and how to pay for it. Each section features videos of college students sharing their stories of overcoming barriers (low self-esteem, lack of family support, financial issues, etc.) to achieve their dreams. Moreover, the site is fully interactive. Students can outline their goals on an "I'm Going" college roadmap, which generates a checklist of items they will need to fulfill (beginning with activities for the high school freshman year). This roadmap can be downloaded to one's desktop or printed out as a wall-sized poster. (Coming soon, students will be able to personalize the College.gov home page by submitting a photo and an "I'm Going" message that will be displayed as their own billboard on the site. Students will also receive a URL linking to their personal page that they can share with family and friends. In addition, they will be able use a career discovery tool that matches their interests and personality attributes to career options.) The site, which will be constantly refreshed to keep students engaged, has separate sections for parents, teachers, and counselors. For more information, please go to http://www.college.gov/. (Note: Among its many useful links, College.gov specifically directs students to College Navigator [http://collegenavigator.ed.gov/], with information on 7,000 institutions of higher education, and FAFSA4caster [http://fafsa4caster.ed.gov/], which supplies an early estimate of eligibility for federal aid.)

Also: On September 16, the Secretary announced that the Fiscal Year 2006 national student loan cohort default rate was 5.2%—up slightly from FY 2004 (5.1%) and FY 2005 (4.6%). As a historical comparison, in FY 1989, nearly one in four borrowers defaulted on their federal loans, when default rates set an all-time high (22.4%). The rate dropped to a record low of 4.5% in FY 2003. More critically, all but one of the nation's colleges and universities had default rates low enough—under 40% for one year and 25% for three consecutive years—to remain eligible for federal aid programs. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/defaultmanagement/cdr.html.

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Title IX Compliance

In another "Dear Colleague" letter, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Stephanie Monroe provides guidance to states, school districts, and colleges and universities about how the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) determines which athletic activities can be counted under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The purpose of this guidance is to ensure that male and female students are provided equal opportunities to participate in intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics programs consistent with Title IX and its implementing regulations (34 C.F.R. Part 106). The information does not represent a change in OCR's policy under Title IX. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/
letters/colleague-20080917.html
.

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New Chief of Staff

Secretary Spellings has announced that David Dunn will be leaving his position as Chief of Staff, effective October 3, to serve as executive director of the newly formed Texas Charter Schools Association. Stepping in to assume Dunn's leadership and management responsibilities will be Robin Gilchrist. Gilchrist, a Texas native, joined the Department in March 2004 as a liaison to education associations and foundations. Later, from January 2005 to July 2006, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary. Currently, she is both senior counselor to the Secretary and acting director of International Affairs. Previously, she served as Assistant Commissioner for Statewide Initiatives at the Texas Education Agency (where she implemented the Texas Reading Initiative and the Texas Student Success Initiative) and was director of the Texas Family Literacy Center at the University of Texas at Austin. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/09/09232008.html.

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Projections to 2017

The National Center for Education Statistics' (NCES) "Projections of Education Statistics to 2017" projects key statistics, including student enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures for elementary and secondary schools and degree-granting institutions. For example: K-12 student enrollment rose 14% between 1992 and 2005 and is projected to increase an additional 10% between 2005 and 2017; postsecondary enrollment rose 23% between 1992 and 2006 and is projected to increase an additional 13% by 2017; and K-12 expenditures (in constant 2005-06 dollars) rose 43% between 1992-93 and 2004-05 and is projected to increase an additional 42% by 2017-18. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/programs/projections/projections2017/.

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Quote to Note

"If we don't believe that education is a civil right and a matter of economic competitiveness, we're kidding ourselves. The world doesn't grade on a curve. In 1975, we were number one in college completion rates. In 2005, we were number 10. And the world continues to pass us by. Just to stay competitive, postsecondary education must become twice as productive. Studies show that 20 million more Americans will need higher education by 2025. The American Dream is about our kids doing better than us. But, at current rates, my daughters' generation will not be better educated than mine. We need more accountability, not less."

        Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (9/15/08), on the future of the accountability movement

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Upcoming Events

Don't forget! There are four remaining public meetings where interested parties can suggest issues related to the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) that should be considered for action by negotiated rulemaking committees. These meetings will be held: 10/2 at Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA); 10/6 at Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, NC); 10/8 at the Department's K Street conference center (Washington, DC); and 10/15 at Cuyahoga Community College (Cleveland, OH). All meetings are scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time. The sign-up for presentation slots begins at 8:30 a.m. on the day of each meeting. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/
leg/hea08/index.html#neg-reg
. (Note: For anyone unable to attend a meeting, the Department will accept written comments through October 8.)

The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast, focusing on safeguarding America's colleges, is scheduled for October 21 (8:00 p.m. ET). For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/edtv/.

On October 16, Lights On Afterschool!, a coast-to-coast rally organized by the Afterschool Alliance, will illuminate the nation by celebrating afterschool programs and the need they meet in keeping students safe, helping working families, and improving academic achievement. This year, 7,500 afterschool programs, including many of the Department's 21st Century Community Learning Centers (marking the program's 10th anniversary!), will host activities. For more information, please go to http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm.

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

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Last Modified: 05/21/2009