Student Loan Access
Out of Africa
Title III Interpretations
From the Field...
Quote to Note
Student Loan Access
In a joint statement on October 10, Secretary Spellings and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson pledged additional support for the student loan market. "Continuing constraints in our capital markets have posed challenges for students and student lenders throughout the last year," they said. "We recognize that education is the foundation of a strong American workforce, and we must not let challenges in our capital markets hinder our students' opportunities. Given these ongoing concerns, the Administration is taking a series of steps to support the student loan market." Earlier in the week, President Bush signed an extension of the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act (see http://edlabor.house.gov/micro/loansact_extend.shtml). Since the original May 2008 enactment of this law, no student has been unable to access federal student aid. The new law simply extendsfor another yearcertain temporary provisions, including granting the Secretary of Education the authority to purchase loans from lenders within the federal guaranteed loan program (to ensure they continue to have access to capital to originate new loans). Next steps? "Over the next few months, schools and lenders will be making decisions for the 2009-2010 school year," the executives noted. "Using our newly extended authorities, the Administration is moving aggressively to support the continued availability of funding for federal student loans in the next school year, with the goal of restoring the federal guaranteed student loan market to normal operations. We are working on an expedited basis and will make further announcements in the coming weeks." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/10/10102008.html. (Note: A dedicated agency web site, http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/ffelp/, provides key guidance regarding the authority to purchase loans.)
Meanwhile, last week, the Department conducted the last of six public meetings soliciting issues to be considered for action by negotiated rulemaking committees under the Higher Education Opportunity Act. A list of presenters and a transcript from each meeting is available at http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html#neg-reg.
And, this week, the Department published in the Federal Register final regulations for Title IV student loan programs, as amended by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (see http://edlabor.house.gov/micro/ccraa.shtml). These regulations address, among other issues, income-based repayment plans, public service loan forgiveness, economic hardship deferments, and military deferments. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/
Congratulations to the Brownsville Independent School District, winner of the 2008 Broad Prize for Urban Educationthe largest education prize in America awarded to the most improved urban district. Brownsville, located at the southern-most tip of Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border and serving one of the poorest urban populations in the U.S. (with 94% of students qualifying for subsidized lunch), bested four finalists: Aldine (TX), Broward County (FL), Long Beach (CA), and Miami-Dade. (Long Beach won the 2003 Broad Prize, and Aldine and Miami-Dade are three-time finalists. This was Brownsville's and Broward County's first year in the running.) The $2 million prize goes directly to graduating high school seniors for college scholarships. Brownsville receives $1 million, while the other finalists receive $250,000 each. Scholarships are given to students who demonstrate significant financial need and have a record of academic improvement during their high school career. Recipients who enroll in four-year colleges will receive up to $20,000 ($5,000 per year). Recipients who enroll in two-year colleges will receive up to $5,000 ($2,500 per year). For more information, please go to http://www.broadprize.org/.
Out of Africa
For more than a week, Secretary Spellings traveled the African continent, discussing a variety of regional and multilateral education programs. In Zambia (http://zambia.usembassy.gov/pr10202008.html), she met with government representatives, toured the Bwafwano OVC Home-Based Care Center (supported through President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), visited Silver Rest Basic School and Mwaanabwami Community School, and addressed hundreds of teacher trainees at David Livingston College of Education. In Kenya (http://nairobi.usembassy.gov/
2008-press-releases/pr_20081017.html), the Secretary met with President Mwai Kibaki and Minister of Higher Education Sally Kosgei regarding implementing the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Collaboration Initiative, as well as visited Nairobi's Precious Blood School and Dagoretti High School. In Rwanda, the Secretary laid a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre (in memory of those who fell victim to the 1994 genocide), visited the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Girls' School, and delivered remarks at the Africa Regional Higher Education Summit (http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/education_and_universities/
afrsummit/). The regional summit builds on the work that began during the Higher Education Summit for Global Development (http://www.hedglobalsummit.org/), held at the U.S. Department of State in April 2008.
On October 21, the Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) released the latest publications in its popular series of "Innovations in Education" guides. "Creating and Sustaining Successful K-8 Magnet Schools" profiles six elementary and middle school magnets that uses instructional themesin subjects such as leadership, fine arts, and math and scienceto meet the needs of students from diverse backgrounds. This guide offers insight into the strategies these schools used in planning and implementation and, more importantly, outlines the keys to success that have helped make the schools sustainable in the face of changes in context and leadership. "Successful Magnet High Schools" profiles eight secondary school magnets that are effectively preparing students for college and the workforce. This guide spotlights innovative approaches to forming a culture of high-quality teaching, providing rigorous academic programs, promoting equity, forging partnerships, and modeling innovation. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/pubs/intro/innovations.html#ms.
Later that day, OII released "A Commitment to Quality: National Charter School Policy Forum Report," drawing from discussions with nearly 100 charter school leaders at the Department's May 2008 forum on charter schools and 15 years of experience and research with charter schools. Among its findings, the report indicates that, in several states, more than 70% of charter schools had reading proficiency rates for low-income students that exceeded statewide rates for low-income students in 2006-07. The report also delineates six principles to produce and maintain quality charter schools: (1) charters achieve excellence early in their operations; (2) charters improve their performance year in and year out; (3) charters that have consistently strong results can expand and replicate; (4) charters have access to a robust infrastructure to help students and teachers succeed; (5) charter authorizers remedy chronic underperformance by closing the school and opening superior options swiftly; and (6) charters strengthen all corners of public education by sharing successful practices and fostering choice and competition among schools. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/admins/comm/choice/csforum/report.html.
In addition, the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has unveiled results from the 2005 school crime supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Data is presented on the prevalence and type of student victimization at school (4% of students ages 12-18 reported they were victims of any crime at school), selected characteristics of victims, and the availability of drugs and presence of gangs and weapons. For more information, please go to http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009306.
Title III Interpretations
Last Friday (October 17), the Secretary issued final interpretations for several provisions of Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act. In particular, she interprets provisions related to the annual 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 subgrantees receiving Title III funds, and state and local implementation of Title III accountability provisions. Department officials made adjustments to the proposed interpretations based on comments submitted by states and other interested parties. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/other/
Also: Earlier this month, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Kerri Briggs and Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary for English Language Acquisition Richard Smith sent a letter and guidance document to Chief State School Officers reiterating that states and school districts may not replace local, state, or other federal funds with Title III funds. For more information, please to go http://www.ed.gov/programs/sfgp/legislation.html.
From the Field...
Some important announcements:
The National Endowment for the Arts' The Big Read, now in its fourth year, provides citizens with the chance to read and discuss a single book within their communities. Libraries, municipalities, and non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply for one of approximately 400 grants that will be awarded for programming between September 2009 and June 2010. The deadline for applications is February 3. Aside from a $2,500 to $20,000 grant and financial support to attend an orientation meeting, communities will receive many resources, including reader's and teacher's guides and audio guides with commentary from artists, educators, and notable public figures. For more information, please go to http://www.neabigread.org/.
The National Endowment for the Humanities recently extended the deadline (to November 14) for the second round of Picturing America applications. This initiative promotes the study, teaching, and understanding of U.S. history and culture by introducing students and the general public to America's art treasures. It supplies schools and public libraries with free, high-quality reproductions of 40 great American works of art (approximately 24" x 36" in size) and an illustrated teacher resource book with notes for all grade levels. The materials will be delivered in spring 2009. For more information, please go to http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/.
Through December 19, elementary and secondary students, teachers, administrators, and parents from across the nation have the opportunity to share their ideas and opinions on how technology should be used in the education process, through Project Tomorrow's sixth annual Speak Up survey. Results are shared with participating schools so they can use the data for planning and community discussions. Results are also used by government agencies and various organizations to inform new programs and policies. For more information, please go to http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/.
Quote to Note
"The loan purchase and participation interest programs implemented over the last few months have helped ensure that federal student loans were available to students enrolling in postsecondary institutions for the 2008-09 school year, and federal student lending is now exceeding last year's pace. Our financing program has supported just over 40% of the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans that have been distributed this year. Over 800 lenders have enrolled in our loan purchase program. Almost $51 million of federally guaranteed loans have been originated for the current school year, up from approximately $45 billion for the same period last year."
|||Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson (10/10/08)|
On Tuesday (October 28), at 12:00 noon ET in Columbia, South Carolina, Secretary Spellings will issue final Title I regulations to strengthen the No Child Left Behind Act, including requirements that states implement a uniform graduation rate and enhance parents' leverage in accessing public school choice and supplemental educational services options for their children. Soon thereafter, materials will be posted at http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/10/10282008.html.
The next Scientific Evidence in Education (SEE) forum is set for October 30 (11:30 a.m.-1:45 a.m. ET) at the Charles Sumner School (1201 17th and M Street, N.W.), in Washington, DC. The topic? "Meeting the Teacher Quality Imperative: New Evidence on Teacher Induction and Professional Development." The forums are free, but space is limited, so register in advance online. For more information, please go to http://www.seeforums.org/.
Over the next two weeks, the Department will be exhibiting at the National Black Child Development Institute's 38th Annual Conference in Atlanta (October 25-28), the National Coalition of ESEA Title I Parents' 35th Annual In-Service Training Conference in Birmingham, AL (October 29-November 2), and the National Middle School Association's 35th Annual Conference in Denver (October 30-November 1). If you are attending any of these events, please stop by the Department's booth.
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