Graduation Rate Guidance
Leading Edge of Reform
HEA Negotiated Rulemaking
New Year Fun Facts
Graduation Rate Guidance
On December 23, Secretary Spellings released non-regulatory guidance to implement a uniform and accurate measure of the high school graduation rate that is comparable across states. "The nation can no longer toleratemuch less prosperwith its abysmal graduation rate, particularly among minority students," she said. "Parents know that a high school diploma is the least their children need to succeed in today's economy. This guidance will help ensure resources are better targeted so that students earn a regular high school diploma." The guidance provides states, school districts, and schools with information about how to put into practice the graduation rate regulations the Department announced in October (see http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/reg/proposal/uniform-grad-rate.html). Among other items, the guidance:
- defines the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, the extended-year cohort graduation rate, and the transitional graduation rates that are allowed until states must implement (by 2010-2011) the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate;
- guides states in setting a single graduation rate goal and annual graduation rate targets;
- outlines requirements for reporting graduation rates;
- answers questions about how states include the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate and any extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rate in Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations, including the use of disaggregated rates for student subgroups;
- explains how a state must revise its Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook to include certain information and submit its revisions to the Department for technical assistance and peer review; and
- spells out the timeline for implementing the new graduation rate provisions, as well as the process for how a state that cannot meet the deadlines outlined in the final regulations may request an extension of time to meet the requirements.
For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/hsgrguidance.pdf.
Leading Edge of Reform
As the Department and the nation observes the transition from one administration to the next, the upcoming "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (January 20, 8:00-9:00 ET) will take a look back at some of the most engaging topics explored on shows from the recent past. Specifically, the broadcast will thoughtfully reflect on such topics as early childhood education, highly qualified teachers, supporting English language learners, and the value of service learning, from a "fresh" point of view with the help of some special guests: the Teaching Ambassador Fellows (see http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship/). Five of these exemplary teachers are spending a year at the Department, contributing their first-hand knowledge and experience to the development of effective federal education policy. The broadcast will also feature video success stories from innovative schools and school districtsillustrating the topical discussions. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/edtv/. (You can watch archived webcasts at http://www.connectlive.com/events/ednews/.)
Note: Don't want to wait for the success stories? Video profiles from previous broadcasts are regularly added to http://www.ed.gov/nclb/overview/intro/reauth/successstories/.
HEA Negotiated Rulemaking
The Department's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) has announced its intention to establish five negotiated rulemaking committees to prepare proposed regulations under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA), as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA). After careful consideration of the information received at regional hearings and in writing, OPE decided on the following committees: loanslender/general loan issues; loansschool-based loan issues; accreditation; discretionary grants; and general and non-loan programmatic issues. Each committee will include members of organizations with interests that are significantly affected by the subject matter of the proposed regulations. In turn, OPE is requesting nominations for individual negotiators who represent stakeholder consistencies. Nominations must be received on or before January 23. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/2008-4/123108a.html.
Looking for a grant for 2009? Several new grant competitions are now underway. For example:
Partnerships in Character Education Program (closes 2/24). This program supports the design and implementation of character education programs that can be integrated into classroom instruction and that are consistent with state academic content standards. Such programs may be carried out in conjunction with other educational reform efforts and must take into consideration the views of the parents of the students to be taught under the program and the views of the students. Estimated awards: 2. Eligible: states, school districts, and non-profit organizations (in partnership with districts). For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/charactered/.
Safe Schools/Healthy Students Program (closes 3/4). This unique initiative (supported by three agencies: Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice) supports the implementation and enhancement of comprehensive, community-wide plans that focus on multiple elements, including safe school environments, mental health treatment services, and early childhood learning programs. Successful applicants propose plans that address these issues with a well-coordinated strategy that links services in a systematic and effective manner. Estimated awards: 28. Eligible: school districts. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/dvpsafeschools/.
Teaching American History Grant Program (closes 3/9). This program supports projects that aim to raise student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of traditional American history. Awards assist districts, in partnership with entities that have extensive content expertise (colleges and universities, history and humanities organizations, and libraries and museums) to develop, implement, document, evaluate, and disseminate innovative, cohesive models of professional development. Estimated awards: 52-65. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/teachinghistory/.
For more information on grants, please go to http://www.ed.gov/GrantApps/.
The Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) continues to churn out new reports:
- "Mathematics Achievement of Language-Minority Students During the Elementary Years" (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009036) examines the scores of public school language-minority students on a math assessment in first-grade, as well as the gains in their scores between first- and fifth-grade. Scores are reported by three background characteristics (student's race/ethnicity, poverty status, and mother's education) that have been found to be related to achievement.
- "1.5 Million Homeschooled Students in the U.S. in 2007" (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009030) provides estimates of the number and percentage of homeschooled students in the U.S. that year and compares these estimates to those from 1999 and 2003. Moreover, parents' reasons for homeschooling their children are described and compared to 2003.
- "Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2006-07 (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009044) details findings from a recent survey on the prevalence, types, delivery, policies, and acquisition/development of distance education classes and programs. During the 2006-07 academic year, 66% of two- and four-year Title IV degree-granting institutions reported offering online, hybrid/blended online, or other distance education courses for any level or audience. Together, distance education courses accounted for an estimated 12.2 million enrollments.
Also: The NCES KidsZone (http://nces.ed.gov/NCESKids/) offers games like Chances, which teaches students about probability; Dare to Compare?, with over 500 questions from the Civic Education Study, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study; and Mathematician Quiz, pairing students with a mathematician and his or her discoveries.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is asking Americans to appropriately honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy on January 19 by making the holiday a day ONversus a day off. King Day became a national day of service in 1994, when Congress passed legislation to give the holiday even greater significance. A dedicated web site enables organizers to register projects in every state and the District of Columbia. The site has ideas and resources, as well as photographs of previous activities. For more information, please go to http://www.mlkday.gov/.
Note: The King Day of Service falls during National Mentoring Month, which stresses the importance of bringing caring adults into the lives of children who need guidance, support, and encouragement. For more information, please go to http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/initiatives/nmm.asp.
New Year Fun Facts
To ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau presented the following statistics:
- 75,515The estimated July 1, 2007, population of Champaign, Illinois, a place whose name alone may get you into a celebratory mood.
- $475 millionU.S. manufacturers' shipments of effervescent wines (including sparkling wines, such as champagne) in 2002.
- Over 305 millionThe nation's projected population on January 1, 2009, compared to less than 178 million 50 years earlier (1959) and less than 90.5 million one century earlier (1909).
Reminder! The deadline is fast approaching for the latest cycle of the National Endowment for the Arts' The Big Read, which gives citizens the chance to read and discuss a single book within their communities. Libraries, municipalities, and other non-profit organizations are strongly encouraged to apply for one of an estimated 400 grants for programming between September 2009 and June 2010. Applications must be received by February 3. For more information, please go to http://www.neabigread.org/.
The MetLife Foundation Ambassadors in Education Award, a project of the National Civil League, recognizes outstanding public middle and high school educators who are building partnerships and communicating beyond their schools for the betterment of their entire community. Awards will be made in 25 cities across the country; winners' schools earn a $5,000 grant. Nominations must be received by February 18. For more information, please go to http://www.ncl.org/metlife/.
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