Achievement Gap Report
Financial Aid Study
Quote to Note
On April 13, Secretary Duncan announced $108.8 million in new funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The funding includes $39.6 million in 180 Impact Aid Construction Grants for communities with military bases, Indian reservations, and federal property that do not generate local tax revenues, and $69.2 million in 52 Homeless Children and Youth Grants to help states and school districts meet the educational and related needs of homeless students. "Given our difficult economic circumstances, it's very important that targeted communities and at-risk populations benefit immediately from the ARRA," he said. "These [types of] investments will create jobs and boost local economies, while also helping raise student achievement."
Then, this week, the Secretary announced the approval of the first round of state stabilization funding for three states: California, South Dakota, and Illinois. The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund will help save hundreds of thousands of teacher jobs at risk of state and local budget cuts and lay the foundation for a generation of education reform. To receive funding, governors must submit an application providing assurances that they will collect, publish, analyze, and act on basic information regarding, among other items, annual student improvements, college readiness, the quality of classroom teachers, the effectiveness of state standards and assessments, and interventions in turning around under-performing schools. States are also required to report on the number of jobs saved, the amount of state and local tax increases averted, and how funds are being used. The Department has pledged to release funding within two weeks after receiving acceptable state applications. (Note: Approved state applications are posted online).
Detailing the three states, nearly $4 billion in state stabilization funding is now available for California. To date, California had received $1.3 billion in total ARRA fundingrepresenting a combination of funds under Title I ($562 million), special education ($660 million), vocational rehabilitation ($28 million), independent living ($5 million), Impact Aid ($1.5 million), and homeless education ($14 million). Similarly, $85.4 million in state stabilization funding is now available for South Dakota, with $38 million in ARRA funding awarded to date, and $1.4 billion in state stabilization funding is now available for Illinois, with $500 million in ARRA funding awarded to date.
Achievement Gap Report
Also this week, Secretary Duncan addressed education leaders from across the country on the release of "The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools," a new report from McKinsey & Company. This report examines the dimensions of four gaps in education: (1) between the U.S. and other nations, (2) between African-American and Hispanic students and white students, (3) between students of different income levels, and (4) between similar students schooled in different regions or systems. It finds, notably, "The persistence of these educational achievement gaps imposes on the U.S. the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession." The Secretary encouraged attendees to "turn this great crisis into an opportunity." Specifically, he cited the importance of longitudinal data systems (funded by the ARRA) in creating transparency, connecting data to outcomes, and creating systemic change.
Note: "Cities in Crisis: Closing the Graduation Gap," prepared by the America's Promise Alliance, shows the average high school graduation rate of the 50 largest cities (52.8%) is well below the national average of 70.6%.
Financial Aid Study
The Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released initial results from the 2008 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study. This study supplies the most comprehensive and up-to-date look at postsecondary student characteristics and student financial aid for the 2007-08 school year. Some findings:
- Almost two-thirds (66%) of all undergraduates received some type of financial aid. For those receiving such aid, the total average amount was $9,100.
- 52% of all undergraduates received grant aid, and more than one-third (38%) obtained student loans. The average grant amount was $4,900, and the average loan amount was $7,100.
- 47% of all undergraduates received some type of federal student aid. About one-fourth (28%) received an average of $2,800 in federal Pell Grants, and more than one-third (35%) obtained an average of $5,100 in federal student loans.
- Among undergraduates financially dependent on their parents, 28% came from families with incomes under $40,000, and another 28% came from families with incomes of $100,000 or more.
- Nearly three-fourths (74%) of all graduate students received some type of financial aid, with an average amount of $17,600.
Also: QuickStats, a new NCES data tool, makes several postsecondary education datasets easily accessible to the public.
A new practice guide from the What Works Clearinghouse, "Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention (RtI) for Elementary and Middle Schools," offers eight recommendations to help educators use RtI for the early detection, prevention, and support of students struggling with this core subject. The guide also describes how to carry out the recommendations, as well as how to overcome potential roadblocks in implementing them. The National Mathematics Advisory Panel concluded that all students should receive preparation in math from an early age to ensure their later success in algebra.
Secretary Duncan has announced the appointment of Peter Groff as Director for the Department's Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Center, Robert Shireman as Deputy Under Secretary of Education, and Massie Ritsch as Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs and Outreach. Groff will help empower faith-based and community groups, enlisting them in support of the agency's mission "to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence for all Americans." He is currently President of the Colorado Senate, where he has served since 2003. He also co-hosts and produces a policy talk show on Sirius/XM satellite radio, entitled "The New School," and both lectures and works at the University of Denver. Prior to his time in elected office, he was a senior advisor to Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. Shireman will advise the agency on college financial issues and higher education initiatives. An expert on college access and student financial aid, he previously served as a congressional appointee to the federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, an aide to U.S. Senator Paul Simon, and as part of President Bill Clinton's White House National Economic Council. He is also founder of the Institute for College Access and Success and the affiliated Project on Student Debt. Ritsch will oversee agency outreach to education associations, foundations, and think tanks. Prior to joining the Department, he was communications director at the Center for Responsive Politics, where, among other duties, he oversaw the organization's award-winning web siteOpenSecrets.org. He has also served as vice president of Sugerman Communications Group in Los Angeles and as a reporter covering local education issues for the Los Angeles Times.
On April 21, President Obama signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. Appropriately, at the signing event at the SEED School in Washington, D.C., the President issued a call to service. "I ask every American to make an enduring commitment to serving your community and your country in whatever way you can. Visit whitehouse.gov to share your stories of service and success. And together, we will measure our progress, not just in the number of hours served or volunteers mobilized, but in the impact our efforts have on the life of this nation." More Information.
Also: In recognition of their work with the community, 25 public school teachers were recently named as 2009 MetLife Foundation Ambassadors in Education by the National Civic League.
Quote to Note
"Yesterday, many Americans paused to remember the senseless death of 32 students at Virginia Tech in 2007. Today, many Americans will honor the Day of Silence called for on behalf of victims of harassment and bullying around issues of sexual orientation, including a recent suicide who would have turned 12 today. On Monday, we will memorialize the Columbine High School victims of a decade ago. Through these painful remembrances, we must all acknowledge our collective role and responsibility in preventing student deaths and ensuring that our schools and universities remain safe havens of learning."
|||Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (4/17/09), on the agency's blog|
Remember: April 27-May 1 is School Building Week 2009, a week-long celebration of school facilities, including a School of the Future Design competition, Healthy Schools Day, a historic look at schools through children's eyes, a focus on excellent schools that serve as centers of community, and a variety of national, state, and local events. (Note: A fact sheet on school modernization under the ARRA is posted online.)
Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress' (NAEP) long-term assessment are scheduled to be released on April 28, at 10:00 a.m. ET.
The Department's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) will be hosting its national conference August 3-5 at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center in Prince George's County, Maryland (approximately 10 minutes from downtown Washington, D.C.). The conference will address issues related to crisis planning; health, mental health, and physical education; alcohol, drug, and violence prevention; character and civic education; scientifically-based programs; and more. This event is free, but register early as space is limited.
Over the next two weeks, the Department will exhibit at the National Council on Educating Black Children National Convention in Rockville, MD (April 29-May 2), the Asian American Youth Leadership Conference in Portland, OR (May 1), and Public Service Recognition Week in Washington, D.C. (May 7-10). If you are attending any of these events, please stop by the Department's booth.
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