NEWSLETTERS
May 22, 2009 ED Review
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 May 22, 2009
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FY 2010 Budget
Listening and Learning
ARRA Outreach
New Appointments
Commencement Addresses
Opportunity.gov
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

FY 2010 Budget

On May 7, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2010 budget request, including $46.7 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education. The request (an increase of $1.3 billion over last year's regular appropriation) builds on the investments already made in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to give preschoolers the skills they need to prepare for kindergarten, turn-around under-performing schools, and improve teacher effectiveness. It also significantly increases the federal government's commitment to make college accessible and affordable to all students. Among the highlights:

  • $500 million for a new program of Title I Early Childhood Grants, which would encourage school districts to use Title I funds under the ARRA to start or expand Title I preschool programs.
  • $300 million for a new Early Learning Challenge Fund, a central component of the President's Zero-to-Five initiative, to help states develop or refine systems for rating and improving the quality of early learning programs.
  • $10 million for the Promise Neighborhoods initiative, to provide one-year planning grants to non-profit, community-based organizations to develop comprehensive neighborhood programs that supply the necessary support for children and youth from preschool through college.
  • $162.5 million for Early Reading First, an increase of $50 million to expand support for high-quality, research-based early literacy services for preschool children.
  • $370.4 million for an expanded Striving Readers program, with a $35 million increase for adolescent literacy demonstration grants and $300 million for a new initiative to help districts implement comprehensive and coherent programs of reading instruction for elementary school children.
  • $517.3 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund, an increase of $420 million to stimulate state and local efforts to strengthen the educator workforce, in particular by providing financial rewards for teachers, principals, and other personnel who raise student achievement, close achievement gaps, and work in hard-to-staff schools.
  • $1.5 billion for Title I Improvement Grants, an increase of $1 billion to help ensure that states and districts have the resources to develop and implement improvement plans for the growing numbers of schools (including middle and high schools) identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring.
  • $50 million for a High School Graduation Initiative, to promote innovative strategies for increasing high school graduation rates, particularly in the "dropout factories" that graduate 60% or fewer of their students.
  • Raising the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,550, an increase of $200 over the 2009 level, indexing the maximum Pell Grant to grow faster than inflation in future years, and making Pell Grant funding mandatory, to eliminate the perennial uncertainty created for students and parents.
  • Saving $21 billion over five years by making all new higher education student loans through the Direct Loan program and saving $3.2 billion over five years by restructuring and expanding the Federal Perkins Loans program to serve five times as many students.

The request supports these priorities while proposing significant savings—abolishing 12 ineffective programs and cutting unnecessary personnel—that are essential to meeting the President's goal of reducing the annual federal deficit in half over the next five years. (State-by-state tables on allocations are available online.)

Secretary Duncan recently testified before the House Education and Labor Committee on the President's plan for American education, including the Fiscal Year 2010 budget request.

Also, at the Brookings Institution, the Secretary explained that the Obama Administration is changing the Title I program to aggressively drive reform in schools that need it the most. "When a school is chronically under-performing despite additional supports and other strategies," he said, "you have to consider bolder action, whether it's changing the leadership, hiring a new staff, or turning schools over to charter operators." If the nation's educators could turn-around 1,000 schools a year (approximately 1% of all U.S. schools) for five years in a row, "We could really move the needle, lift the bottom, and change the lives of tens of millions of under-served children."

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Listening and Learning

Last week, Secretary Duncan traveled to Detroit, Michigan, and Vermont for his "Listening and Learning: A Conversation About Education Reform" tour. In Detroit, he met with state and community leaders; met with students, teachers, and administrators at Cody High School; and delivered a keynote address at the United Way's Community Leaders Conference. In Vermont, he gave the commencement address at St. Michael's College ("I believe that access to a high-quality education is the difference between a life lived on the margins and life lived in fulfillment of the American dream"); met with students at two area schools (Lawrence Barnes Elementary School in Burlington and Westford Elementary School in Westford); and visited with teachers at the Muddy Water Cafe in Burlington. (Do you have something to add to the conversation? The Secretary has taken his tour online. In the coming weeks, he will ask questions via the tour blog on raising standards, strengthening teacher quality, using data to improve learning, and turning around under-performing schools.)

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ARRA Outreach

This week, Secretary Duncan urged states to submit their applications for ARRA stabilization funding as quickly as possible, saying teaching jobs are at risk and reforms must move forward. "We have an urgent need to reform schools and prevent teacher layoffs," he stressed. "The Department is turning around applications within, on average, nine days. States that have not yet applied need to do so now." So far, over $14 billion has been awarded to 16 states; the latest approved states are Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. Governors must submit an application by July 1, 4:30 p.m. ET. If a governor fails to submit an application by the deadline, the state will not receive any stabilization funding, and the Department will allocate the funds that were reserved for the state to the states that submitted timely applications. (Note: Approved state applications are posted online.)

Aside from "Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement," which includes framing questions for decision-making and examples of potential uses of ARRA funding to improve educational outcomes from early learning through high school, the Department has assembled a wide variety of agency and agency-funded publications and resources that may be useful as states and districts identify how to spend funding under the ARRA. The items are categorized by their area of assurance: effective use of data, improving teacher quality, and turning around under-performing schools.

Moreover, many external organizations have created publications that specifically recommend ways to use funding under the ARRA. All of the items listed by the Department are available for free—not promoting the purchase of specific products or services—and offer useful and well-documented information relevant to a broad audience of policymakers, practitioners, and citizens.

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New Appointments

Recently, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana as Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, and Secretary Duncan announced that Joanne Weiss will lead development of the "Race to the Top Fund." Melendez is currently serving as superintendent of the Pomona Unified School District in California. Her work on improving teaching and learning and accelerating student performance also includes time with the Annenberg and Stupski foundations. She earned a B.A. at the University of California at Los Angeles and a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California and was a Broad Foundation Urban Superintendents Academy Fellow. Weiss has a record of success in investment strategy and management assistance that includes a portfolio of ventures at the New Schools Venture Fund over the last eight years. Previously, she was the co-founder, CEO, or product development director for several different education and technology companies. She has a degree in biochemistry from Princeton University.

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Commencement Addresses

The following excerpts are from the President's 2009 commencement addresses.

"Find someone to be successful for. Raise to their hopes and their needs. As you think about life after graduation, as you look in that mirror tonight, you may see somebody with no idea what to do with their life. But a troubled child might look at you and see a mentor. A homebound senior citizen might see a lifeline. The folks at your homeless shelter might see a friend. None of them care how much money is in your bank account, or whether you're important at work, or famous around town. They just know that you're someone who cares, someone who makes a difference in their lives. That is what building a body of work is all about. It's about the daily labor, the many individual acts, the choices large and small that add up to a lasting legacy. It's about not being satisfied with the latest achievement because one thing I know about a body of work is that it's never finished. It's cumulative; it deepens and expands with each day that you give your best, and give back, and contribute to the life of this great nation."

— President Barack Obama (5/13/09), at Arizona State University

"You are about to enter the next phase of your life at a time of great uncertainty. You will be called upon to help restore a free market that is also fair to all who are willing to work; to seek new sources of energy that can save our planet; to give future generations the same chance that you had to receive an extraordinary education. And, whether as a person drawn to public service or someone who simply insists on being an active citizen, you will be exposed to more opinions and ideas broadcast through more means of communications than have ever existed before. You will hear talking heads scream on cable, read blogs that claim definitive knowledge, and watch politicians pretend to know what they're talking about.... In this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you've been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey. Stand as a lighthouse."

— President Barack Obama (5/17/09), at the University of Notre Dame

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Opportunity.gov

The Departments of Education and Labor have established a new web site to assist those who are unemployed. Indeed, many unemployed individuals do not know they may be eligible for Pell Grants and other need-based student aid. Most also do not know of the ability of financial aid administrators to adjust financial aid eligibility based on their special circumstances. The web site provides information on financial aid, labor tools, and other key resources available for unemployed workers.

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Quote to Note

"If we are going to be successful in rebuilding our economy, our early childhood programs need to prepare our young children for kindergarten so they're ready to start reading and learning, our K-12 schools need to make sure our students have all of the academic knowledge and skills that they need to enter college or the workforce, and our higher education system needs to offer whatever advanced learning students need to be successful in a career, whether they will become a plumber, a teacher, or a business executive.... I'm proud to work for a President who has created a comprehensive [cradle to career] agenda that addresses the needs at every level of our educational system...."

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (5/20/09), testifying on the President's plan for education

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Upcoming Events

Reminder! On Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, at 3:00 p.m. local time, Americans are asked to stop what they are doing and spend one minute in a Moment of Remembrance. The mid-afternoon time was chosen because it is when a majority of Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the holiday.

On May 28, at 10:00 a.m. ET, the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will release "The Condition of Education 2009." This year's report contains 46 indicators on conditions and trends in elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and adult education.

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

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Last Modified: 05/01/2012