Black-White Achievement Gaps
School Health And Safety
Pell Grant Recipients
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Today, President Obama is slated to join Secretary Duncan at the Department's headquarters to announce the publishing of a Notice of Proposed Priorities (NPP) in the Federal Register for the $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" Fund. This largest-ever federal investment in education reform will reward eligible states for past accomplishments and create incentives for future improvement in four areas of reform: adopting internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace; building data systems that measure student success and inform educators how they can improve their practices; recruiting, developing, retaining, and rewarding effective teachers and principals; and turning around the nation's lowest-performing schools. The public has 30 days to comment on the Fund's proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria. The Department plans to make grants in two phases. Phase 1 will open late in calendar year 2009. Phase 2 will open in late spring 2010.
The President and Secretary will also announce the publishing of proposed requirements, definitions, and approval criteria in the Federal Register for Phase 2 of the $48 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF). In Phase 1 of the SFSF, governors submitted applications for an estimated $36 billion, including 100% of the $8 billion in government service funds recently made available to states. In Phase 2, governors will apply for the remaining $12 billion. Once again, the public has 30 days to comment on requirement's proposed "indicators"data on the four areas of reform that must be made available to educators and the public, so empowering them to identify needs and drive progress. Unlike "Race to the Top" grants, states would not need to demonstrate progress on the indicators to receive funds. Instead, states must ensure that the information is in place so stakeholders know where schools and students currently stand.
In addition, the Department will release fact sheets on approximately $9 billion in new grants to states and school districts, including two formula grants (Title I School Improvement Grants and State Educational Technology Grants) and four competitive grants ("Race to the Top," the "Investing in Innovation" Fund, the Teacher Incentive Fund, and State Longitudinal Data Systems); a new notice inviting applications for State Longitudinal Data System grants; and transcripts of remarks by the President and the Secretary.
Overwhelmed? On Monday (July 27), the Department will hold a webinar (2:00 p.m. ET) to review all of these materials. Everyone is welcome to participate.
Moreover, the Department will be conducting a series of web conferences designed to assist grantees and subgrantees in managing grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The goal of these conferences is to provide information and enhance communication as we all work together to spend Recovery Act funds effectively. The conferences will be held on a regular schedule, with the first conference held next Thursday (July 30) from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET.
Also: On July 7, the Department issued draft guidance on how to request waivers of specific statutory and regulatory provisions under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including those affected by Recovery Act funding.
Last week, at the ED/HHS Children's Center, Secretary Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius highlighted the Obama Administration's blueprint to improve and strengthen early learning programs and announced their support for efforts in Congress to answer the President's challenge to invest $10 billion in the Administration's early learning reforms. The proposed Early Learning Challenge Fundan unprecedented collaboration between the agencieswould utilize two key funding elements to encourage states to develop effective, innovative models that promote high standards of quality and a focus on outcomes across early learning settings. "We need to challenge ourselves to do better for kids," Secretary Duncan said. "We know that the years prior to kindergarten are crucial in shaping how children learn and succeed in school."
Black-White Achievement Gaps
The Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has released a new report analyzing black-white achievement gaps at both the national and state levels, using National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores as a common yardstick. The study examines data from all main NAEP reading and math assessments through 2007, supplemented by data from long-term trend NAEP results through 2004. The study also provides context for understanding these gaps, examining both changes in the performance of black and white students and the changes in the black-white achievement gap over time. In most cases, NAEP reading and math scores have increased since the first time the main test was administered (early 1990s). These increases have been observed among both black and white students. Nevertheless, "statistically significant score differences between the two groups have also been observed." (Note: Secretary Duncan's statement on the report is available online.)
School Health And Safety
The following is a summary of recent developments in the area of school health and safety:
- On July 9, Secretary Duncan joined other Cabinet officials and delegations from 54 states, tribes, and territories for the H1N1 Influenza Preparedness Summit at the National Institutes of Health to kick-off the government's nationwide fall flu preparedness efforts. Administration officials laid out specific ways that states and local governments could start planning and preparation efforts and announced new programs and resources to help state and local governments, the greater medical community, and the American public prepare for the H1N1 and the fall flu season. Indeed, the federal government has centralized all communications about H1N1 and seasonal flu on a new web site.
- Later that same day, the Department announced $26 million in grants to 108 school districts under the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools program and $9.7 million in grants to 26 colleges and universities under the Emergency Management for Higher Education program, enabling them to develop and improve plans that address all four phases of emergency management: prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
- Next, on July 10, the agency announced $32.8 million in grants to 18 states and the District of Columbia under the Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative, a joint effort by the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice supporting school districts in 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. This highly competitive program attracted 422 applications nationwide. Since 1999, the program has provided more than $2.1 billion to local partnerships.
- Then, on July 13, the agency announced $26.5 million in grants to 73 public schools and community-based organizations in 25 states under the Carol M. White Physical Education program, initiating, expanding, and strengthening physical education programs for K-12 students.
- Lastly, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has released "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009." This report continues a robust series of annual studies to the nation on conditions affecting children within the U.S. The report has three demographic background measures and 40 indicators to describe the population of children and depict "child well-being" in the areas of family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment safety, behavior, education, and health.
Pell Grant Recipients
Another new NCES report, "A Profile of Successful Pell Grant Recipients," describes characteristics of college graduates who received Pell Grants and compares them to graduates who were not Pell recipients. For both groups of graduates, data from the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study were analyzed to determine the time it took them to complete a bachelor's degree, as well as the percentage who enrolled in graduate school within a year of college graduation. Among the key findings: roughly 36% of 1999-2000 bachelor's degree recipients received at least one Pell Grant while in college; higher percentages of Pell Grant recipients had at least one of several undergraduate "risk characteristics" (e.g., delaying postsecondary enrollment) than did non-recipients; parents' education was the only factor consistently related to both time-to-degree and graduate school enrollment for Pell Grant recipients, as those students whose parents did not attend college took longer to attain a bachelor's degree and enrolled in graduate school at lower rates than students whose parents had at least a bachelor's degree; and, although Pell Grant recipients had a longer median time-to-degree than non-recipients, when controlling simultaneously for undergraduate risk characteristics, parental education, and transfer history, Pell recipients had a shorter time-to-degree than non-recipients. (Note: The Secretary's statement on the report is available online.)
Also: On the Department's blog, the Secretary voiced his support for President Obama's American Graduation Initiative, with its Community College Challenge Fund, and for the introduction of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which would originate all new federal student loans through the Direct Loan program.
Odds and Ends
In a brief public service announcement prepared for the web, Secretary Duncan urges families to read together, visit parks and museums, and keep kids learning during the summer months.
President Obama has announced his intent to nominate Alexa Posny, Commissioner of Education for Kansas, as Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Also, the Secretary has named John Silvanus Wilson as Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A complete list of political appointees at the agency is posted online.
Juan Sepulveda, Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, has begun a series of community conversations on the status of Hispanic education. July 12-17, he traveled across Texas. Between July and the end of September, he will visit several more states and Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, the Secretary's "Listening and Learning" tour stopped in Indiana, where Peter Groff, Director of the Department's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, represented the Secretary in discussions and events around the City of Indianapolis.
The latest What Works Clearinghouse practice guide offers five recommendations intended to assist administrators, program providers, and educators in designing out-of-school time programs that will boost learning for students.
On July 14, the Department announced $116 million in Teaching American History grants, designed to improve student achievement by enhancing teachers' knowledge of traditional U.S. history through intensive, ongoing professional development in both content and research-based instruction strategies, to 123 school districts in 38 states.
This year, Blue Ribbon School site visitors profiled eight exemplary campuses: two elementary schools, one middle school, two high schools, and three schools that combine elementary and middle school.
Quote to Note
"We have to ensure that we're educating and preparing our people for the new jobs of the 21st century. We've got to prepare our people with the skills they need to compete in this global economy. Time and again, when we placed our bet for the future on education, we have prospered as a resultby tapping the incredible innovative and generative potential of a skilled American workforce. That's what happened when President Lincoln signed into law legislation creating the land grant colleges, which not only trans-formed higher education, but also our entire economy. That's what took place when President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill which helped educate a generation, and ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity. That was the foundation for the American middle class. And that's why, at the start of my administration, I set a goal for America: by 2020, this nation will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. We used to have that. We're going to have it again."
|||President Barack Obama (7/14/09), speaking at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan|
On a weekly basis, the Secretary's public schedule is posted online.
The week of July 27 is Education Week for United We Serve.
Over the next two weeks, the Department will exhibit at the National Council of La Raza's Annual Conference (July 25-28) and the National Urban League's Annual Conference (July 29-August 1), both of which are being held in Chicago, and the Progressive National Baptist Convention in Louisville (August 3-8). If you are attending any of these events, please stop by the Department's booth.
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Director, Intergovernmental AffairsStacey Jordan, (202) 401-0026, Stacey.Jordan@ed.gov
Program AnalystAdam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
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