NEWSLETTERS
August 7, 2009 ED Review
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 August 7, 2009
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Updated Flu Guidance
ARRA Outreach
School Restraint and Seclusion
Higher Ed: Negotiated Rulemaking
Who's Who at ED?
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Updated Flu Guidance

The Obama Administration continues to send a strong message to the nation that now is time to start planning and preparing for the fall flu season and the ongoing HIN1 flu outbreak. The bottom line: under certain conditions, schools may need to close. In those cases, communities will need to have a strategy in place to ensure there is no break in the learning process. A team at the Department has been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security to prepare thoughtful guidance for schools. The guidance for K-12 schools was released today. The guidance for colleges and universities will be released later this month. In addition, the CDC will be issuing a version of the school guidance for early learning and pre-kindergarten shortly. More Information. (Note: The Department will provide schools with as much operational flexibility as possible to deal with an outbreak of the flu virus. If the outbreak is severe, it will waive legal requirements in those areas where it has the authority to do so [e.g., the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Higher Education Act (HEA), the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), etc.]. If it does not have legal authority within a particular area [e.g., the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)], and schools need flexibility, it will promptly seek legislative authority from Congress.)

Also: Video clips from the H1N1 Influenza Preparedness Summit at the National Institutes of Health are available online.

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ARRA Outreach

A webcast and video highlights of President Obama's July 24 announcement of the $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" Fund, as well as American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) fact sheets and other materials produced for the event, are conveniently compiled online.

The Department invites public comment on the Federal Register notices for Race to the Top and State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) Phase 2 programs. Comments must be submitted online at Regulations.gov on or before August 28. However, in anticipation of a significant number of submissions, the agency strongly encourages comments well in advance of this date.

On July 27, Deputy Secretary Tony Miller hosted a webinar for stakeholders, outlining the more than $9 billion in new ARRA initiatives, including Race to the Top. (Available: webcast, transcript, and PowerPoint presentation.)

Then, on August 4, the Deputy Secretary kicked-off the second Education Stakeholders Forum, which focused on Race to the Top, the Investing in Innovation Fund, and SFSF Phase 2. (Available: video, transcript, and PowerPoint presentation.)

Meanwhile, Secretary Duncan announced that the Department will accelerate stimulus spending by making $11.37 billion in Title I, IDEA, and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) funding available to states one month early. On April 1, the Department awarded 50% of states' Title I ARRA funds, IDEA ARRA funds, and VR ARRA funds. The remaining 50% was to be made available on September 30. The Secretary's declaration ensures that these funds will be made available to all states on or around September 1.

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School Restraint and Seclusion

On August 3, Secretary Duncan sent a letter to Chief State School Officers, encouraging each state to review current policies and practices regarding the use of restraints and seclusion techniques in schools and, if appropriate, develop or revise them to ensure the safety of students. "We are urging every state to take a close look at their restraint and seclusion guidelines to ensure that children's safety is made the top priority," he stated. "It is my sincerest hope that this process will shed light on situations where policies need to be altered and provide the public with a clear understanding of the guidelines being used." In the letter, the Secretary urged states to work with the Department to publicly share their efforts, in order to increase awareness and transparency, to disseminate best practices, to provide state resources for proper implementation, and to hold districts accountable for adhering to guidelines. The letter notes the Department-funded Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports will supply technical assistance and staff from regional Comprehensive Centers will be contacting states to discuss the "status of states' efforts in this area." The Secretary decided to issue this letter, following the release of a May 19 General Accountability Office (GAO) report that uncovered allegations of abuse and potentially deadly misapplication of restraints and seclusion techniques and a subsequent Congressional committee hearing on the issue.

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Higher Ed: Negotiated Rulemaking

In the last few weeks, the Department has published in the Federal Register three Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPMs) for higher education based on spring 2009 negotiated rulemaking. The first, published July 23 with comments due August 24, includes lender and guaranty agency issues. The second, published July 28 with comments due August 27, includes school-based issues. The third, published August 6 with comments due September 8, regards institutional eligibility and the Secretary of Education's recognition of accrediting agencies. Please carefully review the information in the NRPMs for the procedures to be used in the submission of comments.

Also: The Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect on August 1.

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Who's Who at ED?

Last week, the Secretary announced new members of his leadership team: Michael Roark, Chief Administrative Officer, Office of the Deputy Secretary; Jacqueline Jones, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Early Learning, Office of the Secretary; Katherine Tobin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Performance Improvement, Office of Management; Emma Vadehra, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development; and Nia Phillips, Deputy General Counsel for Departmental and Legislative Services, Office of the General Counsel.

This week, the Secretary announced that 13 teachers have been selected as Teacher Ambassador Fellows for 2009-2010. Three fellows will become full-time Department employees for one year. Ten fellows will participate part-time, remaining in their classrooms during the school year. All fellows, currently participating in a four-day summit at the Department, will engage in education policy discussions, work with agency officials in various program offices, and participate in a wide-range of education projects. Now in its second year, the Teaching Ambassador Fellowships were created to supply outstanding educators leadership opportunities to learn about national education policy and to contribute their notable expertise to those discussions. The fellows, in turn, provide communications and outreach about federal initiatives to other educators on behalf of the Department. Some 1,400 applications were submitted in an open process in which public school teachers and instructional specialists across the nation were invited to submit essays demonstrating their record of leadership, impact on student achievement, and "insight" into policy from classroom and school experience.

Also, more than 150 undergraduate and graduate students have answered the President's call to service by interning at the Department this summer. The interns are from 93 different colleges and universities and working in 21 unique offices throughout the agency.

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Odds and Ends

  • Secretary Duncan recently took his Listening and Learning tour to Orlando, Florida, where he visited Lake Nona YMCA Family Center and North Lake Park Community School.
  • Later that day, the Secretary delivered remarks in Chicago at the National Council of La Raza's Annual Conference.
  • Guidance on the $650 million Enhancing Education Through Technology Program under the ARRA (for which funds were released to states on July 24) is available online.
  • The Department has announced five charter school grants, totaling $82 million, to Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, to increase public school options in those states.
  • Also, the Department has announced five GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program) grants, totaling $8.7 million, to Kansas and four partnerships, that will help 11,000 at-risk students prepare for college and receive the support they need to achieve success.
  • A new National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report, "Students Who Study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in Postsecondary Education," examines the characteristics and outcomes of undergraduates who enter STEM programs.
  • "State Regulation of Private Schools" supplies a brief description of each state's legal requirements that apply to K-12 private schools in the U.S.
  • A new report by the Corporation for National and Community Services find that even during a time of economic recession, volunteering has remained steady, led by young adults and a wave of do-it-your-self volunteers working with their neighbors to fix problems.
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Quote to Note

"The race starts today. I'm issuing a challenge to our nation's governors, to school boards, principals, and teachers, to businesses and non-for-profits, to parents and students: if you set and enforce rigorous and challenging standards and assessments, if you put outstanding teachers at the front of the classroom, if you turn around failing schools, your state can win a Race to the Top grant that will not only help students outcompete workers around the world but let them fulfill their God-given potential. This competition will not be based on politics or ideology or the preferences of a particular interest group. Instead, it will be based on a simple principle—whether a state is ready to do what works. We will use the best evidence available to determine whether a state can meet a few key benchmarks for reform, and states that outperform the rest will be rewarded with a grant. Not every state will win, and not every school district will be happy with the results, but America's children, America's economy, and America itself will be better for it."

        President Barack Obama (7/24/09), announcing Race to the Top at the Department

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Upcoming Events

On a weekly basis, the Secretary's public schedule is posted online.

On August 10, the Department will hold its next web conference designed to assist grantees and subgrantees in managing ARRA grants.

GreatNonprofits, Guidestar, and VolunteerMatch have teamed up to launch the 2009 Youth Thrive Awards to recognize non-profits that are making the greatest difference for youth in their communities. The campaign runs through September 30. At its conclusion, organizations with the most positive reviews by budget size and region will be featured on GreatNonprofits and Guidestar. Posting reviews is easy and free, and individuals who post reviews during the campaign will be eligible to win prizes.

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

Please feel free to contact the Office of Communications and Outreach with any questions:
Director, Intergovernmental Affairs—Stacey Jordan, (202) 401-0026, Stacey.Jordan@ed.gov
Program Analyst—Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
To be added or removed from distribution, or submit comments (we welcome your feedback!), please contact Adam Honeysett. Or, visit http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edreview/index.html.


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Last Modified: 06/15/2012