NEWSLETTERS
October 2, 2009 ED Review
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 October 2, 2009
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ESEA Reauthorization
Elevating the Teaching Profession
Common Core Standards
Practice Guide
ARRA Recipient Reporting
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

ESEA Reauthorization

On September 24, before a packed audience of more than 200 education association representatives, Secretary Duncan called for the prompt rewriting of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), asserting "our kids can't wait, and our future won't wait." The ESEA was most recently reauthorized in 2002, as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. "Today, I am calling on all of you to join with us to build a transformative education law that guarantees every child the education they want and need," he said, "a law that recognizes and reinforces the proper role of the federal government—to support and drive reform at the state and local level." The Secretary credited NCLB for highlighting the achievement gap in schools and for focusing accountability on student outcomes. However, he also said that NCLB has significant flaws. "The biggest problem with NCLB is that it doesn't encourage high learning standards," he noted. "In fact, it inadvertently encourages states to lower them. The net effect is that we are lying to children and parents by telling students they are succeeding when they are not." The Secretary wants the new version of the ESEA to advance assessments that better measure student learning and an accountability system that incorporates the academic growth of students. He also wants the new version to foster the development of existing teachers and other school leaders; recruit new, effective educators; and ensure the best educators are serving the children that are the furthest behind. "Our role in Washington is to support reform by encouraging bold, creative approaches to addressing under-performing schools, closing the achievement gap, strengthening the field of education, reducing the dropout rate, and boosting college access," he stated. "All of this must lead to more students completing college."

This session was the first in a series of events where education stakeholders can offer input on the law. Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Carmel Martin and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Thelma Melendez will host the events at the Department's headquarters (400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.). The dates and times for upcoming events (subject to change) are as follows:

  • Tuesday, October 13, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, October 21, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 4, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, November 20, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 2, 2:00-3:30 p.m.

The events are part of the Secretary's "Listening and Learning" tour, which has already taken him to about 30 states. By the end of the year, the Secretary or a senior officer will have led an event in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several territories.

Stakeholders are also invited to submit comments to inform reauthorization to ESEA.Comments@ed.gov.

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Elevating the Teaching Profession

Among the priorities in his ESEA reauthorization speech, the Secretary called for stakeholders to "build a law that respects the honored, noble status of educators, who should be valued as skilled professionals—rather than mere practitioners—and compensated accordingly." To advance the discussion, he will engage teachers in a national town hall meeting, during a "special edition" of the Department's "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (October 20, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET). He will take comments and questions from teachers in a studio audience and via telephone, email, and video. To contribute to the discussion, teachers and other viewers may:

  • call the show during the live broadcast, at 1-888-493-9382, between 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET;
  • submit comments by 6:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 14; or
  • submit original video comments by Wednesday, October 14.

Also: Through November 2, middle, secondary, and college students (ages 13 and older) are encouraged to submit videos describing the steps they will take to improve their education and the role education will play in fulfilling their dreams. Entries may be in the form of video blogs, public service announcements, music videos, or documentaries. The public will vote on their favorites, to determine the top 20 finalists. These 20 videos will be reviewed by a panel of judges, including Secretary Duncan. The panel will select three winners, each of whom will receive a $1,000 prize.

Also: Secretary Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius recently revealed Dr. John Clarke of New York as the winner of the 2009 H1N1 PSA Contest. More than 240 videos were submitted by the August deadline, after which a panel of experts narrowed the field to 10 finalists. Over two weeks, Americans voted for their favorite video. Dr. Clarke, the Medical Director for the Long Island Railroad, performed a unique rap on how to prevent the spread of the flu. He will receive a $2,500 prize.

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Common Core Standards

The Secretary issued the following statement regarding the first public draft of college- and career-readiness standards in English/language arts and math as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative led by the National Governors Association and the Council of the Chief State School Officers:

"I applaud the leadership of this coalition of [48] states and [three] territories in joining together to develop a common core of academic standards. The draft college- and career-ready standards that were released as part of those efforts are an important step forward, and it is now in the hands of the public to provide critical feedback to state leaders. There is no work more important than preparing our students to compete and succeed in a global economy, and it is to the credit of these states that this work is getting done."

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Practice Guide

A new practice guide from the What Works Clearinghouse, titled "Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision-Making," offers five recommendations to help educators effectively use data to monitor students' academic progress and evaluate instructional practices. The guide suggests schools set a clear vision for school-wide data use, develop a data-driven culture, and make data part of an ongoing cycle of instructional improvement. The guide also suggests teaching students how to use their own data to set learning goals. What Works is an initiative of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Note: On October 8, in the first of a series, the What Works Clearinghouse will host a webinar concerning the recommendations of its "Helping Students Navigate the Path to College" practice guide. During the webinar, authors of the guide and college readiness experts and practitioners will discuss preparing students for college and what current research suggests is most effective. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the authors, experts, and practitioners.

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ARRA Recipient Reporting

The Department has notified presidents and financial aid administrators at approximately 1,800 postsecondary education institutions that are subject to Section 1512 recipient reporting for the Federal Work-Study Program that they are required to register as users at FederalReporting.gov. In general, recipients of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds are subject to special reporting requirements. Guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) set a threshold of $25,000 for ARRA reporting, which means, in the case of the Federal Work-Study Program, only institutions receiving at least $25,000 in ARRA funding for the 2009-10 Award Year are subject to these reporting requirements. Note that the $25,000 threshold applies only to ARRA funds received and not to the total amount of Federal Work-Study Program funds received by an institution for the 2009-10 Award Year. Also note that no special reporting by institutions or states is required under the Federal Pell Grant Program.

Note: The Department is conducting a web conference on strategic planning for ARRA funds, "Linking Title I and IDEA ARRA Funds to the Education Technology and Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants," on Monday, October 5, at 2:00 p.m. ET.

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Odds and Ends

  • In this month's issue of The Education Innovator, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton discusses the key tenets of the new Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund and shares his perspective on the role of innovation in schools.

  • On September 23, Secretary Duncan and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships visited Manchester, New Hampshire, as part of the National Conversation on Fatherhood.

  • On September 25, the Secretary was in Chicago to honor six individuals as the first recipients of the Associated Colleges of Illinois-Arne Duncan Awards for Educational Equity.

  • This week (September 29), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Reverend Al Sharpton joined the Secretary in Philadelphia—the first stop on their tour of several cities to expose challenges, highlight reforms, and rally support for greater transparency and accountability in all schools. Future stops include New Orleans on November 3 and Baltimore on November 13. Cities were chosen both for logistical reasons and for what they can show about school reform.

  • According to "High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the U.S.: 2007," the latest in a series of reports from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a center of IES, 73% of high school freshmen, nationwide, graduated on time with their peers. However, this four-year graduation rate in 2006 varied widely across states—from a low of 55.9% to a high of 87.5%. Another key finding: students living in low-income families were approximately 10 times more likely to drop out of high school, between 2006 and 2007, than students living in high-income families. (Note: Secretary Duncan's statement on the report is available online.)

  • Grant awards: $108.8 million in Early Reading First grants to 28 school districts and other public and private organizations in 18 states and the District of Columbia; $6.6 million in Striving Readers grants to eight states, and $43 million for 28 five-year Teacher Quality Partnership grants to reform traditional university teacher preparation programs. (Note: Secretary Duncan will participate in three teacher education events during the month of October.) Also, the Department just announced $21.8 billion in formula grants to support state-administered programs.

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Quote to Note

"For too many of our children, the promise of an excellent education has never materialized. We remain complacent about education reform—distracted by tired arguments and divided by the politics of the moment. We can't let that happen. In this new century, and in this global economy, it is not only unacceptable to delay and defer needed reforms, it's self-destructive. We can't allow one more day to go by without advancing our education agenda. Our shared goals are clear: higher quality schools, improved student achievement, more students going to college, closing the achievement gap, and opportunities for children to learn and succeed."

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (9/24/09), on "Why We Can't Wait" for ESEA Reauthorization

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Upcoming Events

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

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will release the 2009 Nation's Report Card for Mathematics on October 14. The report card will present scores for fourth- and eighth-graders from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense schools. NAEP is administered by NCES.

The 2009 Federal Student Aid (FSA) Conference in Nashville (December 1-4) is the premiere training and networking opportunity for financial aid professionals.

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Last Modified: 06/15/2012