NEWSLETTERS
March 5, 2010 ED Review
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 March 5, 2010
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Two Secretaries Webcast
ARRA Outreach
ESEA Update
Education in Focus
School Restraint and Seclusion
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Two Secretaries Webcast

Today, from 1:00 to 2:15 p.m. ET, Secretary Duncan and former Secretary Richard W. Riley will address 8,500 educators at the annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning in New York City. During this rare joint appearance by two Secretaries of Education, which will be webcast, the Secretaries will discuss combining the lessons of the past with the resources of the present to shape the future possibilities of the nation's public schools. Paula Kerger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), will moderate the conversation.

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ARRA Outreach

Yesterday (March 4), the Department announced 15 states and the District of Columbia will advance as finalists for Phase 1 of the Race to the Top competition: Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee. "These states are an example for the country of what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children," Secretary Duncan stated. "Everyone that applied for Race to the Top is charting a path for education reform in America. I salute all of the applicants for their hard work. And, I encourage all non-finalists to reapply for Phase 2." Winners for Phase 1 will be chosen from among the 16 finalists (following presentations of their proposals to the same panel that reviewed their applications during the initial stage) and announced in April. Applications for Phase 2 are due on June 1, with finalists announced in August and winners announced in September. The number of Phase 1 winners will be based on the strength of the applications. While the Department does not have a predetermined amount of money to award in each phase, it anticipates no more than half of the money will be awarded in Phase 1—to ensure a robust competition in Phase 2.

Also, last month, the Department approved State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) Phase 2 funding for Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. SFSF's Phase 2 application required states to supply data that will lay the foundation for education reform. State applications are being approved on a rolling basis.

Meanwhile, last week, the Department issued proposed priorities for a new a $439 million competition to support states, school districts, charter schools, and non-profit organizations in partnership with any of these entities in the development and implementation of performance-based compensation systems for teachers and principals. The goals are to increase educator effectiveness and student achievement in high-need schools. Applicants for the revamped Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) will have the opportunity to apply for funding to develop differentiated pay systems that reward teachers and leaders who demonstrate their effectiveness in improving student learning, take on enhanced leadership roles, and serve in hard-to-staff schools or core subjects. Applicants that choose to apply through a special competition to participate in a rigorous evaluation study of TIF would be awarded at least an additional $1 million over the course of the five-year program and have access to applicant-specific evaluation results. Intrigued? The agency will host a informational webinar on March 11, at 2:00 p.m. ET. This webinar will offer examples from TIF's current 33 grantees, working in 109 districts in 18 states, and discuss major components of the program's proposed requirements. Throughout March and April, CECR will also offer a number of follow-up webinars focusing on key aspects of developing performance-based compensation systems, as well as the TIF grant program.

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ESEA Update

On February 22, meeting with the nation's governors, President Obama outlined new steps, as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), to better prepare America's children for college and the workforce. For example, he proposed requiring all states to adopt and certify that they have college- and career-ready standards in reading and math to qualify for Title I funding. A state could meet this requirement in two ways: by adopting standards developed by a consortium of states or by verifying, in a process to be developed with state universities, that their existing standards are high enough. For more information, please go to. (Note: Earlier, in a session broadcast and recorded by C-SPAN, Secretary Duncan addressed the National Governors Association's Education, Early Childhood, and Workforce Committee, discussing the Department's framework for ESEA reauthorization.)

Then, on March 1, the President and the Secretary joined General Colin Powell for the announcement of "Grad Nation"—a 10-year campaign by the America's Promise Alliance to mobilize America to reverse the dropout crisis. The President challenged states to identify high schools with graduation rates below 60% and discussed the Administration's new investments to turn schools around. In addition to $4 billion already dedicated to fund transformational changes in America's under-performing schools, the President's Fiscal Year 2011 budget includes $900 million to support School Turnaround Grants.

Then, on March 3, Secretary Duncan testified before the House Education and Labor Committee on how strong and innovative education reforms can help rebuild the U.S. economy and restore competitiveness. He discussed the Administration's education agenda, including the Fiscal Year 2011 budget and ESEA reauthorization. Much of the testimony was devoted to the Department's teacher quality agenda.

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Education in Focus

In a feature this week called "Education in Focus," WhiteHouse.gov has highlighted the Department's activities and initiatives to meet the President's goal of, by 2020, the U.S. once again having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Each day of the week covered different sections of the education agenda. Among the more notable items: a contest for high schools to have the President give their commencement address and a public forum for those who wish to participate in creating opportunities for successful partnership.

The Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge invites public schools across the U.S. to compete to have President Obama speak at their graduation this spring. Applications should be completed by students and must be submitted by the school's principal no later than March 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Applications will be judged based on the school's performance and dedication to providing students a solid education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. In addition to the required essay responses, applicants are also invited to submit (1) a short video showing the school's character and culture and demonstrating how it is a model of success for other schools and (2) supplemental data on basic indicators such as attendance, student achievement, graduation rates, and, where available, college enrollment rates. Six finalists will be selected by the White House and the Department. These schools will be featured on WhiteHouse.gov, and the public will vote for the three schools they believe best meet the President's goal. The President will select a national winner from the three finalists and deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2010.

The Open Innovation Portal is a Web 2.0 innovation ecosystem combining features of both a community and a marketplace. As a community, the portal creates a social network that strengthens relationships, facilitates connections, and promotes collaborations. As a marketplace, the portal creates an innovation process that taps the "wisdom of the community" to identify and resource the most promising ideas in education. All registered users, be it teachers, administrators, or members of the public, are invited to be "innovators" and post their "solutions" on the portal. All solutions are posted to categories of "challenges" of interest to the community, the Department, and potential funders. (Note: The latest issue of The Education Innovator, describes the portal in greater detail.)

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School Restraint and Seclusion

Recently, the Department posted a summary of state laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines regarding the use of restraint and seclusion techniques in schools. This summary is the result of Secretary Duncan's letter issued to Chief State School Officers on July 31, 2009, urging a review of current state policies and guidelines. The Department's regional Comprehensive Centers researched and compiled the information state-by-state.

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Odds and Ends

  • In an op-ed, Secretary Duncan makes the case for eliminating student loan subsidies for banks and using that money to help needy students and adults attend college.

  • Just last week, President Obama signed an executive order renewing the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The nation's 105 HBCUs serve more than 300,000 students across 20 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. HBCUs continue to be important engines of economic growth and community service.

  • Also last week, at a National Press Club event, Secretary Duncan applauded Univision for its commitment to serving the Hispanic community and for launching a comprehensive, three-year, multi-million national education initiative: Es El Momento (The Moment is Now).

  • On February 24, "Rural Community College Day," administrators from community colleges and universities met with Department officials and the Rural Community College Alliance to discuss major challenges and opportunities to increase college graduation rates and career training.

  • "2010 Census: Make Education Count," a fact sheet from the Census Bureau, notes the accuracy of the 2010 census has significant implications for education. Indeed, 2010 census data will directly affect how approximately $26 billion in annual federal education funding is allocated to local, state, and tribal governments over the next 10 years. Census data is used to create funding formulas for over 30 formula grant programs administered by the Department, which provide aid to low-income students, English language learners, students with disabilities, homeless children, and migrant children. (Note: The Census Bureau's simple reminder is "We Can't Move Forward Until You Mail It Back!")

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Quote to Note

"The proposition is this: improving graduation rates is not just an education issue; it's a community issue. We cannot expect more from our schools and young people until all Americans are prepared to be more involved, because so many of the building blocks that make for success in school involve effort outside of the classroom.... Much like the Olympic athletes we've been inspired by recently, we all need to push past our comfort levels and make our work benefit something greater than ourselves—our country."

        General Colin Powell (3/1/10), blogging on WhiteHouse.gov

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Upcoming Events

On March 10, at 1:30 p.m. ET, the Department will host a teleconference with tribal leaders to discuss, among other matters, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the agency's proposed "Plan of Action" for implementing Executive Order 13175.

Over the next two weeks, the Department will exhibit at the National Association of Secondary School Principals' Annual Convention in Phoenix (March 12-14) and the National Science Teachers Association's National Conference on Science Education in Philadelphia (March 18-21). If you are attending either of these events, please stop by the Department's booth.

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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
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Last Modified: 06/03/2010