NEWSLETTERS
May 28, 2010 ED Review
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 May 28, 2010
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Teacher Incentive Fund
Longitudinal Data Systems
Sustaining Progress
Commencement Addresses
NAEP 2009: Reading Assessment
Condition of Education 2010
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Teacher Incentive Fund

On May 20, at Bladensburg Elementary School in suburban Maryland, Secretary Duncan announced the availability of $437 million in Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grants for states, school districts, and non-profit groups partnering with states or districts. The grants, funded under both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations, support local initiatives that reward teachers, principals, and other school personnel who improve student achievement. Applications are due July 6.

TIF began in 2006 and currently supports 33 grant sites in 18 states and 109 school districts, including charter school districts. To date, the program impacts approximately 55,000 teachers and 2,500 principals. Bladensburg is implementing the district's Financial Incentive Rewards for Supervisors and Teachers (FIRST) program, which is funded by a five-year, $17 million TIF grant awarded in 2007. The district developed FIRST as a voluntary program with full union support and input from educators who served on planning committees. FIRST rewards participants for school improvement, considering factors like student test score gains, positive classroom performance evaluations, and professional activities such as mentoring other teachers and becoming certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

TIF will hold two separate competitions: the TIF Main competition and the TIF Evaluation competition. Both competitions will utilize the same core program and eligibility criteria. The Department is running a separate Evaluation competition to identify applicants willing to participate in a rigorous evaluation of the impact of performance-based compensation on student achievement in high-need schools. These applicants will be required to meet additional criteria and will be eligible for at least an extra $1 million over the grant period. The Department will select winners for the Evaluation competition first, and then allow applicants who did not win the Evaluation competition to compete under the Main competition.

Want to learn more? The Department will be hosting two technical assistance planning workshops (June 3 in Washington, D.C., and June 7 in Minneapolis) and an Evaluation competition webinar (June 8) for potential TIF applicants. At the identical workshops, staff will review the application's selection criteria, requirements, and priorities (for both competitions) and answer technical questions. The webinar will offer a more targeted overview of the Evaluation competition and an opportunity to ask questions about the evaluation requirements and benefits.

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Longitudinal Data Systems

The Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded grants to 20 states for the design and implementation of statewide longitudinal data systems. These grants, funded under the ARRA, are intended to support states with systems that promote the linking of data across time and databases, from early childhood into career, including matching teachers to students, while protecting student privacy and confidentiality consistent with applicable privacy protection laws. The value of the three-year grants range from $5.1 million to $19.7 million. Grantees were selected based on the merit of applicants' proposals and the funding available. An independent peer review panel evaluated the proposals on critical aspects such as need for the project, project goals and outcomes, activities and timeline, management and governance, and personnel and financial resources.

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Sustaining Progress

Over the last two weeks, Secretary Duncan has visited three cities and seven schools to meet students, teachers, administrators, and community leaders and have engaging conversations about the importance of saving teacher jobs and sustaining education reform. On May 18, the Secretary spent the day in Brooklyn, New York, visiting classrooms at Kings Collegiate Charter School, P.S. 65, and P.S. 214. Next, on May 19, the Secretary was in Boston, delivering the commencement address at Lesley University and visiting classrooms at Beachmont Veterans Memorial School and Josiah Quincy Elementary School. Then, yesterday, the Secretary was in Cincinnati, delivering the commencement address at Clark Montessori Junior and Senior High School and visiting with teachers at Carson School.

Also, this week, the Secretary joined Congressional and union leaders in support of an education jobs bill to prevent dramatic and damaging cuts to resources and services that help students succeed in school.

Moreover, the Secretary penned an op-ed, which appeared in The Hill, titled "Keep Teachers Teaching, Students Learning, and Our Economy Growing."

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Commencement Addresses

University of Wisconsin at Madison (May 15):
"How to sum up the meaning of a first-rate education in the 21st century? To paraphrase from the Bible, these three virtues—creativity, adaptation, and following one's passion—abide. But the greatest of these is to follow your passion. You received an education in the shadow of the State Capitol and saw first-hand the value of civic involvement. When you leave here, run for office, volunteer at a local school, tutor, or coach, even if it sometimes seems like the tougher path to take. Find what you love, find your genius. Find what would you get up and do every day, even if you weren't getting a paycheck. And, whatever that calling is, pursue it with all your heart."

Lesley University, Boston (May 19):
"While the short-term picture for teaching is tough, due to the lingering effects of the financial downturn, I would urge you all to remember that the long-term picture is promising. In the next four to six years, we project that up to one million new teaching positions will be filled by new teachers, as teachers and principals from the Baby Boomer generation retire. Our ability to attract and retain great teachers over the next several years will shape public education in our country for the next 30 years. This is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity."

Clark Montessori Junior and Senior High School, Cincinnati (May 27):
"Clark and the other finalists in the [President's first-ever Race to the Top] Commencement Challenge are examples of what high schools in our country should be. They should be places where teachers are asking: 'Where are you going to college?' not 'Are you going to college?' They should be places where guidance counselors are saying 'Here's how you're going to pay for college' not 'How are you going to pay for college?' But today I want to remind you that not all high schools are fulfilling that mission of preparing students to succeed. At least two challenges lie ahead—challenges for which you are well-prepared. First, make it your mission to complete college.... Second, become a role model for others."

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NAEP 2009: Reading Assessment

The Nation's Report Card: Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) Reading 2009 describes recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading for 18 large districts from across the U.S. Representative samples of between 900 and 2,400 fourth-graders and between 800 and 2,100 eighth-graders participated in the 2009 public school assessment. Eleven of the districts also participated in the 2005 and 2007 assessments, and 10 districts participated back in 2003. Among the results:

  • In comparison to 2007, scores improved in 4 districts in fourth-grade and 2 districts in eighth-grade. In comparison to 2003, scores improved in 7 districts in fourth-grade and 4 districts in eighth-grade.
  • In 2009, fourth-graders in 6 districts recorded higher scores than fourth-graders in large cities nationally. Also, among those 6 districts, African-American students in 4 districts scored higher than African-American students in large cities nationally, and Hispanic students in 5 districts scored higher than Hispanic students in large cities nationally.
  • In 2009, eighth-graders in 5 districts recorded higher scores than eighth-graders in large cities nationally. Also, among those 5 districts, African-American students in 2 districts scored higher than African-American students in large cities nationally, and Hispanic students in 3 districts scored higher than Hispanic students in large cities nationally.

NAEP is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). TUDA math results were released in December 2009. The total number of districts in TUDA will grow to 21 in 2011, as three more jurisdictions have agreed to participate. (Note: Secretary Duncan's statement on the TUDA reading results, observing the mixed picture, is available online.)

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Condition of Education 2010

On May 27, NCES released "The Condition of Education 2010," a Congressionally mandated report to the country on education in America today. The report includes 49 indicators in five major areas—education participation, learner outcomes, student effort and educational progress, the contexts of elementary and secondary education, and the contexts of postsecondary education. The report also includes a special analysis on high-poverty public schools. Among the findings: in 2007-08, 20% of public elementary schools and 9% of public secondary schools were considered high-poverty schools, versus 15% and 5%, respectively, in 1999-2000; in 2007-08, according to school administrators, 28% of high school graduates from high-poverty schools attended four-year institutions after graduation, versus 52% of high school graduates from low-poverty schools; and roughly 57% of first-time students seeking a bachelor's degree at a four-year institution in 2001-02 had completed their degree at that institution within six years.

Other new NCES publications:

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Quote to Note

"We have never been more aware of the value of a multi-literate, multi-lingual society: a society that can appreciate all that makes other cultures and nations distinctive—even as it embraces all that they have in common. Today, our country is engaged in a far-reaching endeavor: to uphold the values enshrined in our Constitution and secure our place within the world by transforming the way we teach our students. America's success depends on the success of its individual citizens, just as the progress of humanity ultimately depends on the shared progress of nations. I believe that education has immeasurable power to promote growth and stability during the 21st century. As we work to lift America's children out of poverty and to liberate their true potential through the power of excellent teaching and learning, we will join with other nations to achieve this end for all the world's children."

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (5/26/10), addressing the Council on Foreign Relations

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Upcoming Events

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, 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.

The Department is conducting a web conference on ARRA data quality and recordkeeping, "Avoiding Reporting Pitfalls," on June 7 at 2:00 p.m. ET. This presentation will help grantees improve the quality of their data collection and analysis, to meet the reporting requirements of their federal grants, as well as the requirements for retaining records related to grant activities and expenditures. The presentation will also share information on common data quality pitfalls identified during reviews of Section 1512 reports.

July 19-21, the Department will convene the 2010 Reading Institute in Anaheim, California. And this year, for the first time, the Department of Education is joining with the Department of Health and Human Services to offer an Early Learning and Development Strand at the Institute. This strand will feature sessions on developmentally appropriate practices in language and literacy for children from birth-to-third-grade and planning and building comprehensive early learning systems and infrastructure. Federally funded grantees, educators, state and local policymakers, and other stakeholders in early learning are encouraged to attend. There is no registration fee for the Institute or its specific strands.

Meanwhile, two upcoming webinars will provide a foundation for participation in the early learning strand. First, on June 16 (1:00-2:30 p.m. ET), the Zero to Three National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families will host a Pre-Anaheim 2010 Institute webinar on the state of early learning for children from birth-to-third-grade. Then, on June 29 (1:30-2:30 p.m. ET), the National Institute for Early Education Research and the National Title I Association will host a Pre-Anaheim 2010 Institute webinar on trends in pre-kindergarten and the implications for transition to kindergarten. Both webinars are available free of charge.

June 10-13, the Department will exhibit at the National PTA Convention in Memphis. If you are attending this event, please stop by the Department's booth.

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Last Modified: 06/03/2010