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June 25, 2010 ED Review
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 June 25, 2010
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Student Aid Rules
Ambitious Engagement
State Legislators Conference
Data.Ed.Gov
Funding Opportunities
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Student Aid Rules

Last week, the Obama Administration proposed a broad set of new rules and definitions to strengthen federal student aid programs by protecting students from aggressive or misleading recruiting practices, providing consumers with better information about the effectiveness of career college and training programs, and ensuring that only eligible students and programs receive aid. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) follows a year of negotiations between the Department and the higher education community around 14 specific issues. The NPRM fully addresses 13 issues and partially addresses the 14th issue, which involves the definition of "gainful employment."

To qualify for federal aid, most career colleges and training programs must demonstrate they are preparing students for gainful employment within recognized occupations. The Department is proposing to require proprietary and vocational institutions of higher education to present prospective students with their program's graduation and job placement rates, as well as supply such information to the Department to allow it to determine student debt levels and incomes after program completion. The agency is still developing metrics to hold programs accountable for preparing their students for gainful employment and intends to publish a separate NPRM later this summer.

The current NPRM is open to public comment through August 2. The Department strongly encourages colleges and universities and other stakeholders to comment on these proposed rules and their impact. The agency will closely review all the comments, with the goal of publishing a final rule by November 1, so it would take effect beginning July 2011.

In other higher education news:

  • To highlight the key role that community colleges play in preparing adults for success in the workplace, the Department produced "Path to Opportunity," a series of three videos profiling non-traditional students attending community colleges.
  • A new Pew Research Center analysis of Department data finds the recent boom in the size of freshmen classes at four-year colleges, community colleges, and trade schools has been driven by a significant increase in minority student enrollment.
  • "Help Wanted: Projecting Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018," a new report out of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, forecasts that, by 2018, 63% of all jobs will require at least some postsecondary education. Employers will need 22 million new workers with postsecondary degrees. Yet, without a dramatic change in course, the nation will fall short by three million workers, which is a deficit of 300,000 college graduates annually between now and 2018. (Note: The report has a state-by-state analysis on jobs and education requirements.)
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Ambitious Engagement

On June 11, Secretary Duncan addressed the National PTA Convention in Memphis. In his remarks, subtitled "Beyond Bubble Tests and Bake Sales," he called for "ambitious engagement" by parents and entire families in schools. "My hope is that PTAs around the nation can be leaders in pressing for higher standards, better assessments, a richer version of parental involvement, and a well-rounded curriculum," he said. "You have already begun to redefine the notion of family involvement by promoting the importance of fathers, grandfathers, and male mentors at school and at home.... Male membership in the PTA has increased five-fold in the last decade, from 2% to 10%." Specifically, he appealed for help on two problems: the narrowing of the curriculum and the over-reliance on fill-in-the-bubble tests. "Only by moving beyond basic skills and bubble tests," he stated, "can children develop the critical thinking skills that will give them the ability to compete successfully in the global economy." The Secretary also detailed how the Administration's plan to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) supports family engagement "in a host of ways. We support programs that actually ask families how they feel about their child's school and educational experiences—giving parents a real voice and opportunity to engage. We must do a better job of listening to our children and to their parents. Their honest feedback will absolutely drive improvement."

Also: In honor of Father's Day, President Obama spoke about the importance of responsible fatherhood at a local event and hosted a "mentoring barbecue" on the South Lawn.

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State Legislators Conference

On June 14, the Department hosted 25 state legislators from 17 states for a day-long conference with senior Department officials in Washington, D.C. The conference offered an opportunity for legislators to learn more about the Administration's education initiatives and provide feedback on what is and what is not working in education at the state and local level. The highlight of the day was a working lunch, during which legislators discussed a range of topics, including higher academic standards, charter schools, and teacher quality. Secretary Duncan closed the conference with a few remarks and an open question-and-answer session. This session was the latest in a series of outreach efforts by the Department's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Note: PowerPoint presentations from the conference are available upon request.

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Data.Ed.Gov

As part of the Administration's Open Government Initiative, the Department launched a new web site, which will ultimately serve as a one-stop shop for education data and permit practitioners, researchers, and the public to access data that can inform their work in classrooms and communities across America. The agency plans to make the grant-making process more transparent to the public through this web site—by providing substantial amounts of easily accessible data about applications, applicants, and their partners, while still protecting privacy and proprietary information. The first competitive grant program featured on the web site is the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund, which received nearly 1,700 applications last month. The public can now view detailed information on all i3 applicants, as well as run customized reports and summary analyses on subsets of applicants. As this is a pilot effort, the Department welcomes feedback and plans to make improvements over time.

Concerning the i3 Fund:

  • A new i3 summary report has information on the applications received by the Department.
  • The latest addendum to i3's Frequently Asked Questions includes questions intended to clarify the program's matching requirement.
  • An email message was sent to all i3 applicants directing them to these resources and reminding them their applications still need to be reviewed for eligibility and the Department will not accept changes/ updates to applications.
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Funding Opportunities

The deadlines for several grant competitions are fast approaching:

  • Carol M. White Physical Education Program (closes 7/19). This program allows school districts and community-based organizations to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including after-school programs, for students in grades K-12. All recipients must implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting state standards for physical education. Estimated awards: 93. (Note: There is a "sharing requirement." The federal share of a project's cost may not exceed 90% for the first year and 75% for subsequent years.)

  • Full-Service Community Schools Program (closes 7/23). This program encourages coordination of academic, health, and social services through partnerships among elementary and secondary schools, the schools' districts, and community-based organizations, non-profit organizations, and other entities. These services may include high-quality early learning programs; remedial education, aligned with academic supports and other enrichment activities; and family engagement. Estimated awards: 8-12.

  • High School Graduation Initiative (closes 7/28). This program supports the implementation of effective, sustainable dropout prevention and re-entry programs in high schools with annual dropout rates that exceed their state's average annual dropout rate. Funds may also be used to support activities at middle schools that feed into high schools that have dropout rates that exceed the state's dropout rate. Estimated awards: 50.

Also, be sure to review the Department's Fiscal Year 2010 Grants Forecast (as of June 11), which lists virtually all programs and competitions under which the agency has invited or expects to invite applications for awards and provides actual or estimated dates for the transmittal of applications under these programs. (Note: This document is advisory only and not an official application notice of the Department of Education.)

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Odds and Ends

  • In keeping with its commitment to transparency, the Department is providing the public with the applications it received from states for Phase 2 of the Race to the Top competition. States' narrative responses have undergone a thorough review to remove privacy-protected information and are now posted at. Staff are presently reviewing the remaining portions of the applications—the appendices—to remove privacy-protected information and will post them in the coming weeks.

  • The Department received four applications for the $350 million Race to the Top Assessment Program.

  • In a recent letter to Chief State School Officers, the Secretary shared information on the federal government's 2010 allocations for Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs).

  • The Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) announced the six research teams who will participate in the new Reading for Understanding Research Network. More than 130 researchers are joining together to improve reading comprehension for students from preschool through high school. In the next five years, IES will supply $100 million to the network to engage in rapid development of instructional strategies, curricula, assessment, technology, and teacher professional development. (Note: Secretary Duncan's statement on the investment is available online.)

  • Whether considering the military as a future option or seeking to learn more about its no-cost programs, Army Ed Space provides students, parents, and educators with access to a variety of free Army educational resources and tools.

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Quote to Note

"Now, the promise of new media is still real—and potentially transformative. Children can play educational games, take online courses, research online, and watch educational TV programming. They can make connections online or through chat groups to explore interests and other cultures. They can learn to socialize, communicate, and write through social networking sites. But, it is fair to say that the hopes of new media proponents have only been partly realized and that heavy media use often impedes student learning.... Parents can do a better job of setting limits on children's use of electronic media and work toward using it more creatively to support student learning."

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (6/11/10), addressing the National PTA Convention

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Upcoming Events

A reminder: 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.

Also, on June 29 (3:00-4:00 p.m. ET), the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and the National Title I Association will host a webinar on NIEER's "2010 State of Pre-K Yearbook," which profiles state-funded pre-kindergarten programs. This event is intended to provide a foundation for a session under the Early Learning Strand at the Institute. The webinar is available free of charge.

On June 30, at 10:00 a.m. ET, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the IES, will release the 2009 National Indian Education Study (NIES). The NIES report uses National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data to illuminate the educational experiences of American Indian and Alaska Native students and will be issued in two parts.

Department officials will travel to Arizona (June 30) and Washington (July 15) to strengthen government-to-government relations with Indian tribes. The consultations are in response to President Obama's November 5, 2009, Presidential Memorandum and Executive Order 13175, which directs federal agencies to develop a plan of actions for regular and meaningful discussion and strengthening of relationships with tribal officials.

Over the next two weeks, the Department will exhibit at the National Education Association's Annual Meeting in New Orleans (June 26-July 6), the International Society for Technology in Education's Conference in Denver (June 27-30), the National Charter Schools Conference/Teacher Institute in Chicago (June 28-July 1), and the American Federation of Teachers' Convention in Seattle (July 7-11). If you are attending any 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: 07/06/2010