NEWSLETTERS
February 18, 2011 ED Review
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 February 18, 2011
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FY 2012 Budget
Teachers and Leaders
ARPA-Ed
Labor-Management Conference
Financial Education Toolkit
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

FY 2012 Budget

In a clear sign of his commitment to education, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2012 Budget at Parkville Middle School and Center for Technology in Baltimore. "Education is an investment that we need to win the future," he told students, parents, and teachers at the school. "And to make sure that we can afford these investments, we're going to have to get serious about cutting back on those things that would be nice to have but we can do without. That's what families across the country do every day—they live within their means, and they invest in their family's futures. And, it's time we did the same thing as a country. That's how we're going to get our fiscal house in good order."

Under the proposed budget, cuts and efficiencies in several key education programs will help fund new investments to keep American students competitive in the global economy. "We are cutting where we can to invest where we must," Secretary Duncan, who joined the President at the school, noted. "These are challenging times, but we cannot delay investments that will secure our future. We must educate our way to a better economy, by investing responsibly, advancing reform, and demanding results."

Areas for new investment run the spectrum, from early learning to college completion, and include funding for formula and competitive K-12 programs, such as a new district-level Race to the Top program with a rural set-aside and another round of Investing in Innovation grants. The budget also includes new and expanded programs that support teacher and leader effectiveness. Not including Pell Grants, the Administration's budget request for the U.S. Department of Education is $48.8 billion, an increase of $2 billion, or 4.3%, over the FY 2011 continuing resolution (CR) level.

The Department expects demand for Pell Grants to reach 9.6 million students next year, up from 6 million in 2008. The budget protects recent increases in the maximum grant (up to $5,550) while ensuring that all eligible students continue to be served. In order to sustain the program in a responsible way, the Administration proposes saving billions, by eliminating a provision that enables certain students to receive two Pell Grants in a single year and eliminating subsidies for graduate students with loans.

The budget also consolidates 38 K-12 programs into 11 funding streams and eliminates 13 programs that either duplicate state or local programs or have simply not had a significant measurable impact.

Highlights of the budget include:

  • $350 million for a new Early Learning Challenge Fund;
  • $300 million for a new Title I Rewards program and $250 million more for special education state formula grants;
  • $54 million more to turn around low-performing schools (for a total of $600 million);
  • $900 million for a new round of Race to the Top grants;
  • $300 million for a new round of Investing in Innovation grants;
  • $150 million for the Promise Neighborhoods program, which integrates educational and social services in targeted communities;
  • $100 million more for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (for a total of $1.27 billion);
  • $175 million in competitive grants to boost college completion;
  • $4.3 billion for teacher and leader preparation programs (see more below); and
  • $90 million for a new research and development program (see more below) and $60 million more for research and evaluation programs at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Want to dig deeper? Among the resources available online are a press release; the budget summary; state-by-state tables showing how funds would be distributed under formula-based and selected student aid programs; and fact sheets on cross-cutting issues, such as accelerating the use of educational technology, improving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, and supporting rural education. Furthermore, you can read the transcript, view the PowerPoint presentation, and watch the video from the Department's stakeholders forum and listen to the Department's conference call with the national media.

Meanwhile, on The Hill's Congress Blog, the Secretary directly addressed the issue of formula versus competitive funding. "The President's proposal to fix the No Child Left Behind Act focuses on schools and students at-risk and on meaningful reforms that will help these students succeed.... He does not want those programs dedicated to at-risk students to become competitive. And, he does not want to reduce the funds distributed by formula."

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Teachers and Leaders

Increasing the number of effective teachers and leaders, especially in disadvantaged schools, will require new efforts to recruit talented individuals; better prepare and support individuals in the classroom; and recognize and reward excellence in the classroom. Aside from a $2.5 billion investment in an overhauled teacher quality formula grant, the budget invests $500 million in the Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund, a competitive program for states and districts with smart approaches to strengthening the impact of professionals, and $250 million for Teacher and Leader Pathways, a competitive program to invest in effective teacher preparation programs. Also, as a revision and expansion of the TEACH Grants program, the budget provides $185 million for a grant program (Presidential Teaching Fellows) for states that agree to measure the performance of their teaching institutions, supply scholarship aid to talented individuals attending successful programs, hold ineffective programs accountable for results, upgrade licensure and certification standards, and provide recognition and portable certification to effective classroom teachers. And, the budget includes $40 million for a grant program (Hawkins Centers of Excellence) to improve and expand preparation programs at minority-serving schools. In addition, there is $835 million to support educators in delivering a well-rounded education (e.g., literacy, STEM, and the humanities).

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ARPA-Ed

President Obama recognizes that educational technology can lead to transformational progress. Therefore, his budget proposes the creation of an Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)-Education, modeled on the success of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which played a critical role in the development of the Internet, robotics, and stealth aircraft. ARPA-ED will catalyze the development and deployment of new tools and technologies to significantly improve student learning. Specifically, ARPA-ED will push the education research, development, and demonstration fields forward by: sponsoring the synthesis and vetting of public and private research and development initiatives; identifying breakthrough development opportunities; shaping the next wave of research and development; investing in the development of promising new educational technologies, learning systems, and digital learning materials; and identifying and transitioning the best and most relevant research and development from other federal agencies.

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Labor-Management Conference

This week, the superintendent, school board chair, and teachers union leader of 150 school districts across 40 states met in Denver to discuss transforming the relationship between labor and management into a strong partnership for improving student instruction and achievement. The Advancing Student Achievement Through Labor-Management Collaboration conference opened with Secretary Duncan framing the event's goals and articulating 10 critical areas of challenge and opportunity in implementing student-centered principles. "President Obama and I are convinced that labor and management can collaborate to solve many of our nation's enduring educational challenges," he said. "And, we believe that progress more often follows tough-minded collaboration than tough-minded confrontation. Ours is not a hope unseen but a hope harbored in the reality of the hard work, success, and courage demonstrated by our presenting districts." The remainder of the two days were spent in breakout sessions (hosted by 12 presenting districts) and panel discussions (hosted by leading experts in the field). All of the materials provided to the attendees, as well as short videos on the proceedings, are available online. (Note: Videos of the proceedings are posted here and here.)

Before joining the conference, the Secretary held a community forum at Denver's Manual High School to highlight a federal pilot project that aims to increase the number of high school students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Research shows that 90% of students who complete the FAFSA enroll in college. Denver is one of 20 cities selected for the FAFSA completion project. Successful completion of the FAFSA is necessary to receive any type of federal aid for college, including grants, loans, and work study opportunities. It is also a required step for many private scholarships.

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Financial Education Toolkit

On February 16, the Administration released a new educator toolkit with lesson plans that teachers can use to help students prepare for the 2011 National Financial Capability Challenge. The toolkit addresses five core competencies of financial education: earning, spending, saving, borrowing, and protecting against risk. It covers, among other topics, developing a personal spending plan, balancing checking and savings accounts, understanding the costs and benefits of buying insurance, using credit wisely, minimizing exposure to identify theft, and making investments in the future through education. In addition, this year's toolkit includes interactive online lessons and Spanish language materials. The Challenge, which opens March 7, will include a voluntary online exam for high school students. The top-scoring students will be recognized at a national awards ceremony, and other high scorers will receive official certificates. The toolkit, of course, can be used not only to help prepare students for the Challenge's exam but also for year-round classroom instruction.

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Odds and Ends

  • Secretary Duncan announced the appointment of 28 education advocates, civil rights leaders, lawyers, scholars, and corporate leaders to the Department's Equity and Excellence Commission, which will examine the impact of school finance on educational opportunity and recommend ways finance can be improved to increase equity and achievement.

  • The Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) has revamped its web site and is ceasing publication of its monthly e-newsletter.

  • According to the College Board's seventh annual "Advanced Placement Report to the Nation," 16.9% of the Class of 2010 achieved mastery (at least a 3 on a 5-point scale) on one or more AP exams—up from 10.8% in 2001 and 13.9% in 2006. Yet, while nine states have over 20% of their students graduate from high school having earned an AP exam grade of at least 3, 13 states and the District of Columbia have less than 10%. Moreover, though 14 states have closed the equity and excellence gap for Hispanic students, only two states have closed the gap for African-American students.

  • According to the latest annual report released by the Data Quality Campaign, states have made unprecedented progress collecting longitudinal information but have not taken action to ensure data are used to improve student achievement.

  • The Department's Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (OSDFS) recently announced the launch of the American Clearinghouse on Educational Facilities web site, which provides information, training, and assistance regarding all phases of educational facility building and operation.

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Quote to Note

"The nation has 15,000 school districts. Too many of them are trapped in a dynamic that pits labor and management against each other. That doesn't work for the adults involved or for the children we are committed to serve. Districts and states need a new framework in which student learning drives how districts and other stakeholders recruit, train, and support teachers, implement policies, pass budgets, and align the work of reform. This needs to go well beyond our budgets and bargaining agreements, because the work of improving student learning is too nuanced and complex to be captured in the dry language of a budget document or a labor contract negotiated every few years and then set aside until the next battle."

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (2/15/11), in remarks at the labor-management conference

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Upcoming Events

On February 24, the Department's National Center for Education Statistics, part of the IES, will release results from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in science.

The Department's Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) is hosting a series of regional meetings to engage stakeholders on what makes for quality education for English Learners. A diverse assembly of stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, policymakers, researchers, students, and parents, will have the opportunity to identify areas of concern, share promising practices for classrooms and schools, and define new directions for reform and transformation in English Learner instruction. The series consists of three common dialogues, on different dates, each with a satellite site. The next meeting is March 7 and 8, in Los Angeles (main) and Seattle (satellite). There is no registration fee, and participants may draw from state and local Title I and/or Title III funds (if available) to pay for their travel and lodging.

Also, building off the first White House Summit on Community Colleges, the Department's Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) is sponsoring one-day community college regional summits in Philadelphia (February 28), Houston (March 9), Indianapolis (March 23), and San Diego (April 15) and a virtual community college symposium the week of April 25, to bring together community college leaders, students, faculty, business leaders, philanthropic organizations, and other workforce development experts to discuss the role that community colleges play in efforts to increase the number of college graduates and prepare graduates to lead today's workforce.

OSDFS will host its National Conference (theme: "Making the Connection: Creating and Maintaining Conditions for Learning") August 8-10 at the Gaylord National Resort in suburban Washington, D.C.

Over the next two weeks, the Department will exhibit at the Future Educators Association's Conference in Atlanta (February 18-20), the National Association of Independent Schools' Conference near Washington, D.C. (February 23-25), the Beyond School Hours Conference in Atlanta (February 23-26), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals' Conference in San Francisco (February 24-27). If you are attending any of these events, please stop by the Department's booth.

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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
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Last Modified: 03/04/2011