NEWSLETTERS
February 24, 2012 ED Review
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 February 24, 2012
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What's inside...
FY 2013 Budget
Community College Tour
RESPECT Project
School Crime and Safety
Education Startup Challenge
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

FY 2013 Budget

For the second consecutive year, President Obama released his annual budget proposal at an institution of education. Last year, he visited a middle school in Baltimore. This year, he visited Northern Virginia Community College's Annandale Campus. "An economy built to last demands that we keep doing everything we can to help students learn the skills that businesses are looking for," he said. "The budget that we're releasing today is a reflection of shared responsibility. It says that, if we're serious about investing in our future and investing in community colleges, new energy technology, and basic research, we've got to pay for it. And, that means we've got to make some choices."

The President is requesting $69.8 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education, an increase of $1.7 billion (2.5%) from 2012. He is also requesting $14 billion in one-time investments for key reform areas. These new investments will ensure that continuing investments in programs like Title I, special education, and Pell Grants are able to serve students and schools well.

Some budget highlights:

  • Aligning education with workforce demands. The budget includes $8 billion in mandatory funding for a Community College to Career Fund. Jointly administered with the U.S. Department of Labor, this competitive program would provide funding to develop new partnerships between businesses and two-year colleges in order to train and place two million workers in high-growth industries. (Note: A White House fact sheet on the fund is available online.)
  • Raising up the teaching profession. The budget includes $5 billion in competitive funding to support states and school districts as they pursue bold reforms to better recruit, prepare, support, and compensate teachers (see below). It also establishes a new 25% set-aside of Title II funds (about $620 million) that would go toward creating and expanding high-performing pathways into teaching and school leadership, reducing shortages of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers, and investing in efforts to enhance the profession.
  • Increasing college affordability and quality. The budget includes $1 billion for a new Race to the Top: College Affordability and Completion competition to drive reform at the state level and help students finish faster. It also offers $55 million for a First in the World competition to spur innovation among colleges and universities, including minority-serving institutions, and help them scale up practices that increase college completion rates.
  • Continuing proven reform efforts. The budget includes $850 million for a 2013 Race to the Top competition; $150 million for the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund; and $100 million (an increase from $60 million) for the Promise Neighborhoods program.

These proposals come on top of continued investments, including $14.5 billion for Title I, $534 million for School Improvement Grants, and $11.6 billion for special education grants to states.

Want to dig deeper? Among the resources posted online are a press release; the budget summary; state-by-state tables showing how education funds would be distributed under formula-based and selected student aid programs; and various budget fact sheets on cross-cutting issues. Furthermore, one can read the transcript, view the PowerPoint presentation, and watch the video from the Department's February 14 stakeholders forum.

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Community College Tour

This week, Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis embarked on a three-day "Community College to Career" bus tour to highlight innovative industry partnerships that are helping train students with the skills they need to meet area workforce needs. In three cities in Ohio and communities in Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, they visited a number of community colleges to learn about model industry partnerships. They also encouraged community college students, faculty, and business and community leaders to report on how partnerships have benefited them and their community.

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RESPECT Project

Also this week, Secretary Duncan held a town hall meeting with teachers and teacher leadership organizations to launch the Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) Project—a national conversation about the teaching profession being led by active classroom teachers working temporarily for the Department. The purpose of this conversation is to help inform the President's $5 billion competitive funding proposal (see above) and get teachers' best thinking around the broader effort to transform teaching. "We need to change society's views of teaching—from the factory model of yesterday to the professional model of tomorrow—where teachers are revered as thinkers, leaders, and nation-builders," he said. "No profession carries a greater burden for securing our economic future. No profession holds out more promise of opportunity to children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. And, no profession deserves more respect." Details of the program will be developed through budget negotiations with Congress and the competition process itself, but the proposal considers many reforms: revamping teacher preparation programs and making them more selective; creating new career ladders for teachers; linking earnings more closely to student performance, rather than simply longevity or credentials; compensating teachers for working in challenging learning environments; making salaries more competitive; improving professional development and giving time for collaboration; providing teachers with greater autonomy, in exchange for greater accountability; building educator evaluation systems based on multiple measures; and revamping tenure to raise the bar, protect effective teachers, and promote accountability.

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School Crime and Safety

"Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2011," a new report issued jointly by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, examines crimes occurring in school, as well as on the way to and from school, and presents data on safety at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, and principals. The report covers topics such as victimization, bullying, school conditions, fighting, weapons, and availability and student use of drugs and alcohol. One significant finding: the total crime victimization rate of students at school declined from 43 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2009 to 32 per 1,000 students in 2010.

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Education Startup Challenge

On February 1, the Department opened the National Education Startup Challenge. Students are invited to submit a business plan and a video clip promotion for a for- or non-profit startup that includes an innovative strategy, product, or service designed to address one of four topics. Do you have innovative ideas on how to: (1) help middle school students' transition to high school and graduate; (2) develop skills for success in postsecondary education; (3) choose affordable colleges that best suit student needs, consistent with their education and career goals; or (4) increase the likelihood students complete their college degrees on time or early? The deadline for submissions is May 1. Winning students will be celebrated by White House and Department officials and may qualify for additional recognition opportunities.

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Odds and Ends

  • The January 2012 edition of "School Days," the Department's monthly video journal, features President Obama's State of the Union message and his plans for making college more affordable, Secretary Duncan's challenge for college sports programs to strike a better balance between academics and athletics, and a convening of state education leaders to talk about Race to the Top plans.

  • Last week, the Department approved New Mexico's request for flexibility from No Child Left Behind (NCLB), making it the eleventh state to receive a waiver.

  • To celebrate Black History Month, the Secretary and District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson paid tribute to African-American women who are advocates for education.

  • To celebrate National Engineering Week and highlight the need for highly skilled STEM teachers, the Secretary stopped by the [launch of the new public-private partnership 100Kin10, which is working to achieve the President's goal of recruiting and training 100,000 world-class STEM teachers within 10 years.

  • A reminder: the Department has published in the Federal Register a Request for Information (RFI) on promising and practical strategies to increase postsecondary success.

  • In the first in a series of blog posts spotlighting leaders at the Department, John Wilson discusses Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

  • The What Works Clearinghouse is now reviewing research on curricula and strategies designed to improve student achievement and outcomes in science.

  • The Environmental Justice Strategy details how the agency's policies, programs, and activities aim to increase access for all to healthy, safe, and high-achievement promoting environments.

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Quote to Note

"I am absolutely convinced that the future of the teaching profession and the future of our nation are inextricably linked.... As we fight to strengthen our nation economically, as we fight for social justice through strong and genuine educational opportunity, the voice of teachers has never been more important. There will be areas of disagreement. It will proceed in different ways in each state and school district. There will be no single formula for success. But, one way or another, change is coming to the field of education. I know that, if our teachers are at the table demanding that change and leading that change, the outcomes will be in the best interests of our children, our teachers, and our nation."

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (2/15/12), formally launching the RESPECT Project

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Upcoming Events

On February 29, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Cathy Simoneaux, Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid at Loyola University New Orleans, will host this month's #AskFAFSA Office Hours on Twitter.

March 8-10, the Department will exhibit at the National Association of Secondary School Principals' K-12 Conference in Tampa. If you are attending this event, 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:
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Intergovernmental Affairs—Stacey Jordan, (202) 401-0026, Stacey.Jordan@ed.gov
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Last Modified: 03/01/2012