NEWSLETTERS
April 12, 2013 ED Review

 April 12, 2013
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FY 2014 Budget
Return on Investment
Travel Log
Funding Opportunities
Arts Education
Let's Get Cooking!
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

FY 2014 Budget

On April 10, President Obama sent Congress his annual budget request, presenting his plan to invest in the true engine of America's economic growth: a rising and thriving middle class. He also addressed the press in the Rose Garden, noting that, while our economy is poised for progress, we need to be smarter about our priorities as a nation. "To help workers earn the skills they need to fill [good] jobs, we'll work with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child across America," he said. "And, we're going to pay for it by raising taxes on tobacco products that harm our young people.... We'll reform our high schools and job training programs to equip more Americans with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy. We'll help more middle class families afford the rising cost of college. And, to make sure hard work is rewarded, we'll build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for anybody willing to work hard to climb them. We'll partner with 20 of our communities hit hardest by the recession, to help them improve housing, and education, and business investment."

The President is requesting $71.2 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education, an increase of $3.1 billion—or 4.5%—over the Fiscal Year 2013 pre-sequester level. "We must continue to build on the reforms already transforming classrooms across the country," Secretary Duncan stated. "Strategic investments in our educational system will not only provide more opportunities for millions of Americans, but they will also strengthen our nation's workforce."

The cornerstone of the President's education investments is expanding high-quality early learning opportunities to all four-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. Studies show these children have less access to high-quality early education and are less likely to enter school prepared for success—creating an educational opportunity gap that can shadow them for the rest of their lives. The Preschool for All proposal would invest $75 billion over 10 years in separate, fully offset mandatory funding to create new partnerships with states and provide high-quality preschool to more communities. The proposal also provides $750 million in discretionary funding to help states strengthen their early learning systems and prepare to expand access to high-quality preschool.

Including Preschool for All, the President's budget is targeted to strengthen the education pipeline from cradle to career, including:

Want to dig deeper? Among the helpful resources online are a press release, blog posts (here and here), the budget summary, and fact sheets on cross-cutting issues. Furthermore, one can view video from the Department's budget briefing for associations and listen to the Department's press call.

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Return on Investment

On April 11, Secretary Duncan testified on the Administration's continued investments in education before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. "The big takeaway message here is that education is more than a set of numbers on the ledger line," he stressed. "Education is not just an expense—it's an investment. In fact, it is one of the most critical investments in the future that we, as a nation, can make. America cannot win the race for the future without investing in education...." The Secretary sketched out some important progress made during the President's first term, highlighted urgent educational challenges that remain, and talked about the ROI—the return on investment in education spending—with special emphasis on the President's pre-school plan. He also summarized other core elements of the President's 2014 education budget.

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Travel Log

Secretary Duncan traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, last week (recap here and here) for a series of events to spotlight state and local education reform efforts. First, he joined Governor Bill Haslam and Knox County Schools Superintendent James McIntyre at West High School, visiting classrooms and participating in a roundtable discussion on initiatives that have increased student performance. He emphasized President Obama's challenge to redesign America's high schools so they better equip students for college and career success. Next, he delivered remarks about Tennessee's rapid progress and urgent challenges at the University of Tennessee's Howard Baker Center for Public Policy. During his speech, he detailed the President's proposals to expand early learning opportunities. Then, he joined a group of teachers at Ritta Elementary School for an honest conversation about a range of issues.

Also, this week, the Secretary and National PTA President Betsy Landers hosted a school safety town hall at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Funding Opportunities

The Department is currently seeking applications for the Advanced Placement (AP) Test Free Program and the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program . The AP Test Free Program awards grants to states to enable them to pay all or a portion of AP test fees on behalf of low-income students. Applications are due June 3. The Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program, which awards four types of grants, is designed to effect long-range improvement in science and engineering education at predominantly minority institutions and to increase the flow of underrepresented ethnic minorities, particularly minority women, into scientific and technological careers. Applications are due May 31.

Also, the Secretary announced that 13 more states will receive funding to turn around persistently lowest-achieving schools under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) Program. Awards are being made on a rolling basis. To date, 34 states have been approved to receive SIG funding.

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Arts Education

Director of Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs Monique Chism was on a panel on "Embracing Arts Education Strategies to Achieve Title I Goals" at the recent Arts Education Partnership National Forum. Research demonstrates the value of certain kinds of arts programs to achieving the goals of the federal Title I program to support the achievement of students from low-income families. Yet, despite this evidence and statements from Secretary Duncan that Title I funds may be appropriately used for arts education, schools and school districts are often reluctant to do so. The panel specifically discussed efforts in Arizona and California to connect advocacy, policy, and research to embrace rigorous arts education programs.

Also, a public webinar on April 17 (2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time) hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will look at how federal agencies are using arts education to foster the well-being of the youngest populations.

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Let's Get Cooking!

First Lady Michele Obama is again challenging America's most creative junior chefs to put their talents to good use and whip up delicious lunchtime recipes. The second "Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids' State Dinner" invites children ages 8-12 and their parents or guardians to create and submit an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty. Recipes must adhere to the guidance that supports the Department of Agriculture's MyPlate. Recipes must also represent each of the food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and vegetables making up roughly half of the plate or recipe. Fifty-six children and their parent/guardian—one pair from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories—will be flown to Washington, D.C., to attend a Kids' State Dinner at the White House, where a selection of the winning recipes will be served. Recipes may be submitted online through May 12.

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Quote to Note

"Contrary to what you may heard, the President's [Preschool for All] plan would not be a new federal entitlement program. States would use federal funds to create or expand high-quality preschool programs in partnership with school-based and community providers. States would provide an increasing match for the program, and every cent of the $75 billion provided by the federal government would be paid for by increases in taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products. Our theory of action in expanding high-quality preschool is going to be the same as it was in the first term. The federal role is to support and partner with states, incentivize innovation, and help identify what works to strengthen education and accelerate achievement.... The Department should set a high bar for quality in preschool programs, but it should leave it up to state and local leaders to choose the best means for reaching that bar."

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (4/11/13), testifying on the President's FY 2014 budget request

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Upcoming Events

Later today, at 4:00 p.m. ET, Secretary Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will host a conference call on the Administration's commitment to early learning. Then, on April 19, at 12:30 p.m. ET, senior staff from both agencies will host an in-person briefing to delve deeper into the plan. The briefing will also be live streamed. Register here for the call and/or the briefing.

The 568 semifinalists for the 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program will be announced on April 15. The 141 Scholars will be announced the first full week of May and invited to Washington, D.C., for recognition events in June.

On Earth Day (April 22), the Department will broadcast live on its USTREAM channel the announcement of 2013 U.S. Department of Education-Green Ribbon Schools Award winners, as well as post all nomination packages and release a highlights document. This cohort will include the first District Sustainability Award honorees. (Note: National Environmental Education Week is April 14-20, and National Park Week is April 20-28.)

On April 24, in a live webcast at 11:00 a.m. ET, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will release the results of a new National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report on economics. The report will explore how twelfth-grade students' economic literacy has progressed during a period of global financial change and how well students know and apply the concepts of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international trade in real world contexts.

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Last Modified: 02/03/2014