Presidential Teaching Award
Civil Rights Data
Digest of Education Statistics
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Presidential Teaching Award
On December 20, President Obama named 102 teachersrepresenting all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Department of Defense Education Activityas recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. This award is conferred annually to outstanding K-12 math and science teachers from across the country. Winners are selected by a panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists, and educators, after an initial selection process at the state level. Each year, the award alternates between elementary and secondary school teachers; 2012 recipients teach kindergarten through sixth-grade. Winners receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, to be used at their discretion. They are also invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events.
Nominations for 2013 (secondary teachers) are closed, but nominations for 2014 (elementary teachers) are open through April 1.
The President is committed to strengthening science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. He has called for preparing 100,000 excellent math and science teachers over the next decadea goal that inspired creation of "100Kin10," a coalition of corporations, philanthropies, universities, service organizations, and others working to train and retain STEM teachers. He has also proposed a new STEM Master Teacher Corps, leveraging the expertise of the nation's brightest teachers in math and science to elevate the teaching of these subjects nationwide.
Last week, Secretary Duncan announced that seven states will receive $43.4 million to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools through the Department's School Improvement Grants (SIG) Program. These grants are awarded to states that then make subgrants to school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to provide adequate resources to substantially raise student achievement in their lowest-performing schools. Two of the statesArkansas and Kentuckywill receive funds to run a new competition for previously unfunded schools. The other five statesMissouri, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wisconsinwill receive continuation funds for the third year of implementing a SIG model. Under the Obama Administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1,500 of the country's persistently lowest-achieving schools. Early findings show positive momentum and progress for many SIG schools.
Civil Rights Data
Also last week, the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released new information from the 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), estimating state and national data based on a sample collection of school- and district-level data. The 2009-10 CRDC surveyed about 7,000 districts and 72,000 schools, representing 85% of the country's public school students. Technical notes provide some caveats and considerations that users should take into account when using the state and national data, particularly for items collected for the first time in the 2009-10 school year.
Last March, OCR released the school- and district-level data and a document analyzing some of the 2009-10 sample data. The CRDC reveals where schools and districts are lagging and where they are making great progress and leading in closing the achievement gap. With this information, the public can find and learn from schools and districts defying myths about achievement and opportunity.
OCR continues to refine its technical assistance to help districts provide data that is accurate and sufficient for meaningful analysis. The 2011-12 CRDCwhich collected data from every public schoolis complete, and OCR expects to release that data in the first quarter of 2014. And, planning is already underway for the 2013-14 CRDC.
Last month, more than 200 national public and private sector innovators from higher education, industry, and technology joined the White House and the Department at roundtables, at white boards, and over big sheets of poster paper to brainstorm creative ideas to improve postsecondary education. These individuals came together at two "Data Jams," the first at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on December 11 and the second at Stanford University on December 15. Leaders, experts, and students were charged to use open data and work collaboratively to solve a series of challenges, to increase students' access and success to achieve the President's leading goal "for the U.S. to have the best educated, most competitive workforce in the world by the year 2020."
Participants announced action steps in several areas:
- develop new tools to allow students to make informed decisions about whether to go to college, where to go, what to study, how to finance it, and how to manage student loan debt when out of school;
- use data and analytic techniques to improve teaching, learning, and success for online courses and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs);
- build on the experience of faculty and researchers to develop a way to share evidence-based practices, pedagogies, and content for hybrid and online teaching; and
- begin the conversation about articulating open data standards and privacy-appropriate sharing of online learning data.
Participants left the Data Jams volunteering to take action in the next month to implement the ideas. Some will develop new or expanded web sites, products, and tools for students. Others will enlist colleagues and friends to advance the work. Still others will take concrete steps that will lay the foundation for transformational change in the future. This month, at an "Education Datapalooza" in Washington, D.C., the White House and the Department will celebrate and spotlight some of the innovations that result from the Data Jams and similar gatherings over the fall. Send a message to Datapalooza@ed.gov to get involved.
Digest of Education Statistics
The "Digest of Education Statistics, 2012," from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), is the 48th in a series of publications initiated in 1962. Its primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American educationfrom pre-kindergarten through graduate schooldrawn from government and private sources, but especially from surveys and other activities led by NCES. The digest contains data on the number of schools, students, and teachers, as well as statistics on educational attainment, finances, libraries, technology, and international comparisons. Details on population trends, education attitudes, labor force characteristics, and federal aid supplies helpful background for evaluating the education data.
Odds and Ends
In her own blog post, titled "I Believe in Human Rights," Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle recognizes the recipients of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth's LeTendre Education Fund Scholarship and comments on the Department's support for the education of homeless youth.
A provisional NCES report presents data on postsecondary education enrollment and employment, graduation rates, and finances.
As part of its "Year in Review," the White House offers "Our 13 Favorite Online Moments of 2013."
The Department is committed to providing content that is informative, useful, and interesting. So, as we begin a new year, we want to hear from you. What information and resources do you want to see on our blog, newsletters, and social media? Is there something you like about our digital communications that you are hoping we continue? What do you find annoying or invaluable that you feel we should be deemphasizing? Please let us know by commenting here or tell us on Twitter, including our handle @usedgov in the tweet.
Quote to Note
"[F]or the first time in years, both parties in both houses of Congress came together to pass a budget that unwinds some of the damaging sequester cuts that created headwinds for our economy. It clears the path for businesses and for investments that we need to strengthen our middle class, like education and scientific research. And, it means the American people won't be exposed to the threat of another reckless shutdown every few months.... I think 2014 needs to be a year of action. We've got work to do to create more good jobs, to help more Americans earn the skills and education they need to do those jobs... We've got to build on the progress we've made over these last five years with respect to our economy and offer the middle class and all those who are looking to join the middle class a better opportunity, and that's going to be where I focus all of my efforts in the year ahead."
|||President Barack Obama (12/20/13), in remarks during his pre-holiday press conference|
On January 13, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) is hosting an Education Summit for Parent Leaders. There is no cost to attend the summit, but registration is required. Also, for those unable to attend in person, the summit will be live streamed from 9 a.m. to 12:00 noon Eastern Time, starting with a keynote address by Secretary Duncan. Other experts will present on the urgent need to improve student achievement and close persistent achievement gaps and how parent leaders can help. To watch via the Internet, please register here.
On January 14, at 11 a.m. ET, a student art exhibit of National PTA Reflections Program winners will open at the Department. After remarks by Secretary Duncan, National PTA President Otha Thornton, President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities Executive Director Rachel Goslins, and Reflections Committee Chair Dawn Small, music composition award winner Bailey Callahan and dance choreography/Special Artist Division award winner Jessica Clay will perform. To RSVP to attend or learn more about the Department's year-round exhibit program, please contact Nicole.Carinci@ed.gov.
The Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program provides K-16 educators with unique opportunities for overseas experience. This year, the program is open to teachers and administrators at the K-12 level with responsibilities for curriculum development in fields related to humanities, languages, and area studies. The topics and host countries vary annually, although all seminars are held outside of Western Europe. There is a seminar being offered this summer in China, with 14-16 positions, subject to the availability of funds. The deadline for applications is February 5.
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