October 12, 2001
...a bi-weekly update on Education Department activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
First Lady Laura Bush recently unveiled two publications produced by the Partnership for Reading (which brings together the Education Department, the National Institute for Literacy, and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development) that offer evidence-based reading research. The first publication, "Put Reading First: Helping Your Child Learn to Read" (http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/research/reading_first2.html ), describes for parents and caregivers the kinds of early literacy activities that should take place at school and at home to help children learn to read successfully. The second publication, "Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read" (http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/research/reading_first1.html ), summarizes for teachers what researchers have discovered about how to teach children to read successfully. Mrs. Bush has made early childhood development a major feature of her education initiative (http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/read/rrrl/part.html). TO ORDER, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html and enter "Put Reading First" in the Simple Search text box.
SPECIAL EDUCATION COMMISSION
On October 3, by executive order, President Bush established the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education to "collect information and study issues related to federal, state, and local special education programs, with the goal of recommending policies for improving the educational performance of students with disabilities." The commission, consisting of 16 members from around the country and five ex-officio members from the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, will be chaired by former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and is charged to deliver its recommendations no later than April 30, 2002. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is due for reauthorization by Congress next year. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/10/20011003-12.html. (A list of commission members is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/10/20011003-13.html.)
Note: The day after, Secretary Paige testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce regarding the ability of America's schools to identify and provide a quality education to children with disabilities and the need for sound research related to children with special needs. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/10-2001/011004.html.
The next Satellite Town Meeting (October 16), the second of the 2001-02 series, will focus on the most productive ways schools can teach and reinforce core ethical values, civic virtues, and our democratic traditions. Secretary Paige and a panel of experts will explore such themes as: the critical role of parents and the community in building successful character education programs; the availability of resources dedicated to character development (both through the Department and other organizations); and how character education can reinforce patriotism and tolerance in the wake of terrorism. Studies of schools with successful character education programs show a positive impact on disciplinary referrals, daily attendance, dropout rates, and standardized test scores. To participate, simply locate a facility with satellite downlink capabilities or visit the Registration Gateway for viewing options in your area. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/event-flyer.asp?intEventID=149.
SENIOR YEAR STUDY
According to "Raising Our Sights: No High School Senior Left Behind," the final report of the National Commission on the High School Senior Year, the problems of America's high school seniors go deeper than "senioritis" and require a comprehensive remedy involving all levels of education, from preschool to postsecondary education. Indeed, though 90 percent of high schoolers say they want to go to college, only 43 percent take a full set of college-prep classes. In response, the Commission advocates a "Triple-A Program" -- improve alignment, raise achievement, and provide more (and more rigorous) alternatives:
President Bush intends to nominate William Leidinger to be Assistant Secretary for Management. Since 1997, Leidinger has worked at Price Waterhouse Coopers, initially as a Senior Principal Consultant and currently as Mid-Atlantic Business Development Manager. From 1992 to 1996, he served as County Executive for Fairfax County, Virginia. Leidinger's new office oversees various administrative functions, including human resources, information systems, labor-management relations, and government reinvention activities. His nomination is part of Secretary Paige's three-step strategy to correct mismanagement and abuse occurring at the Education Department. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/10-2001/10022001c.html.
Also: On October 1, John Danielson assumed responsibilities as Chief of Staff, replacing Terry Abbott (who is returning to his area of special expertise -- communications). A former special assistant to then-Secretary Lamar Alexander, Danielson helped found Community Education Partners, an education company that partners with public schools to offer disruptive and low-performing students alternative education opportunities. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/09-2001/09282001c.html.
If you blinked sometime during the last two weeks, you may have missed some of the following grant award announcements, corresponding with the end of the fiscal year:
"President Bush and I want to apply the four pillars of reform to the IDEA, just as we did to the ESEA. First, accountability for results is just as important for children with disabilities as for any other children. Second, flexibility and freedom from unnecessary and burdensome federal red tape can help school districts tailor services to the needs of students while preserving students' rights to appropriate services -- a task that has often been difficult to achieve under the IDEA. Third, empowering parents to participate more meaningfully in their children's education will improve student performance. Finally, supporting teaching methods and procedures based on scientific research will ensure that we are using what works in teaching our children with disabilities."
-- Education Secretary Rod Paige (10/4/01)
Consider participating in one of the Department's upcoming IDEA forums: Mobile, AL (Oct. 16 and 19), Minneapolis, MN (October 23), Providence, RI (November 5), Reno, NV (November 15), Washington, DC (December 6), and San Antonio, TX (December 19). The purpose of these forums is to solicit input from parents, practitioners, and policymakers about changes that should be considered during the reauthorization of the IDEA. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/OSEP/.
The National Alliance of Business' Annual Conference, "New Realities of Learning," is still on! Hundreds of corporate executives, public policymakers, and education leaders will come together on November 5 and 6, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in suburban Virginia, to react to ESEA legislation, coordinate action steps to improve math and science education at all levels, and talk directly with each other about priorities for postsecondary education, workforce preparation, and business-education partnerships.
Please feel free to contact the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with any questions:
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