October 26, 2001
...a bi-weekly update on Education Department activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
TIPS FOR PARENTS
Continuing the focus on reading, the Department's Partnership for Family Involvement in Education (PFIE) has unveiled a new English/Spanish publication, "Reading Tips for Parents/Consejos prácticos de lectura para los padres," aimed specifically at parents helping their children learn to read. The booklet consists of four sections: (1) How Can I Help My Child Be Ready to Read and Ready to Learn?, (2) How Do I Know a Good Early Reading Program When I See One?, (3) Simple Strategies for Creating Strong Readers, and (4) the Five Essential Components of Reading. For example, point two of section one recommends, "Read to your baby every day, starting at six months of age. Reading and playing with books is a wonderful way to spend special time with her. Hearing words over and over helps her become familiar with them. Reading to your baby is one of the best ways to help her learn." TO ORDER, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/about/ordering.jsp and enter "Reading Tips" in the Simple Search text box.
Also: The extremely popular "Parent's Guide to the Internet" has been revised and is available for advance ordering at ED PUBS (follow the same link above but enter "Guide to the Internet" in the Simple Search text box). The guide provides basic information about how to use the computer to find information and communicate with others. It also explains what is needed to get started on the Internet and points "surfers" to some of the interesting, helpful, and fun resources available online for parents and children.
ADVISORY COMMISSION: HISPANIC AMERICANS
On October 12, as part of a White House event celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, President Bush signed an executive order creating the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. The order directs the Commission (25 members, 21 appointed by the President and four ex-officios from the government) to provide advice to the Secretary of Education and issue reports to the President concerning:
The order also establishes, within the Education Department, a White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans (http://www.yic.gov/), which will provide the necessary staff, resources, and assistance to the Commission. An interim report from the Commission is due September 30, 2002. The final report is due no later than March 31, 2003. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.yic.gov/paceea/eo.html. (President Bush's remarks are available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/10/20011012-6.html.)
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION WEEK
In an October 17 statement, Secretary Paige encouraged "schools and colleges, businesses, and communities to join with [the Department] in observing International Education Week (November 12-16, 2001) and to extend the study throughout the year." Participation can take many forms: schools can recognize students who have achieved high standards in foreign languages, world history, or geography; teachers can facilitate classroom-to-classroom connections with other countries (see "The Teacher's Guide to International Collaboration on the Internet, available at http://www.ed.gov/Technology/guide/international/index.html); and communities can sponsor discussions on international topics and invite professors or exchange students to speak about their countries. "Knowledge about the culture and language of our neighbors throughout the world is becoming increasingly important in the daily lives of all Americans," the Secretary explained. "The events surrounding the terrorist attacks of September 11 underscore that point." FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://exchanges.state.gov/iew2001/. (Note: An activities and events response sheet is available at http://exchanges.state.gov/iew2001/response.htm.)
NEW ASSISTANT SECRETARY
President Bush intends to nominate Sally Stroup to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. Stroup is currently the Director of Government Affairs for the Apollo Group and the University of Phoenix. From 1993 to 2001, she was on staff for the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Education and the Workforce, and from 1981 to 1993, she was with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (first as staff attorney, then as Senior Vice President of Legal Services). As assistant secretary, Stroup will be charged with setting the direction for higher education policy and administering the Department's higher education programs. Her nomination completes the roster of assistant secretaries. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/10-2001/10162001b.html.
Also: Last week, Secretary Paige announced Daniel Langan as the Department's new press secretary. A native of Munhall, PA, Langan joined the Department in May 2001, serving as a special assistant for Undersecretary Eugene Hickok. Previously, he was press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Education during the Tom Ridge administration. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/10-2001/10152001a.html.
"Any Time, Any Path, Any Pace: Taking the Lead on e-Learning Policy," a recent report from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), concludes that "e-Learning will improve American education in valuable ways and should be universally implemented as soon as possible." Indeed, nearly every state has "islands of innovation" where educational technologies have been integrated with impressive results. However, the report goes on to say that, absent firm policy guidance, "the nation is rushing pell-mell toward an ad hoc system of education that exacerbates existing disparities and cannot assure a high standard of education across new modes of instruction." As such, state policymakers need to "seize the opportunity to take the lead and move decisively to assure that e-Learning spreads rapidly and equitably, is used well, and strengthens the public education system." Among the suggestions: revising learning standards, bringing state assessments online, and ensuring equity and access for all students to facilitate future expansion. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nasbe.org/e_Learning.html. (Speaking at the rollout, Undersecretary Eugene Hickok congratulated NASBE on the report and said the Education Department wants to partner with, and learn from, state and local technology experiences.)
CHARTERS AND MAGNETS
In successive days, Secretary Paige announced grants under the Public Charter School and Magnet Schools Assistance Programs. First, an unprecedented $182 million is going to help set up, develop, and expand charter schools and to promote the exchange of information regarding what works to improve student performance within charters across the nation (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/10-2001/10112001a.html). Of that, nearly $89 million is being awarded to 15 states for the first year of three-year grants. Another $86 million will provide second- and third-year funding to 20 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The remaining $7 million will support field-initiated national activities, including research and data collection, technical assistance, and the sharing of best practices. For example, Arizona State University received $348,547 to establish a two-year leadership training program for charter leaders and educational entrepreneurs. Second, $37.2 million is going to 24 local school districts to set up or strengthen magnet school programs that bring diverse groups of children together, offer public school choice, and create innovative educational programs for students (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/10-2001/10122001a.html). The grants are the final group of a total of 60 (nearly $96 million) awarded over the past four months.
"This nation of immigrants believes that all children, whatever their circumstances, deserve a chance to learn, and rise, and succeed. This principle has guided my education reforms as we work to raise the standards of public schools across America and bring hope to every classroom for every child. I mean every child, not just a few, not just those whose parents may speak English. We want educational excellence para todos que viven in este país."
-- President George W. Bush (10/12/01)
"Last week, I joined President Bush and my colleagues in welcoming the former governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge, to the President's Cabinet. He understands the importance of education to homeland security. As he recently said, 'If you want to respond to terrorism, and you want to fight back, then you create an educated citizenry.' Are we creating an educated citizenry? Our nation is blessed with many excellent schools and many excellent educators. But, nationally, our system is still failing too many children."
-- Education Secretary Rod Paige (10/17/01)
Don't forget to register for one of the two remaining Improving America's Schools (IAS) conferences: Reno, NV (November 13-15) and San Antonio, TX (December 17-19). Each conference represents an ideal opportunity for members of the community, including businesses, to learn more about the Department's programs and priorities and explore ideas to better promote equity and excellence in schools. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ncbe.gwu.edu/iasconferences/.
The Department's next Satellite Town Meeting is scheduled for November 20. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/event-flyer.asp?intEventID=150.
Please feel free to contact the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with any questions:
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