A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
December 21, 2001 (Happy Holidays!)
...a bi-weekly update on Education Department activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
On December 18, capping a flurry of congressional activity, the U.S. Senate approved President Bush's comprehensive education reform plan, the No Child Left Behind Act, by a vote of 87-10 (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/12-2001/12182001.html). The bill now goes to the President to be signed into law. Only seven days earlier (December 11), members of the House-Senate Education Conference Committee reached agreement on a conference report (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/12-2001/12112001b.html) upholding the legislation's four basic principles: stronger accountability for results, expanded flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the plan a day later (December 12), by a vote of 381-41 (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/12-2001/12132001.html). According to a statement by Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, "These reforms lay the foundation for the most important changes in federal education policy since 1965." FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/. (The House Education Committee web site, http://edworkforce.house.gov/issues/107th/education/nclb/nclb.htm, includes links to the conference report, a report summary, and a variety of fact sheets and charts.)
Note: Secretary Paige's recent address to the Improving America's Schools conference in San Antonio is available at http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/12-2001/20011219.html.
WINTER READING CAMPAIGN
At historic Mount Vernon, Secretary Paige kicked-off "Home for the Holidays... Reading Together," a new campaign to encourage families to read together while kids are home during their winter vacation. "Reading is the foundation of all learning, and research tells us that children whose families spend time reading together know more words than other children," the Secretary said in his remarks. "I encourage all Americans to fill their holiday season with opportunities for learning by reading together." In support of the initiative, the Department also unveiled a new web site, http://www.ed.gov/inits/holidays/, containing suggested reading lists, tips to help adults and children read well together, and directions to help children make bookmarks for themselves or to give as gifts. (Alternatively, caregivers might consider donating reading materials to organizations serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds -- whose homes may not be filled with books, magazines, or newspapers -- or schools and libraries serving students from disadvantaged backgrounds.)
TESTING FOR RESULTS
The next Satellite Town Meeting (January 15, 8:00-9:00 EST) aims to inform parents and teachers about the testing provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act (see above) and describe how annual assessments can be used to ensure student progress and drive instruction. Effective testing, when linked to high academic standards and a challenging curriculum, can help schools improve. Indeed, high-performing communities often have teachers and school leaders who use achievement scores to identify specific objectives that students are or are not mastering. During the hour, Secretary Paige and his guests will address: (1) How can principals, teachers, and parents better understand and use data?; (2) What are the most effective ways that assessment can drive curriculum development?; (3) How can test information empower parents to make better decisions for their children's education?; and (4) What information should administrators and policymakers have to make improvements in the educational system? And YOU can be part of the discussion by calling a toll-free number during the live broadcast or submitting a question instantly online (see http://www.connectlive.com/events/edtownmeetings/). (You can also watch the live and archived webcasts at the same address.) FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/event-flyer.asp?intEventID=151.
HIGH-POVERTY, HIGH-MINORITY, HIGH-PERFORMING
"Dispelling the Myth Revisited," a new report from the Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization Education Trust, identifies over 4,500 high-poverty and/or high-minority schools nationwide that scored in the top one-third of all schools in their states -- often outperforming predominantly white schools in wealthy communities. All the schools cited in the report have poverty and minority enrollment levels of at least 50 percent and have poverty and/or minority levels in the top one-third of all schools in their states. Among the findings, gleaned from a massive Education Department database:
The report includes complete state-by-state lists of schools with achievement and demographic data (http://www.edtrust.org/). In addition, Education Trust has created a searchable database that allows users to generate instant lists of schools based on specific search criteria (http://220.127.116.11/dtm/).
The Department's team of Secretary's Regional Representatives (SRRs) is quickly coming together. Earlier this month, Michael Sentence, former education policy advisor to MA Gov. Paul Cellucci, was named SRR for Region I (serving the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont). Then, last week, Secretary Paige announced Daniel Cassidy (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/12-2001/12112001.html), previously director of education policy for Jersey City, NJ, Mayor Bret Schundler, as SRR for Region II (serving New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands). And on Monday, Pat Chlouber (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/12-2001/12192001.html), teacher and former chair of the Colorado Board of Education, started in Region VIII (serving the states of Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming). SRRs for Region V (headquartered in Chicago, IL) and Region IX (headquartered in San Francisco, CA) are nearly on board. SRRs serve as the Department's liaison to state and community education agencies, schools, colleges and universities, elected officials, parents' groups, faith-based organizations, and the local business community. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/about/contacts/gen/.
INTERAGENCY SPOTLIGHT: CENTENNIAL FLIGHT
From time-to-time, this section of ED Review will highlight the education-related activities of other federal agencies. Twenty-two federal agencies meet regularly, under the auspices of the Federal Interagency Committee on Education (FICE), to discuss and coordinate the federal investment in education.
The Centennial of Flight Commission (http://www.centennialofflight.gov/) was created by Congress to serve as a central source of information about activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first powered flight on December 17, 1903. Besides planning celebrations in North Carolina and Dayton, OH (the brothers' home), the commission is encouraging educational projects about aviation and aeronautics aimed at rediscovering the challenges of flight. The website offers a matrix of organizations (http://www.centennialofflight.gov/matrix_intro.htm), from NASA to the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, that offer relevant educational activities and resources. There are also posters and bookmarks available to download (http://www.centennialofflight.gov/education/posters.htm#). Meanwhile, on Monday, December 17, 2001, the commission released its national plan (http://www.centennialofflight.gov/commission/natl_plan/natl_plan.htm) to build momentum for 2003.
QUOTES TO NOTE
"I commend members of Congress for acting boldly and in an overwhelmingly bipartisan way to help make sure no child in America is left behind. These historic reforms will improve our public schools by creating an environment where every child can learn through real accountability, unprecedented flexibility for states and school districts, greater local control, more options for parents, and more funding for what works.... By putting aside partisan differences and working to find common ground, we can get things done so that all our children have the opportunity for a better and brighter future."
-- President George W. Bush (12/18/01)
"With the No Child Left Behind Act, education reform grows up. Reform is no longer about access or money. It is no longer about compliance or excuses. It is about improving student achievement by improving the quality of the education we offer American students. Instead of paying for services, we will be investing in achievement."
-- Education Secretary Rod Paige (12/19/01)
The EDS Technology Grant Program (http://www.eds.com/community_affairs/com_tech_grants.shtml) helps teachers of children ages 6-18 purchase information technology products and services that will improve their students' ability to learn. Each year, $1,500 grants are awarded to teachers through their schools (note: schools applying for a grant must be located within 50 miles of a sponsoring EDS account). Grants can only be used to pay for technology products, training, and services, and EDS encourages teachers to propose unique classroom projects or student exercises. Applications must be postmarked by January 18, 2002, FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.eds.com/community_affairs/com_tech_grants_02.shtml.
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