A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
December 7, 2001
...a bi-weekly update on Education Department activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
PISA 2000 RESULTS
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) was developed by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to assess the reading, mathematics, and science literacy of 15-year-olds in 32 participating countries. According to the first round of results, released earlier this week, American students perform at the international average of their peers in all three subjects: the U.S. ranked 15th in literacy, 18th in math, and 14th in science. "Unfortunately, we are average across the board compared to other industrialized nations," Secretary Paige responded. "In the global economy, these countries are our competitors -- average is not good enough for American kids." On a positive note, the U.S. had among the highest percentage of students scoring in the top 10 percent in overall reading skill, trailing only Canada, Finland, and New Zealand. But, the U.S. also had more students at the lowest level than several countries. Other findings: girls outperform boys in reading in every participating country (there was no difference by gender in math or science in the U.S.); parents' education and socioeconomic status is strongly linked to student performance in most OECD countries; and, like other studies, there are gaps in performance between racial and ethnic groups. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/.
NEW RULES FOR NOVICES
To encourage greater participation by first-time and inexperienced applicants for federal funding, the Department recently published new rules in the Federal Register. The rules give the Secretary of Education the option of holding separate competitions just for novice applicants, or including novice applicants in the general program competitions -- but giving them a competitive preference through bonus points. A novice applicant refers to any applicant who:
More than 100 discretionary grant competitions are anticipated during the current fiscal year, providing nearly $900 million in support for education programs. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2001-4/113001a.html. (A revised forecast of funding opportunities is available at http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/find/edlite-forecast.html.)
TEACHER QUALITY: STATE REPORTS
Section 207, Title II of the Higher Education Act (HEA), as amended, requires each state receiving federal funding to report annually on the quality of teacher preparation in the state, including standards for teachers and their alignment with standards for students, requirements for an initial teaching certificate or license, pass rates on each assessment used by states in certifying or licensing teachers, state standards for evaluating the performance of teacher preparation programs, teachers in the classroom on waivers, and state efforts in the past year to improve the quality of teaching. Schools of education provide their institutional data to the states each spring and widely disseminate their reports to potential applicants, high school guidance counselors, and prospective employers of their graduates (such as school superintendents). States, in turn, provide their reports to the Education Department in October. To this point, the Department has not evaluated the information and data submitted by states. However, analysis will be presented in the Secretary's first annual report on the quality of teacher preparation due April 2002. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.title2.org/statereports/.
Also: On November 28, Secretary Paige announced the winners of the Department's National Awards Program for Professional Development: Starlight Elementary School (Watsonville, CA); Ridge Meadow Elementary School (Ellisville, MO); North Nodaway (Pickering, MO); the North Kansas City (MO) School District; and the Mesquite (TX) Independent School District. These schools and school districts demonstrated that their professional development programs resulted in improved teacher effectiveness and student learning. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/11-2001/11282001.html.
READING TIPS ONLINE
An English/Spanish resource released in October by the Department's Partnership for Family Involvement in Education (PFIE), "Reading Tips for Parents/Consejos prácticos de lectura para los padres," is now available online at http://pfie.ed.gov/. The booklet consists of four critical 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. The PFIE web site also includes links to two publications from the independent Partnership for Reading. One (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 other (http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/research/reading_first1.html) explains for teachers what researchers have discovered about how to teach children to read.
BALDRIGE AWARD WINNERS
Congratulations to the first-ever education category winners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award: Chugach School District (Anchorage, AK), Pearl River (NY) School District, and the University of Wisconsin at Stout. The award, named after the 26th Secretary of Commerce, was established in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. business. The education category was introduced in 1999. Any for-profit or not-for-profit public or private organization that provides education services in the U.S. or its territories is eligible to apply. Applicants must show achievements and improvements in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; student, stakeholder, and market focus; information and analysis; faculty and staff focus; process management; and organizational performance results. All undergo a rigorous examination process that ranges from 300 to 1,000 hours of outside review, and final-stage applicants are visited by teams of examiners to clarify questions and verify information. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/g01-110.htm. (The Baldrige program is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the Department of Commerce, in conjunction with the private sector.)
On December 5, Secretary Paige announced Wilbert Bryant as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/12-2001/12052001.html). Prior to joining the Department, Bryant served as Virginia's Secretary of Education, where he provided advice on the needs of 37 educational and cultural agencies and managed policy development for public schools, vocational and technical training centers, colleges and universities, and the state's community college system. From 1994 to 1998, he served as Deputy Secretary of Education, assisting on such education initiatives as Virginia's Standards of Learning (SOLs).
That same day, the Secretary announced Eric Hector Jaso as Deputy General Counsel for Postsecondary and Regulatory Service (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/12-2001/12052001a.html). Currently, Jaso is a senior litigation associate for Latham & Watkins in New Jersey. He graduated cum laude from Harvard University and received his juris doctor degree from the University of Chicago.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"The PISA [Program for International Student Assessment] is a new and exciting study that will, over time, provide important indicators of learning in the United States and other highly industrialized nations. PISA fulfills a unique role in providing information about learning in a real-world context, which will complement the portrait of American student performance obtained from other national and international studies. What makes PISA unique is its broad focus on literacy, rather than specific curricular knowledge. PISA's focus on age 15 also allows countries to measure outcomes of learning that reflect both societal and education system influences and measure students' preparedness for adult life beyond compulsory schooling."
-- NCES Commissioner Gary Phillips (12/4/01)
The MetLife Foundation and Families and Work Institute are soliciting applications for their new Tri-Connecting Award. This award will honor initiatives across the U.S. that strengthen connections among the triad of students, teachers, and parents -- with their communities -- to promote student learning and success. Eight finalists will receive grants of $2,500 to inspire continued action. The application deadline is January 11, 2002. Both the 2000 and 2001 "Metropolitan Life Survey of the American Teacher" (http:// www.metlife.com/Companyinfo/Community/Found/Docs/ed.html) highlight the troubling lack of connection between schools, parents, and communities as students navigate the world of learning. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.familiesandwork.org/metlife.html.
National School Counseling Week (February 4-8, 2002), sponsored by the American School Counselor Association, focuses public attention on the unique contribution of professional school counselors in helping students achieve success and plan for a career. Over 14,000 school counselors nationwide will be participating in the week's festivities, and many counselors will be hosting special events and activities to call attention to the benefits of a comprehensive school counseling program. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.schoolcounselor.org/content.cfm?L1=1000&L2=62.
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