September 14, 2001
...a bi-weekly update on Education Department activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND REMEMBRANCE
President Bush declared today, Friday, September 14, a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010913-7.html) for the victims of the terrorist attacks. His memorial remarks, delivered earlier today at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, are available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010914-2.html.
As part of the day, Secretary Paige asked (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/09-2001/09132001.html) educators to consider "having a moment of silence to be observed in classrooms or in a larger assembly of students." "There are students across this country who will want to join in honoring the memory of the thousands of victims of these brutal attacks and offering comfort to those who have lost loved ones," he said in a statement.
COPING WITH TRAGEDY
"The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat, but they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.... I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened."
-- President George W. Bush (9/11/01)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (http://www.fema.gov/) has the latest disaster news, with informational telephone numbers, advice on how to talk to children, and disaster aid available to victims of terrorist attacks. The Department's Office of Public Affairs has assembled a list of resources (http://www.ed.gov/inits/september11/index.html) with (1) suggestions for educators on meeting the needs of students and (2) suggestions for adults on talking with children about terrorism. The list includes coping techniques from the National Association of School Psychologists (http://www.nasponline.org/NEAT/crisis_0911.html). Moreover, the Department's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSDFS/) is expected to release Project SERV funds. Project School Emergency Response to Violence, created with a $10 million appropriation from Congress last year, provides short-term financial assistance to local school districts that have experienced a traumatic event, as well as support in meeting long-term crisis needs. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL 1-800-USA-LEARN.
BACK TO SCHOOL ADDRESS
On September 4, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Secretary Paige delivered his first "Back to School" address. While reviewing his visits to Albuquerque, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Orlando, the Secretary urged Congress to deliver a final education bill to President Bush. "If we choose the road toward progress, we can meet here at Back-to-School time next year and talk about reforms that are well underway," he explained. "But if we choose politics instead of progress, every child who could benefit from our work will be a year older and harder to reach." In particular, the Secretary emphasized freeing districts from federal red tape and providing schools more flexibility from federal requirements, "so they can focus on improving building instruction rather than managing bureaucracy." One step? Consolidating small and duplicative grant programs into larger, broader grants. The Secretary also emphasized accountability and making sure "we give thorough reform to everyone." "The message is that by following the principles of No Child Left Behind," he concluded, "all of us, working together, can create a culture in this country where parents have more choices, teachers have more resources, districts have more flexibility, everyone has more information, and, most important, no child is left behind." FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/09-2001/010904.html.
INVEST IN KIDS
A new survey from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, an anti-crime organization made up of more than 1,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, and victims of violence, shows that 86 percent of respondents support the expansion of after-school and school-readiness programs because, they believe, such initiatives help curb violence and crime. In fact, 64 percent of respondents said programs like 21st Century Community Learning Centers (http://www.ed.gov/21stcclc/) and Head Start (http://www2.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/hsb/) are more effective in reducing violence than "security measures like metal detectors, surveillance, and policing in and around schools." Meanwhile, in a separate poll of teenagers, the group found that children left unsupervised more than three days a week during the peak hours of juvenile crime (between the end of the school day and 6:00 p.m.) are three times more likely than their peers to commit crimes, smoke cigarettes, or have sex -- and four times more likely to become a victim of a crime or use drugs. A majority of teens reported there are too few after-school programs in their community and they would likely participate in an after-school program that offered interesting activities. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.fightcrime.org/backtoschool/.
STAR SCHOOLS GRANT
On September 10, Deputy Secretary Bill Hansen announced a $10 million Star Schools grant to help the Western Governors University (WGU) launch its Teachers College, a national telecommunications network that will provide accredited, online degrees and certificates to K-12 teachers and prospective teachers. "Our schools need more well-trained teachers who have the benefit of instruction in training methods that have proven to be effective in helping children to learn," Hansen said. "Teachers College will be unique in that it will serve working adults who are already teaching in schools but who are seeking additional instruction to help their students." The Star Schools program supports the use of technology -- via telecommunications networks -- to improve the teaching of literacy and job skills, as well as various subjects such as math, science, and foreign languages. In addition, the program assists underserved populations such as disabled, disadvantaged, and limited-English-proficient students. WGU is a consortium of 19 western states and about 40 universities. Teachers College will provide certification and advanced degrees in reading, math, science, technology, and English as a Second Language (ESL) and a professional development portal for ongoing training and the development of existing teachers. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/09-2001/09102001.html.
HIGH SCHOOL MOTIVATION
The National Academy of Sciences has commissioned a panel of education experts to begin a year-long examination of what motivates students -- especially those in urban high schools -- to learn. The Committee on Increasing High School Students' Engagement and Motivation to Learn will not conduct original research but rather "review, synthesize, and analyze" the current body of knowledge in a wide variety of fields, including education, psychology, sociology, and behavior science. From that viewpoint, the committee will examine how various factors (curriculum, instruction, peer pressure, and socioeconomic forces) affect students' enthusiasm for schoolwork. Conversely, the group will also investigate how students' motivation affects their academic achievement, high school completion, college enrollment rates, and access to desirable employment. The final report will be sent to a broad spectrum of policymakers, from federal officials and state superintendents down to teachers and local school administrators, depending on funding. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.national-academies.org/bocyf and select "Current Activities."
MAKE THE ANSWERS MATTER
"Thirty-five years after Lyndon Johnson started this effort, we've spent $147 billion on federal government programs. Unfortunately, this investment didn't come close to fulfilling its purpose. So we have to ask ourselves some questions. What is the federal role in education really doing for our children? How could we spend all this money and not win results? Why is it, after 35 years of federal involvement, that 70 percent of inner-city and rural fourth-graders cannot read? Until now, there have not been very satisfactory answers to those questions -- but that is changing, because our culture of education is changing. We are starting to ask these questions of every school and child, every year. We are starting to make the answers matter. We are starting to demand results, not excuses. We need to spread the message to every parent and teacher.... The message is that every child can learn. The message is that public schools are a public responsibility, and every member of the public should take that responsibility seriously. The message is that it's time to stop making excuses and start measuring and producing results. The message is that it is time to stop funding failure."
-- Education Secretary Rod Paige (9/4/01)
You are cordially invited to the Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase (IDEAS 2001) scheduled for October 2 and 3 in Washington, DC. The conference features workshops, discussions, and exhibits highlighting new methods to increase accessibility to information and technology for people with disabilities. Vendors will showcase accessible solutions, assistive technologies, universal design principles, and service programs, all of which emphasize federal compliance with Section 508. There is no cost to register or attend. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.cessi.net/ideas/.
Mark your calendars for one of the Department's 2001 Improving America's Schools (IAS) regional conferences: Mobile, AL (October 17-19), 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/.
Please feel free to contact the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with any questions:
OIIA Home [Corporate Involvement in Education]