January 18, 2002
...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
A BILL BECOMES A LAW
On January 8, flanked by Secretary Paige, Senators Judd Gregg and Ted Kennedy, and Representatives John Boehner and George Miller, President Bush signed into law H.R. 1, the No Child Left Behind Act. "Most bills are signed in the White House, but I decided to sign this bill in one of the most important places in America -- a public school," Bush said during his address to more than 2,000 students, teachers, school administrators, and local residents gathered at Hamilton High School in Ohio (part of Rep. Boehner's home district). "As of this hour, America's schools will be on a new path of reform and a new path of results." The President, Secretary, and congressional leaders also visited the University of New Hampshire (in Gregg's state) and Boston Latin School in Massachusetts (in Kennedy's state), before concluding with a rally in Washington, DC. The message was consistent: "Education is a national priority, and for the first time federal policies will focus squarely on improving student achievement," Paige explained. "With this law, we will make sure we're providing all of our children with access to high-quality education." FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/nclb/. The website includes a summary of the act, state-by-state budget information, and an archive of press releases, statements, and speeches.
EDUCATION CHIEFS PARTNERSHIP
Just days after the President signed the legislation into law, Secretary Paige met with nearly 30 education chiefs from around the country at Mount Vernon, the historic, ancestral home of George Washington. The conference allowed the Secretary and senior staff to outline many of the elements of the law and to hear comments and suggestions from the state officials who will be responsible for implementing many of the new provisions. "Now that the law has passed," Paige admitted, "the heavy lifting will begin... engaging state chiefs, educators, parents, and community and business leaders in an important conversation about how we can implement this historic law and ensure that no child in America is left behind." FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/01-2002/01102002.html. (The Secretary's remarks are available at http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/01-2002/20020109.html.)
SPECIAL EDUCATION COMMISSION
Earlier this week (January 15), Secretary Paige welcomed and swore-in the 19 members of the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education (http://www.ed.gov/Speeches/01-2002/20020115.html). The commission is charged with producing a report by July 1 that contains findings and recommendations in nine areas:
Commission members have already approved a hearing schedule, beginning February 25 in Houston. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/inits/commissionsboards/whspecialeducation/.
Also: The National Academy of Sciences has just completed a congressionally mandated study on the disproportionate number of students from minority backgrounds in special education programs. A committee of volunteer experts from the fields of psychology, child development, cognitive science, sociology, anthropology, education, and statistics examined developments in law and practice over the past two decades, synthesized recent research literature, examined available and new data, and explored the current policy context with regard to placements. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nap.edu/books/0309074398/html/.
K-12 PRACTITIONERS' CIRCLE
The K-12 Practitioners' Circle (http://nces.ed.gov/practitioners/) packages and disseminates statistical information on education from the Education Department and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) specifically for teachers, administrators, librarians, policymakers, and parents. NCES produces a wide array of products on all levels of education, such as full-length analytical reports, two- to three-page issue briefs, CD-ROM data files, and various compendia with a broad range of statistical information. In addition, NCES develops many web-based tools that make using data easy. Resources on each audience page are organized by the following categories: (1) Main Attraction (featuring a newsworthy topic and links to supporting documentation); (2) Tools (listing online tools useful in addressing day-to-day challenges); (3) Research Department (offering a few of the latest products and publications available from NCES); (4) General Resources (providing links to NCES and Department tools designed for specific audiences); and (5) Worth a Click (highlighting several intriguing or unique web sites outside the Department).
COLLEGE AID: APPLY NOW!
High school seniors and others applying for federal financial aid for the 2002-2003 school year can begin the process now. This year, an estimated $49.4 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study opportunities will be awarded to an expected 8.2 million students. Financially needy students may qualify for grants or subsidized loans, where the government pays the interest while the borrower is in school. Most students are eligible for unsubsidized loans. Here are some tips:
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/Students/.
INTERAGENCY SPOTLIGHT: YOUTH COURTS
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.
Youth Courts are juvenile justice programs whereby youth are sentenced by their peers. Among the many benefits of Youth Courts are holding juvenile offenders accountable for their actions (an alternative to the juvenile justice system for less-serious crime), promoting restorative justice principles, educating youth on the legal system, empowering youth to be active participants in community problem-solving, and building good character traits in young people. As of November 2001, there were 800 programs in operation, with several hundred poised to become operational in the near future. Want to know more? The National Youth Court Center (http://www.youthcourt.net/), created and financed by the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/) -- with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (http://www.samhsa.gov/), and Education's Safe & Drug Free Schools Program (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSDFS/) -- serves as a central point of contact for Youth Courts across the nation. (Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, recently praised Youth Courts on the House floor. To view his comments, go to http://www.youthcourt.net/congress.htm.)
QUOTE TO NOTE
"If Rembrandt Peale's magnificent portrait of Washington could speak, the general would remind us that the federal government is an invention of the sovereign states, and that I am not your superior. I am your partner.... Those of us from the Department want to help you implement the [No Child Left Behind] Act, and we want to hear about your needs, your concerns, and your suggestions. I am serious about the partnership, and very sincere in the statement that we are in fact in this together. Our success is dependent upon one another. On the other hand, the time for objecting to provisions in the Act has passed. No Child Left Behind is now the law of the land. I took an oath to enforce the law, and I intend to do that. I will help states and districts and schools comply -- in fact, I will do everything in my power to help -- but I will not let deadlines slip or see requirements forgotten.... When choosing between the kids and the system, I choose the kids."
-- Education Secretary Rod Paige (1/9/02)
Just a reminder: the President's State of the Union address is scheduled for Tuesday, January 29. And, on February 4, the President will release his FY 2003 budget request.
Please feel free to contact the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with any questions:
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