February 1, 2002
...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
FY 2003 BUDGET
Although the formal release of the President's Fiscal Year 2003 budget is scheduled for next week (February 4), the White House has already declared its intentions for several key education programs: $1 billion more for both Title I and special education (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020119.html); a $12 million increase for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/01-2002/01212002.html); and more funding for Reading First, boosting the federal investment in reading to $1 billion (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/01-2002/01252002b.html). In addition, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., President Bush announced the creation of federal scholarships aimed at encouraging young people to study education and public policy. The program will honor as many as 10 outstanding undergraduate and graduation students with paid internships in the Education Department's Office of the Secretary. The students will also take part in seminars and programs on policy development and work with a mentor. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/budget.html. (Note: A briefing on the Department's budget will be held February 4 @ 3:45 EST in the Auditorium.)
EARLY LEARNING NEEDS
On January 24, First Lady Laura Bush testified before the Senate Education Committee on the learning needs of children "between the crib and the classroom." Originally, she was supposed to testify last year, on September 11, but the session was postponed after word reached Congress about the World Trade Center tragedy. "I have seen the faces of children who were directly affected by the attacks," she declared. "As a result, I am doubly committed to using my voice to help give our youngest Americans a real chance to succeed in the classroom, in the university, and in the workplace." Mrs. Bush's greatest concern? Many children simply do not have the early opportunities, "forged through language play, lap-time reading, bedtime stories, and conversations about the characters and situations brought to life in stories," that help to develop a love for language and reading. And not having those opportunities can have a devastating effect on a child's success in school. In response, the First Lady has already convened a summit of experts and practitioners (http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/07-2001/07262001-speeches.html) to develop an understanding of what "...caregivers can systematically do to provide children with rich and rewarding early experiences during this period of development that is marked by extraordinary growth and change." Moreover, a team of scientists from the National Institutes of Health and the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services is moving forward with plans to produce materials that will help parents, preschools, and child care programs enhance early development. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/01-2002/01242002b.html.
CHARTERS, MAGNETS, AND CHOICE
The next Satellite Town Meeting (February 19, 8:00-9:00 EST) will showcase the range of educational options available to parents and children -- particularly those children who would otherwise be left behind in low-performing schools -- and highlight the strong connection between school accountability and parental choice. Indeed, new research shows that school districts are changing their educational services and operations in response to the creation of charter schools. Emerging magnet schools offer a variety of distinctive programs that have served as models for school improvement efforts. And the supplemental educational services provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act will further empower parents and ensure children have access to quality learning opportunities. During the hour, Undersecretary Gene Hickok and his guests will discuss such issues as: how school choice leads to greater student success; what resources are available for developing charters, magnets, and supplemental educational programs; and what lessons traditional school districts can learn from the choice movement. 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=152.
TITLE I REGULATIONS
Secretary Paige is soliciting comments, to clarify statutory ambiguities or to provide appropriate flexibility, on proposed regulations to implement programs under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Title I, which is designed to help disadvantaged children meet high academic standards, includes programs operated by local education agencies in high-poverty schools (Part A), Reading First and Early Reading First (Part B, Subparts 1 and 2), Even Start family literacy programs (Part B, Subpart 3), programs for migratory children (Part C), prevention/intervention programs for youth who are neglected, delinquent, or at risk of dropping out (Part D), Comprehensive School Reform (Part F), Advanced Placement Programs (Part G), and School Dropout Prevention (Part H). Written comments must be received on or before February 19. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/2002-1/011802a.html.
In his State of the Union Address earlier this week, President Bush called on all Americans to serve their nation for the equivalent of two years (4,000 hours) over their lifetimes and announced a major new citizen service initiative: the USA Freedom Corps. The USA Freedom Corps includes three major programs: a new Citizen Corps to engage citizens directly in improving homeland security; an improved and enhanced AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to engage thousands of new volunteers in effective, community-based service opportunities; and a strengthened Peace Corps, allowing more Americans to demonstrate firsthand the true values of our nation to those in the developing world. To ensure a high-level focus, the President is also requesting $560 million in new funding in his budget, creating a USA Freedom Corps Council comprised of agency heads, and forming a new USA Freedom Corps Office within the Executive Office of the President. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/.
PERKINS ACT REFORM
As part of its new "Preparing America's Future" initiative, the Department's Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) hopes to mirror the ambitious goals laid out in the No Child Left Behind Act in the Carl D. Perkins Vocational-Technical Education Act, up for reauthorization in 2003. The initiative is a framework that connects OVAE's activities around three core issues:
Three teams -- a High School Excellence Team; a Community & Technical Colleges Team; and an Adult Learning Team -- have been organized and charged to develop a strategy for "Preparing America's Future" with implications for policy and practice. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/offices/OVAE/.
Also: At the first in a series of meetings that OVAE will hold over the coming year, Assistant Secretary Carol D'Amico laid out some of the Department's specific concerns regarding high schools (where the bulk of vocational education programs are found): unacceptable dropout rates, increasing the competitiveness of U.S. students to their global peers, smoothing the transition between high school and postsecondary education; reducing the need for remediation of high school graduates; and helping students make informed choices about their postsecondary experiences.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Education has always been important to our nation. But since September 11th we appreciate its importance even more because we want America to always be the land of opportunity and to have the kind of internal strength that comes from every child and every citizen having a great education. From day one, the education we provide our children will shape the way they think and learn. The quality of their education will either drive or stifle the enthusiasm, motivation, and effort they bring to learning, the way they interact with others, and their ability to adapt to their successes and failures throughout life. We are embarking on a most noble mission to help their journey become as fulfilling and productive as possible. This is their birthright."
-- First Lady Laura Bush (1/24/02)
Secretary Paige will be joined by five former secretaries of education to examine teacher shortages, achievement gaps, school vouchers, standardized testing, and other issues that affect elementary and secondary education during a panel discussion February 20 (3:30-6:30 EST) at Duke University. The "Education Leadership Summit," to be moderated by former North Carolina Governor James Hunt, is the first time that all six of the living secretaries have participated in such a discussion (Terrel Bell died in 1996). The event is open to the public.
Do you know a teacher whose educational "magic" helps improve student performance? A teacher who ignites the spark of creativity in every child? A teacher whose excellence deserves to be recognized? Nominations for the Walt Disney's 2002 American Teacher Awards, honoring creativity in teaching, are open from February 1 through March 31, 2002. Nominations can be submitted toll-free at 1-877-ATA-TEACH (1-877-282-8322) or online at http://disney.go.com/disneylearning/ata/. Applications will be mailed to teachers in early May 2002.
Please feel free to contact the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with any questions:
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