February 15, 2002
...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
Want a say in the Education Department's operations over the next five years? Secretary Paige is inviting comments on the Department's Strategic Plan for 2002-2007. The plan is built upon six goals, which embrace the principles of the No Child Left Behind Act and the President's management agenda:
"It will not be -- nor should it be -- a trophy to hang on the wall," Paige said, emphasizing the plan's significance. "Rather, this is a living document that will guide the course of the Department through the historic years ahead." Suggestions for improvement or technical changes are due February 21. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/pubs/stratplan2002-07/index.html.
FY 2003 BUDGET
On February 4, Deputy Secretary Bill Hansen announced President Bush's FY 2003 budget request for education. For elementary and secondary education, the following investments were highlighted:
In addition, the budget includes a new tuition tax credit program valued at $3.5 billion. The program will offer families of students currently trapped in failing public schools credit to cover 50 percent of the cost of tuition, books, supplies, and transportation at the family's school of choice (up to $2,500).
For postsecondary education, the following investments were highlighted:
Two more investments of note: $8.5 billion for special education grants to states and $2.6 billion for the Vocational Rehabilitation state grants program, to help individuals with disabilities prepare, obtain, and retain employment. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget03/summary/. (State-by-state data is available at http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/02-2002/02042002.html and http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/statetables/index.html.)
The new Reading First web site (http://www.ed.gov/programs/readingfirst/) offers information on the Department's ambitious national effort to help every child become a successful reader. The site includes a description on how the program will work (every state has the potential to receive Reading First grants; states will award sub-grants to local communities on a competitive basis), an estimated timeline for distribution of state funds (applications published April 1), and links to reading reports and related associations and organizations. An Early Reading First web site, summarizing the competitive grant program to develop and support the school readiness of pre-school-aged children, is also nearly complete. This web site soon can be found on Department's web site. Both initiatives are run out of the Department's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, which has compiled a comprehensive list of reading resources at http://www.ed.gov/programs/readingfirst/resources.html.
Earlier this week, Secretary Paige released the Department's newest publication, "Testing for Results: Helping Families, Schools, and Communities Understand and Improve Student Achievement" (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2002/02/02132002.html). The guide explains, in layman's terms, the rationale behind student assessments and refutes ten testing myths. For example, in response to the statement "Testing hurts the poor and people of color," the guide points out "These are the students who stand to benefit the most from annual testing. A strong accountability system will make it impossible to ignore achievement gaps where they exist." Similar guides on the No Child Left Behind Act are planned for the near future.
On February 11, Secretary Paige met with 25 Tribal College presidents to discuss President Bush's budget request, which includes both $18 million (a 3.6 percent over current funding levels) for programs to strengthen colleges and universities serving American Indians and $7.2 million (an eight percent increase) for the American Indian Teacher Corps Program. "The nation's tribal colleges and universities have an historic and unique role in American higher education and serve many Americans who might otherwise be left behind," the Secretary said. "This administration recognizes and reaffirms the special relationship of the federal government to American Indians and their sovereign tribal nations..." Moreover, to ensure the institutions are recognized and have full access to federal programs, the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities (http://www.ed.gov/about/inits/list/whtc/edlite-index.html) will be elevated within the Department's organizational structure to report directly to Secretary Paige. The 32 Tribal Colleges are located in 12 states and serve an estimated 30,000 students. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/02-2002/02112002.html
A day later, President Bush signed a new executive order that aims to strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and increase their opportunities to participate and benefit from federal programs. Like Tribal Colleges, the order elevates the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (http://www.ed.gov/about/inits/list/whhbcu/edlite-news.html) to report directly to Secretary Paige. It also calls on executive departments and federal agencies to develop an annual plan to accomplish enhancement goals. The President has pledged to increase funding for HBCUs and Historically Black Graduate Institutions by 30 percent between 2001 and 2005. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/02-2002/02122002.html. (See also the Board of Advisors on HBCUs at http://www.ed.gov/about/inits/list/whhbcu/edlite-index.html.)
PUBLIC LIBRARY LOCATOR
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has designed a user-friendly web page that will conduct a quick national search and locate information on public libraries. Besides street addresses and telephone numbers, the locator is equipped to retrieve organizational characteristics, paid FTE staff, operating income and expenditures, size of library collection, library services offered, and electronic measures. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/libraries/liblocator/.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"During his State of the Union address, President Bush highlighted three priorities: protecting the security of our nation, creating a sustained strategy for our homeland security, and offering economic security to the American people. Strong schools and quality education opportunities play a role in each of these endeavors, and the President has proposed a generous budget for education in 2003.... The increases will not be of the magnitude of the defense, homeland security, and economic recovery increases, but they build upon a series of major increases that have led to a more than doubling in this agency's discretionary budget since 1996. More important, the President's request will offer states, schools, and families the resources they need to implement the changes called for in the No Child Left Behind Act signed into law last month."
-- Deputy Secretary of Education Bill Hansen (2/4/02)
The Department's next Satellite Town Meeting, on parental choice, is scheduled for February 19. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://registerevent.ed.gov/downlink/event-flyer.asp?intEventID=152. The March 19 meeting will be on teacher quality.
McGraw-Hill is soliciting nominations for its Howard W. McGraw, Jr., Prize in Education. Beginning in 1988, the prize has been awarded annually to three individuals who have had an unusually positive impact in the field of education. Previous honorees include U.S. Secretaries of Education Rod Paige, Richard Riley, and Terrel Bell, former First Lady Barbara Bush, former Governor James Hunt, as well as principals, superintendents, and university presidents from across the country. Prize recipients are honored at a dinner in New York City and receive $25,000. Nominations must be received by March 15. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/prize2002/.
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