March 1, 2002
...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
PARTNERSHIP: LOCAL SCHOOL LEADERS
Continuing his "Partnership to Leave No Child Behind," Secretary Paige hosted superintendents and board members from some of the country's largest school districts on February 18-19. The conference allowed the Secretary and senior staff to outline elements of the No Child Left Behind Act and to hear comments and suggestions from 45 local school leaders who will be responsible for implementing many of the new provisions. "As the leaders of our great urban school districts, you oversee the education of almost four million children -- more than eight percent of our nation's public school students," Paige said. "The futures of these and millions more children, and the well-being of our nation, will be greatly affected by each of you, which is why our meeting today is so important." FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/02-2002/02192002.html.
Also: Earlier this week, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Susan Neuman announced the 21 members of the negotiating committee that will help develop new rules related to standards and assessments under Title I (Part A). Comprised of education practitioners, the committee will negotiate the content of proposed regulations in mid-March.
On February 13-14, government officials from 10 countries -- Canada, France, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States -- met in Washington, DC, to discuss strategies for helping schools prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks. Jointly sponsored by the Education Department and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the participants used the meeting as an opportunity to:
About the same time, Secretary Paige sent a letter to each Chief State School Officer (http://www.ed.gov/News/Letters/020211.html) detailing specific actions taken by the Department to address the needs of those affected by September 11. The letter also provides important lessons learned with respect to threat assessment and crisis management and a series of recommendations educators and communities can implement to protect children from internal and external threats. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/02-2002/02142002.html.
The next Satellite Town Meeting (March 19, 8:00-9:00 EST) will showcase how communities around the country provide teachers the tools they need to improve instruction and to help all students succeed. Current projections indicate that America's schools will need to hire 2.4 million teachers over the next ten years. Additionally, there are greater demands on teachers' qualifications, knowledge, and skills. To ensure that every classroom has an effective teacher, states and districts are using innovative programs to address immediate and long-term needs, including alternative recruitment strategies, financial incentive programs, new approaches to professional development, partnerships with universities, and more. During the hour, Secretary Paige and his guests will discuss such issues as: (1) What does the research and practice show about reforming teacher certification requirements?; (2) How successful are the Teach for America, Transition to Teaching, and Troops to Teachers programs?; and (3) What is the impact of mentoring programs for new and experienced teachers? And 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=153.
MATH, SCIENCE CRITIQUE
"Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools," a new study from the National Research Council, is highly critical of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) math and science classes, suggesting they cram too much material at the expense of understanding and that many are taught by teachers who do not even have a bachelor's degree in the given field. Yet the study also recommends that AP courses be more accessible to minority students and to youths in rural and poor urban areas, finding that the courses do challenge students who take them. The study was commissioned by the National Science Foundation and the Department after initial reports showing high-achieving U.S. students performed worse than those of other nations on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (1995). Subsequent analysis found America's top-achievers ranked better than was first thought, though still not high enough to satisfy the business community. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nap.edu/books/0309074401/html/.
Note: Title II (Part B) of the No Child Left Behind Act authorizes $12.5 million for competitive three-year grants to partnerships of states, colleges and universities, and school districts for activities like the development of rigorous math and science curricula, distance learning programs, and incentives to recruit college graduates with degrees in math and science into the teaching profession.
COLLEGE COSTS AND PRICES
As mandated by Congress, "The Study of College Costs and Prices, 1988-89 to 1997-98" examines two main issues: the relationship between college prices (tuition the family and student pay) and costs (what the institution spends per student) and the relationship of federal and institutional aid to price increases. Overall, from 1988-89 through 1997-98, public and private tuition charges rose faster than inflation. The study found that tuition increases at private institutions were related to many factors such as providing more institutional aid to students and increases in faculty salaries, along with decreases in endowment revenue and private gifts. In contrast, at public institutions, declines in state appropriations were the single most important factor associated with increases in tuition. In other words, "...the relationship between college costs and prices is complex," declared Gene Hickok, Undersecretary of Education. "The Department must continue gathering data so that policymakers may make informed decisions in their efforts to monitor college prices...and help American families from all backgrounds afford a college education." FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2002157. (This study is a follow-up to the 1998 study "Straight Talk About College Costs and Prices," which is available at http://www.eriche.org/government/ncche.html.)
Be sure to review the revised (as of February 22, 2002) FY 2002 Grants Forecast (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCFO/grants/forecast.html), which lists virtually all programs and competitions under which the Department has invited or expects to invite applications for new awards and provides actual or estimated dates for the transmittal of applications under these programs. The lists are in the form of charts, organized according to the Department's principal program offices, and will be updated monthly continuing through the first week of May 2002. (This document is advisory only and is not an official application notice of the U.S. Department of Education.)
QUOTE TO NOTE
Addressing the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE): "You are all familiar with the W.L. Sanders research that shows how after three years, the quality of teaching makes a 50 to 70 percent difference in student performance. Three years of bad teaching in a row can practically doom a child. But great teaching can make up for many disadvantages that children bring to school.... Education schools across this country must become more effective if no child is to be left behind. This is an issue that will not go away on its own. The only way to address this issue is to confront it squarely.... When I walked in your shoes, I thought I knew everything about teacher quality, but working as a superintendent changed my mind. I wish I had known then what I know now."
-- Secretary of Education Rod Paige (2/25/02)
Today (March 1) is the fifth-annual Read Across America celebration, coinciding with the late Dr. Seuss' birthday. More than 35 million Americans, including politicians and business leaders, are expected to participate in the joy of reading. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nea.org/readacross/. (Note: Dr. Seuss' birthday actually falls on Saturday, March 2, so hundreds of community organizations will continue the celebration into the weekend.)
Even if you missed today's activities, several more reading celebrations are right around the corner:
Please feel free to contact the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs with any questions:
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