May 10, 2002
...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community
NCLB UPDATE: TOUR ACROSS AMERICA CONTINUES
For the most recent news and information, visit http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/.
President Bush joined Secretary Paige on his 25-city "No Child Left Behind" Tour of America this week, including stops in Southfield, Michigan (May 6), and La Crosse and Milwaukee, Wisconsin (May 8). "The reason I'm here is because this is a successful school...." the President told an audience at Southfield's Vandenberg Elementary School (http://www.nclb.gov/media/speeches/050602.html). "It's a school that obviously welcomes people from all backgrounds, but it's also a school that doesn't say, 'well, certain kids are going to be hard to educate, let's just move them somewhere else...'" "And, by the way," the President added at Milwaukee's King High School, "if you believe in high standards, if you believe in high expectations, if you believe if you challenge students that they can achieve, then you also welcome accountability. You say, 'we're willing to see whether or not expectations are being met.'" FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nclb.gov/media/news/050602.html AND http://www.nclb.gov/media/news/050802.html. (The President's remarks in Wisconsin are available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/05/20020508.html.)
Also: In Wisconsin, Secretary Paige announced he will host a public school choice and supplemental services conference in early June for education leaders, service providers, and community groups. He cited two reasons for the choice provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act: first, to help free children trapped in failing schools to get the help they need to learn and excel, and second, to send a message that if schools are failing their mission, then parents have other options.
TITLE I REGULATIONS
On May 6, the Education Department published proposed rules for the standards and assessments requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, as developed by a team of education practitioners in mid-March. The rules would implement changes to provisions of Title I (Part A) in a manner that respects state and local control over education, while ensuring strong accountability for results. Secretary Paige is also considering regulations for other provisions in Title I (Part A), but he intends to regulate only if absolutely necessary -- for example, if the statute requires regulations or if regulations are necessary to provide clarification or flexibility for state or local education agencies. (Any additional regulations will be part of a future Federal Register document.) Wherever possible, non-regulatory guidance will address legal and policy issues. Comments on the rules above must be received by June 5. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/2002-2/050602a.html. (Comments should be sent to TitleIRulemaking@ed.gov. Alternatively, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education is convening regional meetings to solicit public comment. Three sessions remain.)
Meanwhile, the Department unveiled its Consolidated State Application for Grants. Although the central, practical purpose of this application is to reduce red tape, it is also intended to foster the integration of planning and service delivery across multiple state and local programs. Funds under 15 different formula grants programs can be requested through this single document. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/consolidated/.
READY TO READ, READY TO LEARN
The next Satellite Town Meeting (May 21, 8:00-9:00 ET) calls attention to the "science and seriousness" of early childhood cognitive development. Current research shows that the first five years of life are key to a child's long-term development. When children are provided an environment rich in language and literacy interactions and full of opportunities to listen to and use language constantly, they can begin to acquire the essential building blocks for learning how to read. And, regardless of ethnic background or socioeconomic status, children who have good early care and rich learning activities do better in school and in life. Yet, despite significant state and federal resources, many children lack access to high-quality child care. During the hour, Undersecretary of Education Gene Hickok and his guests will discuss such issues as: (1) What effective preschool and early literacy programs look like; (2) What resources are available for teachers, parents and grandparents, and child care providers to prepare children to be successful in school; and (3) How early childhood programs can meet the needs of every student despite disparate preparation levels. 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=155.
FIRST LADY'S SUMMIT
Continuing the focus on the nation's youngest learners, First Lady Laura Bush welcomed approximately 250 to a regional summit on early childhood education in Little Rock, Arkansas -- the second such summit she has organized (the first was last fall, in Ohio). The program included remarks by Dr. Craig Ramey, founding director of the Center for Health and Behavior at Georgetown University; Dr. Susan Landry, professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas-Health Sciences Center in Houston; and the chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch within the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Reid Lyon. Dr. Lyon summarized the major themes and visions that emerged from the proceedings and closed by emphasizing: "From conception onward, the environments, the interactions, the education, and the opportunities that we provide our children will ultimately shape the way they think and learn; the excitement, drive, and effort they put into learning; their ability to get along with peers and adults; their ability to adapt to their successes and failures; and their capacity to manage their emotions that accompany their passages and transitions through life." FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/early/cognitivedevsummit02/page.html.
Also: At the event, the Departments of Education and Health & Human Services released a new publication, "Teaching Our Youngest: A Guide for Preschool Teachers and Child Care and Family Providers." Drawing from scientifically based research, the guide discusses how to help children develop their language abilities, increase their knowledge, become familiar with books and other printed materials, learn letters and sounds, recognize numbers, and learn to count. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/teachers/how/early/teachingouryoungest/page.html.
TITLE IX AMENDMENTS
The No Child Left Behind Act allows school districts to use Innovative Program funds to support same-gender classrooms and schools consistent with applicable law. It also requires the Department, within 120 days of enactment, to issue guidelines for districts regarding applicable law on single-sex classes and schools. Consequently, on May 8, the Office of Civil Rights released guidelines explaining the current Title IX requirements (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCR/t9-guidelines-ss.html). (In general, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in programs and activities that receive federal funds.) In addition, the office released a "Notice of Intent to Regulate," http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCR/t9-noi-ss.html, explaining that the Secretary intends to propose Title IX amendments to provide more flexibility for educators to establish single-sex classes and schools at the elementary and secondary levels. The amendments will support the efforts of school districts to improve educational outcomes for children and provide public school partners with a diverse array of educational options that respond to the needs of their children, while, at the same time, ensuring appropriate safeguards against discrimination. Comments must be received on or before July 8.
U.S. HISTORY RESULTS
"The Nation's Report Card: U.S. History 2001," from the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), shows that the average scores of the nation's fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-graders are low -- but have shown improvements in the fourth- and eighth-grade from 1994. In the fourth-grade, the percentage of students who scored Below Basic fell from 36 percent in 1994 to 33 percent in 2001, while the percentage at or above Basic (which includes the Proficient and Advanced levels) rose from 64 percent to 67 percent. In the eighth-grade, there were increases in the percentage of students who were at or above Basic (rising from 61 to 64 percent), at or above Proficient (from 14 to 17 percent), and at Advanced (from one to two percent). Moreover, African-American students' students scores improved more than white students' scores in fourth-grade, and, while the average score for twelfth-graders was unchanged from 1994, the score for senior Hispanic students increased significantly. The report also looks at the relationship between five background factors (time spent on social studies, state and local standards, instructional activities, use of technology, and days absent) and performance. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/ushistory/results/.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"One of the things I try to do as I travel around the country is remind people that if you live in America, you have a responsibility to your country and the community in which you live. That out of this evil that has been done to us, I believe can come some incredible good, and part of that good is neighbor caring for neighbor, and people listening to the universal admonition to love a neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself.... You see, America changes one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time. And while one person can't do everything, one person can make a significant difference in people's lives."
-- President George W. Bush (5/6/02)
May is National Book Month, America's annual celebration of readers and writers. Visit the National Book Foundation's online brochure for tips on getting schools, libraries, and families involved. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://18.104.22.168/nbf/docs/bookmonth.html.
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