Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965
Public Hearing on Reauthorization - March 7, 2003
Archived Information

Panel 4
Question and Answer Session

MS. STROUP: Hector, we heard a lot of people talk about getting information into the hands of kids and parents.


MS. STROUP: It seems to me that's exactly what GEAR-UP is designed to do.

MR. GARZA: Yes, ma'am.

MS. STROUP: So I guess my question is: How is it that you're going about getting parents involved when the partnerships are out there doing their projects in the schools?

MR. GARZA: Yeah, excellent question. You know, Sally, just in February, we had a capacity-building workshop in which we worked with the GEAR-UP community to get them to clearly understand and agree on what matters most and that is academic achievement.

We said to them that all of the student support services, like the parental engagement programs, very fine programs that they have, needed to happen, but needed to also be aligned with the academic mission.

We said to them: Unless you are working with your parents and telling them that if your child is not enrolled in pre-algebra by the sixth or seventh grade, they're not going to be on your pathway to college.

In other words, parental involvement programs have existed through many federal programs for a very long time.

What we're trying to do is make sure that these parental involvement programs become not only relevant but academically relevant so that both we're training the parent and the family and the student all at the same time.

So that's sort of the approach that we are taking in information sharing to both parents and families through GEAR-UP.

MS. STROUP: When you do that with the partnership, is there any requirement that you involve parents? I actually don't remember.

MR. GARZA: Well, no. Well, there's a requirement in the sense that they are to build broad-based partnership. And the RFQ initially said involve parents, community-based organizations in a broad sector.

I would venture to say that if not 100 percent, the majority of the GEAR-UP grantees have parents engaged.

MR. BRYANT: Hector, as a follow-up to Sally's question on GEAR-UP, you mentioned in your presentation extending GEAR-UP from the middle school down to elementary school. Would you expand on that how far down you would take this? Be more specific.

MR. GARZA: Yes, sir. For a long time the academic community, the research community, has been talking about the importance of K through 16 partnerships.

We have been saying that the educational continuum has got to be aligned, with each sector aligned with one another.

We've also said in the college access research community that we need to start educating students and families beginning as early as possible and we agree the elementary school level that college is possible.

When I was with ACE that was something that we were always saying. The hiring community has always said that the more you expose students at an earlier age that college is possible, that just becomes a fact of life. And no longer do we then have to wait to middle schools to begin to change the attitude and the mind-set that college is possible.

For that reason, we at NCCEP suggest that this administration can take a very bold step in making GEAR-UP truly a K through 16 initiative by making it a K through 16 initiative and bringing it down to the elementary school level.


MR. ANDRADE: I have one question for Dr. Friend. Richard and Hector, you can chime in on this one as well.

You mentioned the concept of universal design, particularly universal design and instruction, and I was thinking in terms of access, are there things that we can do in our access programs similar to what we do at the K-12 level through IEP's in the integration of curriculum where we can make sure our access programs serve the needs of students with disabilities as well as students without disabilities?

DR. FRIEND: Yes. And universal design is a good way to do that because it applies and benefits all students, and, in essence, it gets rid of having separate segregated services for students with disabilities.

For instance, we pay people to take notes for students in class. If the instructor would just post the notes on a website, all the students could benefit from that, and then we don't have to go to all the trouble to pay all these notetakers.

MR. ANDRADE: Thank you all very much. (Applause.)


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Last Modified: 02/20/2009