September 1, 2003 Achiever
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 September 1, 2003 • Vol. 2, No. 11
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What's inside...
Paige Joins White House Conference for Grassroots Groups
How We Spent Our Summer: A Review of ED's Initiatives
Close-Up: No Child Left Behind—Teacher Quality
On the Horizon

Paige Joins White House Conference for Grassroots Groups
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige joined Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Director Jim Towey and more than 1,000 leaders of faith-based and community organizations on July 29 in Minneapolis, Minn., at a White House conference aimed at educating grassroots groups about the federal grants process and ways to strengthen the services they offer to the economically disadvantaged in their communities.

"The president is committed to leveling the playing field so that good people who used to get left out of the process can now act on convictions to help make a difference in people's lives," Secretary Paige said.

The Minneapolis event was the seventh in a series of regional conferences sponsored by the White House to provide participants with information about federal grant programs, the grant writing process and the legal requirements that apply to recipients of federal funds.

Through several programs, including Supplemental Education Services, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Mentoring Programs and 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the No Child Left Behind Act offers faith-based and community organizations grant opportunities to provide services and activities that are not inherently religious. The Department of Education is seeking to recruit the most qualified among such service providers throughout the country. The next White House conference is on Oct. 29 in Memphis, Tenn.

For more information, please visit


How We Spent Our Summer: A Review of ED's Initiatives
While students were out of school on summer vacation, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) continued running full time in preparation for the new school year. Below is a sampling of the summer's developments:

  • The National Assessment of Educational Progress—also called The Nation's Report Card—reported promising results on the 2002 reading and writing exams for more than 270,000 students in grades 4, 8 and 12 throughout the country. In reading, black fourth-graders narrowed the achievement gap from 1994 between their white counterparts, while Hispanic fourth-graders also narrowed the gap from 2000 between their white peers. The eighth-grade reading score is higher than it was in 1992, when the National Center for Education Statistics first administered the test. In writing, although more than two-thirds of the nation's students still perform below the proficient level, the latest scores revealed students are performing better than they did four years ago. For more information, visit

  • "Choice is essential for authentic school reform," said Secretary Paige in celebration of the House Government Reform Committee's passage on July 10 of the D.C. Parental Choice Incentive Act of 2003. President Bush is requesting $75 million for a choice incentive fund in fiscal year 2004, including funding for a school choice initiative in the District of Columbia to provide scholarships of up to $7,500 for eligible students.

  • The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and some of the nation's leading Hispanic organizations, corporate leaders, and national and private entities—including Girl Scouts of the USA, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the United States Army—formed a partnership in July to help improve education for Hispanic Americans. To accomplish this goal, partners will host programs that include town hall meetings, workshops and a seminar on student financial aid and scholarships. The first event is scheduled for Oct. 18 in San Diego, Calif. More information is available at

  • On July 8, Secretary Paige gave Congress an 18-month update on the implementation of No Child Left Behind that also included topics the Department will focus on going forward. In the memo, Secretary Paige announced that the accountability plans of every state as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia had been approved, a major milestone achieved in record time since only 11 states were in compliance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1994 when President Bush took office. Among the issues the agency will direct its attention to over the next few months are increasing the pool of highly qualified teachers and expanding tutoring and other supplemental services.

  • Did You Know?
    The rate of teachers lacking full certification remained unchanged over the past two years at 6 percent.

    Source: U.S. Department of Education, Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The Secretary's Second Annual Report on Teacher Quality, 2003.

  • The Education Department's Office of Vocational and Adult Education and the League for Innovation in the Community College announced in June the first 15 partnerships for the College and Career Transitions Initiative, a program designed to ease student transition between high school and postsecondary education and to improve academic performance at both levels. Each partnership comprises a community college, high school and two employers. For a list of the partnerships, organized by occupational area, visit

  • The Education Department also announced in June the appointment of a steering committee to assist the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research—a component of the Department's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services—in developing a plan for disability and rehabilitation research over the next five years. The plan will emphasize disability demographics research, technology for access and function, employment and health, and basic functioning to help people with disabilities live the independent, productive lives they desire. The public is invited to submit recommendations about the plan to

  • On June 6, Inner-City Games Chairman Arnold Schwarzenegger and Secretary Paige concluded the After-School Summit, marking the first time in the history of the Education Department that an assembly of after-school providers, law enforcement officials, and community and education leaders gathered to discuss how after-school programs can better serve millions of young people whose parents are at work or unable to provide support after the school day ends. The Education Department will continue to work with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which sponsored the event, and Schwarzenegger to help state and local education agencies link children to after-school programs when the school day ends.

To learn about other initiatives under way, visit and select "News."


Close-Up: No Child Left Behind—Teacher Quality
This summer, Secretary Paige introduced the Teacher Assistance Corps as the centerpiece of a series of initiatives to assist states and educators in meeting the highly-qualified-teacher requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. The law requires every classroom to have a highly qualified teacher by the end of the 2005-06 school year.

"If we continue as we are now, we will be creating the same type of separateness, two worlds, based this time not on race, but rather on the fact that some have a wonderful education and others do not have a wonderful education, still separate and unequal."
Secretary Paige in his commencement speech at Pepperdine University, Graduate School of Education, in July 2003.

Under its provisions, highly qualified teachers must hold at least a bachelor's degree, have full state certification or licensure, and have demonstrated competence in their subject areas. However, states also have the flexibility to develop alternative routes to certification as well as methods to enable veteran teachers to prove they have the content knowledge to be successful in the classroom. At the local level, Title I schools must notify parents if their child has been assigned to a teacher who is not highly qualified or if their child has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by such a teacher.

The Teacher Assistance Corps, an assembly of education experts, researchers and practitioners, will perform onsite reviews tailored to the explicit needs and concerns of state officials. The teams will offer guidance and feedback on state efforts, address specific state challenges, and provide useful information from other states about promising practices in the field. State participation is voluntary.

The announcement of the Corps came as the secretary released his second annual report on teacher quality, which is available online at


From Mailbox to E-Mail
Interested in reports about No Child Left Behind and other Department of Education efforts for improving education, but do not have time to track the news? Then sign up for "E-Press Release Digest" at to receive a weekly compilation of news releases summarizing the most recent ED initiatives, funding and resources, and secretary's speeches.

At the touch of your fingertips is another online medium, which provides a daily focus on how communities across the country are implementing No Child Left Behind. "Extra Credits" covers every topic of the law from teacher quality to state accountability. To register, send a request to

And to receive the electronic copy of The Achiever in lieu of the paper version, subscribe at and then unsubscribe from the mailing list by sending a request to our distribution center, ED Pubs (1-877-4ED-PUBS or Please include the "EP" identification number located within the mailing label.

On the Horizon
September 16
8:00-9:00 p.m. E.T.

Education News Parents Can Use monthly broadcast will focus on the parent-specific provisions of No Child Left Behind, including parent options, supplemental services and reading instruction. Visit for a listing of topics for the 2003-04 season.

October 29
Memphis, Tenn.

White House Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference. Registration deadline is Oct. 17. Visit or call 202-456-6718.


Now available for parents looking to better understand No Child Left Behind is a guide that summarizes the main provisions of the law, answers common questions, and provides information on additional resources.

No Child Left Behind: A Parents Guide explains the benefits for parents of this historic legislation to improve student achievement and change the culture of America's schools. Signed by President Bush into law on Jan. 8, 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 builds on four principles for education reform: accountability for results; doing what works based on scientific research; expanded parent options; and expanded local control and flexibility.

The guide focuses on the parent-related provisions of the law with specific information about requirements that, for instance, mandate states and school districts to give parents reader-friendly, detailed report cards on the performance of schools and districts. It also explains the options for parents of children in persistently failing schools. Other topics include teacher quality; creating safer schools; choice and supplemental education services; and charter schools.

For a copy of this guide, visit or call 1-877-4ED-PUBS with identification number EAT0060P.


The Achiever is published semi-monthly during the school year for parents and community leaders by the Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs, U.S. Department of Education (ED). Rod Paige, Secretary.

For questions and comments, contact: Nicole Ashby, Editor, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Room 5E217, Washington, DC 20202, 202-205-0676 (fax),

For address changes and subscriptions, contact: ED Pubs, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794, 1-877-4ED-PUBS (1-877-433-7827),

For information on ED programs, resources and events, contact: Information Resource Center, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202, 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327),

Disclaimer: The Achiever contains news and information about public and private organizations for the reader's information. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any products or services offered or views expressed.


Thank you for your interest in The Achiever, the U.S. Department of Education's biweekly bulletin on No Child Left Behind, the historic, bipartisan education reform law signed by President Bush in January 2002. We are delighted to hear that the newsletter is providing you with the resources needed to help you in your efforts to improve education.

Because The Achiever is a publication of the Education Department and, therefore, in the public domain, you are free to reprint or photocopy the articles. We simply ask that you give full credit to the Department with the suggested citation:

Source: U.S. Department of Education, The Achiever, [Date of issue].

Again, thank you for using our newsletter to communicate to a larger audience the information and resources that are available through No Child Left Behind.


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Photo of President Bush and the quote "When it comes of the education of our children...failure is not an option."--President George W. Bush


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Last Modified: 11/06/2006