February 5, 2010 ED Review
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 February 5, 2010
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What's inside...
State of the Union
FY 2011 Budget
Middle Class Task Force
ARRA Outreach
Use of Education Data
Odds And Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

State of the Union

President Obama devoted a portion of his first State of the Union address to education. "We need to invest in the skills and education of our people," he said, to applause from Congress. Below are excerpts from the President's remarks.

"Now, this year we've broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools. And the idea here is simple: instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform—reform that raises student achievement; inspires students to excel in math and science; and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to the inner city. In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education. And in this country the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential."

"When we renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), we will work with Congress to expand these reforms to all 50 states. Still, in this [global] economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. That's why I urge the Senate to follow the House of Representatives and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges—which are a career pathway to the children of many working families."

"To make college more affordable, this bill will end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let's tell another one million students that, when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10% of their income on loans, and all their debt will be forgiven after 20 years, or 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because, in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college."

Secretary Duncan, who joined other Cabinet members in the House chamber to hear the address, noted, "The President said 'when' we reauthorize, not 'if.' He clearly wanted to move forward on reauthorization, and that's what we're doing.... Our kids cannot wait." More responses.

Also: Two young women sat with First Lady Michelle Obama for the address, representing the President's commitment to science, technology, engineering, and math education (STEM).


FY 2011 Budget

President Obama's fiscal year 2011 education budget, released on February 1, signals a new direction for federal K-12 education policy with greater competitive funding, more flexibility, and a focus on the reforms likely to have the greatest impact on student success. All told, the budget includes $49.7 billion for the Department's discretionary programs, an increase of $3.5 billion over fiscal year 2010. The budget also includes $173 billion in loans, grants, tax credits, and work-study programs to help students go to college. "This budget sends a very clear signal to the country that this president is serious about education," stated Secretary Duncan. "There are some very innovative proposals in this budget that come from across America." The proposed budget has a $3 billion increase in competitive funding for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the largest increase ever requested for programs under the 1965 law, with $1.35 billion to continue Race to the Top, $500 million for Investing in Innovation, and more funding for school turn-arounds, charter schools, school safety, and programs that help prepare, retain, and reward effective teachers and leaders. The budget also reflects the President's broader commitment to providing more flexibility, reducing red tape, and holding Department programs accountable for results. In addition, the budget consolidates 38 ESEA programs into 11 funding streams and eliminates six other agency programs that either duplicate state or local programs or have simply not had a significant measurable impact.

Among the increases:

  • $539 million for innovative teacher and leader reforms—such as performance pay—bringing the total to $950 million, and $269 million for teacher and leader recruitment and preparation, pushing the total to $405 million;
  • $354 million for school turn-around (School Improvement) grants, bringing the total to $900 million;
  • $250 million for special education students, pushing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants to states total to $11.76 billion;
  • $200 million for Promise Neighborhoods grants;
  • $197 million for programs designed to promote a well-rounded education: comprehensive literacy, STEM, and other core subjects such as history and arts;
  • $81 million for expanding educational options, with a total of $400 million for charter schools and other autonomous schools;
  • $50 million for English language learner (ELL) programs, bringing the total to $800 million; and
  • $45 million for school safety and student health programs, pushing the total to $410 million.

Moreover, when a reformed ESEA is enacted, the President will send Congress a budget amendment that requests up to an additional $1 billion for ESEA programs. This money would provide new resources for awards to schools producing gains in student achievement, funding for expanded learning time, and funding to improve the quality of assessments. (Note: State tables, showing estimated allocations by Department program for FY 2011, are available online.)

Other resources include a recording and transcript of the Secretary's call with the media, a video and transcript of the Department's briefing for stakeholders, and the Secretary's remarks to school boards. Further, in an effort to provide ample opportunity for stakeholders to ask clarifying questions regarding the President's budget, the Department will be hosting three large-capacity conference calls next week. Key Department officials, responsible for specific funding streams, will be on hand to lead the dialogue for each call:

  • Educational Technology—Wednesday, February 10, 12:30-1:30 p.m. ET, call: 1-888-972-9242, passcode: 9298819
  • Higher Education—Thursday, February 11, 12:00-1:00 p.m. ET, call: 1-888-790-5527, passcode: 1583276
  • ESEA (including special education)—Friday, February 12, 3:00-5:00 p.m. ET, call: 1-888-790-5527, passcode: 1717 (given verbally).

Questions may be sent via email to, with the subject line "Budget Question." Please include your name, city, state, and organization represented (if applicable). Department staff will answer as many questions as possible during these calls.


Middle Class Task Force

Late last month, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden hosted a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force, where they laid out key investments for middle class families, among them limiting a student's federal loan payments to 10% of his or her discretionary income. Congress created the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program in 2007. The Administration's plan would improve IBR by lowering the cap on federal student loan payments from 15% to 10% of discretionary income and forgiving any remaining debt after 20 years of payments, rather than the current 25 years. Why the urgency? In 2008, two-thirds of four-year college graduates left school with an average of more than $23,000 in student loan debt.


ARRA Outreach

For the quarter ending December 31, 2009, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) recipients reported supporting over 300,000 education jobs: teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors. In total, Department ARRA funding supported 400,000 positions, including correction officers, public health personnel, and construction workers. These numbers are consistent with the data submitted in October, during the first round of ARRA reporting.

A detailed analysis of the reported data shows a slight decline in State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) jobs this quarter, reflecting that a large portion of the funding was used in the previous reporting period as states filled immediate funding needs. Conversely, the number of jobs attributed to Title I and IDEA ARRA funding increased significantly between the first and second round of reporting. Accelerated use of these funds suggests that, in the first quarter, they were used to lay the groundwork for reform and are now are generating the jobs the support to support these programs.

Examples of such momentum: 12 states passed significant legislative reforms in line with ARRA priorities, 40 states and the District of Columbia applied for Race to the Top, and ARRA funds have been used for substantial investments in innovative professional development and classroom technology practices aimed at improving student achievement.

Regarding Race to the Top, a recent blog entry explains how the process works—from the points system to the peer review and finalist presentations. Also, as part of its commitment to transparency, the Department is providing the public with the applications it received from states applying for Race to the Top. In order to make the information available to the public as quickly as possible, while fulfilling the legal obligation to protect certain information, including personal information, that may have been included, the Department will be posting the applications in stages. At this time, the agency is releasing the states' narrative responses. The agency is currently reviewing the remaining portions of the applications—the appendices—and intends to post them in the coming weeks.


Use of Education Data

According to a new report issued by the Department, states and school districts are making real progress in building educational data systems and are starting to utilize that data to change classroom practice and improve student achievement. However, school leaders are still searching for the best models to "mine" the data to discover the best instructional methods for students. The Department surveyed officials from 529 districts, conducted in-depth site visits to 36 schools in 12 districts leading the way in data usage, and analyzed secondary data from a survey of 6,000 teachers to obtain the national picture of current data use practices at the local level.


Odds and Ends

  • A new Department video tells the story of Locke Senior High School in Los Angeles, where the non-profit organization Green Dot has implemented a school turn-around model focused on ensuring students achieve academically and are ready for either college or careers when they graduate.

  • "STEM Coursetaking Among High School Graduates, 1990-2005" uses National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) High School Transcript Study data to examine student coursetaking patterns in STEM courses.

  • "Patterns in the Identification of and Outcomes for Children and Youth with Disabilities" utilizes existing data collected by the Department and other federal agencies to provide a national description of identification patterns across time and comparisons of the outcomes for children and youth.

  • The Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) is seeking peer reviewers from various backgrounds and professions for the Investing in Innovation grant competition:. Reviewers must be available for approximately four weeks during May and June to review at least 10 applications. The deadline for resumes is March 1.

  • In a personal video, Secretary Duncan describes highlights of his first year in office and goals for 2010.


Quote to Note

"The President's budget continues and expands a commitment to provide a cradle-to-career education for all of America's children.... The budget will set the stage for ESEA reauthorization, but there is still much more work ahead. With a bipartisan group of members of Congress, our goal is to develop an accountability system built on greater transparency, new incentives and rewards, and a focus on turning-around persistently under-performing schools. The President and I know that we need to educate our way to a better economy. I am honored to be working with you to make it happen."

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (1/29/10), in a letter to ED Review subscribers


Upcoming Events

February is African-American History Month, and February 15 is Presidents Day. Need help planning your education activities? The Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site supplies more than 1,500 free teaching and learning resources from dozens of federal agencies, including 139 resources specifically highlighted for these events.

The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based organization that supports education entrepreneurship, is accepting applications for its fellowship program—which affords individuals with the opportunity to develop and launch initiatives to transform public education. Fellows receive an annual salary of $90,000 for two years, benefits, and training. The Mind Trust expects to award up to three fellowships this year.

Over the next two weeks, the Department will exhibit at the American Association of School Administrators' National Conference on Education in Phoenix (February 11-13) and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's Annual Meeting in Atlanta (February 19-22). If you are attending either of these events, please stop by the Department's booth.


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Last Modified: 06/03/2010