Press Room NEWSLETTERS
February 6, 2015

ED Review ... ...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders

What's inside...
FY 2016 Budget
Native Youth Initiative
Improving STEM Education
White House Events
Human Trafficking In Schools
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

FY 2016 Budget

On February 2, President Obama submitted his annual budget request to Congress, including key investments to expand high-quality early learning programs, increase equity and opportunity for all students, support teachers and school leaders, and improve access, affordability, and student outcomes in college. "The President's budget reflects this Administration's belief that every single child in this country deserves the opportunity to receive a strong education," Secretary Duncan said. "As demonstrated by the record high school graduation rate and by huge gains in college-going—especially for minority students—states, school districts, educators, and students across the country are making real progress. The President's budget would continue and accelerate that progress." For the Department of Education, the President is requesting $70.7 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $3.6 billion—or 5.4%—over the Fiscal Year 2015 level, and $145 billion in new mandatory funding (see fact sheet).

Among the education investments:

  • Expanding high-quality early learning programs. $75 billion over 10 years for the Preschool for All proposal to provide universal high-quality preschool programs for all four-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families, $750 million for Preschool Development Grants (a $500 million increase) to help states lay the foundation for universal public preschool, and $900 million for preschool and early intervention services for children with disabilities under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants (a $115 million increase).
  • Increasing equity and opportunity for all students. An increase of $2.7 billion for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) programs (including a $1 billion increase for Title I) to ensure all students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers, and an increase of $175 million for Part B special education and related services grants to states under IDEA.
  • Supporting teachers and school leaders. $5 billion over five years for the Teaching for Tomorrow proposal to support fundamental changes in how states and districts recruit and prepare teachers and strengthen professional support for teachers throughout their careers, and $350 million for Excellent Educators Grants to provide funds for states and districts committed to implementing new systems that develop, support, reward, and advance teachers and principals.
  • Improving higher education. The America's College Promise program would provide two years of free community college for students who earn good grades and are on track to graduate through a $60.3 billion investment in a new federal-state partnership over 10 years, Pell Grants would maintain the purchasing power of this critical need-based postsecondary grant assistance after 2017 through a $29.7 billion outlay, and the American Technical Training Fund would expand job opportunities through a $200 million investment in a joint effort with the Department of Labor.
  • Investing in what works. $300 million for the Investing in Innovation (i3) program (a $180 million increase) to develop, validate, and scale-up effective strategies and practices for improving K-12 student achievement in K-12 education, $200 million for the First in the World (FITW) program (a $140 million increase) that takes the same approach to improving outcomes in higher education, and funding directed to evidence-based uses of ESEA formula programs ($100 million), School Improvement Grants (a $50 million increase), and federal TRIO programs (a $20 million increase).

Want to dig deeper? Among the helpful resources online are a press release, the budget summary, and the PowerPoint presentation used for the in-person briefing. Also, there are a number of blog posts on the budget: an overview, targeting ESEA, targeting higher education, and a cheat sheet.

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Native Youth Initiative

The President's budget request also includes investments to launch the Generation Indigenous initiative, intended to reduce barriers to success for Native American youth. Specifically, the Department of Interior's budget includes $1 billion to transform the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) into an organization that serves as a capacity builder and service provider to support tribes in educating their youth and deliver a world-class and culturally appropriate education across Indian Country, and the Department of Education's budget includes $53 million for Native Youth Community Projects to dramatically expand support for community-driven, comprehensive strategies to improve college- and career-readiness among Native youth (see fact sheet). During a January 29 call, Secretary Duncan emphasized, "The lack of opportunity for Native American youth is simply unacceptable. At every level, early childhood, K to 12, higher education, we have a lot of hard work ahead of us.... Tribes need to play a meaningful leadership role in the education of their students. We know tribes are best able to know their own students' needs and build upon their strengths."


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Improving STEM Education

The Department's 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is leading new interagency partnerships to bring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities to high-need students during after-school and out-of-school time. Through this collaboration, the agency will expand an existing pilot program with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and build new programs with the National Parks Service (NPS) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). These partnerships will create opportunities for students to engage in solving real challenges with scientists and experts in the field.

Under these efforts:

  • NPS will introduce environmental monitoring and citizen science programs at 11 BIE-run schools. The schools will work with park rangers, as well as Hands on the Land—a national network of classrooms and resources that connect students to public lands.
  • IMLS will promote STEM-focused making and tinkering activities at 25 schools and organizations across California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
  • NASA will support students as they work through one of six design and engineering challenges that scientists may face in navigating the solar system. Building on last year's work, students and staff will interact with NASA engineers and scientists at up to 80 schools and organizations across 10 states.
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White House Events

Last week, in collaboration with the American School Counselor Association, the White House hosted—for the first time—the School Counselor of the Year award ceremony. First Lady Michelle Obama and television star Connie Britton honored 36 finalists and semifinalists and 2015 School Counsel of the Year Cory Notestine. The First Lady emphasized, "Every day, our school counselors help young people become the people they're meant to be and achieve what they were put on the earth to achieve. That is truly an awesome responsibility. It's also a tremendous privilege." (Note: A related op-ed by the First Lady, titled "Counselors Built the Bridge to College," appeared in USA Today and across multiple Gannett platforms.)

Also last week, Let's Read! Let's Move! hosted its first White House event to educate and entertain a group of Washington, D.C. students on active and healthy living. The East Room was transformed into a kaleidoscope of color with Dr. Seuss characters and accouterments. The First Lady read to students a brand new Dr. Seuss book, "Oh, the Things You Can Do That Are Good for You." Students reenacted the highlights of the book, including an impromptu limbo contest and plenty of dancing. Students were also treated to healthy snacks crafted from recipes in the back of the book.

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Human Trafficking In Schools

The Department has released a guide for educators on ways to identify and help prevent child trafficking in schools. "Human Trafficking in America's Schools" features information about risk factors, recruitment, how to identify trafficking, and what to do if one suspects trafficking, with sample protocols and policies and other resources and potential partnership opportunities. The agency is also collaborating with the Department of Health and Human Services and President Lincoln's Cottage to sponsor a youth campaign focused on raising awareness about and preventing human trafficking. Child trafficking is modern day slavery and involves exploiting a child for the purpose of forced labor and/or commercial sex. An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year worldwide, and the problem is significant in America.

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Odds and Ends

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Quote to Note

"After an economic crisis that forced schools to cut their budgets and hit teachers hard, the last thing we should do now is cut funding for education. Unfortunately, [House Education and the Workforce Committee] Chairman [John] Kline's proposed legislation would allow cuts to school funding. It also fails to give teachers and the schools who need it most the resources they need. And, it sends the message that ensuring a quality education for every child isn't a national responsibility. Every child in America—not just some—deserves a fair shot. We have seen tremendous progress in schools across the country thanks to the hard work of educators and school leaders. But I am concerned that this proposal would turn back the clock on that growth because it doesn't invest in preschool or support schools and districts in creating innovative new solutions to problems that translate into better outcomes for students."

        Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (2/3/15), in a statement on Congressman Kline's ESEA proposal

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Upcoming Events

Digital Learning Day (March 13) is a national celebration of teachers, shining a spotlight on successful instructional practice and effective use of technology in classrooms.

The Library of Congress is accepting applications for its week-long summer programs for K-12 educators through March 24. Held at the Library of Congress, the professional development provides educators with tools and resources to effectively integrate primary sources into classroom teaching—with an emphasis on student engagement, critical thinking, and construction of knowledge.

Also, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program, which honors organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the U.S. or abroad, is accepting applications for 2015 awards through March 31. The winners will be announced at the National Book Festival in August.

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

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Last Modified: 02/05/2015