Press Room NEWSLETTERS
January 22, 2016

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...
State of the Union
Opportunity Tour—ESSA Implementation
Opportunity Tour—Student Health
Opportunity Tour—Pell Grant Proposals
What We Ought to Be
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

State of the Union

On January 12, President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address, outlining challenges and opportunities for future generations. "Tonight, I want to go easy on the traditional list of proposals for the year ahead," he said. "Don't worry. I've got plenty.... But, for my final address to this chamber, I don't want to just talk about next year. I want to focus on the next five years, the next 10 years, and beyond. I want to focus on our future."

At the top of his speech, the President called for "helping students learn to write computer code" and vowed to keep pushing for progress on the work he believes "needs to be done," including "protecting our kids from gun violence."

Additional education-related excerpts:

"We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job. Bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an important start, and, together, we have increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering. In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by providing pre-K for all and offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on Day 1. We should [also] recruit and support more great teachers for our kids."

"We have to make college affordable for every American. No hardworking student should be stuck in the red. We have already reduced student loan payments to 10% of a borrower's income. That's good. But we have actually got to cut the cost of college. Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I'm going to keep fighting to get that started this year."

"We have protected an open Internet and taken bold steps to get more students and low-income Americans online."

"I see you, the American people. And, in your daily acts of citizenship, I see our future unfolding.... I see it in the Dreamer who stays up late at night to finish her science project and the teacher who comes in early and, maybe, with some extra supplies that she bought because she knows that that young girl might someday cure a disease."

Also:

Top


Opportunity Tour—ESSA Implementation

In the days following the State of the Union address, Cabinet officials embarked on road tours to engage Americans. Acting Secretary King kicked-off his "Opportunity Across America" tour in El Paso, Texas, joining a roundtable discussion on implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and supporting border communities with Congressman Beto O'Rourke. Afterward, the Acting Secretary participated in a Facebook chat. The White House also released an ESSA fact sheet, highlighting how the ESSA will build on progress made since the beginning of the Obama Administration to ensure every student—regardless of race, income, disability, or zip code—is prepared to succeed in school and life.

Top


Opportunity Tour—Student Health

Next, Acting Secretary King visited Houston, Texas, for a roundtable discussion on supporting healthy students and communities with Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield—the highest-ranking nurse in the Administration. Simultaneously, the agencies sent a letter to governors, Chief State School Officers, state health officials, and state Medicaid directors, recognizing the role that healthcare coverage and health services play in ensuring all students are ready and able to learn and recommending action steps to better coordinate educational and health services for all students and their families. And, the agencies released a new toolkit that details five high-impact opportunities for states and school districts to support stronger communities through collaboration in the education and health sectors.

Top


Opportunity Tour—Pell Grant Proposals

Then, Acting Secretary King and Under Secretary Ted Mitchell met with students and educators at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, spotlighting examples of excellence in postsecondary education. During the visit, the Administration called for significant new investments in the federal Pell Grant program—the cornerstone of college affordability. These two new proposals would help students to accelerate progress toward their degrees by attending school year-round and encourage students to take more credits per term, increasing their likelihood of on-time completion (fact sheet and press call).

Pell for Accelerated Completion would allow full-time students the opportunity to earn a third semester of Pell Grants in an academic year, enabling them to finish faster by taking additional courses year-round and better meeting the diverse needs of today's students. Many full-time students exhaust annual Pell eligibility after only two semesters, and, as a result, are unable to pay for summer courses and must wait until the start of the next academic year to continue their studies. Next year, on average, this proposal would provide nearly 700,000 students who are making real progress toward on-time graduation with an additional $1,915 to pay for college and complete their degrees faster.

On-Track Pell Bonus would create an incentive for students to stay on track or accelerate progress toward a degree through an increase in the maximum Pell Grant award of $300 for students who take 15 credits per semester in an academic year. Finishing faster means more students would complete their education at a lower cost and with less student debt. Next year, this proposal would help around 2.3 million students.

Top


What We Ought to Be

In the midst of the tour, the Acting Secretary returned to Washington, D.C., to speak on education equity at the National Action Network's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day breakfast. "ESSA presents a moment of both opportunity and moral responsibility," he said. "There has been discussion of the new law placing much of the responsibility for students' learning on states.... There is a continued role in the new law for the federal government as a backstop to ensure educational quality for all children, a protector of our students' civil rights, and I and my colleagues at the Department take that responsibility very seriously." He also stated the "new and larger role for states should be seen as a clarion call in the civil rights community," with advocacy essential in at least three significant areas: defining what learning progress means, ensuring equity, and promoting diversity in our schools. "Let's become the people that we ought to be," he concluded. "Let's act with urgency for the civil rights of our children" (remarks and video).

Top


Odds and Ends

  • On December 9, 2015, officials from the Department and the White House Office of Science and Technology organized a day of events to build capacity for and showcase learning games. In all, 45 game developers participated, 30 of whom were recipients of awards from the Small Business Innovation Research program administered by the Department and other federal agencies.

  • The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is launching a new research network that will develop reliable information and useful tools to improve early childhood education across the country. Some $26 million in grants have been awarded for the creation of the Early Learning Network, which will conduct its work over the next five years. The main focus of the network is to identify malleable factors associated with children's school readiness and achievement as they move from preschool to the early elementary school grades.

  • A new series out of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is designed to expand federal support of HBCU research, programs, and outreach through competitive grants and contracts. The current entry explains how HBCUs can get federal sponsorship from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Top


Quote to Note

"My father used to tell a story that captures the urgency of our work. He loved basketball and one weekend, while playing, he broke his wrist. When he went to work on Monday, with his wrist in a cast, the principal stopped him and told my father—who never took a single sick day in his 40-year career—that he could not teach that day. There was a regulation, apparently, about not teaching with a cast, and the principal was unwilling to budge. So what did my father do? He walked over to the counter and slammed his cast down, shattering it. Then, he brushed the pieces into a trash can, put his hand in his suit pocket, and went to teach his class. He had no time to wait, to sit on the sidelines. He was determined to see that we would all become the people we ought to be."

        Acting Secretary of Education John King (1/18/16), in his remarks at the National Action Network's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day breakfast

Top


Upcoming Events

The White House will release the President's Fiscal Year 2017 budget request on February 9.

The Library of Congress is accepting applications for its week-long summer programs for K-12 educators through February 29. Held at the Library, the professional development provides educators with tools and resources to effectively integrate primary sources into classroom teaching—with a strong emphasis on student engagement, critical thinking, and construction of knowledge.

The USA Science and Engineering Festival, featuring more than 1,000 corporations and organizations and over 3,000 hands-on exhibits and stage shows, will take place April 16 and 17 in Washington, D.C. And, once again, the festival will feature several contests for K-12 students.

Top


Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

ED Review is a product of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Communications and Outreach, State and Local Engagement—Joseph P. Walsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary

To be added or removed from distribution or submit comments (we welcome your feedback!), please contact Managing Director Adam Honeysett at (202) 401-3003 or Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov. Or, visit http://www2.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edreview/.


This newsletter contains hypertext links to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. These links are provided for the user's convenience. The U.S. Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Furthermore, the inclusion of links is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.

Top




   
Last Modified: 01/22/2016