Press Room NEWSLETTERS
February 19, 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...
FY 2017 Budget
White House Nomination
State and Local Engagement
Teacher Blog Posts
Student Aid Enforcement Unit
Regional Educational Labs
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

FY 2017 Budget

On February 9, President Obama submitted his annual budget request to Congress, making key investments building on the Administration's work to advance educational equity and excellence, support teachers and school leaders, and promote college access, affordability, and completion. "The President's budget reflects the Administration's broader efforts to expand opportunity and ensure every child can achieve his or her full potential," said Acting Secretary King. "We have made tremendous progress with record high school graduation rates and more students of color going to college, but we have further to go to ensure that educational excellence is a reality for all students. This budget builds upon the Administration's continued efforts to invest in education—from high-quality early learning through college." For the Department of Education, the President requests $69.4 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $1.3 billion—or 2%—over the Fiscal Year 2016 level, and some $139.7 billion in new mandatory funding (see fact sheet).

The budget also supports implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (resources subpage) and aligns with the critical priorities of the Acting Secretary and the Department.

Among the education investments:

Increasing Equity and Excellence (blog post)

  • $15.4 billion for Title I grants to school districts—the cornerstone of federal efforts to ensure all students, including poor and minority students, English learners, and students with disabilities, graduate from high school prepared for college and careers.
  • A commitment to early learning as a path to opportunity anchored by the President's Preschool for All proposal, which would provide mandatory funding for universal, high-quality preschool programs for all four-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families, as well as a total increase of $80 million for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) preschool grants and grants for infants and families and an increase of $100 million for the Preschool Development Grants program in the Department of Health and Human Services' budget.
  • $4 billion in mandatory funding for a new Computer Science for All initiative, which would support state efforts to expand access for all students to computer science instruction and programs of study, as well as $100 million in discretionary funding for grants to districts to promote innovative strategies to provide high-quality instruction and other learning opportunities in computer science.
  • $120 million for new Stronger Together Grants, which would encourage the development of ambitious, innovative plans to increase socioeconomic diversity through voluntary, community-supported strategies and expand on existing efforts in states and communities.
  • $138 million for more vigorous enforcement of the nation's civil rights laws by the Department's Office for Civil Rights, ensuring equal access to education.

Providing Support for Teachers and School Leaders (blog post)

  • A new RESPECT: Best Job in the World program—a $1 billion mandatory investment to support a nationwide effort to attract and retain effective teachers in high-need schools by increasing compensation and paths for advancement, implementing teacher-led development opportunities to improve instruction, and creating working conditions and climates conducive to student success.
  • $125 million for a proposed Teacher and Principals Pathways program for grants to institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations, working closely with districts, to create or expand high-quality pathways into teaching, particularly into high-need schools and high-need subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
  • A new $10 million grant program to support the promising work at the Teach to Lead gatherings with direct support to teachers that develop innovative reforms with the potential for wider impact on improving student outcomes.

Expanding Access, Affordability, and Completion in Higher Education (blog post)

  • Approximately $61 billion in mandatory funding over the next decade for America's College Promise, which would develop partnerships with states to make two years of community college free for responsible students, as well as provide grants to four-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) to support two years of college at either no or reduced tuition for low-income students.
  • Provide new tax incentives to encourage employers to play a more active role in funding and directing educational options at community and technical colleges (fact sheet).
  • Support degree attainment through Pell for Accelerated Completion and On-Track Pell Bonus and reward colleges that enroll and graduate a significant number of low-income students on time and encourage all institutions to improve their performance through the new College Opportunity and Graduation Bonus program (fact sheet).
  • Expand postsecondary opportunity to incarcerated individuals eligible for release by a Second Chance Pell Grant proposal, restoring their Pell eligibility with the goals of helping them secure jobs, support their families, and strengthen their communities.
  • A total of $75 million for the American Technical Training Fund, supporting the creation and expansion of tuition-free, short-term or accelerated job training programs to help workers compete for high-demand jobs in fields like health care, manufacturing, and information technology.

Using Evidence and Data for Advancing Equity (blog post)

  • $180 million for the Education Innovation and Research program, an increase of $60 million—or 50%—for the successor to the Investing in Innovation (i3) program to expand support for evidence-based initiatives that develop, validate, or scale up effective education interventions.
  • $100 million for the First in the World program to develop, validate, or scale up innovative strategies to improve postsecondary completion rates for high-need students, as well as test these strategies when implemented in varied settings and contexts.
  • A total of $15 million for InformED, which would build on the success of the College Scorecard by making the Department's data and research across the education spectrum more available and actionable for internal users and the public.

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.

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White House Nomination

Also last week, the President announced his intent to nominate John King as Secretary of Education. "Since joining the Department of Education, John has worked to build on the progress our country has made in expanding opportunity for all our children," the President noted. "There is nobody better to continue leading our ongoing efforts to work toward preschool for all, prepare our kids so that they are ready for college and career, and make college more affordable. John knows from his own incredible life experience how education can transform a child's future. I look forward to the Senate working in a bipartisan way to confirm John quickly and continuing their work with him to tackle the vital challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."

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State and Local Engagement

Joe Walsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary, State and Local Engagement, Office of Communications and Outreach, is leaving the Department after serving for nearly two years at the agency. As Deputy Assistant Secretary, he served as an advisor to the Secretary of Education on political and strategic communications issues, a senior member of the Department's communications team, and an ambassador to elected and appointed officials at both the state and local level. We extend our deepest thanks for Joe's leadership and guidance, and, in particular, his support for ED Review.

In turn, we are pleased to introduce Lindsay O'Mara as the Department's new Deputy Assistant Secretary, State and Local Engagement, Office of Communications and Outreach. Most recently, she worked as education policy advisor and legal counsel to Delaware Governor Jack Markell. In that role, she led efforts to develop policies around reforming the way educators are compensated, improving teacher preparation programs, increasing access to college, and starting career pathways in high schools across the state. Prior to joining the Governor's Office, Lindsay worked in higher education law as Associate Counsel for the University of Delaware and clerked in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She holds a B.A. in economics and political science from the University of California, Davis, a M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University, a M.P.A. from the School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkley.

Like Joe, Lindsay will oversee the Department teams that lead intergovernmental affairs, rural and regional outreach, and the signature recognition programs for schools and students. Welcome aboard, Lindsay!

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Teacher Blog Posts

Don't miss these insightful new blog posts by teachers, both at the Department and from the field:

A reminder that, through February 22, teachers and friends are invited to join the #LoveTeaching campaign (video by former Secretary Arne Duncan).

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Student Aid Enforcement Unit

As part of the Administration's aggressive steps to protect students and taxpayers, the Department is creating a Student Aid Enforcement Unit to respond more quickly and efficiently to any allegations of illegal actions by institutions of higher education. The unit will be led by Robert Kaye, one of the nation's top enforcement attorneys, most recently as a leader in the Federal Trade Commission's efforts protecting consumers. Through his work as the Bureau of Consumer Protection's Chief Litigation Counsel and as manager in the Bureau's Division of Enforcement, Kaye has considerable experience supervising and advising managers and attorneys engaged in consumer protection investigations, as well as federal court and administrative litigation.

Kaye will report to James Runcie, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA), under the oversight of Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. He will also work with General Counsel James Cole, delegated the duties of Deputy Secretary, to establish policies and practices (video of press conference).

The unit will collaborate with, and incorporate evidence gathered in investigations by, partner state and federal agencies in building cases against institutions. The unit will also collaborate with FSA's Program Compliance Unit regarding evidence which may impact ongoing program compliance reviews. Moreover, the unit will utilize a broad set of interventions and tools, including subpoena authority, document demands, and interrogatories and interviews, to enforce against violations of federal law.

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Regional Educational Labs

On February 5, the Department of Education opened the competition for the next generation of Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs). The solicitation and supporting information can be found here. Each of the 10 RELs conducts applied research; seeks out and widely disseminates findings from high-quality research through live events and a wide range of media; and provides training, coaching, and technical support for applying research to education improvement. The current RELs have carried out their work in research alliances, which are partnerships of researchers and practitioners that use research to identify where, when, and how to intervene to improve education outcomes. The next RELs are expected to begin their work in early 2017 and continue for a period of 60 months.

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Quote to Note

"In today's economy, diversity isn't some vague ideal. It's a path to better outcomes for all of America's children. And the [Stronger Together] proposal we are announcing today will help show us the most effective ways to meet that goal. The reasons to think carefully about new diversity strategies are powerful. As it stands today, high-income kids are more than six times as likely as lower-income students to graduate from college—which is not setting our country up for success. And, it's hard to miss the fact that when children of welders and bankers are confined to separate schools, access to opportunity is not equal. It's no secret whose school ends up with the resources to succeed..... Furthermore, we know that the ability to work with men and women from every background—rich or poor, white, black, or brown—will be a core competency for the jobs we want our kids to have some day. We need all our children on a path to achievement. That's why we need to do more to ensure families and communities can offer students opportunities to learn to work together in school as they will need to in their lives ahead."

        Acting Secretary of Education John King (2/9/16), in a post on Medium about the Stronger Together proposal

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Upcoming Events

Over the next several months, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are hosting a series of webinars on the research, practice, and public awareness of inclusion in early childhood programs. The first webinar was yesterday (February 18). Future webinars and archived recordings of past webinars will be posted here.

Berlin, Germany, is hosting this year's International Summit on the Teaching Profession (March 3 and 4), bringing together education ministers and senior leaders of teachers unions and associations from high-performing and rapidly improving education systems. This summit has emerged as one of the most important forums in the world for dialogue on education transformation. Acting Secretary King will attend.

Schools around the world are encouraged to celebrate International School Meals Day on March 3 by promoting healthy eating and learning, using the theme "Fresh and Local Foods."

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

ED Review is a product of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Communications and Outreach, State and Local Engagement—Lindsay O'Mara, 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.

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Last Modified: 05/13/2016