Press Room NEWSLETTERS
March 24, 2017

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...
Budget Blueprint
ESSA Update
In Her Own Words
IDEA Web Site
Teach to Lead
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Budget Blueprint

On March 16, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again," providing Congress and the public with a view of the priorities of President Trump and his Administration. "Our aim is to meet the simple, but crucial demand of our citizens—a government that puts the needs of its own people first," the President asserted in his message to Congress, which will ultimately approve the final budget. "When we do that, we will set free the dreams of every American, and we will begin a new chapter of American greatness." (Note: For the President's request for the Department of Education, see pages 17 and 18 of the blueprint.)

In response, Secretary DeVos released the following statement:

"Today's Budget Blueprint keeps with President Trump's promise to focus the Department of Education on its mission to serve students. The budget places power in the hands of parents and families to choose schools that are best for their children by investing an additional $1.4 billion in school choice programs. It continues support for the nation's most vulnerable populations, such as students with disabilities, while streamlining and simplifying funding for college and continuing to make college education more affordable.

"Taxpayers deserve to know their dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively. This budget is the first step in investing in education programs that work and maintaining our Department's focus on supporting states and school districts in providing an equal opportunity for a quality education to all students. I look forward to continuing to engage with Congress as we rollout the President's priorities and put the needs of students first."

OMB will issue the President's full budget request later this spring.

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ESSA Update

Also last week, the Secretary provided clarity on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), issuing an updated template for consolidated state plans. "The updated template will ensure states are able to better serve students with the freedom and flexibility they deserve—and which Congress requires," the Secretary noted in a statement. "My philosophy is simple: I trust parents, I trust teachers, and I trust local school leaders to do what's right for the children they serve. ESSA was passed with broad, bipartisan support to move power away from Washington, D.C., and into the hands of those who are closest to serving our nation's students. States, along with local educators and parents, are on the frontlines of ensuring every child has access to a quality education. The plans each state develops under the streamlined ESSA template will promote innovation, flexibility, and accountability to ensure every child has a chance to learn and succeed."

In addition to the updated template, the Department released a letter to Chief State School Officers, a fact sheet, Frequently Asked Questions, a crosswalk of state plan requirements, and a webinar presentation.

Releasing a streamlined template at this time ensures continued accountability for results and provides states with a clear path forward on a timeline that works best for them. The Department will continue to engage with Chief State School Officers and governors' offices as state plans proceed through the peer review and secretarial review process.

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In Her Own Words

Over the last two weeks, the Secretary delivered keynote remarks at several conferences: the Council of the Great City Schools Legislative Conference, the National Lieutenant Governors Association State-Federal Relations Meeting, the National Association of State Boards of Education Legislative Conference, and the Council of Chief State School Officers Legislative Conference. At each conference, she re-introduced herself and expressed her full support for the goals of ESSA—to roll-back the intrusive involvement of the federal government and empower state and local leaders to better serve students. Below are excerpts from those remarks.

"When it comes to the education of a child, I am agnostic as to the delivery system, or the building in which it takes place, so long as that child is in an environment that meets their needs and the parents are satisfied. If a child is able to grow and flourish, it shouldn't matter where they learn. And one of those quality options should be a great public school. I've said this before, and it bears repeating: I support great public schools, and I support great public school teachers, because I support students—all students."

"Too often, the Department of Education has gone outside of its established authority and created roadblocks—wittingly or unwittingly—for parents and educators alike.... Under this Administration, we will break this habit. No teacher in any classroom should feel like the Department of Education is holding them back from success with their kids. No parent should feel like the Department of Education thinks it knows better than they what is best for their child. And no district should feel like the Department of Education is hampering their ability to improve the learning environment of students. When Washington gets out of your way, you should be able to unleash new and creative thinking to set children up for success."

"As... leaders, you intimately recognize the innate ability a quality education can have to break the cycle of poverty, and you understand the value of an educated workforce. Education is the pathway to bring our economy into the 21st century.... The jobs exist. We just need to connect those willing to learn the requisite skills with the businesses ready to hire them. And we need to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs, inventors, and job creators who will unleash their ingenuity to solve the challenges of the day."

"As you exercise this freedom and flexibility on behalf of students, families, and schools, I challenge you to keep raising the bar. Nothing short of excellence should be our common theme and refrain. There is always more work to be done and new ways to inspire learning. We should not rest until every child has an equal opportunity to learn and thrive. I challenge you to seize this moment and embrace the inherent responsibility it poses. We must never lose sight of our mission: providing each child with the chance to pursue a great education in a safe and nurturing environment."

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IDEA Web Site

The Department's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is seeking input from users of the IDEA.ed.gov web site in an effort to provide updated, easy-to-navigate IDEA resources to children with disabilities and their families, teachers, administrators, advocates, and other stakeholders. To help facilitate this effort, OSERS has posted a blog where users may provide comments.

The blog poses some specific questions:

  • What are the resources you use most often at IDEA.ed.gov?
  • What additional information and/or functionality would you like to see included in the new web site?
  • What is your title or role/designation (such as student, parent, educator, etc.)? (This information will help OSERS gain a better understanding of who uses IDEA.ed.gov.)

The current IDEA.ed.gov site will remain available during and after the development of the new web site.

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Teach to Lead

The Department, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and ASCD have announced that Teach to Lead will host its 12th Teacher Leadership Summit on May 5-7 in Columbus, Ohio. The summit will bring together teacher leaders and other stakeholders to collaborate, problem solve, and develop action plans to benefit students and schools. All teams must contain at least one practicing classroom teacher.

Idea submissions can address any perceived area of need in schools. Educators must submit ideas by March 30 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Applications are reviewed by a panel of educators. Space is limited to approximately 25 teams. All teams that submit applications will be notified of selections on April 8.

Educators are encouraged to submit an idea, regardless of geographical location, but participants must cover their own travel costs.

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Odds and Ends

  • On March 17, President Trump, joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, led a roundtable discussion with U.S. and German business leaders on career and technical training (remarks and video).

  • In celebration of National Reading Month, Secretary DeVos and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan read to students at Carderock Springs Elementary School in Bethesda.

  • According to a new report from the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), at least 90% of the nation's public school students were taught by state-certified teachers in school year 2011-12, 2013, and 2015. Also, at least 75% of students had a teacher with more than five years of experience in 2011-12 and 2015. However, these percentages varied based on the characteristics of the school, such as its location, the demographics of students, and its jurisdiction.

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Quote to Note

"At the end of the day, we should measure everything we do by one question: how does this impact individual students? Every child is different, with varying skills and learning styles. We shouldn't then force all children into a one-size-fits-all education system. Our education approaches should be as varied as the students they serve.... Public policy can provide the framework to encourage flexibility and diversification within our education system to meet the needs of students and set them up for success in adulthood. That's why I'm a strong supporter of ESSA."

        Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (3/20/17), in her keynote remarks at the National Association of State Boards of Education Legislative Conference

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Upcoming Events

Today, the Secretary will visit Valencia College in Florida, participating in two roundtable discussions focused on the college's career training and dual enrollment programs.

The Federal Inter-Agency Holocaust Remembrance Program aims to educate federal employees, students, teachers, and the public about the Holocaust, as well as other acts of genocide. This free event is held each year at a Washington, D.C., venue. This year, it will be held April 26 at the Lincoln Theatre.

Edinburgh, Scotland will host this year's International Summit on the Teaching Profession (March 30 and 31), bringing together education ministers and senior leaders of teachers unions and associations from many high-performing and rapidly improving education systems. This summit has emerged as one of the world's most important forums for dialogue on the transformation of education. The first summit was held in the U.S. in 2011.

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Last Modified: 03/28/2017