Press Room NEWSLETTERS
April 27, 2018

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...
Civil Rights Data Collection
Disaster Relief Aid
EQUIP Experiment
Supporting Disabled Veterans
Opioids in Schools
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Civil Rights Data Collection

On April 24, the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released the 2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). This data, self-reported by 17,300 public school districts and 96,400 public schools and educational programs, is collected and published annually by OCR. The CRDC includes, for the first time, comprehensive data regarding incidents of criminal offenses in schools, as well as several new categories of data on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) course taking.

"Protecting all students' civil rights is at the core of the Department's mission," noted Secretary DeVos. "We are pleased to produce the CRDC in a way that it can be reviewed, analyzed, and utilized by local, state, and federal education leaders. I want to commend the many educators, school leaders, and OCR staff who put in countless hours to produce this data and who work tirelessly to ensure all students are able to learn in a safe and nurturing environment free from discrimination."

The Department used CRDC data to produce specific data briefs on two major topics: School Climate and Safety and STEM Course Taking. To evaluate how safe students are at school, the CRDC collects data on serious offenses, law enforcement referrals and school-related arrests, harassment or bullying, restraint and seclusion, and school discipline. For STEM, the CRDC collects data on course availability and enrollment for middle school and high school courses, as well as student passing data on Algebra I.

Users can find selected facts about a district or school, as well as tables and graphics of reported data, here.

For the 2017-18 CRDC, OCR will collect data on computer science classes and school Internet access but no longer collect data on high school equivalency course exam results, Advanced Placement (AP) course exam results, and student chronic absenteeism.

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Disaster Relief Aid

Also this week, in a Federal Register notice, the Department announced the availability of funding under two of the K-12 disaster relief programs authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018: the Temporary Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students program and the Assistance for Homeless Children and Youth program. The former will provide assistance to districts, charter schools, and private schools that have enrolled students displaced during the 2017-18 school year by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria or the 2017 California wildfires. The latter will provide assistance to districts to support the needs of homeless students displaced by a covered disaster or emergency. (Note: the deadline for state applications under both programs is May 25.)

The agency will share additional information, including application packages and technical assistance, on its Disaster Relief web page.

Meanwhile, a new Medium post outlines the series of actions the Department undertook to support the U.S. Virgin Islands through its hurricane recovery process. As part of that effort, agency staff traveled to the islands to provide resources and expertise. "As the shared work continues," the post concludes, "ED staff remain confident that the spirit of the USVI and its people—one of hope, promise, and resilience—will be just what's needed to rebuild and renew."

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EQUIP Experiment

Earlier this month, the Department announced the first approval under the Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP) experiment. Through EQUIP, students will be allowed to use federal student aid to enroll in programs offered by innovative, non-traditional education providers that are partnering with accredited institutions. Brookhaven College, a part of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) in Texas, is set to begin collaborating with StraighterLine, an online provider of self-paced educational courses. Students who have some college but no credential will be able to complete up to two-thirds of a DCCCD associate's degree with a concentration in business or criminal justice by enrolling in StraighterLine courses. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) will offer quality assurance oversight of this EQUIP experiment.

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Supporting Disabled Veterans

The Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs are partnering to make it easier for America's disabled veterans to have their federal student loans discharged. Starting this month, the Department of Education will begin matching borrowers on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), who have federal student loans or aid through the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program, to the Veterans Affairs database. Borrowers identified in the match will be mailed a customized letter, explaining eligibility for loan discharge, and a total and permanent disability application.

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Opioids in Schools

On April 26, the Department's Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) and its National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments held a webinar with details on how the opioid crisis affects students and families and insights into policies and practices that may help address the crisis in K-12 schools. The webinar was specifically designed for state-, district-, and building-level administrators, teachers, and specialized instructional support personnel interested in effective support of students and families impacted by opioids. For more information, visit both Opiods.gov and the Department's new opioids web page. (Note: Secretary DeVos visited the National Safety Council's "Prescribed to Death Memorial" when it was at the White House this month.)

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Odds and Ends

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Quote to Note

"Barbara Bush was a woman of grace, wit, perseverance, and character. She committed the entirety of her life to serving others: her family, her friends, and her nation. A true advocate for lifelong learning, no one in America has done more to advance the cause of literacy—both for students and for parents—than Barbara Bush. She continued this commitment long after her days in the White House, and her work has changed thousands upon thousands of families' lives for generations by helping them unlock the power of literacy."

        Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (4/17/18), in a statement on the passing of Mrs. Barbara Bush

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Upcoming Events

On April 28, visit a #TakeBackDay collection site to safely and anonymously dispose of unused prescription drugs.

Rescheduled from March due to weather, the Department will host an art exhibit of approximately 90 works by K-12 students from the Rose Tree Media, Pennsylvania, school district. The opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on April 30 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time and feature a 32-piece jazz band, a flute ensemble, an elementary chorus, and a high school choral group. Remarks by agency senior staff, the Rose Tree superintendent and school board chairman, and students will place the arts in an excellent education. To RSVP to attend or learn more about the Department's year-round exhibit program, please contact Jacquelyn.Zimmermann@ed.gov.

Then, on May 4 at 11 a.m. ET, the Department will open "Total Tolerance," an exhibit of 21 YoungArts 2018 national award winners. The program will feature a spoken word performance by TiKa Wallace of George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia, as well as remarks by agency and YoungArts staff. The artists question existing systems and prescribed outlooks through their practices. The exhibit evokes a process through which representation and dialogue can take shape to call for alternative, more inclusive perspectives on the real issues of the day. Again, for assistance, please contact Jacquelyn.Zimmermann@ed.gov.

The Administration will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-11) with a variety of activities.

On May 5, Secretary DeVos will be the commencement speaker at Ave Maria University's graduation exercises.

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Last Modified: 05/11/2018