Press Room NEWSLETTERS
June 22, 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...
School Safety Commission
International Learning
OCR Investigation
AAPI Working Group
What Works Clearinghouse
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

School Safety Commission

Yesterday (June 21), the Federal Commission on School Safety held a formal meeting at the White House. The meeting was titled "The Ecology of Schools: Fostering a Culture of Human Flourishing and Developing Character." Secretary DeVos (chairwoman), Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen heard from three different panels of experts on how entertainment, media, cyberbullying, and social media may affect violence and school safety (press release and video).

Panel 1, on cyberbullying and social media, featured Dr. Sameer Hinduja, a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University and co-director of its Cyberbullying Research Center, and Dr. Paul Gausman, superintendent of the Sioux City Community School District in Iowa.

Panel 2, on youth consumption of violent entertainment, featured Dr. Rowell Huesmann, a professor of psychology and communication studies at the University of Michigan and director of its Aggression Research Program in the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research, and Dr. Christopher Ferguson, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Stetson University.

Panel 3, on the effects of press coverage on mass shootings, featured Dr. Jennifer Johnston, an assistant professor of psychology at Western New Mexico University, and Ben Fernandez, chairman of the National Association of School Psychologists' School Safety and Crisis Response Committee.

On Tuesday (June 26), the commission will hold a listening session at the Council of State Governments' headquarters building in Lexington, Kentucky. The session is an opportunity for members of the public, as well as state and local officials, to share with Deputy Secretary of Education Mitchell Zais and representatives from the commission their views on how schools, school districts, institutions of higher education, and local and state government agencies may improve school safety. The session will be divided into three parts: two roundtable discussions (1-3:15 p.m. Eastern Time) and a public comment period (4-6 p.m. ET). Those who want to provide feedback must register for speaking slots here. The session will be live-streamed here.

Over the coming months, the commission will continue to host formal meetings, field visits, and listening sessions.

A reminder that members of the public with recommendations on how to improve school safety may submit them via safety@ed.gov.

In related news, the Justice Department is inviting applications for two new grant programs created by the STOP School Violence Act. The STOP School Violence Threat Assessment and Technology Reporting Program will support jurisdictions (including states, local governments, and federally recognized Indian tribes) in improving efforts to reduce violent crime through the creation of school threat assessment teams and the use of technology for anonymously reporting suspicious activity as it relates to violence in schools. The STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program will support jurisdictions in improving efforts to reduce violent crime through the creation of school safety training and mental health programs for school personnel and students as they relate to violence in schools. These programs will award nearly $50 million. The application deadline for each is July 23.

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International Learning

Secretary DeVos is back in the U.S. after a 10-day learning tour—her first international trip—through Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. She focused on innovative approaches to apprenticeships, the cooperation between public and private schools, and leveraging an academy structure in schools, respectively. With this global perspective, she penned a blog about her travels and what Americans can learn from our friends across the pond as we "rethink school" at home.

"In Switzerland, the education sector partners closely with businesses to provide apprenticeships for students in a variety of professions," the Secretary said. "Two-thirds of current Swiss students pursue their education through one of the 250 types of government-recognized apprenticeships. Meanwhile, only 17% of U.S. students have worked in an internship or apprenticeship related to their career goals.... Such a robust culture of technical education demonstrates three key things. First, that young people can be productive members of the workforce. Second, that businesses should take an active role in cultivating the next generation of talent. Third, that hands-on learning should not be seen as a last resort for those who struggle in a traditional classroom setting. All students benefit when they have the chance to apply what they are learning in school to solve problems and accomplish practical applications within the workplace."

Separately, the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands wrote about the Secretary's visit, detailing the people and programs on her packed itinerary.

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OCR Investigation

The Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced last week a Title IX directed, systemic investigation into the University of Southern California's (USC) handling of reports of sexual harassment against former employee Dr. George Tyndall. OCR's investigation will assess USC's response to reports and complaints of sexual harassment during medical exams as early as 1990 that were not fully investigated by USC until spring 2016 and that the university did not disclose to OCR during an earlier investigation. According to USC, Dr. Tyndall resigned in June 2017 based on a finding by the university that his behavior during exams was outside the scope of current medical standards and that he violated the university's policy on harassment by making repeated sexually inappropriate remarks during patient encounters.

"No student should ever endure sexual harassment or abuse while trying to pursue their education," noted Secretary DeVos. "Every student on every campus should have a safe learning environment, and I expect all education institutions under the Department's jurisdiction to take seriously their responsibilities under Title IX. Attempts to obfuscate or hide Title IX violations from the Department will not be tolerated, and I am calling on USC to cooperate fully and completely with this investigation."

OCR currently has an unrelated monitoring agreement with USC as a result of OCR's investigations into the university's handling of allegations of sexual harassment and violence that spanned from August 2010 through May 2015. OCR's requests for documents and information from USC on these matters covered all reports and complaints against faculty and staff during the 2010-13 academic years. At no time during the investigation or negotiations did USC provide OCR with any information regarding reports or complaints allegedly received against Dr. Tyndall.

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AAPI Working Group

Also last week, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) announced the membership of and held the inaugural meeting for its Interagency Working Group at the White House. The working group comprises senior officials from 31 federal agencies and offices. The group's purpose is to guide the participating agencies and offices in developing plans to measure performance on existing goals and to improve upon and create new measurable objectives. (Note: During the meeting, Initiative Executive Director Holly Ham shared five strategic areas of focus.)

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What Works Clearinghouse

In a statement, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Director Mark Schneider revealed improvements that IES will undertake with the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC). Since it was created 15 years ago, the WWC has been one of IES's flagship investments and has undergone several enhancements to ensure that it continues to fulfill its mission to help the nation identify what works, for whom, and under what conditions. In the coming months, IES will engage with a wide variety of stakeholders to consider ways to increase attention to the cost of interventions, communicate more effectively to the range of stakeholders, reflect updated practices with regard to statistical significance, and broaden coverage from pre-kindergarten to twelfth-grade into postsecondary education—especially career and technical training.

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Odds and Ends

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Quote to Note

"President Trump campaigned and won with his promise to reduce the federal footprint in education and to make the federal government more efficient and effective. Today's bold reform proposal takes a big step toward fulfilling that promise. Artificial barriers between education and workforce programs have existed for far too long. We must reform our 20th century federal agencies to meet the challenges of the 21st century. This proposal will make the federal government more responsive to the full range of needs faced by American students, workers, and schools. I urge Congress to work with the Administration to make this proposal a reality."

        Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (6/21/18), in a statement on the President's government reform plan, which proposes merging the Departments of Education and Labor into a single agency: the Department of Education and the Workforce

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Upcoming Events

On June 25, starting at 8 p.m. ET, the National YoungArts Foundation, in cooperation with the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the Department of Education, will present "A Salute to the 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars," a multi-disciplinary performance by the 2018 Scholars in the Arts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This performance will be live-streamed at YoungArts.org.

Also next week (June 25 and 26), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will host the first-ever State-Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education Summit, convening a diverse group of state STEM leaders to participate in the development of a new, federal five-year STEM Education Strategic Plan in compliance with the America COMPETES Act of 2010.

A reminder for teacher leaders! Do you have an idea to improve science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) in your school, district, or state? The Teach to Lead team is accepting idea submissions through July 9 for its Teacher Leadership Summit, September 28-30 in San Jose, where teams will receive critical support to turn their ideas into action.

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Last Modified: 06/22/2018