Press Room NEWSLETTERS
January 25, 2019

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...
Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs
National School Choice Week
Breaking Down Silos
Protecting Children with Disabilities
WGU Final Determination
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs

Last week, Secretary DeVos participated in a fireside-style chat at the "Business Startup Challenges and Youth Entrepreneurship Opportunities" briefing hosted by Gallup and Lemonade Day. This briefing was focused on inspiring today's youth to be entrepreneurs and how adults can prepare students to be active contributors to the country now and in the future. The Secretary's interview was part of a day-long event that included a series of speakers and breakout discussions with elected officials, business and youth group leaders, students, parents, educators, and entrepreneurs.

"The schools I've visited that are most exciting for students [are] producing a lot of different career pathways at a young age and giving kids exposure to what some of those possibilities are, starting as young as early middle school and developing opportunities after that, for kids to really explore what they're wired up to do," the Secretary explained. She also said that youth would benefit from learning what it means to run a business. "There's very little discussion of what a business is, what businesses do, and what kinds of businesses are [out] there."

Asked why fewer Americans have been starting up businesses and a potential solution, the Secretary said she believes schools—and parents—have put a premium on protecting students, rather than exposing them to risk. "We've heard a lot about helicopter parenting and making sure that nobody gets hurt doing something—and we don't take too many risks so that we don't fail," she stressed. "Generally speaking, we have to become more OK with taking calculated risks and encouraging young people to try new things, not protect[ing] them from everything."

Top


National School Choice Week

This week, the Administration celebrated National School Choice Week (NSCW). This effort recognizes all elementary and secondary education options, including traditional public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling. Founded in 2011, NSCW has grown from 150 events in 2011 to more than 40,000 events this year in the U.S. and around the world.

President Trump issued a proclamation on NSCW. "As our nation celebrates National School Choice Week, I encourage families to explore new educational opportunities; I urge educators to develop imaginative and innovative pathways to learning; and I challenge students to passionately pursue their goals and dreams with discipline, integrity, and unyielding determination," the proclamation states. "Lastly, I urge lawmakers in Congress and in the states to embrace and expand education choice, which will strengthen our students, families, educators, communities, and, ultimately, our nation."

Secretary DeVos participated in a fireside-style chat with Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James focused on the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program's broad impact over the last 15 years, the future of the program, and what it has meant for students and families.

Department senior officials also visited schools and attended events across the country promoting choice: Deputy Secretary of Education Mitchell Zais traveled to Arizona; Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan traveled to Texas; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Aimee Viana traveled to North Carolina and South Carolina; and Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Scott Stump traveled to Alabama.

Meanwhile, the Department published a couple of informative blog posts (1 and 2) to highlight the week.

Top


Breaking Down Silos

Also this week, Secretary DeVos delivered remarks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting. She discussed the importance of building strong relationships between local businesses and the education community and how mayors are in a unique position to facilitate these partnerships. The following are key experts from her remarks.

"I've always believed that solutions are best developed by those closest to an issue—by states, by communities, and by families. And mayors have a unique role in those ecosystems.... Education is perhaps the most local issue there is. It starts with the family. Yet those closest to their own children and to local schools and teachers seem to be the least empowered. Parents know that they need different solutions for their different children. They know we need to rethink education.

"Despite a booming economy with record-low unemployment, employer after employer reports that they cannot find enough qualified people to hire.... There is a disconnect between education and the economy, just as there is often a disconnect between a child and the school they're assigned to. Too many students are unprepared for successful careers today, and beyond. And too many are treated more like commodities instead of as the individuals they are, each with unique abilities and aspirations. As mayors, you have an important opportunity to build relationships between employers and educators.

"Today, giant silos exist between educators and employers, between students and success. Students are better prepared for what comes next when their teachers learn from and partner with their community's builders and doers. In that vein, I was pleased this administration and Congress came together to pass what we call 'Perkins V.' This new law is good news for those who want to break down silos. It gives states, districts, and community colleges more freedom to decide how to use taxpayer dollars to prepare students for success. And as mayors, you have a critical role in helping your state shape its Perkins plan. For the first time, the law urges you and other local leaders to regularly evaluate student needs and how programs are meeting those needs.

"Ultimately, we must expand our thinking about what education actually is, as well as resist the urge to expect all students to follow the same track. You may have seen Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's piece in The Wall Street Journal last month. By placing descriptors like 'vocational' and 'technical' in front of the word 'education,' Congresswoman Foxx wrote, we generate misleading thoughts about education. Perhaps the most misleading descriptor, Congresswoman Foxx wrote—and I agree—is 'training.' Animals are trained. People pursue education. So, there should be many education pathways because there are many types of students with many different interests and many kinds of opportunities with varying requirements."

Top


Protecting Children with Disabilities

The Secretary recently announced that the Department will launch an initiative to address the possible inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in the nation's schools. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in partnership with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), will oversee this proactive approach, which aims to protect students with disabilities by providing support and technical assistance to schools, school districts, and state education agencies and strengthening enforcement activities. The initiative includes three components (OCR compliance reviews, Civil Rights Data Collection data quality reviews, and support for recipients) that will not only help schools and districts understand how federal law applies to the use of restraint and seclusion but also support schools seeking resources and information on the appropriate use of interventions and supports to address the behavioral needs of students with disabilities.

Top


WGU Final Determination

The Department's Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) determined this month that Western Governors University (WGU) is eligible to participate in federal student aid programs. In making its final determination, FSA reviewed the Department's Office of Inspector General's (OIG) report, examined WGU's records regarding interactions between students and academic staff during the year audited, and reviewed the favorable findings of WGU's accrediting agency on the institution's academic model. FSA determined that, particularly in light of a lack of clear guidance from the agency at the time of the audit period, WGU's efforts to comply with the governing law and regulations were reasonable and undertaken in good faith. (Note: OIG ultimately agreed with FSA's final determination.)

OIG's audit covered the period from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, and concerned WGU's online competency-based academic model and the amount of interaction that occurred between students and academic staff. WGU's model relies on the use of student mentors to engage with students on a regular basis. Students do not attend scheduled classes; instead, they learn at their own pace, earning credit only when they demonstrate mastery of the competencies in the program.

While the Department has since clarified the eligibility issues in this audit through guidance issued in 2014, the topic of distance learning is being addressed as part of the agency's negotiated rulemaking.

Top


Odds and Ends

  • On January 14, the President signed into law the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, promoting the use of federal data, research, and evaluations in policy development.

  • The Department published the list of candidates for the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which honors some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors.

  • The Department extended the deadline for public comment on its proposed regulation under Title IX, to January 30 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, in response to technical issues with the Regulations.gov site.

  • The Department's Homeroom blog offers options for federal employees with student loans impacted by the partial government shutdown.

  • Another blog post, in recognition of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, shares signs and strategies to identify and support students who may be impacted by opioids and other substance abuse.

  • The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released national and state-level high school Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates for the 2016-17 school year. The national rate for all students was 84.6%, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from the previous year. The national rate for all racial and ethnic subgroups also increased from the previous year: 1.4 points for black students, 0.7 points for Hispanic students, 0.5 points for American Indian/Alaska Native students, 0.4 points for Asian/Pacific Islander students, and 0.3 points for white students.

  • "Barriers to Parent-School Involvement for Early Elementary Students," a Statistics in Brief issued by NCES, examines the level of parents' involvement in activities in their children's schools, describes the types of barriers to participation that parents face, and reveals how barriers to involvement differ across child, family, and school characteristics.

  • In 2018, the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)—a free, online library of education research and information sponsored by the Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES)—continued to bring high-quality materials to users (infographic).

  • Throughout 2018, the Department's What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) focused on creating training, videos, infographics, and summaries to assist users in identifying and applying relevant research (infographic).

  • The Department's Readiness and Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center developed a new Emergency Exercises Package designed to help K-12 schools and districts strengthen their emergency operations plans and identify any gaps and weaknesses.

Top


Quote to Note

"We have also made great strides as a nation, but we acknowledge that more work must be done for, in the words of [Reverend] Dr. [Martin Luther] King, [Jr.], 'justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.' United as one American family, we will not rest—and we will never be satisfied—until the promise of this great nation is accessible to each American in each new generation. More than half a century after Dr. King's March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, our nation is mindful of its past, and we look forward to the future with unwavering optimism, inspired by the legacy of Dr. King and informed by his wisdom and vision. May the memory of Dr. King and the efforts we have made to fully effectuate his dream remind us that faith and love unite us...as one great American family."

        President Donald Trump (1/18/19), in a proclamation commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

Top


Upcoming Events

Among other observations, February is African-American History Month, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and National Magnet School Month. Also, National School Counseling Week (February 4-8) spotlights the significant impact counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

The Library of Congress is accepting applications for week-long summer programs for K-12 educators through March 10. Held at the Library, the professional development provides educators with tools and resources to effectively integrate primary sources into classroom teaching—with a special emphasis on student engagement, critical thinking, and construction of knowledge.

President Trump's State of the Union address has been delayed due to the partial government shutdown.

Top


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

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: 01/25/2019