With the announcement of President Bush's 2003 budget came some talk that the President is short changing education for defense. This is not the truth. As someone "in the trenches," I can say that this nation can expect - and this administration will deliver - a commitment to quality education both through targeted reforms and enhanced funding. Deputy Secretary Bill Hansen released a new guide to education funding, Resources + Reforms = Results: President Bush's Commitment to Our Nation's School Children to better explain the Bush Administration's financial commitment to America's students.
On September 11, 2001, our president was suddenly faced with the overriding concern of defending our nation from the threat of terrorism. While homeland security and the fight against terrorism preoccupy our minds, education remains the President's top domestic priority. From 1996 to 2003, education spending increased 132% versus only a 48% increase in defense spending.
Resources + Reforms = Results highlights the major overall increases in the Department of Education funding as well as historic investments in key programs, such as Title I, special education, teachers and teacher quality, reading, English acquisition and higher education. In the last 30 years, American taxpayers have more than doubled their investment in spending per pupil, but most agree on the need to increase our return on that investment. I encourage you to read Resources + Reforms = Results at http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/10-2002/10242002.html.
Making the Case for Adult Education
Companies may be looking to cut costs, but having skills that organizations need most to stay competitive is key for employees' survival, says new survey of more than 400 US and Canadian companies. The Watson-Wyatt 2002/2003 Strategic Rewards Report shows that only 15% of companies planned or accomplished layoffs of "critical skill employees," while 46% of companies planned to lay off, or had laid off, workers with less critical skills. Only 10% of companies planned reductions through attrition for "critical skill employees," but nearly one third planned to reduce "non-critical skill" workers. Meanwhile, nearly one fourth of companies surveyed wanted to aggressively hire employees with critical skills, while just 7% anticipated aggressive efforts to hire workers with non-critical skills.
New Partners to Boost Literacy in Cities
On October 11, Secretary Rod Paige presented a $500,000 grant to the National Urban League to reach out to families about the key role that reading and literacy play in a child's successful academic achievement. Grant funds will develop Reading Information Centers in Urban League cities of Cleveland, Houston, Miami and Washington. Centers will distribute information on reading and literacy development to help parents to assist their children meet state and local reading and language arts standards. The centers will assist local and state literacy programs that support scientifically based reading initiatives. They also will help community-based organizations, such as churches, nonprofits and other groups that offer after-school programs, to design activities to improve and enhance children's reading and literacy ability.
Hispanic Growth Exploding in States
The 2000 Census revealed that states with the largest growth in Hispanic populations were concentrated in the South. North Carolina led the pack with a 394 percent change, followed by Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Nevada, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Nebraska. According to the Census, most Hispanics live in two states, either California or Texas, followed by New York, Florida, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, Colorado and Washington. This trend has been fairly stable over time.
Secretary Paige Warns Schools Lowering the Bar
Secretary Paige released a letter to Chief State School Officers, praising the progress that states have made in implementing the No Child Left Behind Act and expressing his concerns over any attempts to lower the bar of expectations for schools and students. In his October 23 letter, Secretary Paige reinforced the notion that our schools can and must do better, stating "When more than two out of every three fourth-graders can't read proficiently on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, we know there is a problem that requires decisive action". The Secretary applauded the many principals and districts across the country that are embracing the new spirit of accountability and achievement embodied in No Child Left Behind, but lamented the fact that some states have lowered the bar of expectations to hide the low performance of their schools.
Strategies to Improve High Schools
High school policies studied illustrate how relatively unchanged high schools have remained in the last two decades, according to a recent report. With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust, The Institute for Educational Leadership published "All Over the Map: State Policies to Improve the High School." According to the Executive Summary, the report highlights trends, assumptions and tensions that key state education policy provisions hold for high schools. The state policies reviewed fell into three clusters: policies specific to high schools including course credit, graduation and diplomas; state policies to ensure opportunities to learn, including basic funding, help for students who are falling behind, teacher certification, and options beyond the regular comprehensive high school; and policies surrounding standards, assessments and accountability.
How Technology Can Revolutionize Education
ED and the U.S. Department of Commerce joined forces to release a report of "what ifs" in technology in education. 2020 Visions: Transforming Education and Training Through Advanced Technologies consists of 14 essays written on how technology could revolutionize education. Suggestions included virtual mentors, a digital environment paced entirely by the individual student, and computer simulations. Neither department endorses these ideas as the future of technology in education, but considers the report an exercise in thinking out of the box.
What is "Evidence-based" Research?
The Council for Excellence in Government, through their Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, will hold a forum to discuss issues raised in a new Coalition report: Bringing Evidence-Driven Progress to Education: A Recommended Strategy for the U.S. Department of Education on November 18. Discussion will center on the report's rationale for evidence-based education policy: 1) Randomized controlled trials may offer a key to reversing decades of stagnation in American education and sparking rapid, evidence-driven progress, and 2) In contrast to education, randomized trials in medicine and welfare policy have produced remarkable advances. The report was developed under a collaborative initiative between the coalition and the Education Department, with funding from the William T. Grant Foundation. Participants will include Secretary Paige and other leading policymakers, scholars, and advocacy groups representing diverse policy areas and viewpoints.
College Enrollment and Completion Rates
In 1998, 97% of high school seniors aspired to attend college, 63% enrolled, but only 30% completed college with a degree. (OERI, Answers in the Toolbox: Academic Intensity, Attendance Patterns, and Bachelor's Degree Attainment.)
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Last Modified: 01/31/2008