Archive of Past 100 Announcements

Apply for the MBA or Pathway to the MBA

Did you know that by applying for the Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) or Pathway to the MBA, you’ll learn budget development best practices? A team of experts will review your application and provide feedback to help you build a better budget.

2014 Annual Meeting Schedule at a Glance

We're lining up more than 110 hours of hands-on professional development sessions, as well as guest speakers, discussion panels, and networking events throughout this year’s meeting.

Purchasing Made Easy!

The ASBO Buyer’s Guide puts hundreds of reliable products and services at your fingertips—from management, administration, and technology, to facilities, nutrition, and beyond.

Honor a Lifetime of Achievement

Recognizing visionary school business leaders for their dedication to the profession, the Eagle Awards celebrate the very best in school business management.

Locate Your SFO® Testing Center

Ready to take the SFO exams, but don't know where to go? Locate a test center now. With new testing locations continuing to be added, earning your SFO is more convenient than ever. Proudly sponsored by The Horace Mann Companies.

The 2014 Eagle Institute is sold out!

2014 Eagle Awards: A Lifetime Achievement Award

Who inspires you? Apply or nominate a colleague by June 1!

Did You Miss It? Watch Last Month’s COE Webinar Today

Earning the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (COE) proves your district’s fiscal integrity and helps you improve your district’s financial reporting process in line with best practices. If you missed last month’s webinar, watch it online now. Proudly sponsored by VALIC.

ASBO Welcomes New Strategic Partner - Security Benefit

ASBO International is pleased to welcome Security Benefit as our newest strategic partner and sponsor of the Annual Meeting & Expo first general session speaker. Committed to supporting school business officials and their professional development, Security Benefit will also sponsor complimentary registrations for 16 ASBO International members to attend the meeting.

2014 Pinnacle Awards: Innovators Apply!

This professional achievement award recognizes school business professionals who have an innovative spirit and have dedicated themselves to improving the school business profession. Please submit application materials before May 1. Proudly sponsored by Virco.

U.S. Members: 403(b) Survival Guide and Healthcare Reform Compliance--all free!

ASBO International Welcomes Horace Mann as New SFO® Sponsor

We are pleased to welcome The Horace Mann Companies as the new sponsor of the Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations® (SFO®), effective January 1, 2014. As an ASBO International strategic partner and new sponsor of the SFO certification, Horace Mann demonstrates their continued dedication to working with ASBO International to help meet the needs of school business officials.

Increasing Classroom Technology—Awakening the Sleeping IT Infrastructure Giant

Implementing new technologies in your school district won’t always make your job easier. When Litchfield School District in Litchfield, New Hampshire, attempted to add years’ worth of new classroom and educational technologies, they failed to consider the impact these changes would have on their IT infrastructure and business operations.

Want to Run for the ASBO International Board of Directors?

Get more involved in your association and help lead school business forward by joining the ASBO International Board of Directors. Visit ASBO's election page for eligibility requirements and additional information.

2014 Call for Proposals - Now Open!

ASBO's 2014 Call for Proposals is open. Submit your presentation ideas for the 2014 Annual Meeting & Expo now.

More than 500 districts received the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting

For the fiscal year ending 2012, more than 500 school districts received the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (COE). School districts that earn the COE enjoy enhanced credibility for the financial management of their system. Proudly sponsored by VALIC.

Collect Annual Meeting & Expo CPEs Before 12/31

You’ve already done the hard work—don’t forget to collect the CPEs you’ve earned! Log on to Education On Demand, ASBO’s online learning center, to collect CPE credits by the end of the year.

Share Your School Business Expertise in Florida

Have an idea for an educational session? Submit a proposal to present at the 2014 Annual Meeting & Expo, September 19 – 22 in Kissimmee, Florida! Whether you are just starting your career or have been in the profession for years, you have valuable insight to share.

Affordable Care Act - Now on ASBO Radio

Some of the critical deadlines mandated by the Affordable Care Act are rapidly approaching—and there are many implications for school business officials. Tune in to ASBO Radio as Susan Relland, vice president of American Fidelity Assurance Company, walks through the basics you need to know.

Register for the Executive Leadership Forum

Executive Leadership Forum registration is open, but spaces are limited and filling up fast. Register now for this high-level leadership development experience from the Disney Institute and leadership expert, Dr. Jeff McCausland.

FAF Issues Final Policy on GASB Scope of Authority

The FAF Trustees yesterday adopted a new policy, GASB Scope of Authority: Consultation Process Policy, that clarifies the characteristics of the information the GASB may incorporate into the financial accounting and reporting concepts, standards, and guidance that it issues for state and local governments. A link to the press release announcing the new policy can be found here.

The new policy outlines a pre-agenda consultation process for the GASB and the FAF’s Standard-Setting Process Oversight Committee to follow in determining whether information the GASB might consider for standard-setting activity is “financial accounting and reporting information” within the GASB’s scope of authority. The scope considerations will be based on accounting and reporting characteristics currently in the GASB’s Concepts Statements.

GASB releases new online tool kit to help implement new reporting standards for pension plans

Many stakeholders have requested that GASB have additional educational resources to help them implement the new standards. Prepared by the GASB staff, the toolkit (http://www.gasb.org/jsp/GASB/Page/GASBSectionPage&cid=1176163527830) is intended to provide guidance on how plan administrators can effectively comply with the new rules. It includes the following resources:
• An authoritative resource guide to GASB Statement 67 implementation for pension plans
• A video addressing the top implementation issues facing pension plans
• A podcast discussing the types of pension plans that will be affected by Statement 67 and the most significant changes to accounting and financial reporting
• A background document answering frequently-asked questions regarding Statement 67 and Statement No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions
• A fact sheet answering frequently-asked questions specifically related to Statement No. 67
• An article identifying several areas plan administrators and public officials should consider as they plan, prepare, and collaborate when implementing the new standards
• A “Setting the Record Straight” document addressing misperceptions about the new standards
• The executive summary and the full text of GASB Statement 67.

In the coming weeks, GASB will adding more resources to the toolkit, including short videos from GASB staff highlighting the most-asked implementation questions.

U.S. Department of Education Update

September 27, 2013
COLLEGE RATING SYSTEM

In August, President Obama put forward an ambitious new agenda to combat rising college costs, encourage colleges to improve their value, and empower students and families with information to make informed decisions about which college to attend. The President’s plan included three steps: paying for performance, promoting innovation and competition, and ensuring that student debt remains affordable. As part of this proposal, the President directed the Department to develop a rating system to better inform students and encourage colleges to improve. The ratings will compare colleges with similar missions and identify those that do the most to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as those that are improving their performance. In the future, the rating system could steer taxpayer dollars toward high-performing institutions.

To develop the college rating system, the agency is seeking the best ideas and most creative thinking on some key themes:
• college access, such as the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants;
• college affordability, such as average tuition, scholarships, and loan debt; and
• outcomes, such as students’ graduation and transfer rates, graduate earnings, and advanced degrees of college graduates.

On September 19, the Department launched a nationwide series of public discussions by convening student advocates and leaders -- since students will benefit the most from these efforts -- at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Over the coming months, Department leaders will be traveling across the country to host open forums, roundtable discussions, and town halls to gather suggestions. And, members of the general public are invited to send their suggestions to collegefeedback@ed.gov. (Note: Additional information about the college affordability and value outreach initiative will be posted here.)

Meanwhile, last week, Secretary Duncan delivered remarks at the TIME Summit on Higher Education, highlighting the President’s plan and discussing the challenges of assessing the affordability and value of college. “We know there are no silver bullets or easy solutions here, but we also know we can’t let the difficulty of the challenges facing higher education become a discussion-ending excuse for inaction,” he said. “We very much want -- and need -- the benefit of your collective guidance and wisdom about how to design a rating system that ensures America’s extraordinary system of higher education continues to thrive, grow, and strengthen our entire nation.”

Also, to support the ambitious postsecondary agenda, the Department announced the appointment of Jamienne Studley as Deputy Under Secretary of Education. She will serve alongside the agency’s other Deputy Under Secretary, Jeff Appel.
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BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS

This week, via the Department’s USTREAM channel (see archived video), Secretary Duncan announced 286 schools as 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools. This program honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at the highest levels or where significant increases are being made in students’ levels of achievement. Chief State School Officers nominate public schools. The Council for American Private Education nominates private schools. All schools will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., November 18 and 19. In its 31-year history, the program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 7,500 of America’s schools.
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BROAD PRIZE

Also this week, Secretary Duncan joined philanthropist Eli Broad to announce the Houston Independent School District in Texas as the winner of the 2013 Broad Prize for Urban Education -- the largest education prize in America awarded to the most improved urban district. Houston, the nation’s seventh-largest district serving more than 200,000 students (88% of whom are African-American or Hispanic, and 80% of whom are low-income), is the prize’s first two-time winner, besting three other finalists: Corona-Norco Unified and San Diego Unified in southern California and Cumberland County in North Carolina. The $1 million prize goes to graduating high school seniors for college scholarships; Houston ISD receives $550,000, while the other three finalists each receive $150,000. (Note: A video on the four finalists, featuring interviews with their superintendents, is available online.)
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EARLY LEARNING

On September 18, business and not-for-profit leaders, educators, and senior White House and Department officials met at Miami-Dade College to discuss early learning within the Hispanic community. Although Hispanic children represent the fastest-growing segment of the nation’s population under age 5, less than half are enrolled in an early learning program. The discussion focused on existing research on the impact of quality early learning, its impact on national security and the economy, and the President’s Preschool for All initiative, while encouraging the private and philanthropic sectors to increase investments, complementing federal investments, and encouraging media to dedicate resources. (Note: Don’t miss Professor James Heckman’s opening video message, as well as video [1, 2, 3, 4, and 5] from the summit’s proceedings.)

On September 23, Secretary Duncan attended the 2013 National Business Leader Summit, hosted by ReadyNation-America’s Promise Alliance and the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS), in Atlanta. He discussed with business executives and public officials the importance of investment in early learning to strengthen the economy and global competitiveness. During the summit, executives affirmed their businesses’ commitment to young children as a national economic priority.

Then, on September 25, New York Times Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt sat down with the Secretary, former Indiana governor and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, and former Michigan governor and current Business Roundtable President John Engler for a conversation [1 and 2] on the nation’s education system, including early learning.

Moreover, according to a new report by nine organizations focused on early learning and/or public health, President Obama’s plan to expand early childhood education and fund it with an increase in federal tobacco taxes would ensure that two million low- and moderate-income children have access to high-quality preschool and prevent 1.7 million children from becoming smokers.

Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Frequently Asked Questions for applicants are available online. States are requested to indicate their intent to apply by September 30, and applications are due October 16.
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TRANSITION FLEXIBILITY

This summer, Secretary Duncan declared in a letter to Chief State School Officers that the Department is open to providing additional flexibility for states during the transition to new assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards. First, for states that have received a Race to the Top grant or flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the agency will consider requests delaying personnel consequences for teachers and principals tied to the new assessments for up to one year beyond current plans, until no later than 2016-17. Second, for all states, the agency will consider requests to allow schools that participate in a field test to have students take only one end-of-the-year test -- either the current statewide assessment or the field test -- with provisions for school-level accountability staying the same for one year. (Note: Guidance on and templates for applying for the flexibilities are posted here.)
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ODDS AND ENDS

• On September 17, the aforementioned David Leonhardt sat down with Secretary Duncan for a wide-ranging interview at the New York Times’ “Schools for Tomorrow” conference.
• That evening, the Secretary was on The Colbert Report.
• On September 26, the Secretary delivered remarks at the National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week Conference, titled “The Enduring and Evolving Role of HBCUs.”
• A few more items from the “Strong Start, Bright Future” Back to School bus tour: the Secretary’s closing remarks in Chula Vista, California; a blog post on Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Michael Yudin’s “Let’s Move!” event in Marana, Arizona; and Washington Post reporter Lyndsey Layton’s in-depth story and video on Columbus Elementary School in New Mexico.
• Throughout the month, before the close of the federal fiscal year, the Department has announced grant awards under a number of programs. Some highlights: $30 million for six awards to improve student achievement by increasing the effectiveness of teachers and principals (Supporting Effective Educators Development [SEED] Program); $2.75 million for 12 awards to strengthen minority participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] fields (Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program); and nearly $9.2 million for 58 awards to support campus-based child care services (Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program). Also, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez announced $474.5 million in grants to community colleges and universities for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers (part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program).
• Growth in the sheer number of partnerships between public and private schools prompted creation of the National Network of Schools in Partnership.
• During a special ceremony at the National Book Festival, five distinguished teenagers were appointed the second annual class of the National Student Poets Program, the nation’s top honor for youth poets presenting original work.
• The Department recently announced in the Federal Register its intention to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to prepare proposed regulations to address the changes to the campus safety and security reporting requirements in the Jeanne Clery Act instituted by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.
• Just 43% of this year’s college-bound seniors met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark, which indicates a 65% likelihood of achieving a “B-” average or higher during the first year of college. This number has remained virtually unchanged during the last five years.
• The Department is actively soliciting comments on its draft Fiscal Year 2014-18 Strategic Plan, which lays out the agency’s goals and how it will meet them. All comments must be sent to strategicplancomments@ed.gov by October 4, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. (Note: A video overview of the draft Strategic Plan, provided by Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton, is posted here.)
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“I want to speak today about some of the early reaction to the President’s announcement [on a college rating system]…. To be absolutely clear, we have not even begun to develop the college rating system, and we are only in the beginning stages of soliciting input from a wide range of stakeholders about the metrics that should and should not be used in the ratings. I’m not sure how this is possible, but a few critics have already gone on the attack, against a rating system they don’t like but that doesn’t exist. That is obviously a little premature and more than a little silly. Over the course of the next year, we are going to solicit input on the rating system from literally hundreds and hundreds of stakeholders. Next month, we plan to release a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit comments from technical experts about the metrics we should use. Later in 2014, we plan to release a draft proposal for public comment and review. No later than December of next year, we’ll use the feedback we receive to finalize the college rating system.”

-- Secretary Arne Duncan (9/20/13), in remarks at the TIME Summit on Higher Education
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UPCOMING EVENTS

On Monday, September 30, at 1:00 p.m. ET, Secretary Duncan will deliver a major speech on the state of American education at the National Press Club. He will recap today’s education challenges and discuss what the Department hopes to accomplish moving forward. The event is only open to NPC members and credentialed media, but it will be webcast and archived online.

October is Connected Educator Month, and the initial calendar features more than 170 events. Educators at all levels, as well as those who support them, are invited to sign-up for regular updates about interactive webinars and other real time events, forums, showcases, and contests. Educators are also encouraged to develop, host, and run their own activities, publish content, and generally promote the month.

NBC News will convene its fourth annual Education Nation Summit October 6 and 7 in New York City. Summit sessions will spotlight “What It Takes” to get a student ready to succeed in college, career, and beyond. Secretary Duncan will participate in several sessions.

U.S. Department of Education Update

August 30, 2013

A BETTER BARGAIN

On August 22 and 23, as part of a broader initiative to secure a better bargain for middle class families, President Obama visited four cities on a college affordability bus tour across New York and Pennsylvania. Starting at the University at Buffalo, the largest campus in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, the President laid out three steps to ensure that college remains within reach for all young people: (1) pay colleges and students for performance, (2) promote innovation that cuts costs and improves quality, and (3) help students manage loan debt. “At a time when a higher education has never been more important or more expensive, too many students are facing a choice that they should never have to make: either they say no to college and pay the price for not getting a college degree -- and that’s a price that lasts a lifetime -- or they do what it takes to go to college and run the risk that they won’t be able to pay it off because they’ve got so much debt,” he said. “Now, that’s a choice we shouldn’t accept.... Today, I’m proposing major new reforms that will shake up the current system, create better incentives for colleges to do more with less, and deliver better value for students and their families.”

Many resources are available to learn more about the President’s plan to combat the soaring costs of higher education, including:
• A White House fact sheet, detailing the three steps to ensure college remains within reach;
• infographics, on why it is so important to make college more affordable;
• the President’s personal message, explaining why he was going on the road to highlight this issue;
• the President’s remarks in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Binghamton, New York, and Scranton, Pennsylvania;
• the President’s weekly address on college affordability;
• a small sample of the media coverage across the country;
• initial reviews from the higher education community and other stakeholders;
• a recap of White House office hours on college affordability;
• Secretary Duncan’s Google+ Hangout with Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, on the future of education; and
• Under Secretary Martha Kanter’s blog post and notice to financial aid professionals.

Also, a new report from the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides initial results from the 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study. The report describes percentages of students receiving various types of financial aid and average amounts received, by type of institution, attendance pattern, dependency status, and income level. Notably, 71% of undergraduates and 70% of graduates received some type of financial aid, averaging $7,100 and $21,400 in students loans, respectively. (Note: Secretary Duncan’s statement on the NCES report, emphasizing the important role of federal financial aid, is posted online.)
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CIVIL RIGHTS AND EDUCATION

This week, 50 years after the historic March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Obama delivered remarks at the “Let Freedom Ring” commemoration ceremony on the National Mall, pointing to laws, social change, and himself as examples of how far the nation has come since Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. “But, we would dishonor those heroes…to suggest that the work of this nation is somehow complete,” he said. Among next steps, he called for the courage to “stand together for the right of every child -- from the corners of Anacostia to the hills of Appalachia -- to get an education that stirs the mind and captures the spirit and prepares them for the world that awaits them.” (Note: Several blog posts written by Administration officials in recognition of the anniversary are available here.)

In an PBS Newshour interview after his speech, the President said he would push his economic agenda -- including early childhood education -- as a way forward in the struggle for equal rights. “I want to get early childhood education done because we know that’s the single most important thing we can do to increase upward mobility and opportunity for disadvantaged kids,” he said. “And, if Congress isn’t willing to pass a law, then I’ll start meeting with mayors, and we’ll start meeting with governors, and we’ll start meeting with non-for-profits and philanthropies.”

Earlier, Secretary Duncan addressed students and civil rights leaders at a local high school in Washington, D.C., and to students nationwide via live stream. He discussed education as the “civil rights issue of our time” and the progress the country has made toward providing all students an opportunity to succeed through high-quality education. And, he urged all students to “join a struggle that began long before” they were born. “If Dr. King were here today, he would remind all of us of the fierce urgency of now, and the need to press for real progress -- not over decades but over days and months and years,” he said. “So, when you see schools that don’t give kids real opportunities, don’t wait for change. Speak out. When politicians discount education funding, speak out. When communities don’t keep their young people safe, speak out … Honor the memory of the March on Washington. Honor the struggle of the people who fought to get this far. Honor their sacrifice not just through reflection, but through action. Don’t wait for change.” (Note: The Secretary also penned a blog post on the anniversary.)
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ESEA FLEXIBILITY

Secretary Duncan announced that Pennsylvania will receive flexibility from the burdensome mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In exchange for this new flexibility, the state has agreed to raise academic standards, improve accountability, and undertake essential reforms to boost teacher effectiveness. The Department has now approved waiver requests from 41 states and the District of Columbia. Six applications remain under review, and five states have not requested flexibility through this process.

Also, the Department recently announced that states that applied for and received flexibility for the 2012-13 school year, whose waivers will expire at the end of the 2013-14 school year, can apply for a renewal of flexibility. This two-year renewal, which will extend waivers through the 2015-16 school year, allows states to continue implementing the reform efforts outlined in their original Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility request. A total of 34 states and the District of Columbia are eligible now for renewal. States seeking renewal must submit a completed renewal request form, as well as a redlined version of their current flexibility request, during one of three submission phases: January 2-10, 2014 (Phase A); January 22-31, 2014 (Phase B); and February 12-21, 2014 (Phase C). The agency will conduct comprehensive and thorough internal reviews of states’ requests, and determinations will be made in time for any state that is not renewed to return to complying with NCLB by the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Meanwhile, in an op-ed titled “America’s Kids Need a Better Education Law,” the Secretary called for Congress to “listen to those doing the real work of education change. Principals, teachers, governors, state education chiefs, superintendents, parents, and teachers know what is and isn’t working. They can guide us to a better [ESEA] law.”
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EARLY LEARNING CHALLENGE

On August 28, the Administration released the application for the second Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) competition, which will provide $280 million in state-level competitive grants to improve the quality of early learning and development programs and close educational gaps for children with high needs. The program also supports states’ efforts to design and implement an integrated system of high-quality early learning and development programs and services. In 2011, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services conducted the first RTT-ELC competition and awarded grants to nine states. In 2012, the agencies awarded grants to the next five highest-rated states from 2011. In response to public comments, the agencies made some language changes to this year’s competition and included a request for data on participation of children to be disaggregated by race and ethnicity. New competitive priorities have been added to allow states to describe strategies for addressing the unique needs of rural populations in their states and to create preschool through third-grade approaches to sustain early learning outcomes. Grant awards will range from $37.5 million up to $75 million, depending on the state’s share of the national population of children from low-income families birth through five-years-old and their proposed plans. Current grantees are not eligible to apply for this year’s competition. Applications are due on October 16, and winners will be announced in December. (Note: Invitations for a technical assistance overview webinar on September 4 and a technical assistance planning workshop on September 10 will be made available through state governor’s offices.)
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ALL MEANS ALL

The Department has proposed regulations to transition away from the so-called “2% rule,” emphasizing a commitment to holding all students to high standards. Until now, states have been allowed to develop alternate assessments aligned to modified academic achievement standards for some students with disabilities and use the results of those assessments for accountability purposes under Title I of ESEA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Specifically, in making accountability determinations, states may count as “proficient” scores for up to 2% of students with disabilities in the grade assessed using the alternate assessments. Under the proposed regulations, students with disabilities who have been taking alternate assessments will transition to college- and career-ready standards and general assessments aligned with those standards and accessible to all students. Accessible general assessments, along with appropriate supports and instruction, promotes high expectations for all students, including students with disabilities. (Note: Comments on the proposed regulations must be received by October 7.)

Moreover, the Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued guidance to teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders on the matter of bullying of students with disabilities. (Note: OSERS Acting Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin wrote a blog post on the guidance.)
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ODDS AND ENDS

• With many students back to school, Secretary Duncan responded to pressing education questions from SmartBlog on Education.
• Last week, the Secretary and Attorney General Eric Holder announced research findings showing correctional education programs reduce recidivism, save money, and improve employment.
• This week, the Department announced new grant awards under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program ($5.2 million for three states), Advanced Placement (AP) Test Program ($28.8 million for 42 states), and Impact Aid Discretionary Construction Program ($20 million for eight districts).
• Bernard Piala, Director of New Jersey’s Office of School Facilities, blogged about his experience on the third leg of the “Education Built to Last” Best Practices Tour, visiting several U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools in New York City and northern New Jersey.
• The percentage of high school graduates meeting all four of ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks (26%) is relatively unchanged from last year. Based on the actual performance of successful students in college, these benchmarks specify the minimum scores needed on each ACT subject area test to indicate a student is ready to succeed (a 50% chance of earning a “B” or higher or a 75% chance of earning a “C” or higher) in a typical first-year, credit-bearing college class in that subject area. Lack of college readiness is most evident in science: only 36% are ready for college-level biology.
• The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is soliciting applications for the “Research: Art Works” program. Grant awards support research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components within the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other or with other domains of American life. The NEA anticipates awarding up to 25 grants -- from $10,000 to $30,000 each. The deadline for applications is November 5. Projects can begin as early as May 1, 2014.
• The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) is seeking qualified and passionate individuals to serve four-year terms and help lead groundbreaking initiatives involving the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The following positions will be open next year: fourth-grade teacher, eighth-grade teacher, secondary school principal, Chief State School Officer, and general public member. The deadline for nominations (self or other) is October 18.
• The Educational Resources Information Center, better known as ERIC, is undergoing a series of changes to provide an improved level of service to the community at a reduced cost to taxpayers.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“Civil rights is more than just the absence of chains…. Civil rights means having the same opportunities that other people do -- regardless of what you look like, where you come from, or whom you love. And, in today’s world, to have real opportunity you must have a world-class education. If you can ride at the front of the bus, but you cannot read, you’re not free. If your schooling limits you to poverty wages, you’re not free. And, if you don’t have the skills to make it in the global, knowledge-based economy, you’re not -- truly -- free.”

-- Secretary Arne Duncan (8/27/13), in remarks on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington
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UPCOMING EVENTS

September 9-13, Secretary Duncan and senior officials will visit four states and dozens of cities across the American Southwest as part of the Department’s fourth annual Back to School bus tour. This year’s theme is “Strong Start, Bright Future.” Stops will highlight education successes and engage communities in conversations about, among other topics, early learning, K-12 reforms, and college affordability and completion.

Immediately preceding the Secretary’s bus tour (September 4-6), the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics will travel through south and west Texas. The outreach tour will make nine stops in seven cities that include a combined population of nearly 2.6 million people, including nearly 2.2 million Hispanics. Stops will highlight the Administration’s education priorities, as well as parental engagement, teacher preparation, and STEM education strategies in the Hispanic community.

Seeking to build on the success of the first Connected Educator Month in August 2012, the Department is supporting a second Connected Educator Month in October 2013. This year’s endeavor will emphasize helping districts promote and integrate online social learning into their formal professional development. Educators at all levels, as well as those who support them, are invited to sign-up for regular updates about interactive webinars and other real time events, forums, showcases, and contests. Educators are also encouraged to develop, host, and run their own activities, publish content, and generally promote the month.
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Please feel free to contact the Office of Communications and Outreach with any questions:
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Intergovernmental Affairs -- Stacey Jordan, (202) 401-0026, Stacey.Jordan@ed.gov
Program Analyst -- Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
To be added or removed from distribution, or submit comments (we welcome your feedback!),
contact Adam Honeysett. 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.

Actions taken this week by the Financial Accounting Foundation Board of Trustees involving the GASB.


The Trustees issued for public comment a revised proposal that helps clarify the boundaries for the GASB’s authority to issue concepts, statements and guidance while also ensuring the GASB’s independence as the financial accounting and reporting standard setter for U.S. state and local governments. You may review a detailed http://bit.ly/17fh5Kk press release and the complete http://bit.ly/16LKV8q proposal by clicking on the embedded links. Feel free to send your comments by email to mailto:GASBscope@f-a-f.org; or “snail mail” them to the following address by September 30, 2013: GASB Scope, Financial Accounting Foundation, 401 Merritt 7, PO Box 5116, Norwalk, CT 06856. The Trustees approved the post-implementation review (PIR) report of GASB Statements No. 10, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Risk Financing and Related Insurance Issues, http://bit.ly/1feHMzA GASB 30 and No. 30, Risk Financing Omnibus—an amendment of GASB Statement No. 10, http://bit.ly/1di3TZc GASB 30 which establish accounting and financial reporting standards for risk financing and insurance-related activities of state and local governments, including public risk pools. The PIR team concluded that both GASB standards achieve their purpose of improving the consistency and comparability in measuring U.S. state and local governments’ insurance activities. You may review a detailed http://bit.ly/17hyiRj press release and the PIR team’s http://bit.ly/1feLitJ report by clicking on the embedded links.

US Department of Education Update

June 3, 2013

EARLY LEARNING

The Administration continues to promote President Obama’s early learning initiative.

First, on June 20, Secretary Duncan traveled to Kentucky and Ohio to visit early childhood centers and discuss the President’s plan to expand early learning opportunities to more children. At both Louisville’s St. Benedict Center for Early Childhood Education and Middletown’s YMCA Children’s Center, he toured preschool classrooms and participated in conversations with state and local educators, elected officials, and business, faith-based, and law enforcement/military leaders. “Everywhere I go, there’s great work but tremendous unmet need,” he stated. “We want to invest in and partner with states to provide services to more children.”;

Next, on June 21, the Secretary highlighted early learning in his conversation with Public Policy Institute of California President and CEO Mark Baldassare.

Then, on June 27, Secretary Duncan co-presented with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius at the Education Commission of the States (ECS) National Forum on Education Policy in St. Louis. “I hope you’ll walk away from this plenary session today with two takeaway messages,” Secretary Duncan noted in his prepared remarks. “The first takeaway is that investing in high-quality early learning is the best educational investment we can make as a nation. As President Obama says, it’s the best bang for the education buck because it has such a high return on investment…. The second takeaway is…a renewed sense of urgency, and the recognition that we are at a fundamental turning point.”;

Later that day, Senior Policy Advisor Steven Hicks (ED) and Deputy Assistant Secretary Linda Smith (HHS) were on panel underscoring the opportunity for states to compete for approximately $300 million in Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants this fall.

In the meantime, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy Roberto Rodriguez blogged on Pre-K for All, and the Departments released a new video that offers an easy to understand explanation of the President’s plan.

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COLLEGE- AND CAREER-READY STANDARDS

On June 25, the Secretary addressed the American Society of News Editors’ Annual Convention, discussing the value of news literacy in a changing world and correcting myths and falsehoods about the Common Core State Standards Initiative. To date, 45 states, the District of Columbia, four territories (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the new standards in a state-led effort organized by the National Governors Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). “I’d like to make the case that these standards have the capacity to change education in the best of ways -- setting loose the creativity and innovation of educators at the local level, raising the bar for students, strengthening our economy, and building a clearer path to the middle class,” he asserted in his opening. “But, for these new standards to succeed, Americans will need to be clear on what’s true and what’s false.”;


Below are some key excerpts from the speech:


“I believe the Common Core state standards may prove to be the single greatest thing to happen to public education in America since Brown v. Board of Education -- and the federal government had nothing to do with creating them. The federal government didn’t write them, didn’t approve them, and doesn’t mandate them. And, we never will. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or willfully misleading.”;


“States signed on to the Common Core because it was the right thing to do. They knew that their children were being cheated [by low expectations], and they refused to continue to be a part of it -- and, for that, they deserve our deepest praise and gratitude. In fact, dozens of states that didn’t get a nickel of Race to the Top money are committed to those higher standards, and American education will be better because of it.”;


“Some of the hostility to Common Core comes from critics who conflate standards with curriculum, assessments, and accountability. They oppose mandated testing, and they oppose using student achievement growth and gain as one of multiple measures to evaluate teachers and principals. They also oppose intervention in chronically low-performing schools. Some seem to feel that poverty is destiny. It’s convenient for opponents to simply write it all off as federal over-reach, but these are separate and distinct issues, and they should be publicly debated openly and honestly with a common understanding about the facts.”;

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ESEA FLEXIBILITY


The Secretary also recently announced that both Alabama and New Hampshire will receive flexibility from the burdensome mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In exchange for this new flexibility, the states have agreed to raise academic standards, improve accountability, and undertake essential reforms to boost teacher effectiveness. The Department has now approved waiver requests from 39 states and the District of Columbia. Eight other applications are still under review, and five states have not requested flexibility through this process. And, California notified the agency that the state does not plan to request Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility for the next school year and, instead, will focus on implementing Common Core state standards. The Department will continue its consideration of a separate request for waivers from California Office to Reform Education (CORE) school districts.


In the interest of transparency and to help inform other states, the Department has posted here initial and approved flexibility requests, highlights of each state’s plan, and peer review notes, as well as the agency’s letter regarding peer review feedback and the Secretary’s approval letter.
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COLLEGE COST DATA

Last week, as part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to increase transparency around the cost of higher education, the Department updated lists on its College Affordability and Transparency Center. The lists spotlight institutions with the highest and lowest tuition and fees, highest and lowest average net prices, and highest percentage increases in tuition and fees and average net prices. Also, responding to requests for more comparison data, the center provides tuition and fees and net price information for all institutions, broken out by sector (less-than-2-, 2-, and 4-year; public and private; non- and for-profit).


In addition to the lists, the Administration has released other tools to help families as they pursue postsecondary education. The College Scorecard and Financial Aid Shopping Sheet are among the latest resources that provide consumers with easy-to-understand information about institutions. These tools aim to hold institutions accountable for cost, value, and quality, so that students choose institutions that are well-suited to meet their needs, priced affordably, and consistent with their educational and career goals.

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TRENDS IN ACADEMIC PROGRESS

Also last week, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released “;The Nation’s Report Card: Trends in Academic Progress 2012,” a long-term trend assessment designed to track changes in the achievement of students ages 9, 13, and 17 since the 1970s. Both 9- and 13-year-olds scored higher in reading and math in 2012 than students their age in the early 1970s. However, 17-year-olds did not show similar gains. Most notable in the report is the improvement among today’s African-American and Hispanic students compared to their peers years ago: in 2012, on average, 9-year-old black students scored 36 points higher in reading and math; 13-year-old black students scored 24 points higher in reading and 36 points higher in math; 9-year-old Hispanic students scored 25 points higher in reading and 32 points higher in math; and 17-year-old Hispanic students scored 21 points higher in reading and 17 points higher in math. As a result, while racial/ethnic achievement gaps persist, they are generally smaller than they were four decades ago.

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ODDS AND ENDS


· A new blog post, “;Seize the Summer,” outlines ways parents, guardians, and community members can help give children the best foundation for the upcoming school year.

· Another blog post answers questions on the new Stafford Loan interest rate hike.

· This week, Secretary Duncan addressed the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools conference.

· Also at the conference, Uncommon Schools was announced the winner of the 2013 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. Notably, all three finalists for this year’s award are current grantees of the Department’s Charter Schools Program (CSP).

· Last month, the Department released both a national summary and state-by-state summaries on School Improvement Grant (SIG)-awarded Cohort 1 schools. The documents present information on student demographics, student and teacher attendance, advanced course-taking, school year minutes, academic achievement, and graduation rates for the 2010-11 school year. They also provide an overview of the quality of SIG leading indicator data for the 2010-11 school year. (Note: To access the related data file online, follow the detailed instructions here.)

· “;Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2012,” a new report issued jointly by NCES and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, examines crimes occurring in school, as well as on the way to and from school, and presents data on safety at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, and principals. It covers topics such as victimization, bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, and the availability and student use of drugs and alcohol.

· On June 28, the Department released a video as part of the “;It Gets Better” project, where staff share personal stories and identify tools that support students experiencing bullying and discrimination. The agency has redoubled efforts to give students, parents, and educators the resources they need to stop harassment, including through civil rights enforcement and the StopBullying.gov web site.

· In a “Dear Colleague” letter and accompanying pamphlet, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter supplies information on school retention problems associated with young mothers and fathers and the requirements related to these issues contained in the agency’s regulation implementing Title IX.

· “;Education at a Glance,” the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) annual report, compares education systems in 34 member countries using a range of indicators, such as student participation and achievement, public and private spending, conditions for students and educators, and the state of lifelong learning.

· Getting America’s schools covered (information on the Affordable Care Act): Many insurers are now required to cover preventive services, including new preventive services for mothers and vaccinations for children.

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QUOTE TO NOTE

“I am pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case today preserves the well-established legal principle that colleges and universities have a compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits that flow from a racially and ethnically diverse student body and can lawfully pursue that interest in their admissions programs. As the court has repeatedly recognized, a diverse student enrollment promotes cross-racial understanding and dialogue, reduces racial isolation, and helps to break down stereotypes. This is critical for the future of our country because racially diverse educational environments help to prepare students to succeed in an increasingly diverse workforce and society. The Department continues to be a strong supporter of diversity and will continue to be a resource to any college or university that seeks assistance in pursuing diversity in a lawful manner.”


-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (6/24/13), in a statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Fisher

(Note: In late 2011, the agency issued guidance supporting voluntary efforts to promote diversity and reduce racial isolation in education.)

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UPCOMING EVENTS

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Director Andrea Falken and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach John White will visit Green Ribbon Schools in Alabama next week (July 10 and 11), on the first leg of the agency’s “Education Built to Last” Facilities Best Practices Tour. This tour will spotlight school building and grounds design, construction, operations, and management to support health, educational outcomes, equity, energy efficiency, and cost savings.


This summer, the Department will again offer the “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” summer enrichment series, hosting local children, preschool through third-grade, for a one-hour program that aims to combat summer learning loss and the growing epidemic of childhood obesity by offering high-quality literacy and health and nutrition-related activities. The series will kick-off on July 10.

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Please feel free to contact the Office of Communications and Outreach with any questions:
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Intergovernmental Affairs -- Stacey Jordan, (202) 401-0026, Stacey.Jordan@ed.gov
Program Analyst -- Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
To be added or removed from distribution, or submit comments (we welcome your feedback!),
contact Adam Honeysett. 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.

U.S. Department of Education Update

June 21, 2013
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TRANSITION FLEXIBILITY

On June 18, in a letter to Chief State School Officers, Secretary Duncan announced that the Department is open to providing additional flexibility for states during the transition to new assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards. “In recent months, we have heard from many of you and from thousands of teachers, principals, and education advocates,” he said. “While there is a broad sense that recent far-reaching changes [raising standards and upgrading curricula, developing new assessments, rebuilding accountability systems, and adopting new systems of support and evaluation for teachers and principals] carry enormous promise for schools, children, and the future of our country, there is caution that too much change all at once could undermine our collective progress…. With that in mind, the Department is open to additional flexibility for states in two critical areas.”

First, states that have received a Race to the Top grant or flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) are required to work with school districts to develop systems to evaluate and support teachers and principals based on multiple measures, including student growth. The Department will consider requests delaying personnel consequences for teachers and principals tied to the new assessments for up to one year beyond current plans, until no later than 2016-17. Some states are well underway and are unlikely to seek a delay. Others may want more time. Each state must have a solid plan for supporting teachers and principals as they transition to new standards, assessments, and materials.

States may request this change through the ESEA flexibility amendment process before September 30, 2013.

Second, during the next school year, some schools will field test new assessments. The Department will consider requests for a one-year waiver to allow schools that participate in a field test to have students take only one end-of-the-year test -- either the current statewide assessment or the field test. In those schools, provisions for school-level accountability would stay the same for a year, as would intervention plans that support low-performing students.

States may request this change through the Title I waiver process.

“Because students can’t wait, we need states to move forward as fast as possible but to do so in a way that ultimately strengthens teaching and learning,” the Secretary emphasized in a corresponding blog post. “This decision ensures that the rollout of new, higher, state-selected standards will continue on pace, but states that need it will have some flexibility when they begin using student growth data for high-stakes decisions…. Together with teachers, school leaders, and families, we will continue to learn how to make these changes well and will make adjustments along the way. It’s what we need to do to get this right.”

Among the related resources are a fact sheet and state-by-state timeline implementation chart.

Also, in a separate blog post, the Department’s Teaching Ambassador Fellows discuss the flexibility, and Dan Brown interviews the Secretary on his decision -- a decision greatly influenced by educators’ voices.
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EDUCATION INITIATIVES

Earlier this month, Secretary Duncan visited Aviation High School in New York City as an example of what the Administration is trying to replicate through the High School Redesign initiative. Today’s high-tech, knowledge-based economy requires that schools connect learning to what students will be required to do in college and careers. Through competitive grants to districts, in partnerships with colleges, universities, and other organizations, the proposed initiative would challenge schools to personalize learning, customizing content and instruction so that students master challenging academic concepts and skills and pursue their own individual interests. Also, these schools would align teaching and learning so that all students graduate with college-level coursework or college credit and career-related experiences. (Note: A new fact sheet outlines the initiative and highlights several transformative high school designs.)

Then, last week, the Secretary delivered the keynote address and participated in a panel discussion at The Cable Show, the cable industry’s annual conference, describing the President’s ConnectED initiative, which aims to equip schools and teachers with the tools they need to harness the power of technology. (Note: The Secretary also penned a blog post on the initiative.)

Meanwhile, Under Secretary Martha Kanter blogged about strengthening collaboration for results with the nation’s accreditation stakeholders to clarify, simplify, and improve the college accreditation process, with a more rigorous, targeted focus on affordability and value. And, the Department published a notice in the Federal Register announcing its intention to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to prepare proposed regulations establishing standards for programs that prepare students for “gainful employment” in an occupation. The notice sets a schedule for committee meetings and requests nominations for individuals to serve on the committee.
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GUN VIOLENCE

A new White House report details the completion of or significant progress on 21 of 23 executive actions President Obama laid out in January to help reduce gun violence and the continuing work toward completing all 23. As part of this progress, the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security (led by FEMA), and Justice (led by the FBI) jointly released guidance to schools, institutions of higher education, and houses of worship on how to work with first responders and other community partners to plan and prepare for emergencies, such as active shooter situations, tornadoes, and earthquakes (fact sheet). Moreover, Homeland Security and Justice have expanded access to training on active shooter situations for law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with further outreach, new online resources, and improved training curricula (fact sheet).
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PRINCIPAL AMBASSADOR FELLOWSHIP

Applications are currently being accepted for the Department’s first Principal Ambassador Fellowship. Just like the agency’s Teaching Ambassador Fellows, Principal Ambassador Fellows will spend a year gaining greater knowledge of the content of federal programs and policies, in addition to the context and process by which they are designed and implemented. Fellows will share their expertise with federal staff, provide communication and outreach about federal initiatives to other educators on behalf of the Department, and facilitate the involvement and understanding of educators in developing and implementing these efforts at the federal, state, and community levels. For 2013-14, the agency is only considering Campus Principal Ambassador Fellows. This enables principals to participate on a part-time basis from their home locations, in addition to their regular school responsibilities, working in collaboration with the Department’s federal and regional offices. Additionally, as pioneers, fellows will play an active part in creating and shaping the program for future years. (Note: Applications must be received by July 16 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.)
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YOUTH JOBS

Building off the highly successful 2012 Summer Jobs+ program, the Administration is working to increase employment opportunities for low-income or disconnected youth and decrease juvenile violence through its 2013 Youth Jobs+ initiative. To help local communities developing and enhancing programs that support these goals, the Administration is offering technical assistance, online resources, and local events across the country that spotlight the value and importance of providing pathways to employment for young people. It is also partnering with several national organizations to disseminate resources, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which has issued its own summer jobs challenge this year.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• President Obama has announced his intent to nominate Catherine Lhamon as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and James Cole, Jr. as General Counsel.
• Secretary Duncan gave the commencement address at Hostos Community College in New York City (June 7) and graduation remarks at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. (June 16).
• The Secretary also testified before the Senate Budget Committee on the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request.
• Now available: state-specific Year 1 Annual Performance Reports for Race to the Top Phase 3 states.
• With submissions from a Chicago-based Designathon, the Grow America Stronger with Quality Childhood Education coalition offers a variety of early learning infographics.
• On June 14, the Secretary co-hosted an event with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to launch the “Better Futures” public service advertising (PSA) campaign, building on the iconic “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste” campaign launched in 1972.
• In a letter to Title I State Coordinators, the Department clarifies the specific requirements for using Title I funding to support arts education.
• Epicurious, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Departments of Education and Agriculture announced the winners of a national recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches as part of Let’s Move! initiative. Fifty-four winners will attend a “Kids’ State Dinner” at the White House on July 9. The group will join the First Lady for lunch, with a selection of winning recipes, and visit the White House garden.
• A new report from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services documents dozens of examples and 10 key ways libraries and museums are supporting young children.
• In a special blog post, titled “Class of 2013: Graduate with Peace of Mind,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius enumerates protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act for new high school graduates.
• And, the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice sent a joint letter onto the nation’s health-related schools about hepatitis B discrimination.
• Traveling with kids this summer? The Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site, newly redesigned, features resources and activities related to geography.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“The unavoidable truth is that raising standards and improving systems is hard work, requiring collaboration and trust at all levels. There’s not just one answer, and not all states will choose to be part of the process -- as is their right. But, let’s remember what it’s all about. This is about our children and our collective future. This is about raising the bar to ensure they are able to compete in the global economy. This is about strengthening the teaching profession. It is about creating systems of feedback and support that teachers want and need to personalize education, focus resources, and give every child the attention he or she needs. This is about holding ourselves accountable at every level for ensuring that all children -- and especially those most at risk -- have an opportunity to succeed and compete.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (6/18/13), in a blog post on additional flexibility for states during the transition to new assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards
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UPCOMING EVENTS

On June 27, at 11:30 a.m. ET, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will release a new report comparing students’ performance in reading and mathematics in 2012 with scores from over the last 40 years. Also, a panel of experts will also discuss the results in a live webinar. “The Nation’s Report Card: Trends in Academic Progress 2012” will provide an unparalleled view of the progress of U.S. education over the past four decades for students ages 9, 13, and 17 and show how demographics, societal shifts, and contextual background factors relate to student achievement over time.

Also, on both June 27 and June 28, the Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students and its Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center will host separate, 90-minute webinars giving an overview of guides on developing high-quality emergency operations plans for schools and institutions of higher education. These webinars are first-come, first-served. Individuals are strongly encouraged to pre-register here.

U.S. Department of Eduation Update

June 7, 2013
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EARLY LEARNING

On May 29, Secretary Duncan delivered opening remarks at a discussion hosted by the Brookings Institution on the President’s proposal to expand high-quality early learning opportunities. He outlined the President’s birth-to-five early learning plan and explained how the Administration will work with the states to successfully implement the initiative. “The President’s birth-to-five proposal is not only an essential investment to build a foundation for prosperity and entry into the middle class,” he said, “it is also the right thing to do…. So, let’s invest to bring every child to the same starting line. Help us get the nation’s public schools out of the catch-up business. Let’s keep our promises -- and reinvigorate the nation’s commitment to equal opportunity. It’s time. Our children and our country cannot wait.” (Note: An archived webcast of the discussion is available here.)

Next, on May 31, the Secretary traveled to Atlanta, where he co-hosted a town hall on early learning with Governor Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed and addressed the National Conference of Black Mayors’ annual convention.

Then, early this week, the Secretary visited New Bridge Learning Center in Henrico, Virginia, which serves 110 at-risk preschool children and their families with a combination of federal and state funding.

That same day (June 4), the White House released state-by-state fact sheets detailing what states could expect to receive in federal funding under the President’s proposal.

Also, as part of the national Early Learning Day of Action (June 5), the Department issued a video with educators providing personal testimony on how high-quality early learning positively affected their students.

Moreover, late last month, a group of more than 300 business leaders representing 44 states signed a letter calling on the President and Congress to invest in early learning programs.
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CONNECTED INITIATIVE

President Obama and Secretary Duncan traveled to Mooresville, North Carolina, yesterday to see how the school district is developing a cutting-edge curriculum that embraces technology and digital learning. While on site, the President also launched the ConnectED initiative. Under this new initiative, he is: calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to modernize and leverage the existing E-Rate program for schools and libraries to connect 99% of America’s students to the Internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within five years; directing the federal government to make better use of existing funds to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms and provide teachers with the training and support to effectively use it; and encouraging businesses, states, districts, schools, and communities to back this vision. Preparing students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete in a global economy will rely increasingly on interactive, individualized learning experiences driven by new technology. Yet, today, millions of students lack high-speed broadband access, and fewer than 20% of educators say their school’s Internet connection meets their teaching needs. (Note: In advance of the event, the White House issued a helpful fact sheet.)

Also, after the event, the White House hosted a virtual “show and tell” with high tech schools, with students and teachers demonstrating how they are using connected classrooms to improve the quality of the education system.
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MENTAL HEALTH

This week, as part of the Administration’s effort to open a national conversation to increase awareness and understanding about mental health, the White House hosted a National Conference on Mental Health. The conference, attended by health care experts, psychologists, faith leaders, advocates for veterans, and a host of Administration officials, focused on ways to work together to reduce stigma and help millions of Americans struggling with mental health problems recognize the importance of reaching out for assistance. “We know that recovery is possible, and we know that help is available, and yet as a society we often think about mental health differently than other forms of health,” President Obama noted. “There should be no shame in discussing or seeking help for treatable illnesses that affect too many people that we love…. Too many Americans who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence rather than seeking help, and we need to see it that men and women who would never hesitate to go see a doctor if they had a broken arm or came down with the flu have the same attitude when it comes to mental health.” (Note: The White House issued a fact sheet, posted videos of presentations, and launched a new web site.)
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STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES

Last week, President Obama called on Congress to prevent federal student loan rates from doubling [from 3.4% to 6.8%] on July 1. From the Rose Garden, he urged students and young people to speak out in favor of action on college affordability, just as they did in 2012. He also made the argument that increasing access to college is not just good for the future of young people but imperative for the nation at large. “Higher education cannot be a luxury for a privileged few,” he said. “It is an economic necessity that every family should be able to afford, that every young person with dreams and ambition should be able to access…. Now is the time to reaffirm our commitment to you and the generation that’s coming behind you.” (Note: A White House fact sheet details states’ average savings under the President’s plan to keep student loans affordable.)

Also, a new brochure, developed by the Department and four student loan servicers, presents America’s servicemen and servicewomen with more information about federal education loans, special benefits, and repayment options.
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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

The deadlines for several grant competitions are fast approaching:
• Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools Program (closes 6/24). This program supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education through the provision of campus-based child care services.
• Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund – both Validation Grants and Scale-Up Grants (closes 7/2). These grants continue the Department’s investments in promising strategies that can improve student learning and close achievement gaps. (Note: A May 30 policy briefing at the agency featured three i3 grantees developing new models to improve student achievement in low-performing schools.)
• School Leadership Program (closes 7/8). This program supports the development, enhancement, or expansion of innovative programs to recruit, train, and mentor principals and assistant principals.

Also, be sure to review the Department’s Fiscal Year 2013 Grants Forecast (as of May 22), which lists virtually all programs and competitions under which the agency has invited or expects to invite applications for awards and provides actual or estimated dates for the transmittal of applications under these programs. (Note: This document is advisory only and not an official application notice of the Department of Education.)
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ODDS AND ENDS

• Secretary Duncan joined NBA player and education advocate Chris Paul and a few teachers to discuss innovation in education at the “Reimagining Education: Empowering Learners in a Connected World” summit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
• On June 1, the Secretary offered the commencement address at the College of the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin.
• On June 3, the Secretary, Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Perciasepe, and Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Administration Nancy Sutley congratulated 2013 U.S. Department of Education-Green Ribbon Schools at a special ceremony at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. The Secretary also announced the Education Built to Last Facilities Best Practices Tour. This tour will spotlight state, district, and school practices used to improve the overall achievement, productivity, and wellness of occupants through educational, health, and safety improvements in school facilities.
• In a blog post, penned after he co-hosted a town hall on school safety with Governor Dannel Malloy, the Secretary commended Connecticut for adopting common sense solutions to reduce gun violence.
• Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Director of the Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighbor-hood Partnerships, recently visited San Antonio to learn about how schools and community organizations there are working closely together to engage families in education.
• The Asia Society has published its report from the 2013 International Summit on the Teaching Profession held in Amsterdam in March, covering how various countries are defining and evaluating teacher quality and their methods for using teacher quality to improve learning.
• In a statement, the Secretary praised the Boys Scouts of America for no longer denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation.
• Getting America’s schools covered (information on the Affordable Care Act): Job-based health plans and new individual health plans may not deny or exclude coverage for children (under age 19) based on pre-existing conditions, including a disability.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“Despite all the evidence, dramatically expanding high-quality preschool poses real challenges…. But, I’m actually confident these challenges can be met because of the leadership I already see across the country from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Twenty-seven governors, as well as the Mayor of Washington, D.C., referenced early learning in their State of the State addresses this year. These leaders -- regardless of party affiliation -- recognize that early learning helps prepare children for educational success, provides critical support for families, and ultimately, strengthens our nation’s economy.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (5/29/13), at a Brookings Institution discussion on early learning
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UPCOMING EVENTS

A National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environment webinar (June 12 and 13) will review strategies to design and conduct surveys to measure bullying, violence, and substance abuse. Specifically, presenters will describe the elements of an effectively managed survey process, discuss the key elements of survey administration, and identify some essential ways to measure bullying, violence, and substance abuse. Links to appropriate resources and examples of assessments will be provided.

The Department is accepting applications for fall 2013 internships through July 15. Interns will have an opportunity to learn about federal education policy while developing a variety of other skills, including communication, researching, and writing. They will also participate in group events, such as lunches with senior agency officials, local tours, and movie nights.

U.S. Department of Education Update

May 24, 2013
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STATEMENT ON OKLAHOMA

On May 21, President Obama delivered a statement on the deadly tornadoes that impacted Oklahoma. Some excerpts:

“As we all know now, a series of storms swept across the Plains yesterday, and one of the most destructive tornadoes in history sliced through the towns of Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma. In an instant, neighborhoods were destroyed. Dozens of people lost their lives. Many more were injured. And, among the victims were young children, trying to take shelter in the safest place they knew -- their school. So, our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma today.”

“Our gratitude is with the teachers who gave their all to shield their children; with the neighbors, first responders, and emergency personnel who raced to help as soon as the tornado passed; and with all of those who, as darkness fell, searched for survivors through the night.”

“[T]he people of Moore should know that their country will remain on the ground…as long as it takes. For there are homes and schools to rebuild, businesses and hospitals to reopen, parents to console, first responders to comfort, and -- of course -- frightened children who will need our continued love and attention. There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms, bedrooms, and classrooms. Over time, we’re going to need to refill those spaces with love and laughter and community.”

Secretary Duncan also issued a statement: “I offer my deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones because of the severe weather that has swept through Oklahoma. I commend the courageous efforts of first responders, including teachers and educators, working on-site to respond to this tragedy. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Department [of Education] are with the people of Oklahoma.”

The White House is compiling information and resources here and is directing those who want to help to the American Red Cross.
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EARLY LEARNING

The Administration continues to promote federal early learning initiatives.

First, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services posted Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Annual Performance Reports for Fiscal Year 2011 state grantees: California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Second, the Departments proposed priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for the FY 2013 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant competition. The agencies propose to maintain the overall purpose and structure of the previous FY 2011 competition, with priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria almost identical to that competition. Comments must be received on or before June 19.

Third, Secretary Duncan delivered remarks at a special Family Focus dinner honoring Barbara Bowman. “In so many respects, President Obama’s Preschool for All plan marks a culmination of Barbara’s work,” he said. “She helped establish the idea that everything else we do to educate our children starts with early learning. Under the federal-state partnership in the President’s plan, states would have great latitude to implement early learning programs responsive to their local needs -- but only if they meet the high-quality standards that Barbara has tirelessly promoted. And, I think it’s clear that Barbara’s vision of a seamless continuum of early learning from birth-to-five, cutting across departments, is at the heart of the President’s plan.”

Fourth, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius proposed a new regulation to strengthen standards for health, safety, and school readiness of children in federally funded child care.

Finally, the Department of Education announced applications for new awards under the Grants for Enhanced Assessment Instruments Program, to support development or enhancement of Kindergarten Entry Assessments aligned with a common set of early learning and development standards. The agency will give priority to early learning collaborative efforts among states. The deadline for applications is July 8.

Moreover, President Obama took part in a literacy lesson with pre-kindergarten students at Moravia Park Elementary School in Baltimore. The students are part of the school’s Judy Center, which provides comprehensive early childhood services, including child care, Head Start, intervention services, and family engagement. And, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Munoz met with a coalition of mothers and advocates delivering 30,000 letters and art work thanking the President for his preschool proposal.

Meanwhile, with support from the Department, teaching artists from the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts and preschool educators are pioneering an innovative approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects through the arts as part of high-quality preschool programming. Presently in classrooms in the Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools, the Early STEM/Arts Program will soon be replicated in 16 locations nationwide.
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ESEA FLEXIBILITY

Secretary Duncan recently announced that Alaska, Hawaii, and West Virginia will receive flexibility from the burdensome mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In exchange for this new flexibility, the states have agreed to raise academic standards, improve accountability, and undertake essential reforms to boost teacher effectiveness. The Department has now approved waiver requests from 37 states and the District of Columbia. Ten other applications are still under review, and five states have not requested flexibility through this process. California has notified the agency that the state does not plan to request flexibility for the next school year and, instead, will focus on implementing Common Core state standards. The Department will continue its consideration of a separate request for waivers from California Office to Reform Education (CORE) school districts. (Note: In a new video, Chief State School Officers explain what Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility is all about.)
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STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES

On May 22, the day after he testified before the House Education and the Workforce Committee about the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request, including reducing a focus on reducing the high cost of college, the Secretary issued a statement on federal student loan interest rates, declaring, “Our priority is to ensure that Congress doesn’t allow federal student loan interest rates to double [from 3.4% to 6.8%] on July 1. President Obama has put forward a comprehensive solution that will help middle class students and their families afford college by lowering interest rates on July 1 -- without adding to the deficit -- and Senator [Tom] Harkin and Congressman [George] Miller have been leaders within Congress to prevent rates from doubling for students and families. While we welcome action by the House on student loans, we have concerns about the current approach, which does not guarantee low rates for students on July 1, makes students bear the burden of deficit reduction, and fails to lock in interest rates when students take out a loan -- so their rates could escalate in the future.”
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CONDITION OF EDUCATION

On May 23, the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), released “The Condition of Education 2013,” a Congressionally mandated report to the country on education in America today. The report presents 42 indicators grouped under four areas: population characteristics, participation in education, elementary and secondary education, and postsecondary education. The report also spotlights some areas of interest: trends in employment rates by educational attainment, kindergarten entry status (on-time, delayed-entry, and repeating kindergartners), the status of rural education, and financing higher education.

Also, a new NCES report on postsecondary institutions presents key data on price of attendance in 2012-13 and enrollment and degrees and other awards conferred in 2011-12.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• Today, in Hartford, Connecticut, for a town hall on school safety with Governor Dannel Malloy, Secretary Duncan will announce a Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant for Newtown Public Schools -- totaling more than $1.3 million -- to help with ongoing recovery efforts following the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
• Last week, the Department announced a new partnership with the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) to advance family engagement in education across the country.
• This week, the Secretary announced Arizona will receive funding to turn around persistently lowest-achieving schools under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) Program. Awards are being made on a rolling basis. To date, 35 states have been approved to receive SIG funding.
• Three more blog entries from Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-10): on ED Goes Back to School Day, on regional officers’ school visits, and on the National Language Teacher of the Year.
• On May 14, the Department announced the winners of this year’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts, funding for entrepreneurial small businesses using cutting-edge research to develop commercially viable technologies to solve tough problems. More than half -- 12 -- are for games and game-related projects.
• On May 21, the Department published a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for the Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) Program, designed to improve education and career outcomes of low-income children with disabilities receiving supplemental security income (SSI). This competitive program is open to all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and states may apply together as a consortium. The agency intends to fund three to six projects between $4.5 million and $10 million a year for five years. An intent to apply is requested by June 20. Applications are due by August 19. (Note: To assist with the application process, the Department will host webinars on May 30 and June 4.)
• In the latest session of the Department’s Student Voices Series, Secretary Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier met with 11 inspiring adult learners.
• A new report from the Reform Support Network provides data on the growing use of social media by states and school districts striving to reach key stakeholder groups and engage with primary audiences.
• Department guidance supplies answers to Frequently Asked Questions about using federal grant funds (discretionary or formula) to: host a meeting or conference, pay for food, and pay for the costs of attending a meeting or conference sponsored by the agency or a third party.
• Getting America’s schools covered (information on the Affordable Care Act): If your children are under the age 26, you can generally insure them if your policy allows for dependent coverage.
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COMMENCEMENT ADDRESSES

• Secretary Duncan, Georgetown Public Policy Institute, May 17. “Some seek to build influence and success through sound bites or an unyielding ideological agenda. That is a seductive road to take -- being brash and controversial attracts attention. But, I’m convinced it’s a road that leads in the opposite direction from wise policy…. Today, I want to offer a different road, which, I believe, leads in the right direction to wiser policy. I want to talk about what I see as the three essential threads that weave together in the most effective people I know. They are passion, expertise, and vision.”
• Secretary Duncan, Morgan State University, May 18. “I learned two valuable lessons in thinking about the future from my teachers, my family, and my mentors. First, I learned the importance of following your passion -- that your ability to adapt and be creative, to skillfully manage the inevitable uncertainty that would come, would, in large measure, determine one’s success in a knowledge-based, global economy…. Second, I learned I should strive to lead a life of consequence -- to try to demonstrate my respect and gratitude to all those who had helped me growing up by working to help others.”
• President Obama, Morehouse College, May 19. “I understand there’s a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: ‘Excuses are tools of the incompetent used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness.’ Well, we’ve got no time for excuses. Not because the bitter legacy of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they have not. Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; we know those are still out there. It’s just that, in today’s hyper-connected, hyper-competitive world, with millions of young people from China and India and Brazil -- many of whom started with a lot less than all of you did -- entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything that you have not earned.”
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UPCOMING EVENTS

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, at 3:00 p.m. local time, Americans are asked to stop what they are doing and spend one minute in a Moment of Remembrance. The mid-afternoon time was chosen because it is when a majority of Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the holiday.

REBUILD MOORE SCHOOLS

Monday, a tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma. Two elementary schools were destroyed, with rescue efforts still underway.

In the coming weeks, we will help Moore teachers create classroom recovery projects for critical supplies such as clothing, food, books, therapy resources and classroom furniture. These teachers know best what their students need, and we can empower them to rebuild their classrooms.

Oklahoma ASBO Establishes Tornado Relief Fund


OkASBO Establishes Tornado Relief Fund
All of us at the Oklahoma Association of School Business Officials (OkASBO) are deeply saddened by the tragic loss caused by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. Words cannot adequately express our feelings, but please know that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.
On behalf of the members and staff of OkASBO we want to extend our sincerest sympathy, trusting that remembrance by so many friends will bring comfort. If you would like to help by sending a donation for those in schools that were impacted by this disaster, you can send funds to the OkASBO School Tornado Relief Fund at 14121 S. 248th East Avenue, Coweta, OK 74429 or contact our office at 918-279-0301.
For those who wish to donate items, donations are being accepted at the OSSBA at 2801 Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105. You can contact the OSSBA office at 405-528-3571.
Needed items include:
• Diapers
• Hand Sanitizer
• Wet Wipes
• Soap
• Sun Screen
• Deodorant
• Work Gloves
• Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
• Baby Formula
• Bottled Water and/or Gatorade
• Individually Wrapped Snack Items

Thank you for your concern and prayers for those impacted by the tornados.

Sincerely,
Ann Wade,
Executive Director

U.S. Department of Education Update

May 10, 2013

TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK

The Department celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week (April 6-10) with a variety of events and outreach.

Secretary Duncan actually started early by honoring the five experienced teachers who were inducted into the National Teacher Hall of Fame on May 4.

The Secretary officially kicked-off the week on May 6 with a statement and blog post. “During this week, the people who value teachers often take time to send them a note of thanks or a token of appreciation. This is appropriate. The least we can do once a year is to push ‘pause’ on our lives and thank them,” he said. However, what our teachers really need -- and deserve -- is our ongoing commitment to work with them to transform America’s schools. They need us to acknowledge them, as professionals who are doing our nation’s most important work. We can begin this work by making it a priority to listen to and to celebrate teachers.”

Also that day, the Department hosted a Google+ Hangout at Howard University in Washington, D.C., moderated by Tamron Hall of NBC News. The panel, comprised of African-American educators from across the U.S., discussed the rewards of the teaching profession, the critical role of good teachers, and the challenges educators face in preparing students for college and careers. Nationwide, more than 35% of public school students are African-American or Hispanic, but less than 15% of teachers are black or Hispanic, and less than 2% of teachers are African-American males.

On May 7, in the vein of the new Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) Blueprint, the Secretary released an op-ed calling on education stakeholders to go beyond a week of celebration to create ongoing supports for teachers.

On May 8, the Secretary made a surprise visit to Kramer Middle School in Washington, D.C., thanking teachers and staff during their Teacher Appreciation Week breakfast celebration, and hosted a reception at the Department for the over 400 current and former teachers who work at the agency.

On May 9, the Department’s Teaching Ambassador Fellows organized the second annual “ED Goes Back to School Day,” in which more than 65 Department officials (political appointees and career staff) spent the day shadowing a teacher. That evening, both the teachers and the staff who shadowed them met with the Secretary to share stories and implications for their work.

Throughout the week, Secretary Duncan encouraged the public to #ThankATeacher via Twitter and made surprise phone calls to educators, and the Fellows held roundtable discussions with teachers, including those teaching students with exceptionalities and English language learners.

EARLY LEARNING

The Administration is continuing to promote the President’s early learning initiative.

First, Secretary Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius participated in a panel discussion at the National Institute for Early Education Research’s (NIEER) release of “The State of Preschool Yearbook 2012” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. According to NIEER’s latest study, state funding for pre-kindergarten decreased by over $548 million in 2011-12, the largest one-year drop since tracking began in 2002. Also, after a decade of growth, enrollment in state pre-K has stalled, and state pre-K funding per child fell to $3,841, well below the $5,020 (inflation-adjusted) national average in 2001-02. “That’s no way to create a world-class education system. And, it’s no way to put our students on a path for college- and career-readiness in a knowledge-based, competitive global economy,” Secretary Duncan stressed during his opening statement. “To close achievement and opportunity gaps, states, with federal support, must do much more to level the playing field. They have to do much more to provide equal opportunities for children -- particularly disadvantaged kids -- to begin kindergarten at the same starting line. If ever there was a report that makes the case for the need for President Obama’s new Preschool for All proposal, this is it.”

Second, the Secretaries delivered remarks at the National Head Start Association’s annual conference, focusing on the role of Head Start and the continued partnership between the Departments to expand high-quality early childhood programs. “The standards for high-quality early learning in state programs that the President has laid out in his Preschool for All plan are informed by what we have learned from Head Start and adopted, in part, from Head Start’s Designation Renewal System (DRS) competition,” Secretary Duncan stated in his keynote address. “Some say we shouldn’t set the bar too high on quality in early learning. I absolutely disagree. I have great faith in the commitment and the capacity of the Head Start community to rise to the challenge.” The standards for high-quality early learning include a bachelor’s degree for teachers; low staff-to-child ratios and small class sizes; a full-day program; employee salaries comparable to those for K-12 teaching staff; and developmentally appropriate, evidence-based curricula and learning environments.

Third, the Secretary released a poignant op-ed on early learning, emphasizing, “We cannot let this opportunity pass, to fulfill that promise of providing equal educational opportunity.”

Notably, the Department also just sent to states non-regulatory guidance on the use of Title I funds for high-quality preschool programs.

PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS

This week, Secretary Duncan announced the 2013 class of U.S. Presidential Scholars. This program was established by Executive Order in 1964 to honor academic achievement by graduating high school seniors. It was expanded in 1979 to honor students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the arts. Each year, 141 students are named, including at least one young man and woman from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American families living abroad. Another 15 students are chosen at-large, and 20 students are scholars in the arts. Over 3,300 candidates qualified on the basis of outstanding ACT or SAT scores and through nominations by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts competition. The Commission on Presidential Scholars -- appointed by President Obama -- selects the finalists. Scholars will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 16.

COMPLETING THE FAFSA

Beginning with the 2014-15 federal student aid form, the Department will -- for the first time -- collect income and other information from a dependent student’s legal parents, regardless of the parents’ marital status or gender, if those parents live together. More specifically, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will provide a new option for dependent applicants to describe their parents’ marital status as “unmarried and both parents living together.” Also, where appropriate, the new form will use terms like “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” instead of gender-specific terms like “Mother” and “Father.” These changes will allow the agency to more precisely calculate federal student aid eligibility based on what a student’s whole family is able to contribute and ensure taxpayer dollars are better targeted toward those students who have the most need, as well as provide an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families.

TRACKING POTUS

“As citizens, we understand that it’s not about what America can do for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. And, Class of 2013, you have to be involved in that process,” President Obama told Ohio State University’s latest graduating class. The President pitched for civic connection -- for participation in public life, for engagement in national debates, for community service. He also pointed to those who stand up in moments of crisis as examples. “We’ve seen courage and compassion, a sense of civic duty, and a recognition we are not a collection of strangers. We are bound to one another by a set of ideals and laws and commitments, and a deep devotion to this country that we love,” he said. “And that’s what citizenship is.” Above all, he urged graduates to break through the cynicism that too often cripples progress in this nation. “Only you can ensure the democracy you inherit is as good as we know it can be,” he noted. “But, it requires your dedicated, and informed, and engaged citizenship. That citizenship is a harder, higher road to take, but it leads to a better place.”

Also, yesterday, the President traveled to Austin, Texas, for the first in a series of Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tours. He visited Manor New Tech High School, where students are learning critical skills for today’s jobs, and meet technology entrepreneurs who are creating the tools and products that will drive America’s long-term economic growth.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• Following the launch of the 2013 Investing in Innovation (i3) “Development” competition -- which resulted in nearly 600 pre-applications -- the Department announced the start of i3’s “Validation” and “Scale-up” competitions. While the agency continues to focus on broad priorities, this year’s competition includes subparts under each priority to target specific areas of need and builds a portfolio of solutions to address specific challenges. Complementing the Administration’s proposals to increase access to high-quality early learning opportunities, the Department has included an invitational priority in both categories of grants for applicants working on delivering high-quality early learning programs.
• The Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students awarded Windham Central Supervisory Union in southern Vermont a Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant totaling over $48,000 to help with ongoing recovery efforts following the suicide of a 16-year-old student.
• Updated state budget tables detail Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations, including the effect of the sequester and an across-the-board cut in the final appropriations bill.
• Secretary Duncan’s recent speech to American Educational Research Association (AERA), “Choosing the Right Battles: Remarks and a Conversation,” examined the major issues facing students, educators, policymakers, and other key stakeholders in today’s education environment.
• A letter from Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter concerns the prohibition against retaliation under federal civil rights laws.
• U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin experienced how the Healthy School Campaign has helped build innovative partnerships and strong parental support during a visit to Chicago’s Nathanael Greene Elementary School.
• The Department proudly hosted the opening of the “Flint Arts on the Road” student art exhibit.
• A Notice of Proposed Priority and Requirements for the Education Facilities Clearinghouse was published in the Federal Register on May 9, with comments due on June 10.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“The teachers I talk to don’t question the need for broad change. They are enthusiastic about instruction that emphasizes depth rather than coverage, worthy literature to read, and real world problems to solve. They passionately want to be part of helping more students get prepared for college and career. But, many have told me that the pace of change is causing real anxiety. I’ve heard that, given the newness of the college- and career-ready standards, teachers really want to see what they’re aiming for. They want models of excellence that they can study. And, it feels like the change is happening all at once…. There’s no question in my mind that raising the bar for our students is necessary and that America’s educators are up to it. But, I want to call on the other adults in the system to redouble their efforts to support our teachers through this change.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (5/7/13), in an op-ed on supporting teachers
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UPCOMING EVENTS

Members of the public are invited to participate in a facilitated online dialogue examining the impact of existing federal regulations and legislation on the successful transition from school to work of youth and young adults with disabilities. The Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, as well as the Social Security Administration, will co-host the dialogue May 13-27. Input received during the dialogue will help these agencies improve policies, practices, and interagency strategic planning.

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) will host a series of funding opportunities webinars in May and June.

Expanding opportunity for America’s young learners By Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Imagine that you’re about to run in a competitive race, and as you approach the starting line, the referee announces that you can’t begin until everyone else is a mile ahead.
That unfairness is the reality for millions of disadvantaged children in America who can’t begin kindergarten at the same educational starting line as children from better-off families. Fortunately, Congress has a rare opportunity to act in a bipartisan fashion to help level the playing field and fulfill the American promise of providing equal educational opportunity to all young children.
President Obama’s landmark Preschool for All plan would create a new federal-state partnership to expand access to high-quality preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families, up to 200 percent of the poverty line. It would also provide incentives for states to serve additional children from middle-class families.
The administration is committed to providing every child a fair chance in life and to creating ladders of opportunity for those striving to get into the middle class. The Preschool for All plan is guided by that commitment, and many governors — Democrats and Republicans alike — are already moving to expand high-quality state preschool programs.
It is no secret that the early years of a child’s life are crucial for building the foundation to succeed later in life. Yet many children lack access to high-quality preschool in America.
Fewer than 3 in 10 4-year-olds attend a high-quality preschool program. On average, children from disadvantaged families start kindergarten 12 to 14 months behind their peers in both language development and pre-reading. That’s no way to prepare our children to compete in the global economy.
By failing to address the shortage of high-quality preschool for decades, our country has lost ground both at home and abroad.
High-performing countries know the economic value of investing in high-quality early learning. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that the United States ranks 28th among developed countries in its enrollment of 4-year-olds in early-learning programs.
By contrast, the United Kingdom enrolls 97 percent of its 4-year-olds in preschool. Japan — which has outperformed the United States in recent international assessments — enrolls nearly 100 percent of its 4-year-olds in preschool.
Contrary to the claims of some critics, the president’s plan would not be a new federal entitlement program. States would use federal funds to create or expand high-quality preschool programs in partnership with local school-based and community providers.
Every dollar of the $75 billion provided by the federal government over the next 10 years would be paid for by increases in taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products, providing an added bonus of discouraging hundreds of thousands of youths from taking up smoking.
Unlike many of the issues that divide Congress today along partisan lines, Republican and Democratic governors across the country are expanding high-quality preschool for 4-year-olds already.
In Michigan, I visited the site of the Perry Child Development Center earlier this week with Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who has proposed a 60 percent increase in funding for the state preschool program — this would both increase the quality of preschool providers and open spaces for 16,000 additional children.
In Alabama, Gov. Robert Bentley, also a Republican, has asked for a 65 percent increase in preschool funding to cover an additional 2,200 4-year olds. In fact, 27 governors — Democrats and Republicans alike — referenced early learning in their State of the State addresses this year.
It’s not just state officials that are investing in high-quality preschool — voters from both political parties are approving tax increases to support preschool initiatives. Last November, voters in Denver, San Antonio, Texas, and St. Paul, Minn., all voted in favor of tax increases to fund preschool programs in their communities.
Investing in early education also has a big return on investment. James Heckman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, found a return of $7 to every $1 of public investment in high-quality preschool programs in his analysis of rigorous, longitudinal data from the Perry Preschool Project.
In the short term, high-quality early education reduces placement in special education and decreases grade retention. In the long term, it can help students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate from high school and hold a steady job.
In 1971, the U.S. Congress enacted a law that provided free, universal access to early-childhood services and child care for children from low-income families. President Nixon vetoed that law.
In the 42 years since then, the evidence that high-quality early learning works has multiplied many times over, and our international competitors have rapidly expanded their preschool programs.
As Republican Gov. Tom Corbett said in his State of the State address this year, “why do we want to spend more on these programs? Because every child in Pennsylvania deserves an equal start in life — and I intend to see that promise kept.”
We cannot let this opportunity pass to fulfill that promise of providing equal educational opportunity. America’s children cannot wait another 42 years. Now is the time for Congress to act.


Read more: http://thehill.com/special-reports/education-may-2013/298105-expanding-opportunity-for-americas-young-learners

Registration for 2013 Annual Meeting & Expo Now Open

Join the conversation! Registration is now open for the 2013 Annual Meeting & Expo, October 25 – 28 in Boston. Join ASBO ConnectEd’s AM&E Exchange to stay current on the latest AM&E updates and to network with colleagues from around the globe who will also be attending the AM&E.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
April 26, 2013

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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EARLY LEARNING

On April 15, Secretary Duncan joined Governor Jack Markell for a tour of St. Michael’s School and Nursery in Wilmington, Delaware, observing the early learning program and highlighting the President’s Preschool for All proposal to expand access to high-quality preschool for all children. The school is a Delaware Stars Quality School and recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Early Care and Education. The state is using a $50 million Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant to implement an early success rating system to move more early learning programs to higher quality. The Secretary also delivered remarks at the official launch of the Delaware Early Childhood Council’s Early Childhood Strategic Plan, addressing business and community leaders, early learning advocates, and professionals from across the state. The strategic plan has four overall goals: a healthy start for all children; high-quality early education programs and professionals; an aligned and effective early learning system, birth through third-grade; and sustained system improvement.

Next, on April 16, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services announced they will invest the majority of 2013 Race to the Top funds for a second Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge competition. About $370 million will be available for states to develop new approaches to increase high-quality early learning opportunities and close the school readiness gap. This year’s funding will go toward a new competition and supplemental awards for six grantees -- California, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin -- that received 50% of their initial request. Meanwhile, about $120 million will be available for a second Race to the Top-District competition, supporting locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare students to succeed in college and careers. A Federal Register notice -- open for public comment until May 16 -- proposes a set of priorities for this year’s competition.

Then, on April 19, Secretary Duncan’s op-ed on early learning, titled “Universal Preschool is a Sure Path to the Middle Class,” appeared in the Washington Post, examining the record on early learning’s lasting impact. “The evidence is clear,” he notes. “We need to stop asking whether early learning works and start asking whether we have the national will to make it a reality for the children who need it most.”

Also last week, the Secretary testified on the Administration’s continued investments in education before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

And, the PowerPoint presentation used for the April 19 in-person briefing on early learning is now posted online.
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HONORING TEACHERS

The National Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a committee of 15 national education organizations, organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers. This year’s winner, Jeff Charbonneau, is a chemistry, physics, and engineering teacher at Zillah High School in Zillah, Washington, where he has spent his entire 12-year teaching career. During the year, he is released from classroom duties to travel the country as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession.

President Obama and Secretary Duncan honored Charbonneau and the State Teachers of the Year at the White House on April 23 with a ceremony in the Rose Garden. In his remarks, the President thanked teachers for their commitment to America’s young people and emphasized, “Teaching is a profession, and it should be treated like one. That means we’re going to have to recruit, prepare, and reward our next generation of great educators. Secretary Duncan has been working with folks on a new blueprint for teaching in the 21st century, listening to some of these outstanding teachers and principals so that we can figure out what best practices are out there.”

The recently released Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) Blueprint embraces seven critical components jointly identified by the Department and seven other national organizations representing teachers, administrators, and school boards at the Labor-Management Conference last spring. Want to get involved? A new web page outlines actions that can be undertaken, including taking a self-inventory of progress on RESPECT.
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HONORING SCHOOLS

On April 22, at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., Secretary Duncan, Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Bob Persiacepe, and Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley announced 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools honorees. Sixty-four schools were recognized for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, 14 school districts were recognized with the first-ever District Sustainability Award. The honorees were confirmed from a pool of nominees submitted by 32 states. The honorees include 54 public schools (with seven charter schools, five magnet schools, and four career-technical schools) and 10 private schools, serving various grade levels. Over half of the honorees report more than 40% of their student body receiving either free or reduced-price lunch. A list of all schools and districts, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here, and a report with highlights on the honorees can be found here. The Department is already looking forward to a third year of awards and will be publishing updated competition criteria this summer, working closely with participating states, collaborating organizations, and partner agencies. States are requested to indicate an intent to nominate schools in 2014 by August 1, 2013. (Note: Schools can draw on the same tools used by honorees through the agency’s Green Strides resources and webinar series.)
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SCIENCE FAIR

Also that day, the President hosted the third White House Science Fair, featuring the inventions and research of 100 students from more than 40 states. From portable windmills and oil-producing algae to underwater robots and dehydration-preventing football gear -- spread out from the South Lawn to the State Dining Room -- projects showcased the talents of America’s next generation. After viewing some of the displays and talking with students about their work, the President addressed students, parents, and teachers. He also announced new steps to advance his Educate to Innovate campaign, designed to get more boys and girls inspired about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and ensure everything is being done to equip the nation’s future innovators. (Note: A complete list of students and exhibits is here, and number of videos from the science fair -- including LeVar Burton and Bill Nye interviewing some young inventors -- are posted online.)
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WORKFORCE PREPARATION

The Department announced it will begin conversations with the higher education community on rules that would be designed to ensure colleges and universities are providing students a high-quality education that prepares them for the workforce and lifelong success. Last year, the agency held discussions about rules that would be designed to prevent fraud and abuse of Title IV federal student aid funds, especially within the context of current technologies. In particular, it announced its intent to propose regulations to address the use of debit cards for disbursing federal student aid, as well as improve and streamline campus-based federal student aid. This year, it is considering adding the following topics to the regulatory agenda:

• Cash management
• State authorization for distance education programs
• State authorization for foreign locations of domestic institutions
• Clock to credit hour conversion
• Gainful employment
• Campus safety and security reporting
• Definition of “adverse credit” for the Direct PLUS loan program

Hearings on these subjects will be held in May in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. Based on comments at these hearings, the Department will draft a list of topics to be considered by rulemaking committees. Negotiations would likely begin this fall.

In related news, the Departments of Education and Labor announced the availability of $474.5 million to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to educate and train workers with the skills employers need. This is the third round of funding since 2009 under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Community College and Career Training grant program, for a total of nearly $1.5 billion. The program is one component of the President’s plan to help every American achieve at least one year of postsecondary education and for the country to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• According to the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the nation’s twelfth-graders have not shown improvement in their knowledge of economics since 2006. However, some student groups -- lower-performing students, Hispanic students, and students whose parents did not finish high school -- showed signs of progress. All these groups scored higher in 2012 than in 2006.
• Earlier this month, an ED Youth Voices panel discussion introduced students, educators, and communities to the federal policies and programs that youth credit with helping them succeed.
• On Arts Advocacy Day, thousands of advocates from across the country came rallied in support of arts education programs in schools, while the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) issued a bulletin on how the arts support achievement in school, bolster skills demanded of a 21st century workforce, and enrich the lives of young people and communities.
• The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory has launched a new web site, designed especially for students and teachers, to learn about the critical role of public health labs in protecting the public against diseases and other health hazards.
• A new blog entry, titled “Cloudy with a Chance of Data,” explains what it actually means to “put data in the cloud.” It is important for everyone to be informed about how data is being protected and how student data is being used to improve the learning experience.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“The U.S. badly lags behind other nations in supporting early learning. Out of 29 industrial nations, we devote less public spending to early learning as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) than 24 of the countries. The Czech Republic and Chile devote more government spending to early learning. So do Iceland and Italy. And, the U.S. ranks 28th among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations in our enrollment of four-year-olds in early learning. Now, in an era of tight budgets and limited resources, it is critical that we ask ourselves, what is the smartest use of our education dollars? The answer, I believe, is that high-quality early learning is the best education investment we can make in our children, our communities, and our country.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (4/19/13), in an op-ed on early learning
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UPCOMING EVENTS

2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be announced on May 6 and invited to Washington, D.C., for recognition events June 15-18.

Nominations are open through July 1 for the Secretary of Transportation’s Recognizing Aviation and Aerospace Innovation in Science and Engineering (RAISE) Award, honoring innovative scientific and engineering concepts by high school, college, and graduate students that will have a significant impact on the future of aviation or aerospace. Winners will be formally recognized in the fall.

Through August 27, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) invites proposals that advance the role of the humanities at community colleges through curriculum and faculty development on the theme of “Bridging Cultures.” NEH expects to award seven to nine grants of up to $120,000.
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Please feel free to contact the Office of Communications and Outreach with any questions:
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Intergovernmental Affairs -- Stacey Jordan, (202) 401-0026, mailto:Stacey.Jordan@ed.gov
Program Analyst -- Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, mailto:Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
To be added or removed from distribution, or submit comments (we welcome your feedback!),
contact Adam Honeysett. Or, visit http://www2.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edreview/.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
April 12, 2013

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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FY 2014 BUDGET

On April 10, President Obama sent Congress his annual budget request, presenting his plan to invest in the true engine of America’s economic growth: a rising and thriving middle class. He also addressed the press in the Rose Garden, noting that, while our economy is poised for progress, we need to be smarter about our priorities as a nation. “To help workers earn the skills they need to fill [good] jobs, we’ll work with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child across America,” he said. “And, we’re going to pay for it by raising taxes on tobacco products that harm our young people…. We’ll reform our high schools and job training programs to equip more Americans with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy. We’ll help more middle class families afford the rising cost of college. And, to make sure hard work is rewarded, we’ll build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for anybody willing to work hard to climb them. We’ll partner with 20 of our communities hit hardest by the recession, to help them improve housing, and education, and business investment.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/04/10/president-obama-sends-congress-his-fiscal-year-2014-budget.

The President is requesting $71.2 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education, an increase of $3.1 billion -- or 4.5% -- over the Fiscal Year 2013 pre-sequester level. “We must continue to build on the reforms already transforming classrooms across the country,” Secretary Duncan stated. “Strategic investments in our educational system will not only provide more opportunities for millions of Americans, but they will also strengthen our nation’s workforce.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/budget14.

The cornerstone of the President’s education investments is expanding high-quality early learning opportunities to all four-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. Studies show these children have less access to high-quality early education and are less likely to enter school prepared for success -- creating an educational opportunity gap that can shadow them for the rest of their lives. The Preschool for All proposal would invest $75 billion over 10 years in separate, fully offset mandatory funding to create new partnerships with states and provide high-quality preschool to more communities. The proposal also provides $750 million in discretionary funding to help states strengthen their early learning systems and prepare to expand access to high-quality preschool. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/early-learning.

Including Preschool for All, the President’s budget is targeted to strengthen the education pipeline from cradle to career, including:
• furthering the K-12 reform agenda by investing in school turnaround efforts, STEM programs (http://www.ed.gov/stem), and teachers and leaders (http://www.ed.gov/teachers-leaders), as well as increasing investments in what works (http://www.ed.gov/k-12reforms);
• redesigning the high school experience and increasing the career readiness of high school students and adult learners (http://www.ed.gov/highschool);
• making college more affordable and improving quality by incentivizing states and institutions to do their part in controlling costs and providing value (http://www.ed.gov/college);
• keeping schools and communities safe through an Administration-wide plan to protect children and neighborhoods from gun violence (http://www.ed.gov/school-safety); and
• providing ladders of opportunity to the middle class, through a robust Promise Neighborhoods program and investments in low-income communities (http://www.ed.gov/ladders).

Want to dig deeper? Among the helpful resources online are a press release (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/obama-administration-2014-budget-prioritizes-key-education-investments-provide-o), blog posts (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/04/2014-education-budget-whats-the-bottom-line/ AND http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/04/obama-administration-budget-makes-major-investment-in-early-learning/), the budget summary (http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget14/summary/14summary.pdf), and fact sheets on cross-cutting issues (www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget14/). Furthermore, one can view video from the Department’s budget briefing for associations (http://edstream.ed.gov/webcast/Viewer/?peid=b3c44e2a90df4d978e44a729b10ef0541d) and listen to the Department’s press call (http://www2.ed.gov/news/av/audio/2013/04102013.mp3).
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RETURN ON INVESTMENT

On April 11, Secretary Duncan testified on the Administration’s continued investments in education before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. “The big takeaway message here is that education is more than a set of numbers on the ledger line,” he stressed. “Education is not just an expense -- it’s an investment. In fact, it is one of the most critical investments in the future that we, as a nation, can make. America cannot win the race for the future without investing in education….” The Secretary sketched out some important progress made during the President’s first term, highlighted urgent educational challenges that remain, and talked about the ROI -- the return on investment in education spending -- with special emphasis on the President’s pre-school plan. He also summarized other core elements of the President’s 2014 education budget. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/testimony-us-secretary-education-arne-duncanfy-2014-budget-request. (Note: Video of the hearing is available at http://thomas.loc.gov/video/house-committee/hsap/31295431.)
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TRAVEL LOG

Secretary Duncan traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, last week for a series of events to spotlight state and local education reform efforts. First, he joined Governor Bill Haslam and Knox County Schools Superintendent James McIntyre at West High School, visiting classrooms and participating in a roundtable discussion on initiatives that have increased student performance. He emphasized President Obama’s challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip students for college and career success. Next, he delivered remarks about Tennessee’s rapid progress and urgent challenges at the University of Tennessee’s Howard Baker Center for Public Policy. During his speech (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/tennessee-way-lessons-nation), he detailed the President’s proposals to expand early learning opportunities. Then, he joined a group of teachers at Ritta Elementary School for an honest conversation about a range of issues. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://storify.com/usedgov/secretary-arne-duncan-visits-knoxville-tennessee AND http://knoxschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?sessionid=&pageid=292834.

Also, this week, the Secretary and National PTA President Betsy Landers hosted a school safety town hall at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore, Maryland.
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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

The Department is currently seeking applications for the Advanced Placement (AP) Test Free Program (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/apfee/) and the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/iduesmsi/). The AP Test Free Program awards grants to states to enable them to pay all or a portion of AP test fees on behalf of low-income students. Applications are due June 3. The Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program, which awards four types of grants, is designed to effect long-range improvement in science and engineering education at predominantly minority institutions and to increase the flow of underrepresented ethnic minorities, particularly minority women, into scientific and technological careers. Applications are due May 31.

Also, the Secretary announced that 13 more states will receive funding to turn around persistently lowest-achieving schools under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) Program. Awards are being made on a rolling basis. To date, 34 states have been approved to receive SIG funding. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/thirteen-states-receive-funding-turn-around-persistently-lowest-achieving-school.
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ARTS EDUCATION

Director of Student Achievement and School Accountability Programs Monique Chism was on a panel on “Embracing Arts Education Strategies to Achieve Title I Goals” at the recent Arts Education Partnership National Forum. Research demonstrates the value of certain kinds of arts programs to achieving the goals of the federal Title I program to support the achievement of students from low-income families. Yet, despite this evidence (http://www.artsedsearch.org/) and statements from Secretary Duncan that Title I funds may be appropriately used for arts education (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/090826.html), schools and school districts are often reluctant to do so. The panel specifically discussed efforts in Arizona and California to connect advocacy, policy, and research to embrace rigorous arts education programs. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.artsed411.org/files/Embracing_Arts_Ed_to_Achieve_Title1_Goals.pdf.

Also, a public webinar on April 17 (2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time) hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will look at how federal agencies are using arts education to foster the well-being of the youngest populations. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.arts.gov/news/news13/Task-Force-Webinar-April-2013.html.
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LET’S GET COOKING!

First Lady Michele Obama is again challenging America’s most creative junior chefs to put their talents to good use and whip up delicious lunchtime recipes. The second “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ State Dinner” (http://www.recipechallenge.epicurious.com/) invites children ages 8-12 and their parents or guardians to create and submit an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty. Recipes must adhere to the guidance that supports the Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/). Recipes must also represent each of the food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and vegetables making up roughly half of the plate or recipe. Fifty-six children and their parent/guardian -- one pair from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories -- will be flown to Washington, D.C., to attend a Kids’ State Dinner at the White House, where a selection of the winning recipes will be served. Recipes may be submitted online through May 12.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“Contrary to what you may heard, the President’s [Preschool for All] plan would not be a new federal entitlement program. States would use federal funds to create or expand high-quality preschool programs in partnership with school-based and community providers. States would provide an increasing match for the program, and every cent of the $75 billion provided by the federal government would be paid for by increases in taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products. Our theory of action in expanding high-quality preschool is going to be the same as it was in the first term. The federal role is to support and partner with states, incentivize innovation, and help identify what works to strengthen education and accelerate achievement…. The Department should set a high bar for quality in preschool programs, but it should leave it up to state and local leaders to choose the best means for reaching that bar.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (4/11/13), testifying on the President’s FY 2014 budget request
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UPCOMING EVENTS

Later today, at 4:00 p.m. ET, Secretary Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will host a conference call on the Administration’s commitment to early learning. Then, on April 19, at 12:30 p.m. ET, senior staff from both agencies will host an in-person briefing to delve deeper into the plan. The briefing will also be live streamed. To register for the call and/or the briefing, go to https://www.cvent.com/d/jcq5m9/4W.

The 568 semifinalists for the 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program will be announced on April 15. The 141 Scholars will be announced the first full week of May and invited to Washington, D.C., for recognition events in June. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/.

On Earth Day (April 22), the Department will broadcast the announcement of 2013 U.S. Department of Education-Green Ribbon Schools Award winners live on its USTREAM channel (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/education-department), as well as post all nomination packages and release a highlights document. The cohort will include the first District Sustainability Award honorees. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/. (Note: National Environmental Education Week [http://www.eeweek.org/] is April 14-20, and National Park Week [http://www.nps.gov/npweek/] is April 20-28.)

On April 24, in a live webcast at 11:00 a.m. ET, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will release the results of a new National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report on economics. The report will explore how twelfth-grade students’ economic literacy has progressed during a period of global financial change and how well students know and apply the concepts of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international trade in real world contexts. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nagb.org/economics2012.

President Obama Releases Administration's 2014 Budget Request

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION 2014 BUDGET PRIORITIZES KEY EDUCATION INVESTMENTS TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL AMERICANS
Core proposals would strengthen the middle class by expanding preschool education, building on reforms that work, and making college more affordable

The Obama Administration continued to prioritize education in the 2014 budget released today by proposing key investments in education that would strengthen the middle class, grow the economy and provide opportunities for success to all Americans – especially our nation’s most vulnerable children. Without adding to the deficit, the President’s FY 2014 budget invests $71 billion in discretionary funding for the Department, an increase of 4.5 percent over the FY 2013 pre-sequester level.

“We must continue to build on the reforms already transforming classrooms across the country,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Strategic investments in our educational system will not only provide more opportunities for millions of Americans, but they will strengthen our nation’s workforce as well.”

The cornerstone of the President’s education investments will expand high-quality early learning opportunities to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families. Studies show that these children have less access to high-quality early education and are less likely to enter school prepared for success – creating an educational opportunity gap that can shadow them for the rest of their lives. The President’s budget proposal will not only help close the gap by providing America’s youngest learners a strong start, it will also pay dividends down the road in higher graduation rates, increased employment, better jobs at higher salaries, greater tax revenue, and lower crime and reliance on public assistance.

President Obama’s Preschool for All proposal would invest $75 billion over 10 years in separate, fully offset mandatory funding to create new partnerships with states and provide high-quality preschool to more communities, helping ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn. In addition, the 2014 budget provides $750 million in complementary discretionary funds to help states strengthen their early learning systems and prepare to expand access to high-quality preschool. The U.S. Department of Education also will work closely with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to significantly expand and improve services to younger children through Head Start.

“Preschool is one of the smartest and most critical investments we can make,” Duncan said. “By getting our children off to a strong start, we not only increase their individual chances for lifelong success, but also ensure our entire nation is on the path to a strong future.”

Including Preschool for All, the President’s education investments are targeted to strengthen the education pipeline from cradle to career. The President has also proposed to:

Further the K-12 reform agenda by investing in teachers and leaders, school turnaround efforts, and STEM programs, as well as increase investments in what works.
Keep schools and communities safe through an Administration-wide plan to protect our children and neighborhoods from gun violence.
Redesign the high school experience and increase career readiness of high school students, as well as adult learners.
Make college more affordable and improve quality by incentivizing states and institutions to do their part in controlling costs and providing good value.
Provide ladders of opportunity to the middle class through a robust Promise Neighborhoods program and investments in low-income communities.

Further the K-12 reform agenda
Building on the momentum for state-level reform, President Obama has proposed a set of strategic investments to drive change in the nation’s K-12 school systems.

Invest in teachers and leaders: To elevate the teaching profession and strengthen great leaders, the Administration is proposing significant investments, including $5 billion in one-time mandatory funds for the RESPECT initiative to support efforts to transform the teaching profession, as well as $3 billion for the new Excellent Instructional Teams program. The Excellent Instructional Teams program would fund states’ and districts’ efforts to increase the effectiveness of teachers and principals and includes $400 million for a Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund, $98 million for a School Leadership Grant Program and a 25 percent set-aside ($617 million) within the $2.5 billion ESEA Title II State Grants program. A complementary $190 million mandatory investment in Presidential Teaching Fellows would provide scholarships to students in top-tier teacher preparation programs who commit to teaching in high-need schools and subjects.

Turn around low-performing schools: To strengthen educational opportunities for all students, the Administration is proposing to invest $659 million in School Turnaround Grants, including a $125 million increase to support and sustain local efforts to reform the lowest performing schools and expand the School Turnaround AmeriCorps initiative.

Strengthen STEM programs: Only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career, and the nation faces a skills gap in its workforce. The Administration is proposing $150 million for STEM Innovation Networks to create effective strategies for improving STEM education, $35 million to establish a STEM Master Teacher Corps, and $80 million to recruit and train effective STEM teachers for high-need schools.

Expand what works: The President’s Investing in Innovation (i3) competition has supported efforts across the country to develop solutions to some of education’s greatest challenges. The 2014 budget increases funding for the i3 program to $215 million in order to expand support for using an evidence-based approach to test new ideas, validate what works, and scale up the most effective approaches in high-need areas.

Keep schools and communities safe
In January, President Obama released his plan to reduce gun violence, make schools safer, and increase access to mental health services. The 2014 request includes new investments in support of that plan’s common-sense proposals. These investments, which would be coordinated with related proposals at the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, will help create safer and more nurturing school climates that help prevent school violence. Key proposals include $50 million for School Climate Transformation Grants, $30 million for improved emergency management planning and $25 million for Project Prevent grants to help districts in communities with pervasive violence to break the cycle of violence.

Redesign the high school experience and increase career readiness
To compete in a global economy, Americans need some form of postsecondary education – whether that’s a 4-year degree, 2-year degree or postsecondary certificate. To help to engage high school students as well as meet the needs of adult learners, the Obama Administration has detailed plans to redesign high schools and career and technical education (CTE) programs, aligning them with the skills and knowledge that employers need. The Administration is also renewing its $1.1 billion proposal for a reauthorized Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education program, which would strengthen alignment among secondary and postsecondary CTE programs and businesses.

As previewed in President Obama’s State of the Union address, the Administration is proposing $300 million for a new High School Redesign program, which would fund competitive grants to districts partnering with postsecondary institutions, businesses and non-profits to help ensure that all students graduate from high school with college credit and career-related experience.

Make college more affordable and improve quality
The demand for higher education continues to increase at a time when college costs have continued to escalate. President Obama delivered significant increases in the postsecondary financial aid available to students and families over the first term, but student aid cannot keep pace with rising college costs indefinitely. To address these long-term challenges, the President’s request proposes comprehensive reforms to increase affordability and quality in higher education, including $1 billion for a new Race to the Top-College Affordability and Completion competition that would drive change in state higher education policies and practices; $260 million for a First in the World fund that would make competitive awards to encourage innovation in higher education; expanding and reforming campus-based aid programs; linking student loan interest rates to market rates – before they are scheduled to rise on July 1; and expanding the popular Pay As You Earn repayment option to ensure that loan repayments for all student borrowers do not exceed 10 percent of their discretionary income.

In addition, the 2014 budget would fund Pell Grants for more than 9 million students – an increase of more than 50 percent since 2008 – and support an increase in the maximum Pell Grant from $5,645 in the 2013-14 year to $5,785 in 2014-15.

Provide ladders of opportunity
Too many communities suffer from concentrated poverty, and schools often take on the multiple challenges that face their most vulnerable students. Through “Promise Zones,” federal agencies will partner with the leaders of high-poverty communities to break down barriers and coordinate the resources and expertise they need to create jobs, leverage private investments, increase economic activity, reduce violence, and improve educational opportunities. The President’s budget would support Promise Zones through investments in his signature Neighborhood Revitalization programs, including $300 million for the U.S. Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods.

Together, these investments can continue to close achievement gaps, provide life-transforming opportunities for children, expand educational opportunity, strengthen the middle class and prepare all Americans for the challenges of the 21st century. To learn more about the President’s education proposals, visit: www.ed.gov/budget14.


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ED Briefing: FY 2014 Budget Request

The U.S. Department of Education will hold a briefing on the President's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Request Wednesday, April 10, starting at 1:30 PM in the Department Auditorium (400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC, 20202). Reservations are not required.

For security purposes, attendees are reminded to bring a photo ID and a business card. As in previous years, attendees are requested to enter the Department on the C Street side of the building (across from the McDonald’s), go through the magnetometers, and show their photo ID to the guards. However, instead of signing-in at the Front Desk, attendees will be directed to the auditorium's rear doors, where they will be asked to submit a business card OR record their name, organization, and contact information on a sign-in sheet.

At this point, the budget book and briefing materials will be distributed.

If you are unable to attend in person, we will be live streaming the briefing. To watch the briefing, go to http://edstream.ed.gov/webcast/Viewer/?peid=b3c44e2a90df4d978e44a729b10ef0541d. No registration is required.

We hope you can join us – either in person or online – on Wednesday!

The Communications and Outreach Team

U.S Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
March 29, 2013

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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WARPED INCENTIVES

With college basketball’s March Madness in full gear, Secretary Duncan and co-author Tom McMillen proposed in a USA Today op-ed that colleges and universities start penalizing athletic coaches financially if the students on their teams do not graduate. They note that big-time coaches earn enormous salaries and rewards for athletic performance. But, there are no penalties and limited incentives for academic performance. “The NCAA should be commended for raising the academic benchmarks that teams must meet for postseason play,” they state. “New NCAA regulations essentially require teams to be on track to graduate half of their players to be eligible for postseason play (indeed, the University of Connecticut’s men’s basketball team -- the 2011 champion -- was unable to compete in this year’s tournament because it failed to meet the minimal academic requirements), and academic progress and graduation rates are up significantly for tournament teams this year. Yet, governing boards of universities and college presidents also need to do more to reinforce the education mission of their institutions. Too often, trustees and presidents undermine that mission by offering lucrative incentives to coaches that downplay the importance of athletes getting a college education.”

In 2011, according to McMillen’s research, 32 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision coaches and 11 NCAA Division I men’s basketball coaches earned more than $2 million annually. (Coaches earn whatever the market will bear. However, many coaches work at public universities, funded by taxpayers, and, in several cases, they are not only the highest-paid school employee but also the highest-paid state employee.) Fully three-fourths of the football contracts and two-thirds of the basketball contracts included a bonus for academic performance, but these incentives were dwarfed by bonuses for performance on the field or court. Athletic incentives averaged $600,000 per coach, while academic incentives averaged $52,000 per coach -- a ratio of 11-to-1.

“When many states are reducing funds for higher education, it is hard to justify such skewed priorities and runaway athletic spending,” the Secretary and McMillen concluded. “Even at Division I institutions, few athletic programs are self-supporting -- which means that institutional funds must typically be diverted to pay for athletic programs…. We are not suggesting any regulatory scheme for capping or restricting coaches’ compensation. Nor can we specify the balance between academic and athletic spending that, to paraphrase the Goldilocks principle, is just right…. [Nevertheless,] trustees and presidents can take steps to right that balance. They could adopt a model of best practices that includes a greater parity in new contracts for coaches between academic and athletic bonuses and provides penalties for poor academic performance.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/03/its-time-to-fix-warped-incentives-in-division-i-college-sports/.
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EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS

President Obama recently signed into law a Continuing Resolution (CR) agreement, extending funding for education programs and other parts of the federal budget at Fiscal Year 2013 levels -- minus $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board budget cuts, also known as the sequester -- through September 30, 2013. The Department of Education’s share of the sequester is $2.5 billion. The CR also included an additional across-the-board budget cut of 0.2%, which works out to about $136 million of the agency’s $68 billion in discretionary funding. The CR requires all agencies to submit an operating plan to Congress showing the amounts for programs, projects, and activities by April 25. Meanwhile, the President will release his FY 2014 budget proposal on April 10. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/26/statement-press-secretary-hr-933.
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COMPETENCY-BASED LEARNING

Last week, the Department issued guidance for postsecondary institutions that offer competency-based programs in which students learn at their own pace -- but that currently do not offer federal student aid. The agency is reminding schools that they may be eligible to offer Title IV funds under the direct assessment provision of the Higher Education Act, and it has supplied step-by-step instructions on how to apply. Moreover, for the many institutions that have expressed interest, the guidance addresses developing competency-based programs that are likely to be Title IV eligible.

In recent years, some institutions have recognized the potential of innovative learning models and developed creative programs that allow students the flexibility to learn at the pace that makes sense for them, both in career-technical and degree programs. Students progress in these programs by demonstrating their achievement of specific skills or knowledge. Most competency-based programs fit into traditional learning models that measure progress in credit or clock hours, but an increasing number do not. Some of these programs would like to offer their students Title IV aid -- including Pell Grants and student loans -- but have been unable to so.

The guidance also notes the potential of competency-based approaches to shorten time to degree completion and reduce costs, while providing an opportunity for students to develop the skills and knowledge they need to compete for good jobs or advance in the workplace. Going forward, the Department plans to collaborate with accrediting agencies and the broader community to encourage innovative approaches, identify promising practices, and gather feedback to inform future policies. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1310.html.
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HIGHER EDUCATION TOOLS

Throughout the month, the Department has been promoting a set of consumer tools to help students and their families make informed decisions about their choice for higher education, as well as better understand their loan debt and stay on track in repayment. First, on March 14, staff presented on tools that make it easy to compare critical information, such as college costs, average student loan debt, and graduation rates, across different institutions. The EDstream broadcast can be viewed at http://edstream.ed.gov/webcast/Viewer/?peid=e651af3d71984f55b8201d0644bfafc51d, and the session’s handout is available at http://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/comparing-colleges.pdf. Then, on March 26, the agency launched two key features on the StudentLoans.gov web site: a Complete Counseling web page and a new Repayment Estimator that lets borrowers compare what their monthly repayment amounts would likely be across all seven repayment options. Borrowers can access both these tools by signing into their accounts online. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/03/new-tools-for-student-loan-borrowers/.

Also, on March 27, the agency hosted the first-ever bilingual #AskFAFSA Office Hours on Twitter. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/03/fafsa-to-host-first-ever-bilingual-askfafsa-office-hours/.

Additionally, the Department has posted more than 130 submissions to a Request for Information on promising and practical strategies to promote college student success from institutions across the U.S. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/college-completion/promising-strategies.
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TALKING WITH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS

As he has done in the past, on consecutive days last week, Secretary Duncan met with small groups of students and teachers for an honest conversation about a variety of topics. This time, he also brought along a video camera, and, with the participants’ permission, captured these conversations so others can see them. With seven students at Hart Middle School in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the focus was on the impact of gun violence (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/03/the-impact-of-gun-violence-a-conversation-with-students/). With eight teachers at Rogers Heights Elementary School in Bladensburg, Maryland, the conversation covered the pace of reform, the impact of early learning, and testing (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/03/testing-early-learning-and-the-pace-of-reform-talking-with-teachers/). Both excerpt videos and full videos are posted for viewing.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• Secretary Duncan announced the start of the fourth Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition by releasing an invitation for pre-applications for the “Development” grant category and a notice of final priorities for the program overall. This year’s competition incorporates several improvements to support school districts and non-profit organizations partnering with schools to develop and expand innovative practices that accelerate student achievement and prepare every student to succeed in college and their careers. Applications for the “Validation” and “Scale-up” grant categories will be announced later this spring. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/. (Note: The Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) is seeking individuals from various backgrounds and professions to serve as peer reviewers for the competition: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/peerreviewcall.html.)
• The Secretary also announced that 10 more states will receive funding to turn around persistently lowest-achieving schools under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) Program. Awards are being made on a rolling basis. To date, 21 states have been approved to receive SIG funding. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-10-states-will-receive-funding-turn-around-the.
• The Secretary recently addressed the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s Black Press Week Conference (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/good-news-bad-news-story-education) and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Legislative Summit (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/level-playing-field-equal-starting-line).
• On March 19, in a ceremony with Dr. Jill Biden, Santa Barbara City College (CA) and Walla Walla Community College (WA) were named co-winners of the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/03/celebrating-excellence-in-community-colleges/.
• On March 20, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle testified on the Department’s efforts to improve mental health supports for students. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://appropriations.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=323248.
• Student representatives with the Alliance for Educational Justice, Dignity in Schools Campaign, and Padres y Jovenes Unidos (Parents and Youth United) met with Secretary Duncan and David Esquith, Director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, to discuss school and community safety. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/03/the-time-is-now-students-talk-school-and-community-safety-with-secretary-duncan/.
• With summer right around the corner, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking new partners to spread the word and participate in its Summer Food Service Program, which supplies free meals for children when school is out. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer.
• The What Works Clearinghouse, now in its second decade as a trusted source of information about what works in education, has released a revised and expanded Procedures and Standards Handbook (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/DocumentSum.aspx?sid=19) for public comment.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“It has now been three months since the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut. Three months since we lost 20 innocent children and six dedicated adults who had so much left to give. Three months since we, as Americans, began asking ourselves if we’re really doing enough to protect our communities and keep our children safe…. Today, there is genuine disagreement among well-meaning people about what steps we should take to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country. But, you have spoken. You’ve made it clear that it’s time to do something. And, over the last few weeks, Senators here in Washington have listened and taken some big steps forward…. We have a real chance to reduce gun violence in America, and prevent the worst violence. We have a unique opportunity to reaffirm our tradition of responsible gun ownership, and also do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals or people with a severe mental illness. We’ve made progress over the last three months, but we’re not there yet.”

-- President Barack Obama (3/23/13), in his weekly address
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UPCOMING EVENTS

April is Financial Literacy Month, making it a good time to visit MyMoney.gov, the U.S. government’s web site dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. The site includes resources for youth, teachers, and parents and caregivers.

The second event in the Department’s 2013 Community College Webinar Series is scheduled for April 10, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. ET. Experts from the field and local practitioners will discuss promising community college correctional and reentry education models. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/ovae/2013/03/19/save-the-date-ovaes-2013-community-college-webinar-series-continues-on-april-10/.

On Earth Day (April 22), the Department will broadcast live on its USTREAM channel (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/education-department) the announcement of 2013 U.S. Department of Education-Green Ribbon Schools Award winners, as well as post all nomination packages and release a highlights document. This cohort will include the first District Sustainability Award honorees. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/.

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U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
March 15, 2013

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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EARLY LEARNING

On March 1, Secretary Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius visited Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Takoma Park, Maryland, to highlight the importance of high-quality early learning programs. (The school is home to the Silver Spring Judy Center, which provides comprehensive early childhood services for children from birth through kindergarten.) The Secretaries observed state-fund preschool and Head Start classrooms and toured the Student Health Clinic. In celebration of Read Across America Day, they also read Dr. Seuss’s popular “Green Eggs and Ham” to an audience of young students. “Rolling Terrace represents so much of what we want our country to be like and aspire to,” Secretary Duncan remarked (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/smart-investments-early-learning). “Many of the students grow up in poverty. The children speak as many as 35 different languages -- it’s a baby United Nations! But, the children are thriving. They have great adults who take care of them and are excited to work with them…. They want to be here, and they are coming to an environment where they are going to be successful….”

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/13/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-plan-early-education-all-americans). Specifically, the President proposed a series of investments to establish a continuum of high-quality early learning -- from birth to age five. The proposals include providing high-quality preschool for every child through a federal-state partnership and encouraging states to expand the availability of full-day kindergarten; expanding high-quality early learning opportunities in the years before preschool through investment in a new Early Head Start-Child Care partnership; and extending evidence-based, voluntary home visiting, which enables teachers, nurses, social workers, and other professionals to connect families to services and educational support that will improve a child’s health, development, and ability to learn.

“As we move forward with this economically vital effort, we can look to states that have shown the way,” the Secretaries noted in a Huffington Post op-ed titled “America’s Middle Class Promise Starts Early” (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/03/americas-middle-class-promise-starts-early/). “In Massachusetts and Michigan, for example, Governors Deval Patrick and Rick Snyder have made expanding access to preschool programs a priority. Likewise, in Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley has proposed new resources to rapidly expand early education. These leaders represent a bipartisan consensus, that America can’t win the race for the future by holding back children at the starting line…. Early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make in our future. Now is the time to redouble our efforts, not cut back.” Doing right by our youngest children is essential to America’s middle class promise.”
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ESEA FLEXIBILITY

The agency received requests from Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wyoming on February 28 for waivers from key provisions of No Child Left Behind in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership. Since fall 2011, 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Bureau of Indian Education have requested waivers in order to implement next generation education reforms that go far beyond the law’s rigid, top-down prescriptions. The Department has approved requests from 34 states and D.C., with other applications still pending. “We continue to see growing momentum for education reform nationwide, and these requests reflect the desire of states to have more flexibility in implementing their ideas about how to improve education,” Secretary Duncan said. “We look forward to continuing to work with leaders to support teachers and better prepare all students for college and careers.” The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has been due for reauthorization since 2007. In the face of congressional inaction, the Obama Administration announced it would grant waivers to qualified states. The new waiver requests will be posted shortly online, along with the names of the peer reviewers who will convene next month to review them. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility.
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DATA POINTS

Furthering the agency’s efforts to provide transparent information to parents and students about schools, the Department released provisional school-level graduation data for 2010-11 -- the first school year for which all states used a common, rigorous measure for reporting high school graduates. While the new measure is not comparable to previously reported graduation rates, it provides a more accurate snapshot of high school graduation and can inform improvement efforts going forward. States, school districts, and schools can use the new, common metric to promote greater accountability and to develop strategies that will reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide.

Beginning with the 2011-12 school year, graduation rates calculated using this new measure will become a key element of accountability systems for states, including those that are approved for ESEA flexibility.

In the coming months, as additional states report graduation rates and the agency works to finalize data, the Department will update the data set. Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Puerto Rico were approved for timeline extensions, and California, Delaware, and South Carolina submitted data that must be validated. As a result, there is no reported national graduation rate. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-department-releases-new-school-level-graduation-rate-data-better-infor.
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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

The deadlines for several grant competitions are fast approaching:

• Carol M. White Physical Education Program (closes 4/12). This program provides funding for districts and community-based organizations (CBOs) to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including afterschool programs, to help students meet their state’s physical education standards. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/whitephysed/.
• Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Grant Program (closes 4/15). SEED provides funding for national non-profit organizations for projects that are supported by evidence to recruit, select, and prepare professional enhancement activities for teachers and leaders. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/edseed/.
• Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants Program (closes 4/22). This program supports the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that integrate the arts into the core elementary and middle school curricula; strengthen arts instruction; and improve students’ academic performance, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/artsedmodel/.

Also, be sure to review the Department’s Fiscal Year 2013 Grants Forecast (as of February 28), which lists virtually all programs and competitions under which the agency has invited or expects to invite applications for awards and provides actual or estimated dates for the transmittal of applications under these programs. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/find/edlite-forecast.html. (Note: This document is advisory only and not an official application notice of the Department of Education.)
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PRINCIPAL FELLOWSHIPS

In a recent speech (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/supporting-and-strengthening-school-leadership), Secretary Duncan announced that the Department will be starting a Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program, similar to the Teaching Ambassador Fellowship Program (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship/) that has been in place at the agency since 2008. Some principals may be employed for a full-year, while other principals will consult from their schools on a part-time basis. Details are still being determined, but the program will get underway next school year. (Note: To be notified as more information becomes available, please sign up at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USED/subscriber/new?topic_id=USED_122.)
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ODDS AND ENDS

• Last week, on sequestration, Secretary Duncan addressed a conference of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/03/sequester-harms-education-and-our-economy/), and the Department posted tables showing the estimated dollar impact on states under the agency’s 12 largest formula grant programs (http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/news.html).
• This week, the Secretary announced that 11 states will receive grants to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools under the School Improvement Grants (SIG) Program. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-11-states-will-receive-funding-continue-effort.
• Also this week, the agency awarded Perry Hall High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, a Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant -- totaling more than $35,000 -- to assist in ongoing recovery efforts following a school shooting in August 2012. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-more-35000-help-baltimore-countys-perry-hall-high.
• In a March 14 letter (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/nonpublic/equitable-services-implementation-plan.html), the Department announced it plan for improving the implementation of equitable services requirements under applicable programs authorized by the ESEA and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
• Secretary Duncan played a game called “Not My Job” on National Public Radio’s “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” quiz show, winning a prize for a English teacher in Dallas. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO
http://www.npr.org/2013/03/09/173831145/secretary-of-education-arne-duncan-plays-not-my-job.
• In a new video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am7RbmzBLdY), Department officials recount successes from the past four years and discuss future goals.
• A new National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report, “Algebra I and Geometry Curricula” (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/hsts/math_curriculum/), reveals that course titles can be misleading about a course’s actual content and -- regardless of the course’s title -- if the course content is rigorous, the student is better-prepared for challenging academic work.
• Another NCES report, “Dual Enrollment Programs and Courses for High School Students at Postsecondary Institutions” (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013002), presents national estimates about dual enrollment in higher education.
• This month, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced a total of 690 institutions of higher education to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/initiatives/honorroll.asp), recognizing the commitment of colleges and universities to volunteering, service learning, and civic engagement.
• The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its first “State of Our Schools” report (http://centerforgreenschools.org/stateofschools), highlighting the critical need to modernize school facilities to meet current health, safety, and educational standards.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“Fewer than 3 in 10 American four-year-olds attend a high-quality preschool program filled with well-organized learning experiences, guided exploration, art, and storytelling -- and led by a skilled teacher. The availability of high-quality care and educational services for infants and toddlers is even lower. And, the gap is especially pronounced in low-income communities. Our failure to ensure access to strong preschool is morally indefensible and economically counterproductive. Strong early learning can translate into school success, which can lead to college and good jobs and ultimately a robust economy. Research shows that every public dollar spent on high-quality early childhood education returns $7 through increased productivity and savings on public assistance and criminal justice programs. That’s why President Obama has announced a comprehensive plan to help every child develop a strong foundation for future success.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius (3/4/13), in a Huffington Post op-ed
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UPCOMING EVENTS

March is Women’s History Month. Need help planning education activities? The Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site offers free teaching and learning resources from dozens of federal agencies, including 39 resources specifically spotlighted for this month. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.free.ed.gov/subjects.cfm?subject_id=26.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
March 1, 2013

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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SEQUESTRATION

Today, absent any last-minute action by Congress, automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts -- also known as the sequester -- will go into effect. These cuts will have real consequences, especially for young children in low-income families, students with special needs, and teachers. Last month, Secretary Duncan testified before the Senate (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/testimony-secretary-arne-duncan-senate-appropriations-committee-possible-impact-seques) about the negative effects of sequestration. This week, he appeared on “Face the Nation” (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3460_162-57570957/education-secretary-not-rocket-science-to-stop-dumb-sequester-cuts/), noting, “We don’t have to be in this situation. This is not rocket science. We could solve this tomorrow if folks had the will to compromise -- to come to the table and do the right thing for children and to try and keep growing the middle class.” Also, the White House released new state-by-state reports (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/22/what-sequester#states) showing how the sequester will impact jobs and middle class families, and the Department issued Title I and special education impacts by state and Title I impacts by the nation’s 100 largest school districts (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/sequestration-would-hurt-students-teachers-and-schools/).

Meanwhile, at a White House dinner on February 24 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/24/remarks-president-national-governors-association-dinner) and meeting on February 25 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/25/remarks-president-and-vice-president-meeting-national-governors-associat), President Obama discussed sequestration with the nation’s governors. The President also emphasized some areas where states are making strides that can be replicated across the country, including education. “I want to partner with each of you to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America,” he said. “This is an area where we’ve already seen great bipartisan work at the state level. All of us want our kids to grow up more likely to read and write and do math at grade level, graduate from high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own.” (Note: Later this morning, Secretary Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will visit a preschool and Head Start classrooms in Takoma Park, Maryland, to highlight the importance of early learning.)
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EQUITY AND EXCELLENCE STRATEGY

On February 20, after two years of work, the Equity and Excellence Commission formally presented its report to Secretary Duncan. The 27-member commission, including scholars, state and local educators, union leaders, and education reformers and advocates, was charged to provide advice to the Secretary on the disparities in meaningful educational opportunities that give rise to the achievement gap, with a focus on systems of finance, and ways that the federal government can address such disparities. “For Each and Every Child” explicitly offers a five-part framework of inter-related recommendations to guide policymaking, targeting: equitable school finance; teachers, principals, and curricula; early childhood education; mitigating poverty’s effects; and accountability and governance. The commission was autonomous, and its recommendations do not necessarily represent the views of the Department, but “The Commission has sounded a powerful and important alarm about the distance we still have to go to improve education for every American child,” the Secretary declared upon receiving the report. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/equity-and-excellence-commission-delivers-report-to-secretary-duncan/.
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GRAD NATION

According to a report update released at the third annual “Building a Grad Nation” Summit, the U.S. is on track to meet the national Grad Nation goal of a 90% high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020. The national high school graduation rate has increased 6.5 percentage points since 2001, to 78.2%, with an average growth of 1.25 points each year from 2006 to 2010. As a result of this acceleration, more than 200,000 additional students received diplomas in 2010 than 2006. In large part, the growth was driven by significant improvements in African-American (from 59.2% in 2006 to 66.1% in 2010) and Hispanic (from 61% in 2006 to 71.4% in 2010) graduation rates. The South also contributed to this growth, with five of the top 10 states with the greatest improvements since 2006. In addition, the number of “dropout factories” -- high schools in which twelfth-grade enrollment is 60% or less of ninth-grade enrollment three years earlier -- totaled at 1,424 in 2011, down from a high of 2,007 in 2002 and 1,550 in 2010. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.americaspromise.org/our-work/grad-nation/building-a-grad-nation.aspx.

At the summit, Secretary Duncan and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Wendy Spencer announced a competitive grant program that will provide $15 million in public funds over three years to reinforce and accelerate intervention efforts in the nation’s lowest-performing schools. The new School Turnaround AmeriCorps will support the placement of a dedicated cadre of AmeriCorps members in persistently under-achieving schools. This approach seeks to increase student achievement, attendance, and graduation rates, as well as college- and career-readiness in those schools. Since 2009, the Department has invested $4.5 billion in more than 1,300 of the nation’s lowest-performing schools. Currently, CNCS programs have a presence in a quarter of schools eligible for School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding. School Turnaround AmeriCorps will augment these investments, expand opportunities for national service, and supply struggling schools with new talent to support the implementation of school improvement plans. The program also extends the efforts of Together for Tomorrow, a cooperative initiative among the Department, CNCS, and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to boost community engagement in improving outcomes at chronically under-performing schools. A notice of intent to apply must be submitted to CNCS by April 2. Applications are due April 23. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/announcing-new-school-turnaround-americorps-program/.
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PROMISE PROGRAM

The Department has posted a Public Input Notice (PIN) for a new competitive grant program. The purpose of the Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) is to fund model demonstration projects in states to promote improved outcomes for children who receive SSI and their families. Under PROMISE, projects must form strong and effective partnerships among those state agencies responsible for programs that play a critical role in serving SSI recipients and provide coordinated services and supports designed to improve the education and employment outcomes of SSI recipients. Governors’ offices -- identified as required partners in the PIN -- and other agencies and organizations are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the PIN, participate in webinars, and submit written comments on the PIN blog (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/promoting-the-readiness-of-minors-in-supplemental-security-income-promise/). All comments must be received by March 17 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/PROMISE. (Note: The next webinar is this afternoon from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. ET. Another webinar will be offered on March 5 at the same time. Instructions on joining the webinars are available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/promise#webinars.)
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MEGA-STATES RESULTS

For the first time, a new National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report card summarizes results in several subjects from multiple states -- and holds clues from which other states may learn. “The Nation’s Report Card: Mega-States” presents achievement results for students in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas -- the five most-heavily populated states, serving nearly 40% of the nation’s public school students -- in grades 4 and 8 in reading, mathematics, and science. The findings include average scores among the five states, as well as national averages and results among various subgroups. Results are also reported at or above Proficient achievement levels. Overall, progress toward proficiency is promising in math but mixed in reading. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/megastates/.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• On February 26, the White House Champions of Change series honored 10 Americans for their work in promoting educational excellence for African-Americans in their communities (http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions/educational-excellence-for-african-americans), and David Johns was named as the first Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weWASsIlF_I).
• On February 27, some 100 leaders came to the White House for a discussion about how to make schools, institutions of higher education, and houses of worship safer through the creation of high-quality emergency management plans. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/28/taking-action-creating-model-emergency-management-plans-schools-institutions-higher-.
• Then, on February 28, First Lady Michelle Obama kicked-off Let’s Move! Active Schools, a collaboration to bring physical activity back to America’s schools. The initiative offers simple steps and tools to help schools create environments where students get 60 minutes of physical activity before, during, and after the school day. The ambitious goal is to engage 50,000 schools in this program over the next five years. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.letsmoveschools.org/.
• The new Green Strides: Environment, Health, and Facilities at ED web page (http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/green-strides/) provides school communities with access to tools to move toward the three pillars of the agency’s Green Ribbon Schools recognition award: reducing environmental impacts and costs; improving the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability literacy.
• Also, the Department recently launched version 3.0 of ED Data Express (http://www.eddataexpress.ed.gov/), an interactive web site aimed at making accurate and timely K-12 education data available to the public. ED Data Express consolidates relevant data collected by the agency from several different sources and provides a variety of tools that allow users to explore the data and create individualized reports. Specifically, the latest site includes a revised home page and State Snapshot page with improved visualizations and more intuitive navigation.
• Prior to his third appearance in the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game, Secretary Duncan sat down with current and former NBA and WNBA players to speak with five high school student-athletes about the importance of education and how sports can play a critical role in maturation on and off the court. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/duncan-joins-students-nba-and-wnba-players-for-hangout/.
• Then, about a week after President Obama proposed redesigning high schools to equip graduates with the skills employers demand in his State of the Union address, the Secretary visited Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, which prepares students for future success through restoration of the local marine environment. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/students-at-new-yorks-harbor-school-chart-their-course-for-college-and-careers/.
• In a February 28 letter to Chief State School Officers (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/secletter/130228.html), the Secretary requested immediate action to reduce gender-based violence in schools and ensure all students are safe. The letter was released at a White House event on teen dating violence prevention. The Department’s National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments also released a new training module, “Get Smart, Get Help, Get Safe” (http://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/index.php?id=1511) to help school nurses, counselors, and psychologists identify and respond to signs of abuse.
• The College Board’s latest “Advanced Placement Report to the Nation” (http://apreport.collegeboard.org/) shows 19.5% of the Class of 2012 achieved mastery (at least a 3 on a 5-point scale) on one or more AP exams.
• “Dual Credit and Exam-Based Courses in U.S. Public High Schools: 2010-11” (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013001), an update to a 2002-03 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), supplies data on dual credit course enrollment, the types of institutions in dual credit courses, and expenses paid by students and parents.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“Unfortunately…Congress is poised to allow a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts to kick-in that will slow our economy, eliminate good jobs, and leave a lot of folks who are already pretty thinly stretched scrambling to figure out what to do…. Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off. Tens of thousands of parents will have to deal with finding child care for their children. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings. Now, these impacts will not all be felt on Day One. But, rest assured, the uncertainty is already having an effect. Companies are preparing layoff notices. Families are preparing to cut back on expenses. And, the longer these cuts are in place, the bigger the impact will become.”

-- President Barack Obama (2/25/13), addressing governors at the White House on the impact of sequestration
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UPCOMING EVENTS

The first event in the Department’s 2013 Community College Webinar Series is scheduled for March 7, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET. Experts from the field and local practitioners will discuss transforming adult education to better prepare adult learners to successfully transition to postsecondary education and training. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO https://educateevents1.webex.com/educateevents1/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=747847050.

On March 12, at 11:00 a.m. ET, NCES will release “Algebra I and Geometry Curricula: Results from the 2005 High School Transcript Mathematics Curriculum Study.” The report looks at the math course-taking patterns of America’s high school graduates to examine the content and challenge of algebra and geometry courses in our nation’s public high schools. FOR MORE INFORATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/math_curr_registration.asp.

Actions taken this week by the Financial Accounting Foundation Board of Trustees that involve the G

• The Trustees issued for public comment a proposal to revise the agenda-setting process for the GASB to assist the Trustees in assessing the scope of the GASB’s standard-setting activity. You may review a detailed press release and the complete Request for Comment document by clicking on the embedded links. Feel free to send your comments by email to GASBscope@f-a-f.org or “snail mail” them to the following address by April 30, 2013: GASB Agenda Process, Financial Accounting Foundation, 401 Merritt 7, PO Box 5116, Norwalk, CT 06856.

• The Trustees approved the post-implementation review (PIR) report of GASB Statements No. 3, Deposits with Financial Institutions, Investments (including Repurchase Agreements), and Reverse Repurchase Agreements and No. 40, Deposit and Investment Risk Disclosures. The PIR report concluded that both Statements achieve their intended purpose. Both Statements require note disclosures about deposit and investment risks. Additionally, Statement 3 provides accounting guidance for repurchase and reverse repurchase agreements. Link to press release and report.

• The Trustees also announced that the PIR team will start a review of GASB Statements No. 10, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Risk Financing and Related Insurance Issues, and No. 30, Risk Financing Omnibus—an amendment of GASB Statement No. 10, which establish accounting and financial reporting standards for risk financing and insurance-related activities of state and local governments, including public risk pools. Stakeholders who would like the opportunity to participate in PIR surveys on GASB Statements 10 and 30, conducted by an independent survey firm on behalf of the Financial Accounting Foundation, should register online.

Duncan Makes Case For Averting Sequestration On "Face The Nation."

Duncan Makes Case For Averting Sequestration On "Face The Nation." As the March 1 deadline for massive spending cuts under Federal budget sequestration looms, the story has dominated national press coverage. Several reports touch on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's appearance on CBS's Face The Nation (2/25) as part of the Administration's push to persuade Congress to adopt a plan to avert the cuts.

NBC Nightly News (2/24, lead story, 2:25, Holt, 7.86M) reported in the lead story of an abbreviated broadcast, "Fewer than five days till the budget axe falls, barring some last minute deal, the Obama Administration is trying to add to the urgency with Cabinet secretaries offering dire warnings on Sunday morning TV." Education Secretary Arne Duncan is shown saying, "And there are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices they can't come back this fall."

Several political blogs focused on Duncan's Sunday comments. The Washington Post (2/25, Sullivan, 489K) reports in its 'The Fix' blog that Duncan "warned Sunday that thousands of teachers around the country could lose their jobs as a result of the automatic across-the-board spending cuts slated to begin Friday, barring action by lawmakers." The Post quotes Duncan saying on "Face the Nation," "As many of 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs. There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices they can't come back this fall." The Post adds that Duncan "argued that there was virtually nothing he could do to shield essential education programs from the federal spending cuts, which are set to begin Friday, if lawmakers don't act to avert them," quoting him saying, "We don't have any ability with dumb cuts like this to figure out what the right thing to do is. It just means that a lot more children will not get the kinds of services and opportunities they need."

The Hill (2/25, Becker, 21K) also covers Duncan's appearance on "Face the Nation," reporting in its 'Blog Briefing Room' blog that Duncan "said Sunday that sequestration would have a devastating affect on school systems around the country. Duncan said that teachers around the country were already being informed that they won't be retained, and that some 40,000 teachers in all could lose their jobs." Duncan warned of cuts to Head Start and Impact Aid students, The Hill reports, quoting him saying, "We don't have any ability with dumb cuts like this to figure out what the right thing to do is. It just means a lot more children will not get the kinds of opportunities and services they need." The Hill, noting that other such Cabinet members as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood are also speaking out on potential impacts of cuts, concludes by reporting that Duncan also lamented the issue's taking focus from the gun violence debate, quoting him saying, "That's where I think we should be spending our time, is talking about how we reduce gun violence. That's the productive use of our time. Spending time talking about stupid issues like this in Congress doesn't make sense."

Politico (2/25, Munsil, 25K) reports on Duncan's appearance in its "Politico Live" blog, noting that he "railed against lawmakers' inability to avoid sequestration, saying that teachers are already losing their jobs in anticipation of the deep, across-the-board cuts." This piece also quotes Duncan decrying the budget cuts that will lead to teacher layoffs, adding that he "added that he's angry at lawmakers for their inability to come up with a solution when teachers' jobs are on the line." Politico quotes him saying, "The fact that this is so easily avoidable is why I'm so angry. If folks would just work together, compromise, find the middle ground, we wouldn't put districts and families and children through this much trauma. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever." Politico notes that Duncan also pointed out that the sequestration cuts were designed never to be implemented, quoting him saying, "Sequester was set up to be painful to everybody, recognizing the dysfunction of Congress, to be so painful it would force people to come to the table. And the fact that people in Congress are so tone-deaf to what's really going on in their districts ... that to me is unimaginable." Politico (2/25, Munsil, 25K) makes similar mention of Duncan's "Face the Nation" appearance in a separate article about the sequestration debate.

CBS News (2/25) reports online that Duncan, speaking on "Face the Nation," said that "It's not 'rocket science' for Republican and Democratic lawmakers to find their way to the negotiating table with a plan to replace the 'dumb,' across-the-board cuts. ... Education services, in particular, will be hit with the sudden axe to the budget March 1. Head Start will be slashed by $406 million, booting 70,000 children from the program; special education will be cut by $840 million; up to 40,000 teachers and other school employees could face layoffs; and drastic cuts to the military will leave families employed under that umbrella inordinately unable to afford special services." This article also quotes Duncan extensively from his appearance.

The AP (2/22, Pace) reported, in a piece about President Obama's comments on Friday, that Duncan "told reporters Thursday he was increasingly worried that deep spending cuts would harm students and teachers across the country, saying that 'no one in their right mind would say this is good for kids or good for the country.' He also said that no one would have designed the automatic budget cuts on purpose."

Sequestration Debate Dominates Sunday Morning Shows. An analysis in the Christian Science Monitor (2/24, Knickerbocker, 47K) suggests that the main effort being put into the issue in Washington is assigning blame for the impasse between congressional Republicans and the Administration, saying the "finger-pointing began Saturday with President Obama's weekly radio/web address and the Republican response from Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota." Several paragraphs down, the Monitor reports that on "CBS's 'Face the Nation,' Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned of the impact just the threat of sequestration is having on his field." The article quotes Duncan saying, "There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can't come back this fall."

The Los Angeles Times (2/25, West, 692K) runs an article on the sequestration debate on the Sunday shows, briefly noting Duncan's comments about looming teacher layoffs. Similarly, the New York Daily News (2/25, Hirschhorn, 543K) reports that "Washington is in full hysteria over who's to blame and just how bad it will really be. Democrats and Republicans took to the airwaves Sunday, each in a last-ditch attempt to blame the other for the so-called 'sequester' cuts and to debate the impact on Americans' everyday lives." This piece also relates Duncan's comments about teacher layoffs.

Duncan's appearance on "Face the Nation" is also noted in an AP (2/25, Elliott) article about Sunday's "unrelenting mudslinging" on the issue, focusing on the warnings over the weekend of members of the National Governor's Alliance. Bloomberg News (2/23, Selway, Bender), Roll Call (2/25, Lesniewski, Subscription Publication, 19K), the Washington Times (2/25, Lengell, 76K), an online FOX News (2/24) article, the CNN (2/24, Liptak) "Political Ticker" blog, and Reuters (2/21, Reuters) run sequestration articles with similar parenthetical mentions of Duncan's comments on sequestration. Dozens of local TV stations across the country are running reports on the sequestration debate that mention Duncan's comments, including WVVA-TV Bluefield, WV (2/25, 6:08 a.m. EST), WKYT-TV Lexington, KY (2/25, 6:06 a.m. EST), and WIBW-TV Topeka, KS (2/25, 5:05 a.m. EST).

State by State Sequestration Impact

As you likely noticed, last week and over the weekend Secretary Duncan spoke out about the potentially severe impacts of sequestration for schools and communities, should the Congress be unable to avoid that action this week. Here is a link to his comments yesterday on Face the Nation: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3460_162-57570957/education-secretary-not-rocket-science-to-stop-dumb-sequester-cuts/

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
February 15, 2013

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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STATE OF THE UNION

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a series of proposals to increase access to a high-quality education. Among them were initiatives to make quality early education accessible to every child, to redesign the country’s high schools to meet the needs of the real world, and to tackle the spiraling cost of college. The proposals complemented other efforts to strengthen the middle class, including calls to raise the minimum age and reform immigration. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/state-of-the-union-2013.

Among the education excerpts from the speech:
• Expanding Early Learning. “Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But, today, fewer than 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool, and, for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America…. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on -- by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children -- like Georgia or Oklahoma -- studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own. So, let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”
• Redesigning High Schools. “Let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so that they’re ready for a job. At schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn -- a collaboration between New York City Public Schools, the City University of New York, and IBM -- students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in computers or engineering…. Four years ago, we started Race to the Top -- a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, all for about 1% of what we spend on education each year. Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And, we’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) -- the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there now and will be there in the future.”
• Holding Colleges Accountable. “Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It’s a simple fact that the more education you have, the more likely you are to have a job and work your way into the middle class. But, today, skyrocketing costs price too many young people out of a higher education, or saddle them with unsustainable debt. Through tax credits, grants, and better loans, we’ve made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years, but taxpayers can’t keep on subsidizing higher and higher costs for higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it’s our job to make sure that they do. So, tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act so affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. And, tomorrow, my Administration will release a new College Scorecard (see below) that students and parents can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”

Also:
• Students, teachers, and innovators were guests of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden during the address. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/12/first-ladys-box-2013-state-union.
• The White House released “The President’s Plan for a Strong Middle Class and a Strong America,” which, in addition to the proposals cited above, calls for a STEM Master Teacher Corps. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/sotu_2013_blueprint.pdf.
• Secretary Duncan answered questions from the public in a special session moderated by Babble. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/13/open-questions-state-union-and-education.

A day after the State of the Union address, the Department released an interactive College Scorecard, supplying students and families the critical information they need to make smart decisions about where to enroll for higher education. The scorecard -- part of the President’s continued efforts to hold colleges accountable for cost, value, and quality -- includes five basic pieces of data about an institution: costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, average amount borrowed, and employment. The data will be updated periodically, and the agency plans to publish information on earnings potential in the coming year. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/scorecard.

Then, yesterday, President Obama visited College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, Georgia, to see first-hand how the programs they have put in place are making a difference in the lives of our youngest citizens. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/14/president-obama-high-quality-pre-k-good-bang-your-educational-buck. (Note: A fact sheet on the President’s plan for early education for all children is posted at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/13/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-plan-early-education-all-americans.)
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COMPLETING THE FAFSA

In March 2012, the Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Tool to help guidance professionals, school administrators, and practitioners track and subsequently increase FAFSA completions at high schools across the country. Earlier this month, FSA enhanced the tool by revealing FAFSA submission and completion totals for the current year, as well as FAFSA submission and completion totals for the same time last year. With this add-on, the FAFSA Completion Tool -- updated bi-weekly during the peak application period -- provides every U.S. high school whose students have completed five or more FAFSAs with information about how many applications were submitted and completed during the 2013-14 application year and comparison data from the 2012-13 application year. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://studentaid.gov/fafsa-hs-data.
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TESTIMONY: ESEA FLEXIBILITY

Last week, in a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Secretary Duncan promoted the value of providing flexibility to states under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). He noted that granting states new flexibility through waivers -- which the Department began offering in 2011 -- was not his first choice; he would have preferred that Congress reauthorize the law instead. Yet, in light of congressional gridlock over reauthorization, he said he was “not willing to stand by idly and do nothing while students and educators continue to suffer under NCLB.”

In his testimony and in response to questions from committee members, he sketched in detail the ways in which state flexibility has strengthened accountability for at-risk students, improved evaluation and professional development for teachers and principals, and unleashed a wave of state-driven innovation.

In the end, the Secretary asserted he did not have “a moment’s doubt” that state flexibility “is a major improvement for children and for adults over NCLB.” He also stressed the need to learn from any mistakes in the waiver process, correct them quickly, and share that learning across the country. “We can never let the perfect become the enemy of the good. And, that is what we have done for far too long in education.” Ensuring a world-class education for every child “is both a demanding challenge and an urgent imperative for our children, our communities, and our nation.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/duncan-to-congress-giving-states-flexibility-is-working/.

That same day, Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday and New York Commissioner of Education John King, who also testified at the hearing, and New Jersey Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf discussed their states’ new accountability systems and the implications of waivers on state and federal policies and practice at a Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) forum. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Digital_Resources/Webcast_State_Chiefs_Discuss_Implementing_New_Accountability_Systems.html.
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TESTIMONY: SEQUESTRATION

This week, Secretary Duncan testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the impacts of sequestration. The sequester -- automatic spending cuts to most federal programs -- is scheduled to go into affect March 1. “Education is the last place to be reducing our investment as the nation continues to climb out of the recent recession and to prepare all of its citizens to meet those challenges created by global economic competitiveness in the 21st century,” he said. “I can assure you that our economic competitors are increasing, not decreasing, their investments in education…” Some core programs would be impacted immediately. For other, forward-funded programs, sequestration would not reduce funds until the 2013-14 school year, although school districts will be making hiring decisions this spring and will have to plan on less funding. “In particular,” he explained, “sequestration would hit hard at federal, state, and local efforts to improve educational opportunities for the nation’s neediest students and families.” “Sequestration is a bad policy,” the Secretary concluded. “It cuts all programs by the same percentage -- no matter the purpose or the performance. We need to replace sequestration with balanced deficit reduction…” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/ht-full.cfm?method=hearings.view&id=17d3dc99-c065-4bec-a7c8-cfd374bf41a3.
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SUSTAINABILITY PLANS

On February 7, continuing the Administration’s commitment to lead by example and cut costs, waste, and pollution in federal operations, federal agencies released 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans. The plans build on three years of progress under Executive Order 13514 and provide an overview of how agencies are saving taxpayer dollars, cutting waste, and saving energy. This year, these plans also include Climate Change Adaptation Plans, outlining initiatives to reduce the vulnerability of federal programs, assets, and investments to the impacts of climate change. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://sustainability.performance.gov/. (Note: The Department of Education’s sustainability plan is available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/strat/sustainability/.)
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ODDS AND ENDS

• The Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) has awarded Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grants to Chicago Public Schools following 35 shootings this past year at four high schools in the Greater Englewood community (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-nearly-50000-help-chicago-public-schools-recover-) and to Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-3-million-connecticut-new-jersey-new-york-and-new).
• “Testing Integrity: Issues and Recommendations for Best Practices” (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013454) summarizes the most effective means to prevent, detect, and investigate testing irregularities.
• The Departments of Education and Homeland Security recently hosted a discussion on the work of federal agencies to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation of American school-aged youth. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/media-advisories/us-department-education-host-discussion-federal-agencies-efforts-stop-human-tr.
• Later this month, the First Lady will be celebrating the Let’s Move! campaign’s third anniversary by showcasing progress and announcing new ways the country is coming together around the health of children. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.letsmove.gov/.
• The GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy are partnering to present their first-ever Music Educator Award. The award is open to U.S.-based music teachers from kindergarten through college, in public and private schools. Anyone can nominate a teacher, and teachers may nominate themselves. Nominated teachers will be notified and invited to complete an application. April 15 is the deadline for nominations. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.grammyintheschools.com/programs/grammys-music-educator-award.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“I propose a ‘Fix-It-First’ program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs…. And, to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children. Let’s prove that there’s no better place to do business than here in the United States of America, and let’s start right away. We can get this done.”

-- President Barack Obama (2/12/13), proposing a program focused on urgent infrastructure repairs, including schools
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UPCOMING EVENTS

Secretary Duncan is in Houston this weekend to hold a roundtable discussion on school turnarounds and participate in NBA All-Star Weekend activities. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/media-advisories/us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-travel-houston-visit-lee-high-school-take-p.

On February 21, in a live webcast at 12:00 noon Eastern Time, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will release the results of a new National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report covering trends in student achievement in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas in reading, math, and science at grades 4 and 8. Nearly 40% of U.S. students attend schools in these “mega-states.” These states offer lessons about the condition and future of education in the country as a whole. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nagb.org/mega-states.

Through March 8, the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is administering assessments at grades 4, 8, and 12 in reading and math, as well as the technology and engineering literacy (TEL) pilot assessment (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/tel). Participation in NAEP 2013 is important to the nation. In support, NCES has released some helpful background (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/naep2013.asp) and introductory videos for students and teachers (http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/schools.asp).

President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
February 14, 2013

President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans

“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children…studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”
President Barack Obama
State of the Union, February 12, 2013

The beginning years of a child’s life are critical for building the early foundation needed for success later in school and in life. Leading economists agree that high-quality early learning programs can help level the playing field for children from lower-income families on vocabulary, social and emotional development, while helping students to stay on track and stay engaged in the early elementary grades. Children who attend these programs are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, and succeed in their careers than those who don’t. And research has shown that taxpayers receive a high average return on investments in high-quality early childhood education, with savings in areas like improved educational outcomes, increased labor productivity, and a reduction in crime.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America. As part of that effort, the President will propose a series of new investments that will establish a continuum of high-quality early learning for a child – beginning at birth and continuing to age 5. By doing so, the President would invest critical resources where we know the return on our dollar is the highest: in our youngest children.

• Providing High-Quality Preschool for Every Child: The President is proposing a new federal-state partnership to provide all low- and moderate-income four-year old children with high-quality preschool, while also expanding these programs to reach additional children from middle class families and incentivizing full-day kindergarten policies. This investment – financed through a cost-sharing model with states – will help close America’s school readiness gap and ensure that children have the chance to enter kindergarten ready for success.

• Growing the Supply of Effective Early Learning Opportunities for Young Children: To expand high-quality early learning opportunities in the years before preschool, the President will call for a significant investment in a new Early Head Start-Child Care partnership. Competitive grants will support communities that expand the availability of Early Head Start and child care providers that can meet the highest standards of quality for infants and toddlers, serving children from birth through age 3.

• Extending and Expanding Evidence-Based, Voluntary Home Visiting: Voluntary home visiting programs enable nurses, social workers, and other professionals to connect families to services and educational support that will improve a child’s health, development, and ability to learn. President Obama has already committed $1.5 billion to expand home visitation to hundreds of thousands of America’s most vulnerable children and families across all 50 states. The President will pursue substantial investments to expand these important programs to reach additional families in need.

The President’s Commitment to Early Education

A zip code should never predetermine the quality of any child’s educational opportunities. Yet studies show that children from low-income families are less likely to have access to high-quality early education, and less likely to enter school prepared for success. By third grade, children from low-income families who are not reading at grade level are six times less likely to graduate from high school than students who are proficient. Often, the high costs of private preschool and lack of public programs also narrow options for middle-class families.

High-quality early childhood education provides the foundation for all children’s success in school and helps to reduce achievement gaps. Despite the individual and economic benefits of early education, our nation has lagged in its commitment to ensuring the provision of high quality public preschool in our children’s earliest years. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that the United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of four-year olds enrolled in early childhood education. And fewer than 3 in 10 four-year olds are enrolled in high-quality programs.

Preschool for All

• The President’s proposal will improve quality and expand access to preschool, through a cost sharing partnership with all 50 states, to extend federal funds to expand high-quality public preschool to reach all low- and moderate-income four-year olds from families at or below 200% of poverty. The U.S. Department of Education will allocate dollars to states based their share of four-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and funds would be distributed to local school districts and other partner providers to implement the program. The proposal would include an incentive for states to broaden participation in their public preschool program for additional middle-class families, which states may choose to reach and serve in a variety of ways, such as a sliding-scale arrangement.

• Funds will support states as they ensure that children are enrolled in high-quality programs. In order to access federal funding, states would be required to meet quality benchmarks that are linked to better outcomes for children, which include:

• State-level standards for early learning;
• Qualified teachers for all preschool classrooms; and
• A plan to implement comprehensive data and assessment systems.

Preschool programs across the states would meet common and consistent standards for quality across all programs, including:
• Well-trained teachers, who are paid comparably to K-12 staff;
• Small class sizes and low adult to child ratios;
• A rigorous curriculum;
• Comprehensive health and related services; and
• Effective evaluation and review of programs.

• The proposal also encourages states to expand the availability of full-day kindergarten. Only 6 out of 10 of America’s kindergarten students have access to a full day of learning. In order to ensure that our kindergartners spend the time they need in school to reach rigorous benchmarks and standards, funds under this program may also be used to expand full-day kindergarten once states have provided preschool education to low- and moderate-income four year-olds.

• Under the President’s proposal, investment in the federal Head Start program will continue to grow. The President’s plan will maintain and build on current Head Start investments, to support a greater share of infants, toddlers, and three-year olds in America’s Head Start centers, while state preschool settings will serve a greater share of four-year olds.

Quality Early Learning for Our Youngest Children

• The President will also launch a new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program, to support states and communities that expand the availability of Early Head Start and child care providers that can meet the highest standards of quality for infants and toddlers, serving children from birth through age 3. Funds will be awarded through Early Head Start on a competitive basis to enhance and support early learning settings; provide new, full-day, comprehensive services that meet the needs of working families; and prepare children for the transition into preschool. This strategy – combined with an expansion of publicly funded preschool education for four-year olds – will ensure a cohesive and well-aligned system of early learning for children from birth to age five.

• The President is proposing to expand the Administration’s evidence-based home visiting initiative, through which states are implementing voluntary programs that provide nurses, social workers, and other professionals to meet with at-risk families in their homes and connect them to assistance that impacts a child’s health, development, and ability to learn. These programs have been critical in improving maternal and child health outcomes in the early years, leaving long-lasting, positive impacts on parenting skills; children’s cognitive, language, and social-emotional development; and school readiness. This will help ensure that our most vulnerable Americans are on track from birth, and that later educational investments rest upon a strong foundation.

Building on Success

President Obama has committed to a comprehensive early learning agenda for America’s children that begins at birth and provides the support and services needed to set them on a path of success in school and in life:

• Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge: The Early Learning Challenge has rewarded 14 states that have agreed to raise the bar on the quality of their early childhood education programs, establish higher standards across programs and provide critical links with health, nutrition, mental health, and family support for our neediest children.

• Head Start and Early Head Start: President Obama has made historic investments in the Head Start and Early Head Start programs to reach an additional 61,000 children. Under the President’s leadership, enrollment in Early Head Start in particular has nearly doubled. The Obama Administration has also implemented needed reform in the Head Start program by identifying lower-performing grantees and ensuring that those failing to meet new, rigorous benchmarks face new competition for continued federal funding.

• Supporting our Federal Child Care System: The President has proposed new investments to expand access and quality in the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
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U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
February 1, 2013

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
______________________________________________________________________
INAUGURAL ADDRESS

Education was among the priorities in President Obama’s January 21 Inaugural Address. Below are some relevant excerpts:

“Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character. But, we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action…. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we will need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.”

“We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But, while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. And, that is what will give real meaning to our creed.”

“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began…. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity -- until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/21/second-inauguration-barack-obama. (A reminder: The President will deliver his State of the Union address on February 12.)
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GUN VIOLENCE

On January 24, in a live Google+ Hangout, Vice President Biden sat down with participants from across the nation to talk about the Administration’s proposals to reduce gun violence. The virtual roundtable was moderated by Hari Sreenivasan of PBS NewsHour, with guests Guy Kawasaki, an author and technology expert; Phil DeFranco, a media entrepreneur and host of the Phil Defranco show on YouTube; Theresa Tillett, a mother and grandmother living in Hartford; and Kimberley Blaine, a blogger and therapist who leads many parenting communities on Google. This was the Vice President’s first hangout, and the first White House hangout of the second term. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/24/watch-fireside-hangout-vice-president-biden-reducing-gun-violence.

Also last week, the Department launched a new video interview series, where Secretary Duncan addresses hot topics and burning questions in education. The first episode, titled “Free from Fear,” focused on gun violence, school safety, and out-of-school factors influencing student achievement. Questions for the Secretary were derived from feedback received via social media and through outreach by the Department’s Teaching Ambassador Fellows. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/01/duncan-addresses-gun-violence-in-new-ask-arne-video-series/.
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ESEA FLEXIBILITY

The Department recently released a series of new documents defining the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility program and ways in which participating states are advancing education reforms. ESEA flexibility enables state and school districts to maintain a high bar for student achievement while targeting resources to schools and students most in need of additional support. These documents include:

• “The Opportunity of ESEA Flexibility” (brochure) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/esea-flex-brochure.pdf
• “Protecting School and Student Accountability” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/protecting-accountability.pdf
• “Advancing Accountability and Graduation Rates” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/graduation-rates.pdf
• “Continuing to Expose and Close Achievement Gaps” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/close-achievement-gaps.pdf
• “Turning Around the Lowest-Performing Schools” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/turn-around.pdf
• “Supporting Teachers, Leaders, and Local Innovation” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/supporting-innovation.pdf

The documents can also be found on the Department’s revamped ESEA flexibility web page at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/.
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DATA POINTS

Meanwhile, the Department released student performance data in both reading and mathematics for all schools nationwide for school years 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11. This is the first time the agency is releasing school-level state assessment data. The data is reported to the Department under the requirements of the ESEA, as amended. It provides information on the total number of students who were assessed and received a valid score, along with the calculated percent of those students who score at or above state grade-level proficiency. Information is presented on student subgroups at each grade level, along with information on the school as a whole. In order to protect the privacy of individuals represented within the data, the percentage of students at or above grade level proficiency has been suppressed for very small student groups and “blurred” for larger groups. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-releases-school-level-assessment-data-reading-and-math-a.

Also, a new report from the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) presents the latest release of the Averaged Freshmen Graduation Rate (AFGR) and the event dropout rate, disaggregated by year, gender, race/ethnicity, and grade. According to the report, during the 2009-10 school year, 78.2% of high school students nationwide graduated on time, a substantial increase from the 73.4% recorded in 2005-06. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013309. (Note: Secretary Duncan’s statement on the report is available at http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-secretary-duncan-nces-public-school-graduates-and-dropouts-report.)

Moreover, the Department issued new state-specific reports profiling second-year progress on education reforms underway in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia -- the 12 grantees that secured Race to the Top funding in 2010 through the competition’s initial two phases. The reports offer summaries of accomplishments made and setbacks experienced by states in pursuing reforms around Race to the Top’s four assurance areas: raising academic standards, building robust data systems to improve instruction, supporting great teachers and leaders, and turning around lowest-achieving schools. Some states made strategic investments to develop tools and resources for teachers, students, and parents; launch state-level support networks; or develop additional science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. Other states launched new pipelines for teachers and leaders, supported key efforts to turn around low-performing schools, or implemented evaluation systems to support educators and inform continuous improvement. The agency’s Implementation and Support Unit (ISU) has partnered with states to track progress and provide feedback as they implement large-scale reform. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/performance.html#state-reports. (Note: In addition, the Department has posted Annual Performance Report (APR) data for all Race to the Top states at http://www.rtt-apr.us/.)
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EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

This week, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance clarifying districts’ existing legal obligations to provide equal access to extracurricular activities to students with disabilities. The guidance also urges districts to work with community organizations to increase athletic opportunities for students with disabilities, such as opportunities outside of the existing extracurricular athletic program. Students with disabilities have the right, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, to an equal opportunity to participate in their schools’ extracurricular activities. The guidance supplies examples of the types of reasonable modifications that schools may be required to make to existing policies, practices, or procedures for students with intellectual, developmental, physical, or any other type of disabilities. The guidance also notes that the law does not require that a student with a disability be allowed to participate in any selective or competitive program offered by a district, so long as the selection or competition criteria are not discriminatory. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201301-504.html. (Note: The Secretary’s blog entry on the issue is available at http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/01/we-must-provide-equal-opportunity-in-sports-to-students-with-disabilities/.)

Also this week, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Michael Yudin joined more than 2,300 athletes and their coaches from 110 countries in South Korea for the Special Olympics World Winter Games. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/02/kicking-off-the-special-olympics-winter-games-in-south-korea/.
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COMMUNITY FORUM

On January 29, a grassroots alliance of community leaders, parents, teachers, and students -- hailing from Boston to Oakland, California, and many communities in between -- met with Secretary Duncan, members of the Department’s leadership team, and Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy Roberto Rodriguez in an open forum at the agency’s headquarters to discuss the complex issue of school closures. “We want to listen to your thoughts and ideas,” the Secretary said. “Let’s not just describe the problem; let’s talk about solutions.”

While the decision to close a school is not made at the federal level, OCR is investigating complaints about school closures in six states, filed by alliance members who cite those actions as discriminatory toward low-income, minority communities. Dozens of representatives described the toll closings have had on them, their families, and their communities. Some discussed safety concerns caused by walks to and from their new schools; others talked about the inequities they saw between schools that had been closed and those that replaced them.

A panel of senior Department officials participated throughout the two-hour event, listening and responding to comments. While the rhetoric was often heated and passionate, the forum concluded with a better understanding of the issue at hand. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle pledged that the alliance’s proposals would be thoughtfully reviewed by the Department.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“We have to get out of the catch-up business, and the best way to get out of the catch-up business and to level the playing field is to get our babies off to a great start. [The best investment that we can make] is to increase access to early childhood education -- making sure it is high-quality and reaching children and communities historically underserved…. If our children enter kindergarten ready to learn, I feel fantastic about where they can go.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (2/1/13), interviewed on Bloomberg Radio’s “Bloomberg EDU”
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UPCOMING EVENTS

February is Black History Month (http://www.free.ed.gov/subjects.cfm?subject_id=116), Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month (https://www.acteonline.org/ctemonth.aspx), and Magnet School Awareness Month (http://www.nationalmagnetschoolsmonth.org/).

Secretary Duncan will take part in the Alliance for Excellent Education’s second Digital Learning Day (February 6), celebrating teachers and spotlighting successful instructional technology practices in classrooms. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.digitallearningday.org/.

On February 7, the Secretary will testify at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on ESEA flexibility. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=a9b7a0b5-5056-a032-52dd-885ec6a64c32.

Resource Management for School Administrators: Optimizing Fiscal, Facilities, and Human Resources

Resource Management for School Administrators is the only comprehensive book covering all school resources---fiscal, facilities and human resources. Each chapter has objectives that are aligned with the new ELCC and ISLCC standards on accreditation. Many of the federal and various state policies and laws are included.

ED Releases ESEA Flexibility Brochure and Fact Sheets

Dear Colleagues:

Available today via our Department’s website are a set of materials that provide a substantive overview of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility process—also known as ESEA waivers—by which 34 states and the District of Columbia have applied for and received flexibility regarding certain provisions of ESEA. The intent of these materials—a brochure and five companion fact sheets—is to explain the rationale and intent of ESEA flexibility, as well as address its key components and highlight plan elements for a number of states approved for flexibility. For the ease of your members and affiliates, all of the documents can be easily printed and produced as front-to-back copies; the fact sheets are two-pagers, and the brochure is a tri-fold.

The brochure and fact sheets can be found on the Department’s updated ESEA flexibility web page: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/. Individual links to the documents are below:

• “The Opportunity of ESEA Flexibility” (brochure) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/esea-flex-brochure.pdf
• “Protecting School and Student Accountability” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/protecting-accountability.pdf
• “Advancing Accountability and Graduation Rates” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/graduation-rates.pdf
• “Continuing to Expose and Close Achievement Gaps” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/close-achievement-gaps.pdf
• “Turning Around the Lowest-Performing Schools” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/turn-around.pdf
• “Supporting Teachers, Leaders, and Local Innovation” (fact sheet) -- http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/resources/supporting-innovation.pdf

We ask that you make these available to your members, affiliates and staff, and we sincerely hope they are beneficial to you and to the field.

Thank you in advance for your time.


The External Affairs and Outreach Team
U.S. Department of Education

President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
January 18, 2013

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
______________________________________________________________________
GUN VIOLENCE

On January 16, in front of a crowd that included victims of gun violence, families who lost loved ones to gun violence, and children who had written letters asking him to do something to prevent more senseless massacres like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, President Obama announced a series of sweeping reforms to curb gun violence across the nation. “We can’t put this off any longer,” he asserted. “Just last Thursday…news broke of another school shooting, this one in California. In the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at Sandy Hook, more than 900 of our fellow Americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun. And, every day we wait, that number will keep growing.”

The reforms are the result of the effort led by Vice President Biden and members of the Cabinet, including Secretary Duncan, to come up with concrete steps that can be taken to keep children safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the country’s broader epidemic of gun violence. “The Cabinet members and I sat down with 229 groups…from law enforcement agencies and public health officials to gun advocacy groups, hunters and sportsmen, and religious leaders. And, I’ve spoken with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and had extensive conversations with governors and mayors and county officials,” the Vice President said. “The recommendations we provided to the President on Monday call for executive actions he could sign, legislation he could call for, and long-term research that should be undertaken. They’re based on the emerging consensus we heard from all the groups…”

The President initiated 23 executive actions (http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/556894/white-house-gun-violence-reduction-executive.pdf) and issued three presidential memoranda (http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/presidential-memoranda). However, the most important reforms require Congressional action. Among other items, the President is calling on lawmakers to require universal background checks for all gun sales, ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/preventing-gun-violence.

Regarding school safety, “The actions the President is taking and proposing to reduce gun violence echo what educators say they need to better protect and support students in school and in their communities,” Secretary Duncan said. “America’s schools are among the safest places in our country. The President’s comprehensive approach will make schools and communities safer.” Indeed, the President has proposed to provide new resources that communities can use to:
• hire School Resource Officers (SROs) -- specially trained police officers who not only enforce the law but act as teachers and mentors;
• hire school counselors, psychologists, and social workers to support students struggling with mental health issues and help avert crises before they occur; and
• purchase school safety equipment, like security cameras and secure locking systems.
The Department will also work with states and school districts to ensure that every school has in place a high-quality emergency plan. And, the agency is proposing to help 8,000 schools put in place proven strategies to reduce violence, bullying, drug abuse, and other behavior problems and to gather and share best practices on school discipline. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/01/president-obamas-plan-to-make-our-schools-safer/.

In the area of mental health, the President also:
• called for a new initiative to train teachers and other adults who regularly interact with students to recognize young people who need help and ensure they are referred to mental health services;
• proposed providing stipends and tuition reimbursements to train over 5,000 additional mental health professionals to serve students and young people; and
• called for a new initiative targeted to providing students with needed services, like counseling, to help break the cycle of violence in schools facing pervasive violence.
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INAUGURATION WEEKEND

In town for Inauguration weekend? The Presidential Inauguration Committee’s web site (http://www.2013pic.org/) offers a wealth of information about the inauguration and related activities. Specifically, today, a number of federal agencies are holding open houses (http://www.2013pic.org/weekend/open-houses) to welcome the public and explain the work and resources in the Executive Branch. The Department of Education’s open house -- from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in the lobby and auditorium of the agency’s headquarters (400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.) -- will feature an open exhibit time with staff sharing information and answering questions, a short speaking program with policy overviews, and breakout sessions led by senior officials. Also, on Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Department will exhibit on the National Mall for the National Day of Service (http://www.2013pic.org/service/), highlighting ways for everyone to create a culture of academic success.
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COMPLETING THE FAFSA

On January 1, the Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) released the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2013-14 academic year. Completing the new FAFSA is the first step in accessing more than $150 billion available in federal student aid, including grants, loans, and work-study funds. In addition, many states and colleges use FAFSA data to determine student eligibility for state and institution-based aid. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa.

Recent blog posts outline five reasons to complete the FAFSA (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/01/5-reasons-you-should-complete-the-free-application-for-federal-student-aid-fafsa/) and provide answers to the top three questions about the FAFSA (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2013/01/top-3-fafsa-faqs/).

Later this month, FSA will launch a public service campaign to promote the availability of financial aid for college. The campaign will include TV, radio, print, and web advertisements. A version of the ad is posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0mlUznsg2U&feature=youtu.be.
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TEACHER FELLOWSHIPS

The deadline for applications for the Department’s 2013-14 Teaching Ambassador Fellowship, offering highly motivated and innovative school teachers the opportunity to work for one year for the agency -- either full-time in Washington, D.C., or part-time in their home states -- is fast approaching. In particular, to help achieve the program goal that “the final team of selected fellows…represent the diversity of our student body and settings in which students receive instruction across the country,” the Department is seeking applications from the 17 states that have not had a fellow in the program’s five years: Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The Department is also encouraging tribal educators to consider applying. All fellows will be selected based on their record of leadership, impact on student achievement, communications skills, and insight from school and classroom experiences. Applications are due by January 29. Fellows will be named in early summer. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship/.
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LETTER TO SUPERINTENDENTS

In a January 14 letter to local superintendents, marking the “midpoint of the traditional school year,” Secretary Duncan recognized “all of you for the work you do and your commitment to student achievement.” In particular, he recognized “those of you who recently started in new positions. Whether this is your first year leading a school system or you are a seasoned veteran who has moved onto a new challenge, taking the reins of a district is an immensely rewarding opportunity that few will ever experience.” He also listed initiatives undertaken by the Department over the last four years “to set a strong foundation that ensures your districts can provide high-quality programs and supports to our nation’s students,” including Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility, Race to the Top state and district funding, and Investing in Innovation (i3) and Promise Neighborhoods grants. “As we enter 2013 and President Obama begins his second term,” he added, before concluding with a note about the tragedy at Newtown, “I am excited about the potential to improve student learning and achievement in districts like yours all across the nation.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Policy_and_Advocacy/files/Duncan%20Supt%20Letter%20011413.pdf.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• The second public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is out for review through January 29. The draft standards were created through a collaborative, state-led process. To date, 26 partner states are providing leadership to the writing teams and to other states as they consider adoption of the NGSS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nextgenscience.org/next-generation-science-standards.
• The Department has invited applications for new awards under the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/magnet/), which supports the development and implementation of magnet schools that reduce, eliminate, or prevent minority group isolation and provides an opportunity for eligible entities to expand public school choice for students attending low-performing schools.
• The Department is also seeking high-quality applicants for a position in the Implementation and Support Unit (ISU), within the Office of the Deputy Secretary. This position will work directly with state and/or district leadership to support efforts to implement comprehensive education reforms. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/335619000.
• “Projections of Education Statistics to 2021” (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013008), released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), provides data on student enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures for schools and degree-granting institutions.
• Think Global Flight (http://www.thinkglobalflight.org/) is an international in-flight effort that intends to cultivate and promote a greater awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in classrooms by way of an around-the-world flight of adventure, taking off in April 2014. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) features this activity among its industry partnerships at http://www.faa.gov/education/partnerships/industry_partnerships/.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. I respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen. There are millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in America who cherish their rights to bear arms for hunting, or sport, or protection, or collection. I also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale. I believe most of them agree that, if America worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in Newtown. That is what these reforms are designed to do.”

-- President Barack Obama (1/16/13), announcing new measures to prevent gun violence
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UPCOMING EVENTS

The President is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address on February 12.

On January 22, NCES will release “Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2009-10,” presenting the number of high school graduates, Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR), and dropout data, disaggregated by year, gender, race/ethnicity, and, where applicable, grade. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://ies.ed.gov/whatsnew/calendar/?id=1038&tid=0&cid=2&ts=1-2019-1|m&va=1.

On January 29, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the Department will open an exhibit at its headquarters titled “Diversity Means,” featuring the works of over 70 school-age artists from among the 2012 winners of the National PTA’s Reflections Program. Racquel Charles of Georgia, the National Outstanding Interpretation Winner in Dance Choreography, and Polly Moser of Maryland, the National Outstanding Interpretation Winner in Musical Composition, will perform. They will be joined by senior agency officials, the National PTA president, Reflections Program chairman, and board members, and other educators and leaders. To RSVP to attend or learn more about the Department’s year-round exhibit program, please contact Jacquelyn.Zimmermann@ed.gov.

In March, Secretary Duncan will join education ministers, education organization and union leaders, and teachers from countries and regions with high-performing or rapidly improving education systems for the 2013 International Summit on the Teaching Profession in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This year’s summit will focus on teacher quality, including professional standards and teacher appraisal. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.teachersummit2013.org/

A NASACT Training Webinar: GASB's Pension Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards: A Focus on S

A NASACT Training Webinar
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
2:00 - 3:50 Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

A Training Webinar

The National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT), in conjunction with the Association of Government Accountants and the Association of Local Government Auditors, is pleased to announce the latest in its series of events addressing timely issues in government auditing and financial management.

Last summer, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued new accounting and financial reporting requirements for most pension plans and most governments that provide their employees with pension benefits. The two Statements - No. 67, Financial Reporting for Pension Plans, and No. 68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions - will result in significant changes in the information reported in state and local government financial statements about pension obligations.

This webcast will focus on the key changes in employer accounting and financial reporting that will result from implementation of Statement No. 68. Topics to be discussed include the following:
•Revisions to requirements for measurement of liabilities for pension obligations, including changes to the determination of the discount rate.
•New requirements for the measurement of pension expense and deferred outflows of resources and deferred inflows of resources related to pensions.
•The impact of the new requirements on information reported by governments participating in cost-sharing multiple-employer plans, including the determination of the portion of the net pension liability to be recognized by cost-sharing employers.
•The effect of special funding situations on employer reporting.

Specific attention will be provided on the impact of the financial reporting implications on governments participating in cost-sharing multiple-employer plans (e.g., local governments, school districts, etc.)

Join Robert H. Attmore, Chair, GASB, and Michelle Czerkawski, Project Manager, GASB, for this informative two-hour training session. At the conclusion of the presentation, you will be provided an opportunity to ask questions live.



Date:Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Time:2:00 - 3:50 p.m. Eastern


Speakers: Robert H. Attmore, Chair, GASB and Michelle Czerkawski, Project Manager, GASB

CPE: Two credits

Cost: $299.00 per group (unlimited attendance); $50 per person;

Agenda:

2:00 p.m. - 2:05 p.m.
Welcoming Remarks - Kinney Poynter, Executive Director, National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers

2:05 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
Introductory Remarks and Overview of New Pension Standards- Robert H. Attmore, Chair, GASB

2:15 p.m. - 3:25 p.m.
GASB No. 68 - Accounting and Financial Reporting Requirements- Michelle Czerkawski, Project Manager, GASB

3:25 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Live Q&A - moderated by Kinney Poynter

3:45 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.
Wrap-up - Kinney Poynter

Register online at www.nasact.org

Instructions and Materials:

An email will be sent Monday, March 4, by 4:30 p.m. Eastern to all who have registered for this conference with the instructions on how to join the webinar and a link to the materials. Please note the instructional email will be sent only to the email address attached to the registration.

Learning Objectives:
•Understand and apply the new accounting and financial requirements contained in GASB Statement No. 68
•Identify and apply the new requirements pertaining to cost-sharing multiple-employer plans
•Identify the effect of special funding situations on employer reporting

Delivery Method: Group-Live (for group settings) or Group-Internet Based (for individuals)

Field of Study: Accounting - Governmental

Advanced Preparation: All government officials and employees are encouraged to attend. No prerequisites are required. No advance preparation is necessary.

The National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, 150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN, 37219-2417 or by visiting the website www.nasba.org.

Additional Information:


Program Content: Kinney Poynter, kpoynter@nasact.org, (859) 276-1147
Registration or CPE: Pat Hackney, phackney@nasact.org, (859) 276-1147
Technical Support or Logistics: Adrian Puryear, apuryear@nasact.org, (859) 276-1147

U.S. Deparment of Education Update

ED REVIEW
January 4, 2013 (Happy New Year!)

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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GUN VIOLENCE

On December 19, five days after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama announced that Vice President Biden will lead a task force charged with identifying concrete proposals for reducing the country’s epidemic of gun violence. “We know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply held passions and political divides,” the President said at a press conference at the White House. “There’s no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. We’re going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun. We’re going to need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence. And, any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts. But, the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing.” Secretary Duncan is among the Cabinet officials serving on the task force, along with Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. The President is demanding recommendations no later than this month. “This is not some Washington commission,” he stated. “This is not something where folks are going to be studying the issue for six months and publishing a report that gets read and pushed aside. This is a team that has a very specific task, to pull together real reforms right now…. I urge the new Congress to hold votes on these measures [in 2013] in a timely manner.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/12/19/president-obama-words-need-lead-action-gun-violence. (Note: The President’s initial statement on the shooting is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/12/14/president-obama-speaks-shooting-connecticut, and his remarks at the interfaith prayer vigil for the victims and their families is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/12/16/president-obama-speaks-prayer-vigil-victims-shooting-connecticut.)

Secretary Duncan sent a message to all U.S. school districts (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/12/resources-for-schools-to-prepare-for-and-recover-from-crisis/), sharing some resources from the Department’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center (http://rems.ed.gov/), including helping youth and children recover from traumatic events (http://rems.ed.gov/HelpingYouthandChildrenRecoverFromTraumaticEvents.aspx) and creating and updating school emergency management plans (http://rems.ed.gov/CreatingAndUpdatingSchoolEmergencyManagementPlans.aspx).

Also, after traveling to Newtown to talk privately with Sandy Hook educators and attend the wake for principal Dawn Hochsprung, the Secretary issued a video message (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/12/secretary-duncan-hails-sandy-hook-elementary-educators/) expressing his deep gratitude to teachers school leaders, and staff for their “quiet heroism” since the shooting in responding to students’ concerns and restoring a sense of safety and normalcy in the nation’s schools. He also spoke about the importance of school safety at Neval Thomas Elementary School in Washington, D.C. (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/promise-neighborhoods-and-importance-community), at an event where he also announced the 17 winners of the 2012 Promise Neighborhoods grant competition (see below). And, he was interviewed by PBS correspondent Gwen Ifill (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/12/-gwen-ifill-sat-down.html) for a special report on gun violence.
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TEACHER FELLOWSHIPS

Applications are currently available for the Department’s 2013-14 Teaching Ambassador Fellowship, offering highly motivated and innovative school teachers and instructional leaders the unique opportunity to contribute their knowledge and experience to the national dialogue on education, and, in turn, facilitate discussions with educators across the country. Since 2008, this competitive program has enabled a total of 80 outstanding teachers to work with the agency. Once again, the fellowship includes two tracks. Up to six Washington Fellows will become full-time federal employees in Washington, D.C., participating in policy discussions and working on education programs, while up to six Classroom Fellows will work on a part-time basis from their home communities, primarily by sharing public information and facilitating conversation among educators at the state and local level. Fellows will be selected based on their record of leadership, impact on student achievement, communication skills, and insight from classroom experiences. Applications are due January 29 by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, and fellows will be named by early summer. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship/.
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NEW GRANT AWARDS

Before the end of the calendar year, the Department announced grants under two competitive programs.

On December 18, Secretary Duncan announced that all 20 of the highest-rated applicants in the 2012 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition secured their required private matching funds and became official grantees. Together, they will share more than $140 million in federal funding to expand innovative practices designed to accelerate student achievement and help prepare every student to succeed in college and their careers. The i3 program announced the 20 highest-rated applicants -- selected from 727 applications and representing a cross-section of school districts, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations -- in November. Applicants had four weeks to secure private funds, either in cash or in-kind. Private donors are providing about $16 million to support this year’s i3 projects. With the addition of the 2012 winners, the i3 program includes 92 grantees that are using nearly $1 billion in federal funding and $162 million in private funds to address persistent education challenges and scale-up effective solutions. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/ AND https://explore.data.gov/Education/ED-Grants-Investing-in-Innovation-i3-Fund-2012-Hig/tkyj-k2xi.

Then, on December 21, the Secretary announced 17 winners of a 2012 Promise Neighborhoods grant. Launched in 2010, Promise Neighborhoods is a community-focused program that funds local-led efforts to improve educational opportunities and supply comprehensive health, safety, and support services within high-poverty neighborhoods. This year’s awards are split between 10 one-year planning grants, totaling more than $4.7 million, and seven five-year implementation grants, totaling nearly $30 million. (Among the winners are six implementation grantees that will build on previous work supported through 2010 or 2011 planning grants.) Remaining 2012 funds will go toward second-year funding for the five implementation grants awarded in 2011. To date, nearly $100 million in Promise Neighborhoods funding has been awarded to over 50 communities representing some 700 schools. To help leverage and sustain grant work, 1,000 national, state, and local organizations have signed-on to partner with a Promise Neighborhood site. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/promiseneighborhoods/.
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PAY AS YOU EARN

A new federal student loan repayment plan went into effect late last month that could lower borrowers’ monthly bills. The plan, known as “Pay as You Earn,” caps monthly payments for many recent graduates at an amount that is affordable based on their income. This option follows through on President Obama’s pledge to provide borrowers with relief on their payments and help them responsibly manage their debt.

The Pay as You Earn plan, which the President first announced in October 2011, caps payments for federal Direct Student Loans at 10% of discretionary income for eligible borrowers. The Department estimates as many as 1.6 million borrowers could reduce their monthly bills with this plan. The plan complements other repayment plans offered to help borrowers manage their debt, including Income-Based Repayment (IBR), which caps payments at 15% of borrowers’ discretionary income. (Borrowers who are ineligible for Pay as You Earn may still qualify for IBR, which more than 1.3 million borrowers already use.)

While borrowers may pay more in interest in the long run, Pay as You Earn can provide relief on loan payments, especially in early years of repayment, and help ensure that borrowers avoid the consequences of defaulting on their student loans. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/pay-as-you-earn.
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TAX AGREEMENT

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, passed by a bipartisan majority in the House and Senate and signed into law by the President this week, extends middle-class tax cuts and credits for working families. It also postpones sequestration for two months -- until March 1 -- giving Congress more time to work on a plan to prevent automatic spending cuts. This postponement is fully paid for with $1 of revenue for every $1 of spending, with spending balanced between defense and domestic programs. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/01/fact-sheet-tax-agreement-victory-middle-class-families-and-economy.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• The Department is soliciting public comment on a new report, “Expanding Evidence Approaches for Learning in a Digital World,” which calls for smart uses of emerging data generated by the use of learning technologies. It presents educators, policymakers, and funders with an expanded view of evidence approaches and sources of data that can help them with decision-making. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/evidence-framework/.
• In the most recent session of the Department’s Student Voices Series (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/12/asst-secretary-delisle-and-youth-lend-their-voices-to-combatting-the-school-to-prison-pipeline/), following a congressional hearing on discipline at which she testified, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle met with youth leaders from the Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE).
• A Treasury Department report, prepared in conjunction with the Education Department, illustrates that investing in postsecondary education expands job opportunities, boosts America’s competitiveness, and supports the kind of income mobility that is fundamental to a growing economy. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/12/the-economic-case-for-higher-education/.
• New studies from the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) look at first-year undergraduate remedial coursetaking (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013013) and trends in debt for bachelor degree recipients a year after graduation (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2013156).
• Last month, Secretary Sebelius announced more than $80 million in Affordable Care Act funding for 197 school-based health center programs. This funding will allow school-based health centers to serve an additional 384,000 students. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/12/20121219a.html.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting…. And, in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the nation, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities -- victims who, much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And, to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. But, that can’t be an excuse for inaction…. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown -- as well as communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try.”

-- President Barack Obama (12/16/12), speaking at the interfaith prayer vigil in Newtown, Connecticut

Mark Your Calendar Now: The U.S. DOE Green Strides Webinar Series Continues in 2013

Through the Green Strides Webinar Series hundreds of state, local and school officials and their communities are tuning in to learn how to reduce their schools’ environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and provide effective environmental education, including STEM, green careers, and civic engagement. The Series provides administrators, educators, parents and interested third parties the resources to move toward the exemplary levels of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.

Jan. 9, 2013, 4-5 p.m.: Using Remote Sensing to Quantify Changes over Time (NASA)

Jan. 16, 2013, 4-5 p.m.: Food for Thought: Space Food and Nutrition (NASA)

Jan. 23, 2013, 2-3 p.m. Farm to School Program (USDA)

Jan. 30, 2013, 4-5 p.m. Eyes on the Earth- Global Climate Change (NASA)

Feb. 6, 2013, 4-5 p.m. An Energy Literate Citizenry from K to Grey (DOE)

Feb. 13, 2013, 4-5 p.m. Emerging ʺGreenʺ Technologies (NASA)

Feb. 20, 2013, 4-5 p.m. Climate Time Machine (NASA)

Secretary Duncan Announces Seventeen 2012 Promise Neighborhoods Winners in School Safety Address

On December 21, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced 17 winners of the 2012 Promise Neighborhoods $60 million grant fund during a school safety speech at Neval Thomas Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

SBO Specific Guidance for Crisis Management

In light of Friday's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, ASBO International has reposted a previously recorded ASBO Radio segment on Crisis Communication.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
December 14, 2012 (Happy Holidays!)

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
______________________________________________________________________
EDITOR’S NOTE

This is the final issue of ED Review for 2012. Publication will resume January 4, 2013. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.
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RACE TO THE TOP

On December 6, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services announced that all five eligible states -- Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin -- will receive a share of $133 million in funding under the second round of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. The first round of competition in 2011 attracted 37 applications and awarded $500 million to nine states. With more modest funding, the second round of competition in 2012 invited the next five highest-scoring states to modify their applications and create plans that could be funded with up to 50% of the original amount requested. “Every child deserves the lifelong advantages of a high-quality early learning program,” Secretary Duncan noted. “Thanks to the leadership of governors, state officials, and education advocates across the 14 Early Learning Challenge states, thousands more of our youngest children will receive a stronger start to learning the skills needed to succeed in kindergarten through college and career.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge/. (Note: Grant award amounts, abstracts, and applications are posted at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge/awards-phase-2.html.)

Then, on December 11, the Department announced that 16 applicants -- representing 55 school districts across 11 states and the District of Columbia -- will receive a share of nearly $400 million in funding under the Race to the Top-District competition. These applicants were the top scorers among the 372 applications received last month, which were evaluated and scored by independent peer reviewers. They represent a diverse set of districts, including those from states that received a Race to the Top state grant and those that have not received Race to the Top state funding and a rural area consortium of 24 rural districts. “Districts have been hungry to drive reform at the local level,” the Secretary said, “and these winners can empower their school leaders to pursue innovative ideas where they have the greatest impact: in the classroom. District grantees have shown tremendous leadership through developing plans that will transform the learning environment and enable students to receive a personalized, world-class education.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/. (Note: Requested award amounts, peer reviewer comments and scores, and a summary chart of scores are posted at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/awards.html. Applications will be posted shortly.)
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EVENT LOG

In the past two weeks, in addition to announcing Race to the Top grants, Secretary Duncan participated in several local events.

• First, on December 3, he joined Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy as five states announced their participation in a major new effort to expand and redesign the school day and year at 40 schools in 11 districts. All participating schools will add at least 300 additional hours of instruction and enrichment to the standard school year of 180 6.6-hour days. The states will receive technical assistance from the National Center for Time and Learning (NCTL), as well as capacity building grants from the Ford Foundation, which has committed $3 million a year over the next three years. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.timeandlearning.org/time-collaborative. (Note: In conjunction with the announcement, NCTL released a new report showing a significant increase over the last three years in the number of schools that have expanded learning time: http://www.timeandlearning.org/mapping.)
• Second, on December 6, he delivered brief remarks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) Tribute to Recent Collective Bargaining Successes. In his remarks, he discussed the importance and power of labor-management collaboration in moving education reform. He also addressed the critical role FMCS has played in supporting this work at the national level and across the country.
• Third, also on December 6, he participated in a panel discussion at the NAACP’s Education Summit, where the organization released a new report identifying best practices for educating all children and providing recommendations for advancing equity and closing student achievement gaps. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://naacp.3cdn.net/b405f72ea227a97b84_mlbrus9il.pdf.

Moreover, he was in New Orleans on December 4, meeting with local leaders to discuss the progress of education reform in the city, and on Staten Island on December 13, learning about the experiences of students, parents, educators, and community members impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
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INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS

The latest international assessments of student performance -- the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) -- “provide both encouraging news about American students’ progress and…cautionary notes.” On the one hand, U.S. fourth-grade students have made significant progress in reading and math from 2007 to 2011. Indeed, U.S. fourth-graders now rank among the world’s leaders in reading literacy, and their achievement in math is only surpassed, on average, in three countries. On the other hand, the learning gains in fourth-grade are not being sustained in eighth-grade, where math and science achievement failed to significantly improve in the last five years. There are also large and persistent achievement gaps. Notably, Florida participated as a separate system in PIRLS in 2011, and nine states participated as separate systems in TIMSS in 2011. So, for the first time, parents and policymakers have data to gauge how academic performance in a substantial subset of states compares with the U.S. as a whole and with international competitors. Students in Florida, Massachusetts, and North Carolina excelled internationally in a number of subject areas. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pirls/pirls2011.asp AND http://nces.ed.gov/timss/results11.asp. (Note: Secretary Duncan’s statement on the assessment results is available at http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-release-2011-timss-and-pirls-assess, while his recent blog entry on the results is available at http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/12/how-do-u-s-students-compare-with-their-peers-around-the-world/.)
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FAMILY ENGAGEMENT

On December 5, the Secretary joined more than 80 family engagement thought leaders at D.C. Scholars Stanton Elementary School to discuss the high correlation between family engagement and academic outcomes and how the Department can provide more support. Stanton’s Academic Parent Teacher Teams, as well as help from a federal School Improvement Grant, have contributed to a dramatic increase in the academic performance of students and a cultural shift at the school. Yet, despite the evidence and logic, many schools and educators struggle with how to cultivate and sustain effective family engagement initiatives. As part of this event, Dr. Karen Mapp (an agency consultant) unveiled a draft framework of new ideas about a possible future focus and direction for family engagement. The Department will continue to solicit feedback on the framework over the coming year. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/12/a-new-framework-improving-family-engagement/. (Note: The agency’s Parent and Family Engagement web page [http://www.ed.gov/parent-and-family-engagement] offers a variety of resources.)
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TRIBAL NATIONS CONFERENCE

Also last week, the White House hosted the 2012 White House Tribal National Conference, building upon the President’s commitment to strengthen the government-to-government relationship by giving invited leaders from the 566 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with representatives from the highest levels of the Administration. In his remarks (http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/remarks-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-fourth-white-house-tribal-nations-conferenc), Secretary Duncan emphasized that the Administration is committed to tribes, citing such examples as the President’s Executive Order establishing the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/whiaiane/), the launch of the State-Tribal Education Partnership (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/step/), and support from the Department’s School Improvement Grants. However, he said there is a “distance we have yet to travel.” “Together, we must do more to nurture the next generation. Native youth need, and absolutely deserve, safe homes, safe communities, and an education system that prepares them for success in college and careers. They need and deserve an education system that prepares them for leadership and service to their communities, tribes, and county…. Your children are ready. They just need a light to show them the way.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/12/commitment-to-tribal-collaboration/. (Note: For the conference, the White House released a report that examines the President’s agenda and how the Administration, by working together with tribes, has made a difference for American Indians/Alaska Natives: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/12/05/continuing-progress-tribal-communities.)
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ODDS AND ENDS

• The Department’s Office of School Turnaround (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/) has released new award and continuation applications for Fiscal Year 2012 School Improvement Grants funding.
• Session presentations and recordings from the 2012 Federal Student Aid (FSA) Conference are available at http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/.
• Last week, in a speech to the Inter-American Development Bank, Secretary Duncan sketched out the core principles of the Department’s agenda for education reform and discussed in some detail the agency’s approach to career-technical education (CTE), the importance of all students developing global competencies, and the need for the U.S. to help rebuilt the education system in Haiti. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/remarks-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-inter-american-development-bank.
• This week, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on ending the “school-to-prison pipeline.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/pdf/12-12-12DelisleTestimony.pdf.
• Also, a group of formerly incarcerated youth met with the Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier, refusing to let their past lives determine their future. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/12/back-on-track-after-being-behind-bars/.
• Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren recently spoke to an audience of scientists and innovators, including the student finalists of the Siemens Foundation Competition in Math, Science, and Technology, making the case that a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is one of the most powerful routes to a career that is both successful and meaningful to society. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/12/04/ostp-director-stellar-stem-students-keep-innovating.
• A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) presents results for student performance on the systematic measure of vocabulary in the 2009 and 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading, showing a consistent relationship between performance on vocabulary and reading comprehension. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2011/voc_summary.asp.
• A revised NCES report presents data on postsecondary education enrollment, graduation rates, and finances. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012174rev.
• Thomas Brock, known nationally for conducting rigorous evaluations and using mixed methods to understand community college reforms and other programs, has been named the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Research (NCER). FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://ies.ed.gov/ncer/aboutus/.
• The Voices of 4-H History Project (http://4-hhistorypreservation.com/voices/) aims to increase public awareness of the Cooperative Extension Service, established nearly 100 years ago by the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, and its 4-H Youth Development Program.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“Too many new teachers enter our schools feeling unprepared. We shouldn’t tolerate that in a profession so important to our country’s future. I am grateful to Randi Weingarten and AFT for leading a conversation about how to raise the bar and predict an individual’s potential for success in the classroom. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is a natural partner for this project. Together, let’s develop a comprehensive strategy to recruit our nation’s next generation of great teachers, prepare them well for this challenging work, and compensate and support them as the professionals they are.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (12/3/12), in a statement praising the American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) “Raising the Bar” report (http://www.aft.org/pdfs/highered/raisingthebar2012.pdf)
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UPCOMING EVENTS

Final 2012 grant awards for the Investing in Innovation (i3) and Promise Neighborhoods programs will be announced next week.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with other federal agencies, is seeking applications from after-school and out-of-school programs for the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. Twelve applicants will receive $10,000. The deadline for applications is February 4, 2013. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nahyp.org/.

U.S. Education Department Announces 16 Winners of Race to the Top-District Competition

FOR RELEASE
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012

Contact: Press Office
(202) 401-1576 or press@ed.gov

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES 16 WINNERS OF RACE TO THE TOP-DISTRICT COMPETITION

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that 16 applicants – representing 55 school districts across 11 states and D.C. – have won the 2012 Race to the Top-District competition. These districts will share nearly $400 million to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student to succeed in college and their careers.

“Districts have been hungry to drive reform at the local level, and now these winners can empower their school leaders to pursue innovative ideas where they have the greatest impact: in the classroom," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The Race to the Top-District grantees have shown tremendous leadership though developing plans that will transform the learning environment and enable students to receive a personalized, world-class education."

The 2012 Race to the Top-District grantees will receive four-year awards that range from $10 million to $40 million, depending on the number of students served through the plan. The winning applicants were the top scorers among the 372 applications the Department received in November, which were evaluated and scored by independent peer reviewers. Grantees represent a diverse set of districts, including applicants from both states that received a Race to the Top state grant as well as those that have not received Race to the Top state funding. Among the winners is a rural-area consortium representing 24 rural districts, which comprise 44 percent of the total number of districts that will benefit from the 2012 competition.

The Race to the Top-District competition builds on the success of the Race to the Top state grant program by supporting classroom-level reform efforts that encourage transformative change within schools. Applicants from all districts were invited to demonstrate how they can personalize education for all students and provide school leaders and teachers with tools that help them best meet their students’ needs. In developing their plans, districts collaborated with educators, parents, and both public and private organizational leaders to ensure their vision was supported by key community stakeholders.

“Since the day he took office, President Obama has been laser-focused on the goal of ensuring that every child has access to a quality education,” said Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Cecilia Muñoz. “Race to the Top exemplifies this commitment and marks an historic moment in American education, raising the bar and improving outcomes for schools across the United States.”

Race to the Top, which launched in 2009, has inspired dramatic education reform nationwide, leading 45 states and the District of Columbia to pursue higher college- and career-ready standards, data-driven decision making, greater support for teachers and leaders, and turnaround interventions in low-performing schools. These 16 grantees will build on those principles at the classroom level to support localized plans that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness.

“Race to the Top sparked as much reform in some states that didn’t receive funds as in those that did – a trend we want to see continued with the Race to the Top-District competition, where the number of strong district applicants was greater than the funding we had available,” Duncan said. “We want districts to keep moving on these blueprints for reform to transform the learning environment and ultimately prepare every student for college and their career.”

Race to the Top-District plans are tailored to meet the needs of local communities and feature a variety of strategies, including: using technology to personalize learning for each student; giving students opportunities to learn beyond the traditional school day and environment; supporting students’ transitions throughout their education, including from high school to college and careers; expanding partnerships with community organizations to provide students with targeted social services like crisis intervention, individual counseling and life enrichment opportunities; and providing professional development and coursework options to deepen learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

For more information about the Race to the Top-District program, including a list of winners, requested award amounts and additional materials, visit the Department’s website: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/index.html. The grantees are also listed below:

*indicates consortium

Carson City School District, Nevada
Charleston County School District, South Carolina
Galt Joint Union School District, California
*Green River Regional Educational Cooperative, Kentucky, consortium leader (consortium members: Adair County Schools, Campbellsville Independent Schools, Carroll County Schools, Caverna Independent Schools, Cloverport Independent Schools, Daviess County Schools, Green County Schools, Hart County Schools, Henry County Schools, Logan County Schools, Metcalfe County Schools, Monroe County Schools, Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, Owen County Schools, Owensboro Independent Schools, Russell County Schools, Shelby County Schools, Simpson County Schools, Spencer County Schools, Taylor County Schools, Trimble County Schools, Union County Schools, West Point Independent Schools)
Guilford County Schools, North Carolina
*Harmony Science Academy (Harmony Public Schools), Texas, consortium leader (consortium members: Harmony School of Excellence, Harmony School of Science-Houston, Harmony Science Academy-Austin, Harmony Science Academy-Brownsville, Harmony Science Academy-El Paso, Harmony Science Academy-Fort Worth, Harmony Science Academy-Lubbock, Harmony Science Academy-San Antonio, Harmony Science Academy-Waco)
IDEA Public Schools, Texas
Iredell-Statesville Schools, North Carolina
KIPP DC, Washington, D.C.
Lindsay Unified School District, California
Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Indiana
Middletown City School District, New York
New Haven Unified School District, California
*Puget Sound Educational Service District, Washington, consortium leader (consortium members: Auburn School District, Federal Way Public Schools, Highline Public Schools, Kent School District, Renton School District, Seattle Public Schools, Tukwila School District)
School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida
St. Vrain Valley Schools, Colorado

Study shows increase in schools with expanded learning time

A new study by the National Center on Time and Learning (NCTL) shows that the number of schools with expanded learning time has increased from 655 in 2009 to 1,002 today, a 53 percent increase. The study, Mapping the Field: A Report on Expanded Time Schools in America, says these schools generally emphasized longer school days rather than an extended year. The study was released as NCTL, the Ford Foundation, and education officials announced a new collaborative "to develop high-quality and sustainable models of expanded learning time in over 40 schools across five states (Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee)."

Five More States Secure Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grants

Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin will each receive a share of the 2012 Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge $133 million grant fund to improve quality and expand access to early learning programs throughout their states. The five winners join nine existing state grantees who secured first-round funding last year.

61 Finalists Announced for Race to the Top District Competition

The Department of Education announced that 61 applications have been selected as finalists for the $400 million Race to the Top-District (RTT-D) competition.
The 61 finalists--representing more than 200 school districts nationwide--were selected from 372 applications for RTT-D grants. The RTT-D competition incentivizes districts to develop and implement plans to personalize education for students, and it provides school leaders and teachers with tools to better support students and meet their needs.
Before the end of 2012, ED expects to select 15-25 finalists for four-year awards that will range from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of students served through the plan.

ASBO International Member Feedback Wanted

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is asking for your feedback. Please complete this short survey to let us know how your district approaches school renovation and retrofit projects. Who is making decisions? Are green strategies prioritized? And most importantly, how are they financed?

Taking 8 minutes to complete the survey will inform a forthcoming resource from The Center for Green Schools at USGBC and Architecture for Humanity that highlights strategies for implementing financing options for school improvements.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
November 30, 2012

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT DATA

Last week, the Department released an early snapshot of student performance data at schools that have received federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) funding, a basic component of the agency’s blueprint for helping states and school districts turn around the nation’s lowest-performing schools. This data provides the first overview of performance for the first cohort of schools after one year of implementing SIG. The data spans from the 2009-10 school year to the 2010-11 school year -- the initial year schools received SIG funds.

In three main areas, these early findings show positive momentum and progress in many SIG schools:
• Schools receiving SIG grants are improving. Two-thirds of schools showed gains in reading. And, two-thirds of schools showed gains in math.
• A larger percentage of elementary schools showed gains than did secondary schools, suggesting it is easier to improve student performance at a young age than to intervene later. Fully 70% of elementary schools showed gains in reading. And, 70% of elementary schools showed gains in math.
• Some of the greatest gains were recorded in small towns and rural communities.

Because the snapshot covers only a single year of SIG implementation, and because many factors contribute to student proficiency, it is too early to establish a causal connection between SIG funding and school performance. The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is conducting a long-term evaluation of the SIG program with student-level longitudinal data that will also compare to similarly situated schools that did not receive SIG funds. Furthermore, at least one rigorous study, by Professor Thomas Dee at Stanford University, already found positive results in SIG schools compared to similarly situated schools that did not receive SIG funds. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/sig-data-presentation.pdf. (Note: The Department is also collecting data on other leading indicators that will give a more complete picture of SIG performance, including student attendance, teacher attendance, and enrollment in advanced courses.)

Meanwhile, for research purposes, the Department is making available three years of state assessment data on all schools nationwide through restricted-use files. These files include performance data for the 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 school years, disaggregated by subgroup. The agency plans to release all school-level assessment data -- including state-by-state SIG assessment data -- in January 2013, once protections to ensure privacy of students are finalized and put into place. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/statprog/instruct.asp.
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GRADUATION RATE DATA

This week, the Department released data detailing state four-year high school graduation rates in 2010-11. That school year was the first year for which all states used a common, rigorous measure. Previously, the varying methods used by states to report graduation rates made comparisons between states unreliable. The new, uniform rate calculation is also not comparable in absolute terms to previously reported rates. Therefore, while 24 states reported increased or unchanged rates and 26 states reported lower rates under the new metric, these changes should not be viewed as measures of progress but rather as a more accurate snapshot.

The transition to a common, adjusted four-year cohort graduation rate reflects states’ efforts to create greater uniformity and transparency in reporting high school graduation rate data, and it meets the requirements of October 2008 federal regulations. A key goal of the regulations was to develop a graduation rate that provides parents, educators, and community members with better information on their school’s progress while allowing for meaningful comparisons of graduation rates across states and school districts. The new metric also accurately accounts for students who drop out or who do not earn a regular diploma.

Last year, states began individually reporting 2010-11 high school graduation rates, but this is the first time the Department has compiled these rates in a single public document. These graduation rates are preliminary, state-reported data. The Department plans to release final rates in the coming months. Beginning with data for the 2011-12 school year, graduation rates calculated using this new metric will become a critical element of state accountability systems, including for states that have been approved for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/state-2010-11-graduation-rate-data.pdf. (Note: 2010-11 graduation rates are also available through ED Data Express at http://eddataexpress.ed.gov/.)

Moreover, to guide states that have requested ESEA flexibility and support continuous improvement in states that have received ESEA flexibility, the Department issued highlights of how some states have included graduation rates and related indicators in their approved systems of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/policy/eseaflex/flexibility-graduation-rates.pdf.
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RACE TO THE TOP

Also this week, the Department announced 61 applications as finalists for Race to the Top-District grants. The finalists, representing more than 200 school districts, were selected from 372 applications received earlier this month, demonstrating how districts could truly personalize education for students and provide teachers and school leaders with key tools that support them to meet students’ needs. Race to the Top-District applications were randomly assigned to three-person panels that independently read and scored each application, with scores averaged to determine an applicant’s score. The agency then arranged applications in rank order -- from high to low scores -- and determined the strongest proposals to move on based on natural breaks -- scoring gaps in the rank order. Consistent with the agency’s plan to award high-quality proposals from applications across a variety of districts, these 61 finalists represent rural and non-rural districts from both Race to the Top and non-Race to the Top states. Again, the Department expects to select 15-25 winning applications for four-year awards ranging from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of students served through the plan. Awards will be announced no later than December 31, 2012. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/.
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CIVIL RIGHTS REPORT

The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released a report describing its progress and activity over the last four years on civil rights enforcement and educational equity. The report describes how OCR has transformed its enforcement approach to promote and advance educational equity for all students, while maximizing the office’s efficiency and impact, even as the number of complaints received by OCR has grown by almost a quarter over the last four years. OCR both received and resolved over 28,500 complaints during this time period, a record figure compared to past four-year periods.

The report also discusses OCR’s work to:
• support the equal rights of students to a safe school environment and to resources and programs they need to be prepared for college and careers;
• revamp the Civil Rights Data Collection to provide educators and the public with a clearer picture of the “equity health” of schools; and
• align its efforts with President Obama’s goal of restoring America’s position as a global leader in the proportion of college graduates by 2020, by improving educational equity and excellence.

In addition to investigating and resolving complaints, OCR has protected students’ civil rights by launching over 100 proactive, systemic investigations at schools and colleges. In its investigations, OCR has placed a priority on developing remedies that attack discrimination at its roots. OCR has also catalyzed improved compliance across the education community by issuing policy guidance on questions regarding the civil rights laws OCR enforces, such as the obligations of schools and colleges to prevent and address bullying, harassment, and sexual violence; the equal rights of students to a public education regardless of their race, national origin, and citizenship; and the obligation of schools and colleges to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to new technologies that are playing a role in classrooms. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/ocr/report-to-president-2009-12.pdf.
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INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY

In honor of International Education Week, the Department released its first international strategy document, “Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement,” affirming the agency’s commitment to preparing today’s youth, and the nation more broadly, for a globalized world and engaging with the international community to improve education. It is fully integrated with the Department’s domestic agenda and thoughtfully designed to simultaneously attain two strategic goals: strengthen U.S. education and advance the nation’s international priorities. It reflects ongoing work in implementing international education programs, participating in international benchmarking activities, and working with other countries and multilateral bodies to engage in strategic dialogue. The strategy, which the Department has already begun to implement, will be used to guide the agency’s core activities and allocation of resources to reflect the highest priority and most strategic topics, parts of the world, and activities. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/international-strategy-2012-16.pdf.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• A new blog entry (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/11/duncan-visits-dallas/) summarizes Secretary Duncan’s November 27 trip to Dallas, where he observed students and teachers in action at a local high school, addressed business and civic leaders focused on preparing students for college and careers, and met with reporters and editors.
• Then, on November 28, the Secretary delivered the closing keynote speech at the Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://excelined.org/national-summit/. (Note: Video from the conference will be posted at
http://excelined.org/national-summit/video-library/.)
• The Department has announced a new, nearly $1 million grant (https://federalregister.gov/a/2012-28068) that will invest in innovative programs preparing incarcerated individuals to successfully reenter society with education and workforce training. This announcement came during an agency-hosted Correctional Education Summit that gathered outside experts engaged in developing innovations to improve educational opportunities for youth and adults in secure confinement facilities. In conjunction with the summit, the agency also released a new “Reentry Education Model” guidance document (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/AdultEd/reentry-model.pdf).
• To provide assistance for ongoing recovery efforts following the deadly shooting at the premiere of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” the Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students awarded Aurora Public Schools in Colorado a Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant totaling nearly $50,000. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-nearly-50000-help-colorados-aurora-public-schools.
• The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) supports tuition-free summer programs for school and college and university educators. Participants receive stipends to help cover travel and living expenses. These one- to five-week study opportunities are held across the nation and abroad. They focus on major topics, texts, and questions in the humanities; enhance the intellectual vitality and professional development of participants; build a community of inquiry and provide models of excellent scholarship and teaching; and promote connections between teaching and research in the humanities. The deadline for applications is March 4, 2013. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.neh.gov/divisions/education/summer-programs.

U.S. Department of Education Releases Early Snapshot of School Improvement Grants Data

The U.S. Department of Education today released an early snapshot of student performance data at schools that have received federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program funds, a key component of the Department’s blueprint for helping states and districts turn around the nation’s lowest-performing schools.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
November 16, 2012

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS

This week, at an awards luncheon in Washington, D.C., Secretary Duncan honored 314 schools as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools (http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools/). “Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” he said. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”

In addition to the Secretary, other guest speakers included Department Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss on the agency’s Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) Project; Marc Johnson, the 2011 National Superintendent of the Year, on scaling up National Blue Ribbon School practices; Dee Gardner, principal of the National Middle School of the Year, on intuitive leadership in a data-driven world; and Michelle Shearer, the 2011 National Teacher of the Year, on the complexity of teaching and the power of the human factor. Moreover, educators had opportunities to share their best thinking on current educational issues as part of the Department’s “National Conversation about the Teaching Profession.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/11/tie-a-big-blue-ribbon-on-americas-great-schools/.

The Department also recognized seven Blue Ribbon School principals as Terrel H. Bell Award recipients:
• Pam Camper (Russell D. Jones Elementary School, Rogers, Arkansas)
• Christopher Todd Hall (Pocomoke Elementary School, Pocomoke City, Maryland)
• Blaine Helwig (J. Walter Graham Elementary School, Austin, Texas)
• Tracy McDaniel (KIPP Reach College Preparatory School, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
• James Mireles (Garden City High School, Garden City, Kansas)
• Dianne Reynolds (Spencer Elementary School, Mobile, Alabama)
• Liana Szeto (Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, San Francisco, California)
The award, named after the former Secretary of Education and presented by the Department in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the Association for Middle-Level Education, honors exceptional leaders who overcome challenging circumstances and maintain committed to providing an excellent education for every student. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/11/bells-ring-for-top-principals-at-national-blue-ribbon-schools-ceremony/.
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INVESTING IN INNOVATION

Also this week, the Department announced the 20 highest-rated applications for potential funding under the Investing in Innovation (i3) program. These potential grantees -- school districts, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations -- were selected from 727 applications and must secure private matching funds by December 7, 2012, in order to receive federal funding.

This year’s competition required applicants to submit proposed projects focused on one of six priorities: supporting effective teachers or principals; promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; supporting the implementation of high standards and high-quality assessments; increasing parent and family engagement; turning around persistently low-performing schools; and increasing student achievement and high school graduation rates within rural schools. Preference was also given to applications focused on other key reform areas: improving early learning outcomes; increasing college access and success; addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities and English Learners; improving productivity; and using technology.

The Department selected the highest-rated applications based on recommendations from peer review panels. Eight are in the “validation” category, and 12 are in the “development” category. (This year, the agency did not identify any potential grantees for the “scale-up” category, instead choosing to invest in promising applicants in the other two categories.) Validation grants provide up to $15 million to fund projects with moderate levels of evidence of their effectiveness, and grantees must secure matching funds equivalent to 10% of their awards. Development grants provide up to $3 million to support promising but relatively untested projects with high potential for impact on student achievement, and grantees must secure matching funds equivalent to 15% of their awards. Final 2012 awards will be announced no later than December 31, 2012. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/2012/2012highestrated.html.
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RACE TO THE TOP

The Department officially received 371 applications -- representing more than 1,100 districts -- for the Race to the Top-District competition. This nearly $400 million competition supports classroom-level reform efforts that encourage transformative change within schools. Applicants were invited to demonstrate how they can personalize education for all students and provide school teachers and leaders with key tools that help them best meet their students’ needs. The agency plans to support 15-25 high-quality proposals from applicants across a variety of districts. These four-year awards will range from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of students served through the plan. Final 2012 awards will be announced no later than December 31, 2012. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/hundreds-school-districts-apply-400-million-race-top-district-competition. (Note: The list includes all districts that applied and does not indicate their eligibility for the competition.)
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DISPELLING THE MYTH

In his remarks at Education Trust’s “Dispelling the Myth” awards ceremony, Secretary Duncan defended the Department’s granting of flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). “Contrary to what you may have read, these waivers will push states to dramatically accelerate achievement and attainment for disadvantaged students and students of color,” he said. “Our goals for waivers in remaking No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are clear: protect children, set a high bar, and provide as much flexibility as possible. But, frankly, that is simply a starting point, not an ending point. As important as goals are, what is most important are actual outcomes for children. What matters most is results: whether kids are learning, and if achievement gaps are narrowing dramatically.” The Secretary also gave a special “shout-out” to the three schools being honored: DeQueen Elementary School in Arkansas, Laurel Street School in Compton, California, and Edward Brooke Charter School in Boston. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/remarks-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-he-education-trust-conference.
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HURRICANE SANDY

The impact of Hurricane Sandy on schools (57 schools in New York City are too damaged to reopen, forcing the relocation of 34,000 students, and 14 schools in New Jersey are still closed) is a reminder of the need to build a comprehensive, all-hazards school emergency management plan that is framed by the four phases of emergency management -- Prevention-Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. Two critical aspects include the continuity of education and the provision of mental health supports for students and staff experiencing trauma due to disasters or significant incidents. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/sandy/ AND http://rems.ed.gov/.

Also, the emergency underscored the importance of facilities’ maintenance and environmental health, controlling utility costs, and schools serving as emergency shelters, as well as the need for effective environmental education. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/11/sandy-underscores-maintenance-utility-cost-control-schools-as-shelters-and-environmental-education/.

Meanwhile, Scholastic is donating one million books to schools and libraries in the hardest-hit areas of the tri-state region. TO APPLY FOR A BOOK GRANT, PLEASE GO TO http://www.scholastic.com/bookgrants.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• More than 500 colleges and universities, enrolling over 2.5 million undergraduate students (13% of all undergraduate students), have committed to adopting the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet (http://collegecost.ed.gov/shopping_sheet.pdf) during the 2013-14 academic year. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/11/more-than-500-colleges-agree-to-adopt-financial-aid-shopping-sheet/.
• A new Federal Student Aid (FSA) blog entry (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/11/3-things-you-may-not-know-about-financial-aid-for-veterans/) spotlights three things to know about financial aid for veterans.
• Last month, the White House and the Department hosted an “Education Datapalooza” showcasing entrepreneurs and innovators working with open educational data to improve educational outcomes. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/education-data-initiative/.
• This month, the Department’s Family Policy Compliance Office released its annual notice to states and districts of their responsibilities under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/hottopics/.
• The 2012 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange found that the number of international students at colleges and universities in the U.S. increased by 5.7% to a record high of 764,495 in the 2011-12 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased by 1.3%. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.iie.org/en/research-and-publications/open-doors.
• The deadline to participate in Project Tomorrow’s annual Speak Up survey on education and technology, open to K-12 students, parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and media specialists, is December 21. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/.
• The Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company, the agency that administers the federal E-rate program, recently published the dates of the filing window for the 2013 program year. Through March 14, 2013, schools and libraries may request their share of $2.3 billion in discounts through the E-rate program. All non-profit schools, public and private, are eligible for discounts ranging from 20% to 90% of the cost of their telecommunications services and Internet access, as long as their endowment does not exceed $50 million. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=457.
• To learn about the history of Thanksgiving, find interesting food facts, and get tips on how kids can help with the meal, visit the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site’s Thanksgiving page at http://www.free.ed.gov/keywords.cfm?keyword_id=826.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“The American people reaffirmed many things on Election Day. But, one of the most important things they affirmed is that education is an investment in the future of our nation and our children -- all of our children. It is not just an expense on a budget line that can be sacrificed in tough economic times. In the next two months, many tough decisions lie ahead. The fiscal cliff and threat of sequestration could cripple our efforts to expand access and increase attainment. But, today, I am so happy to see that the American people have recognized education as the key to economic growth and prosperity -- and the surest path out of poverty in our knowledge-based economy.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (11/8/12), in remarks at the Education Trust National Conference
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UPCOMING EVENTS

On November 19, the Department will host a Correctional Education Summit. Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier will deliver opening remarks, and a panel of experts will discuss the state of education in correctional facilities. Following a final presentation of recommendations resulting from the event, Secretary Duncan will close the summit with brief remarks. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/media-advisories/us-department-education-host-correctional-education-summit-monday-washington-d.

Investing in Innovation (i3) winners announced, must seek matching grants

ED announced the 20 highest-rated applications in the $140 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition. Winners now must find partial matching funds from the private sector by December 7, 2012 in order to secure the grants.
Winners of the validation grants (up to $15 million) are: Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System; Jobs for the Future, Inc.; LEED Sacramento; National Writing Project; New Leaders, Inc.; New Teacher Center; Texas A&M University; and WestEd. Winners of the development grants (up to $3 million) are: AVID Center; California Association for Bilingual Education; California League of Middle Schools; Central Falls School District; Citizen Schools, Inc.; Clark County School District; Columbia College Chicago; Intercultural Development Research Association; Internationals Network For Public Schools; National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; Virginia Advanced Study Strategies, Inc.; and WestEd. There were no "scale up" (up to $25 million) winners.

Hurricane Sandy resources available from Department, NEA HIN

The Department of Education has created a web page with information related to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The site, http://www.ed.gov/sandy, includes news and resources. ED also maintains a hotline (855-385-9985) and an e-mail address (EdSchoolInfo@ed.gov) for questions.
Additionally, the NEA Health Information Network (HIN) has activated its Disaster Relief Fund and is accepting both public donations and grant applications from local aid organizations. The goal of the fund is to provide educators, support professionals, students and schools with what is needed to recover from a disaster - whether school supplies or roof repairs. For information on how to donate and how organizations can apply for a grant, as well as crisis resources, visit www.neahin.org/disasterrelief/.

Call for Presentations - Now Open!

ASBO International's Call for Presentations is now open. We look forward to receiving your proposal to present at the 2013 AM&E in Boston, Massachusetts. October 25 - 28, 2013.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
November 2, 2012

HURRICANE SANDY

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Department is reaching out to state education agencies (SEAs), local education agencies (LEAs), institutions of higher education (IHEs), and state and local disaster recovery coordinators to let them know about issue-specific recovery resources. Also, the Department is posting relevant information on a new Hurricane Sandy web page: http://www.ed.gov/sandy/. Among the steps taken to date:

• The Department extended the application deadline for the Race to the Top-District competition (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/). For school districts in states affected by Sandy and for which the President has issued a major disaster declaration or an emergency declaration (see http://www.fema.gov/disasters/), the new deadline is Wednesday, November 7, at 4:30 p.m. Washington, D.C. time. For all other districts, the new deadline is today, November 2, at 4:30 p.m. Washington, D.C. time.
• In a statement (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-secretary-urges-colleges-adjust-application-deadlines-students-impacte), Secretary Duncan encouraged colleges, universities, and scholarship programs across the country to consider extending their early November application deadlines to accommodate students who were impacted by Sandy and who may be experiencing hardships. (Note: The National Association for College Admissions Counseling is maintaining a list of IHEs with extended deadlines at http://www.nacacnet.org/media-center/Documents/HurricaneSandy.pdf.)
• The Departments of Education and Agriculture reminded states and schools they may use stocks of foods purchased for the National School Lunch Program to help prepare meals at schools, shelters, or other congregate sites to feed local residents who may be in need of nutrition assistance (see http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/fd-disasters/).

Coming soon to http://www.ed.gov/sandy/: a toll-free number and dedicated email address for Sandy-related inquiries and questions and updated guidance on flexibility and waivers for SEAs, LEAs, IHEs, and other grantee and program participants.

Also, after hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, the Department developed a brochure, “Tips for Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events” (http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/recovering/), to assist educators and parents who have students suffering from loss.

Want to help? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a list of suggestions to aid fellow Americans at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/10/31/how-help-survivors-hurricane-sandy.
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EARLY LEARNING

Late last week, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services announced that all five eligible states -- Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin -- have submitted applications for the second round of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge/). Up to $133 million is available for this round from a larger $550 million fund provided by Congress through the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Because of the limited funding available, this round was only open to the next five highest-scoring states. These five states were able to apply for up to 50% of their original request. Staff from both agencies will review the applications and make awards by no later than December 31, 2012.

“The road to good jobs and a healthy economy runs through the classroom, and we can give every child a strong start by increasing access to high-quality early learning programs,” stated Secretary Duncan. “By applying for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, these states are continuing commitments to provide children -- especially those with high needs -- the tools to enter kindergarten ready to succeed in their education and ultimately careers.”

Last year, 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico applied for the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, creating plans that increase access to high-quality programs for children from low-income families and provide more children -- from birth to age 5 -- with a strong foundation needed to succeed in school and beyond. The agencies awarded nine grants in the first round. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/all-eligible-states-apply-second-round-race-top-early-learning-challenge.
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TRAVEL LOG

Also last week, Secretary Duncan joined philanthropist Eli Broad and retired Admiral Michael Mullen in New York City to announce five-time finalist Miami-Dade County Public Schools as the winner of the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education -- the largest education prize in the U.S. awarded to the most-improved urban district. Miami-Dade County, the nation’s fourth-largest district with nearly 350,000 students, 90% of whom are black or Hispanic and 74% of whom are low-income, bested three other finalists: Corona-Norco (CA), Houston (TX), and Palm Beach County (FL). (This marks the first time Corona-Norco and Palm Beach County were prize finalists, while Houston won the inaugural prize in 2002.) The $1 million prize goes to graduating high school seniors for college scholarships. Miami-Dade County gets $550,000, while the other finalists receive $150,000 each. Scholarships are granted to students who demonstrate significant financial need and have a record of academic improvement. Recipients who enroll in four-year colleges receive up to $20,000 over four years ($5,000 per year). Recipients who enroll in two-year colleges receive up to $5,000 over four years ($2,500 per year). FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.broadprize.org/.

That same afternoon, the Secretary visited Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), an innovative secondary school that combines high school and college with career and technical education to prepare students to fill entry-level jobs in technology fields. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/photo/39219.wss.

In addition, the Secretary joined top leaders from business, education, and government at a forum, “From Classroom to Career: Investing in Tomorrow’s Workforce,” to discuss strategies to prepare students with the essential skills to build successful careers. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/events/from-classroom-to-career/.
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RECOGNITION DAY/WEEKS

• Veterans Day (November 11) celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. Schools are encouraged to invite veterans into their classrooms in the days leading up to and following the holiday. Veterans can share their experiences and teach students lessons about the history and significance of Veterans Day, helping students reflect upon the importance of the ideals of liberty, freedom, and democracy. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE TO GO http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/. (Note: A teacher resource guide is available at http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/docs/2012_veterans_day_teacher_guide.pdf.)
• American Education Week (November 11-17) celebrates teachers and school staff. The week’s theme, “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility,” is a call for all Americans to do their part in making public schools great for every child. During the week, education support professionals will be honored on Wednesday, and substitute educators will be honored on Friday. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nea.org/aew/.
• International Education Week (November 12-16) promotes educating students about people throughout the world in preparing them to live in a diverse and tolerant society and succeed in today’s global economy. This year’s theme is “International Education: Striving for a Healthier Future Worldwide.” Secretary Duncan has recorded a message (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrGbUmnfb58) inviting the public to participate. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://iew.state.gov/.
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GREEN RIBBON SCHOOLS

Some 40 state education agencies (SEAs) intend to nominate schools for the 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition program (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/states-nominating-schools-2013.html). ED-GRS honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways. ED-GRS also communicates -- for all schools -- best practices and resources in the areas of facilities, health, and environment through outreach calls, blog posts (http://www.ed.gov/blog/tag/green-ribbon-schools/), a newsletter (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/newsletter-archives.html), and the free, ongoing Green Strides Webinar Series (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/webinar.html). FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• On October 19, Secretary Duncan delivered the welcoming remarks at the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) National Distinguished Principals Program, recognizing elementary and middle school principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, and character within their learning communities. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO https://www.naesp.org/ndp-2012-recap.
• The Department of Labor’s new “Credentials for Youth” tool (https://youth.workforce3one.org/page/credentials/) provides a step-by-step process for helping youth attain credentials in high-demand occupations and connects users to resources to find high-demand occupations in their local area using labor market information.
• The College Board has released its annual studies on trends in college pricing and trends in student aid, as well as the benefits of postsecondary education. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://trends.collegeboard.org/.
• The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Educational Programs (http://exchanges.state.gov/globalexchanges/) administers several major exchange activities and professional development programs for secondary school educators, with the assistance of private, non-profit organizations.
• The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, is accepting applications from non-profit organizations to conduct month-long, community-wide reads between September 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014. Roughly 75 organizations will be selected to participate, receiving a grant ranging from $2,500 to $20,000, educational and promotional materials, and access to online training resources. Organizations may select from 27 book titles (including three new titles for 2013-14 programming) and three poets. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://neabigread.org/guidelines.php. (Note: The deadline for all applications is February 5, 2013.)
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families who have lost loved ones. Unfortunately, there have been fatalities as a consequence of Hurricane Sandy, and it’s not clear that we’ve counted up all the fatalities at this point. Obviously, this is something that is heartbreaking for the entire nation. And, we certainly feel profoundly for all the families whose lives have been upended and are going to be going through some very tough times, over the next several days and perhaps several weeks and months. The important message I have for them is that America is with you. We are standing behind you, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on your feet.”

-- President Barack Obama (10/30/12), in remarks at the American Red Cross’ Disaster Operation Center
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UPCOMING EVENTS

On November 7, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) will present via webinar the latest guidance provided by the Department in the area of data disclosure. This one-hour presentation will give an overview of the guidance documents around data disclosure avoidance and the best practice strategies for protecting personally identifiable information (PII) from education records in published aggregate reports. TO REGISTER, PLEASE GO TO http://ptac.ed.gov/event/data-disclosure-guidance-webinar-130-230-pm-et.

The 2012 Federal Student Aid (FSA) Conference in Orlando (November 27-30) is designed to provide the most up-to-date information on Title IV programs and evolving federal policies and procedures affecting customers and partners. It will also cover topics ranging from the technologies associated with FSA’s information systems to improved practices for supporting aid applicants and recipients. The meeting is the largest federal aid conference offered to the financial aid community, hosting nearly 7,000 attendees in 2011. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/.

UPDATE: Race to the Top-District Application Deadline Extended

Update: For districts in states affected by Hurricane Sandy and for which the President has issued a major disaster declaration or an emergency declaration, the new Race to the Top-District deadline is 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
October 19, 2012

TOGETHER FOR TOMORROW

On October 15, the Department and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) recognized 24 organizations from across the nation as Together for Tomorrow (TFT) School Improvement Challenge winners for the 2012-13 school year (see http://tft.challenge.gov/). Also recognized were seven demonstration sites operating as part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program through CNCS. TFT, a joint initiative of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Department, and CNCS, highlights community-led partnerships to support struggling schools.

The Challenge was an opportunity for schools and school districts, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations to join with other partners in efforts to improve their neediest schools by raising key measurable outcomes in attendance, behavior, course performance, and college access -- the ABCs. Plans were submitted to give national recognition to new initiatives, as well as spotlight and expand exemplary existing initiatives to strengthen a community culture of educational success in struggling schools. The Challenge is not a grant program but, rather, an approach to better coordinate resources and efforts.

Ultimately, TFT aims to change the fundamental relationship between schools and community partners, so working toward positive results for lowest-performing schools is viewed as everyone’s responsibility. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/31-organizations-honored-together-tomorrow-challenge-event.
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HIGHER EDUCATION SUMMIT

On October 18, Secretary Duncan delivered remarks on the importance of accelerating attainment and achievement in higher education and then participated in a panel discussion at the TIME Summit on Higher Education in New York City. “I think we all agree that the future of higher education is vitally important to America’s future,” he said. “But, I would also suggest to you that higher education is approaching a crossroads, where leaders will be asked to choose between incremental and transformational change. At the heart of this choice is a paradox. In many ways, our system of higher education is still the envy of the world…. And yet, for all its success, our system of higher education has to get dramatically better. In the era of the knowledge-based, global economy, America has to rapidly accelerate college attainment and learning to prosper and maintain its global competitiveness.”

The Carnegie Corporation of New York -- in cooperation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, TIME magazine, and Time Warner -- convened the TIME Higher Education Summit, bringing together more than 100 leaders of American colleges and universities, federal and state officials, and corporate and philanthropic leaders. Panels discussed critical challenges and opportunities facing higher education: access, cost, globalization, and technology. The summit coincided with the release of a special issue of TIME magazine on higher education. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://timemediakit.com/timesummit2012/agenda.html.

While on the island of Manhattan, the Secretary also joined PENCIL’s Principal for a Day event (http://www.pencil.org/pencil-cracks-the-code-for-school-success-through-business-partnerships/) at P.S./I.S. 111, and Deputy Under Secretary of Education Georgia Yuan celebrated Lights On Afterschool! (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-afterschool-alliances-lights-afters) at Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School.
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POSTSECONDARY DATA

A new “First Look” report from the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) presents some preliminary findings from the spring 2012 data collection of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). For example:

• In fall 2011, institutions enrolled 18.6 million undergraduate and 2.9 million graduate students. Among the 18.6 million undergraduates, 57% were enrolled in four-year institutions, 41% in two-year institutions, and 2% in less-than-two-year institutions.
• Approximately 59% of first-time, full-time students at four-year institutions in 2005 who were seeking a bachelor’s degree or equivalent completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent within six years at the institutions where they begin their studies.
• During fiscal year 2011, public, four-year institutions and administrative offices received 19% of their revenues from tuition and fees, compared with 29% at private, non-profit institutions and 90% at private, for-profit institutions. Moreover, 29% of expenses at public, four-year institutions were for instruction, versus 42% at private, non-profit schools and 54% at public, less-than-two-year schools.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012174.
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ESEA FLEXIBILITY

The Secretary recently announced that Idaho will receive flexibility from the burdensome mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In exchange for this new flexibility, Idaho has agreed to raise academic standards, improve accountability, and undertake essential reforms to boost teacher effectiveness. This announcement brings the number of states with waivers to 34, plus the District of Columbia. Ten other requests for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility are still under review. Six states have not requested a waiver through this process. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/obama-administration-approves-idahos-request-nclb-flexibility.

In the interest of transparency and to help inform other states, the Department has posted at http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility/requests both initial and approved flexibility requests, highlights of each state’s plan, and peer review notes, as well as the agency’s letter regarding peer review feedback and the Secretary’s approval letter.
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EQUAL FUTURES PARTNERSHIP

Last month, the Administration joined 12 international leaders for the launch of the Equal Futures Partnership, a new, multi-lateral initiative to break down barriers to women’s political participation and economic opportunity. The U.S. contribution to Equal Futures includes a renewed commitment to opening more doors to high-quality education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for women and girls, who currently hold only one-quarter of all American jobs within these fields, despite making up nearly half of the total U.S. workforce. These efforts build upon the President’s and First Lady’s calls for an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to break down barriers to attracting girls and retaining women in STEM fields. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/24/fact-sheet-equal-futures-partnership-expand-women-s-political-and-econom.

Among the steps that the White House announced in support of Equal Futures are improving data collection and dissemination on women in science and technology, bolstering the available pool of skilled STEM mentors, encouraging research-based STEM teaching, and helping to connect women to online and mobile skills training. Several leading businesses, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations have also made commitments to advance women and girls’ economic and political empowerment at home and abroad. They are dedicating themselves to launching new and innovative programs to support women and girls in STEM fields, connecting women entrepreneurs to markets and supply chains, and supporting research to advance girls’ leadership. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/24/fact-sheet-equal-futures-partnership-and-united-states-commitments-expan.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• Representatives from the National Council of Young Leaders, a newly established organization with a diverse membership of young people, met with Secretary Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Delisle to share their recommendations for increasing opportunities for youth and decreasing poverty. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/10/secretary-duncan-hosts-first-meeting-with-national-council-of-young-leaders/.
• A new Federal Student Aid (FSA) blog entry (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/10/five-things-to-know-about-your-student-loans/) spotlights five things to know about student loans.
• The Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program provides K-16 educators with unique opportunities for overseas experience. The program is open to teachers and administrators with responsibilities for curriculum development in fields related to humanities, languages, and area studies. The topics and host countries vary annually, although all seminars are in non-western European countries. There is one seminar being offered next summer in China, with 14-16 positions, subject to the availability of funds. The deadline for applications is December 10. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/iegpssap/.
• On October 9, the Department announced the IDEAL Currency Identifier, a free application to assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired to denominate U.S. currency on some mobile devices. The application was developed through a grant from the agency’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-new-app-identify-us-currency.
• The U.S. Census Bureau has released infographics representing the “Educational Path of Our Nation,” which includes trends in student enrollment, costs, and educational outcomes. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.census.gov/how/infographics/education.html.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“When it comes to turning around low-performing schools, the Department’s investments and the work of schools and districts are only part of the solution. Our schools need community engagement to support and sustain school improvement. The Together for Tomorrow Challenge winners recognized today have made model commitments to help foster partnerships, propel school improvement, and produce better outcomes for students. To sustain change over the long haul, nothing is more important.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (10/15/12), announcing the 2012-13 school year’s Together for Tomorrow School Improvement Challenge winners
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UPCOMING EVENTS

The winner of the 2012 Broad Prize for Urban Education will be announced on October 23. One of four finalists will claim the $1 million prize, for college scholarships for graduating high school seniors. The proceedings will be webcast live, starting at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.broadprize.com/about/2012_event.html.

On October 24, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the Department’s Family Policy Compliance Office will present via webinar a basic overview of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This one-hour presentation will be geared toward local school officials. TO REGISTER, PLEASE GO TO https://educateevents1.webex.com/educateevents1/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=748074727.

To cap Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is offering its third annual National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Workshop, October 30-November 1 at its Maryland campus. NICE is focused on enhancing the overall cybersecurity posture of the U.S. by accelerating the availability of education and training resources designed to improve the cyber-behavior, knowledge, and skills of every segment of the population. The workshop will feature four tracks focused on NICE’s primary goals: Raising Awareness: Online Safety Starts with You!; Education, Professionalism, and Certifications; Training and Maintaining a Competitive Cybersecurity Workforce; and the Role of Cybersecurity in Competitions. Attendees will also observe students competing in a challenge. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://csrc.nist.gov/nice/2012workshop/.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
October 5, 2012

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
______________________________________________________________________
MOVING FORWARD, STAYING FOCUSED

On October 2, in a major speech on the state of American education at the National Press Club, Secretary Duncan said the country is more focused on improving education than ever before and saluted students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community leaders for embracing real change in a challenging economy. The Secretary highlighted ongoing reform activity across the entire educational continuum (early learning, elementary and secondary education, higher education, and adult education) and specifically referenced the Department’s just completed “Education Drives America” bus tour (http://www.ed.gov/bustour/), which took him and senior Department officials to 12 states for more than 120 events (Top 5 Highlights -- http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/top-5-highlights-from-education-drives-america-tour/). “People everywhere understand that education and the economy are closely linked,” he stated. “They know that the path to the middle class runs right through classrooms.”

The Secretary also acknowledged budget pressures affecting states and school districts and raised concerns about more cuts to education. “Some people see education as an expense government can cut to help balance our budgets,” he argued. “The President sees education as an investment in our future.” Vowing to “double down on what we know is working -- steadily moving forward while staying focused,” he outlined several educational priorities for the nation:
• High-quality early education for more low-income children.
• State-driven accountability that demands progress for all students.
• More support and training for teachers and principals to translate high standards into practice.
• A new generation of math and science teachers recruited from top universities and from industry.
• Passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, so the talent and potential of America’s Dreamers can benefit the entire country.
• Reforming career and technical education programs in high schools and community colleges and strengthening their ties to business and industry.
• Closing the skills gap and helping millions of unemployed or under-employed adults.
• Reforming and simplifying the student financial aid system to help drive college affordability and completion.

The Secretary closed his remarks with an appeal for bipartisan commitment to education reform, asserting, “We must unite behind the cause of public education and recognize that the solutions don’t come from one party or one ideology…. They come from all of us -- you and me -- challenging ourselves and holding ourselves accountable. We don’t have a minute to waste.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/moving-forward-staying-focused.

More from Secretary Duncan:
• Last week, at NBC News’ latest Education Nation Summit, he was interviewed regarding school turnarounds and participated in a special session with former U.S. Secretaries of Education. FOR MORE
INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO
http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=B3D86ED0-D338-11E0-810D000C296BA163.
• Also last week, at a forum hosted by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, he delivered remarks on the need for innovation to help advance education reform. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.hamiltonproject.org/events/back_to_school_improving_attainment_and_achievement_in_k-12_education/.
• This week, he delivered the opening address at the Department’s “Innovation to Drive Productivity in Postsecondary Education” Symposium at Georgetown University. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.technapex.com/2012/10/the-education-department-and-secretary-duncan-are-listening-to-your-ideas/.
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FOCUS ON HIGHER EDUCATION

Over the last two weeks, the Administration has been active on higher education issues.

First, on the final day of the bus tour in Roanoke, Virginia, Secretary Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier released an Adult College Completion Tool Kit (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/resource/adult-college-completion-tool-kit.pdf). It offers federal professional development resources and tools, to assist state and local stakeholders working with adult learners transitioning to postsecondary education. It also offers resources that help adult learners to be informed consumers, such as targeted information for returning veterans, skilled immigrants, and individuals currently or formerly incarcerated.

Next, on September 25, the Department announced that over 300 institutions have voluntarily adopted the Administration’s model financial aid award letter, known as the Shopping Sheet (http://collegecost.ed.gov/shopping_sheet.pdf), for the 2013-14 academic year. This letter makes student costs clear up front -- before students have enrolled -- by outlining total estimated annual costs; how much grant money students will receive, and how much they may have to take out in the form of student loans; the school’s graduation and default rates; and an estimate of monthly loan payments after graduation. The institutions that have adopted the Shopping Sheet represent more than 1.9 million students, or 10% of the total undergraduate population. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/institutions-commit-to-providing-millions-of-students-with-easy-to-understand-information-about-college-costs/.

Then, on September 28, the Department issued the official FY 2010 two-year and FY 2009 three-year federal student loan cohort default rates. This is the first time the agency has issued an official three-year rate, which was 13.4% nationwide for the FY 2009 cohort -- a slight decrease from the trial three-year rate of 13.8% for the FY 2008 cohort. For-profit institutions registered the highest average three-year default rates, at 22.7%, with public institutions at 11% and private, non-profit institutions at 7.5%. As required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the Department is in the process of switching from a two- to a three-year cohort default rate measurement. (The two-year rate rose from 8.8% in FY 2009 to 9.1% in FY 2010.) Congress mandated this transition because there are more borrowers who default beyond the two-year window, and the three-year rate is a more accurate picture of how many borrowers ultimately default on their loans. Schools with excessive default rates (of at least 40% in a single year or 25% or greater for three consecutive years) may lose eligibility from one or more federal student aid programs. This year, two schools are subject to sanctions. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/defaultmanagement/cdr.html. (Note: The public can search for individual school default rates at http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/defaultmanagement/search_cohort_3yr.cfm.)

Meanwhile, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the Department’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), published new postsecondary education studies on tuition, fees, and degrees (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012289rev) and employees, salaries, and student financial aid (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012156rev).
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EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS

President Obama recently signed into law a Continuing Resolution (CR) agreement, extending funding for education programs and other parts of the federal budget at Fiscal Year 2012 levels through March 27, 2013. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/28/statement-press-secretary-hj-res-117-s-3245-and-s-3552.

Also, a new federal report uses Department and publicly available data sources, including Recovery.gov, to examine (1) how much states and districts received in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) K-12 education funds and (2) whether and how the distribution of funds varied by key characteristics. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20124057/.
______________________________________________________________________
GRANT AWARDS

Before the close of the federal fiscal year, the Department announced grant awards under a number of additional programs. First, $28 million in grants were awarded to 46 school districts and non-profit groups to improve the literacy skills of low-income students (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-education-department-awards-28-million-boost-literacy-skills-low-income-stude). These grants are designed to increase student achievement by promoting early literacy for young children and by motivating older children to read. Beyond high-quality literacy activities, grantees will also distribute free books to children and their families. Second, $9.9 million in grants were awarded to three states to improve statewide academic assessments (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-more-99-million-grants-three-states-improve-their). Third, $290 million in grants were awarded to 35 states, districts, and groups to improve pay structures, reward great teachers and principals, and provide greater professional opportunities to teachers in high-poverty schools (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-boosts-district-led-efforts-recognize-and-reward-great-t). The 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund competition encouraged applicants to enhance educator compensation systems through one of two models: career ladders or performance-based pay with the option for additional responsibilities. With either model, applicants were able to submit a general proposal or a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-focused proposal. Fourth, $52 million was awarded to 22 Comprehensive Centers to raise the capacity of states to help districts and schools meet student achievement goals (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-department-awards-52-million-grants-23-comprehensive-centers-advance-r). Fifth, over $1.5 million was awarded to 17 institutions of higher education to create, plan, develop, and implement programs to strengthen and improve undergraduate instruction in international studies and foreign languages (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-more-15-million-strengthen-and-improve-undergradu) and over $2.9 million was awarded to 23 institutions and groups to support overseas projects in research, training, and curriculum development (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/29-million-grants-awarded-fulbright-hays-international-education-projects).

Also, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced $500 million in grants for community colleges, universities, and employers to develop programs that provide pathways to good jobs, including building instructional programs that meet specific industry needs. These grants are the second installment of a $2 billion, four-year initiative. The Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in partnership with the Department of Education. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.doleta.gov/taaccct/.
______________________________________________________________________
CIVIC LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT

At a White House event this past January, the Administration released “Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy” (http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/road-map-call-to-action.pdf), a road map and call to action to prepare all students for citizenship as informed, engaged, and responsible members of society. Since the release, the Department has been implementing a strategy to achieve its nine objectives. As part of this process, the agency is seeking the public’s input on how we understand “civic learning and engagement activities” and how we can best support these activities. Students, educators, practitioners, researchers, and others are encouraged to submit thoughtful comments pertaining to the outline posted at http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/10/the-education-department-wants-to-hear-from-you/.
______________________________________________________________________
ODDS AND ENDS

• For the bus tour, the Department developed a brochure (http://www.ed.gov/get-involved) on helping create a culture of academic success in your community.
• Also, the Department has released a free, two-part training toolkit (http://safesupportiveschools.ed.gov/index.php?id=1480) designed to provide classroom teachers and other educators with the knowledge and skills to intervene in bullying behavior and de-escalate threatening behaviors at school.
• Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that four new cities (Camden, NJ, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and Philadelphia) will join the original cities (Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, and Salinas and San Jose, CA) in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention to reduce youth violence and gang activity and improve public safety. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO
http://www.findyouthinfo.gov/youth-topics/preventing-youth-violence.
• This month, Secretary Duncan joined leaders from the disability community for a panel discussion on the 39th anniversary of the enactment of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a report on its disability rights enforcement activities (http://www2.ed.gov/documents/news/section-504.pdf) over the last three years.
• The latest Teachers@ED entry (http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/teachersed-assistant-secretary-deb-delisle/) profiles Deborah Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
• As part of National Principals Month (http://www.naesp.org/celebrating-national-principals-month), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and New Leaders are all collaborating with the Department on a shadow program with principals across the Washington, D.C., region. During the second week in October, more than three dozen schools will host senior agency staff, culminating in a briefing with the Secretary. This first-hand experience will help inform the Department how federal policy can better support principals in their service to all students.
• Data sets and content previously found at data.ed.gov can now be found at education.data.gov. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/a-new-single-home-for-ed-data/.
• In a September 20 letter (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/120925.html), Secretary Duncan encourages schools, teachers, and administrators to seek innovative ways to increase student participation in the federal School Breakfast Program.
• Only 43% of this year’s college-bound seniors met the SAT College and Career Readiness Benchmark, which indicates a 65% likelihood of achieving a “B-” average or higher during the first year of college. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://press.collegeboard.org/releases/2012/sat-report-only-43-percent-2012-college-bound-seniors-college-ready.
• Speak Up 2012, which opened on October 3, is a national online research project that gives individuals the opportunity to share their thoughts on how to leverage technology in schools to promote learning. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“[No Child Left Behind] waivers are not a pass on accountability -- but a smarter, more focused, and fair way to hold ourselves accountable. In exchange for adopting high standards and meaningful systems of teacher support and evaluation: states set ambitious but achievable targets for every subgroup; more children at risk -- who were invisible under NCLB -- are now included in state-designed accountability systems, including low-income students, English language learners, and students with disabilities; and local districts decide the most effective way to intervene in under-performing schools, instead of applying rigid, top-down mandates from Washington. With flexibility, states also recognize growth and progress in more and more schools rather than having to label them as ‘failures,’ even when they’re improving.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (10/2/12), in remarks at the National Press Club
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UPCOMING EVENTS

On October 12, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the Department will officially open an exhibit at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., featuring the works of 54 school artists from among the 2012 winners of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition. Also featured will be the winning films and animations, game design, and teen writing. The first-ever National Student Poet from this region, Luisa Banchoff, will read from her works at the ceremony. She will be joined by senior agency staff and representatives from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. To attend, please RSVP to Nicole.Carinci@ed.gov. To learn more about the agency’s year-round exhibit program, please contact Jacquelyn.Zimmermann@ed.gov.

Also on October 12, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. ET, the Department and Jobs for the Future will co-host the second in a series of three webinars on rural dropout prevention and recovery. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://ruraldropoutprevention.weebly.com/. (Note: Recordings of all webinars will be available after the live events.)

The 2012 Great Shakeout will be conducted on October 18 in Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. This earthquake drill -- which can be conducted in as little as 90 seconds -- provides an opportunity for the entire community to get prepared, practice what to do to be safe (“Drop, Cover, and Hold On”), and learn what emergency plans need to be improved. Schools, colleges, universities, businesses, organizations, and households are encouraged to join the more than 14 million participants. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.shakeout.org/.

U.S. Department of Education Update

U.S. Department of Education Boosts District-Led Efforts to Recognize and Reward Great Teachers and Principals Through the 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund

$290 million invested in 35 grantees serving nearly 1,000 schools across 150 districts

The U.S. Department of Education announced today 35 grants awarded to improve pay structures, reward great teachers and principals, and provide greater professional opportunities to teachers in high poverty schools. Winning applicants are comprised of districts, partnering districts, states, and nonprofits that together serve nearly 1,000 schools in 150 urban, suburban, and rural school districts in 18 states and D.C.

“Whether urban or rural, traditional or charter, successful schools are not possible without great teaching and leadership,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Our best teachers and principals are invaluable leaders in changing life outcomes for students. They are desperately needed in our struggling schools, and they deserve to be recognized, rewarded, and given the opportunity to have a greater influence on their colleagues, students, and in their communities.”
All applicants submitted proposals, developed in part by teachers, that provide opportunities for teacher leadership and advancement, put in place district-wide evaluations based on multiple measures that include student growth, and improve decision-making through better evaluations.
“The Teacher Incentive Fund called on local leaders to engage teachers in influencing the future of the teaching profession,” said Assistant Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle. “Many more districts will benefit tremendously from an investment in scaling up and securing the talents and abilities of effective teachers and principals within their toughest schools.”

The 2012 TIF program encourages districts to enhance educator compensation systems through one of two models – career ladders or performance-based pay with the option for additional responsibilities. With either model, applicants were able to submit a general proposal or a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focused proposal.

Twenty-nine winners received funding to create general, district-wide evaluation systems that reward success and drive decision-making on recruiting, retaining, andproviding additional responsibilities to great teachers. Among the 29 projects, two grantees – New York City Public Schools and L.A. Unified School District - will pursue compensation systems based around career ladders. Six will focus on developing and supporting excellent science and math teachers.

The 35 winners listed below were selected from a pool of over 120 applications. Award amounts represent the first 2 years of funding over the 5-year grant period. Continued funding is contingent upon congressional action.

For more information on the TIF program and the 2012 grantees, visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherincentive/awards.html.

###

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
September 21, 2012

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
______________________________________________________________________
ESEA FLEXIBILITY

On September 7, the Department received requests from seven new states (Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and West Virginia), as well as Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), for waivers from key provisions of No Child Left Behind in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership. These requests bring the number of states that have either requested waivers or been approved to implement reforms to 44. “This is a nationwide movement, and the message from coast to coast is clear: America can’t wait any longer for real education reform,” said Secretary Duncan. “My hope is that Congress will come together to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), but we know states need flexibility now.” The new waiver requests are posted online, along with the names of the peer reviewers who will convene next month to review them. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility.
______________________________________________________________________
BACK TO SCHOOL TOUR

Today is the last day of the Department’s third annual Back to School bus tour, entitled “Education Drives America.” Over the last two weeks, Secretary Duncan and senior Department officials held more than 120 events in 23 cities and 12 states across the country. The Department’s blog (http://www.ed.gov/bustour/) has a wealth of stories, pictures, and videos chronicling the tour, including daily recaps (September 12 [California and Reno, Nevada] -- http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/autotuned-arne-begins-bus-tour-across-america/; September 13 [Elko, Nevada and Utah] -- http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/towards-the-rockies-bus-tour-day-two/; September 14 [Wyoming] -- http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/wyoming-is-ready-to-work-bus-tour-day-three/; September 17 [Colorado] -- http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/connecting-with-colorado-communities-bus-tour-day-four/; September 18 [Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri] -- http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/were-not-in-kansas-anymorebut-we-were-for-bus-tour-day-five/); September 19 [Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana] -- http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/collaboration-on-display-in-three-states-bus-tour-day-six/; September 20 [Kentucky and West Virginia] -- coming soon; and September 21 [Virginia and Washington, D.C.] -- coming soon). Also, the Secretary’s signature bus tour speech delivered at the stop in Topeka, Kansas, is available at http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/closing-opportunity-gap.

Throughout the tour, participants have been using social media to record their experiences. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://storify.com/usedgov.

Also, tonight, starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the Department will host a Welcome Back Block Party at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. On behalf of the President, Secretary Duncan will deliver this year’s Back to School speech. The program also includes youth talent and a college access fair. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/media-advisories/us-education-secretary-concludes-education-drives-america-bus-tour-washington-.
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NAEP WRITING

For the first time in history, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) used computers to assess students’ writing, with national samples of eighth- and twelfth-grade students. More than 75% of students at those grade levels performed at or above the Basic achievement level, meaning that they have at least partial mastery of the knowledge and skills needed to communicate clearly in writing. However, only about one-quarter of eighth- and twelfth-grade students performed at or above the Proficient level, meaning that they demonstrate solid academic performance.

The “Nation’s Report Card: Writing 2011” asked students to write for various purposes and communicate to different audiences. Students were presented with a range of interactive tasks that included audio or video segments, newspaper articles, data from real world settings, and other materials on which to base their writing. Each student was given two writing tasks and had 30 minutes to complete each one. For both grades, students’ writing was scored on a six-point scale, ranging from “effective” to “little/no skill.” This scoring acknowledges that students were being evaluated on their first-draft writing in an “on demand” situation and not on their final, polished pieces of writing. The assessment measures how well students develop, organize, and use language to convey ideas. The computer-based testing format allowed NAEP to gather data on the extent to which students used commonly available word processing tools, like spell check and copy, cut, and paste.

Among the additional findings:
• At both grades, African-American and Hispanic students had lower average scores than white and Asian students and students of two or more races, and female students outscored male students.
• At both grades, students who used the Backspace key and thesaurus tool more frequently scored higher than those who engaged in these actions less frequently.
• Twelfth-grade students who write four- to five-pages a week for English/language arts homework scored higher than those who write fewer pages.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nationsreportcard.gov/writing_2011/. (Note: A recording of the webinar discussing the results will be posted shortly at http://www.nagb.org/writing2011.)
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GRANT AWARDS

This month, the Department has announced grant awards under a number of programs. First, more than $9.8 million in grants were awarded to 16 states to operate 25 Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) for parents of students with disabilities, and $1.1 million in grants were awarded to nine states and Puerto Rico to operate 11 Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs) (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-more-98-million-fund-centers-parents-students-dis). With these new grants, the Department funds 101 information centers for parents of children and youth with disabilities. Every state has at least one PTI, and CPRCs provide services in targeted communities throughout the country. Second, $5.4 million in grants were awarded to 14 colleges and universities as part of the Strengthening Institutions Program (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-department-awards-54-million-grants-14-institutions-help-strengthen-po). This initiative helps schools expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions and build a framework to help students complete college. Funds may be used for many purposes, including planning, staff development, administrative management, establishment of an endowment fund, and the development and improvement of academic programming. Third, $6 million in grants were awarded to 13 states to improve education opportunities for American Indian children and provide professional development for individuals of American Indian descent who serve in the field (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-more-6-million-improve-indian-education-and-profe). Fourth, $227.9 million was awarded to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to strengthen academic resources, financial management systems, endowment-building capacity, and physical plants (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-awards-nearly-228-million-97-historically-black-colleges). And, lastly, $6.64 million was awarded to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to implement and expand its national efforts in arts education and arts integration (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/education-department-awards-66-million-grant-support-arts-education).
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ONLINE COMMUNITY: ADULT EDUCATORS

The Department’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education recently re-launched the “Literacy Information and Communication System” (LINCS), its first-ever, online professional learning community for adult educators. LINCS provides adult educators with access to resources; on-demand, web-based professional development opportunities, including online courses and targeted, face-to-face trainings; and a connected network of practitioners, called a “community of practice.” It also offers specialized tools, including the ability for adult educators across the U.S. to engage in real time discussions. One of the key features of the web site is the “LINCS Community” with 16 topic area groups, providing an opportunity for those in the field and related fields to engage in topic-specific information sharing and networking. By engaging in a group, adult educators may share and obtain real time answers to peer-driven questions based on their collective professional experiences. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://lincs.ed.gov/.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• Following President Obama’s recent Executive Order creating a White House initiative focusing on African-American education (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/26/executive-order-white-house-initiative-educational-excellence-african-am), the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) and the Department held a National Summit on Educational Excellence and Opportunity for African-American Males. The summit -- which was recorded and is available for viewing in three parts at
http://www.ustream.tv/discovery/recorded/all?q=National+Summit+on+Educational+Excellence+and+Opportunity+for+African-American+Males -- brought together educators, policymakers, researchers, and students for a town hall discussion, presentations, and roundtables to highlight promising practices that are closing achievement and opportunity gaps and focus on new strategies and partnerships to improve the educational, economic, and social outcomes for African-American males.
• A Notice Inviting Applications and Notice of Final Requirements for Phase 2 of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge were published in the Federal Register this week. The Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are funding down the slate from last year’s competition, making awards available to the next five highest-scoring applicants: Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin. States may apply for up to 50% of their requested amount from last year’s application. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge/.
• In both a statement (http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/iew.html) and video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrGbUmnfb58), the Secretary invites the public to participate in International Education Week 2012 (November 12-16, coinciding with American Education Week). This year’s theme is “International Education: Striving for a Healthier Future Worldwide.”
• The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) annual “Education at a Glance” report compares education systems in 34 member countries using a range of indicators. The primary topics covered are student participation and achievement, public and private spending, conditions for students and educators, and the state of lifelong learning. Notably, the U.S. ranks 14th in the world in the percentage of young adults (25-34-year-olds) with a college degree, at 42% -- above the OECD average (38%) but behind leader Korea (65%). FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012.htm.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“The persistence and even the recent expansion of the opportunity gap should be an urgent wake-up call that America is still not a color-blind society that provides equal educational opportunity. That painful recognition is deeply at odds with the American creed -- that if you study hard and play by the rules, you get a fair shot at the future, regardless of your skin color, zip code, or size of your bank account. The American dream was never about guaranteeing equality of results, but it has always been about ensuring equality of opportunity. Today, our nation is failing to live up to that core American ideal.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (9/18/12), speaking at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Site in Topeka, Kansas
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UPCOMING EVENTS

September 23-25, NBC News will convene its third annual Education Nation Summit in New York City. Summit sessions will spotlight a series of case studies from communities across the country, providing tools and takeaways for participants and viewers. Secretary Duncan will participate in several sessions. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.educationnation.com/.

On October 18, Lights On Afterschool!, a coast-to-coast rally organized by the Afterschool Alliance, will illuminate the nation by celebrating afterschool programs and the need they meet in keeping students safe, helping working families, and improving academic achievement. More than 7,500 communities, including many of the Department-funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers, will host activities. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm.

On October 24, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the Department will present via webinar a basic overview of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This one-hour presentation will be geared toward local school officials. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/.

2012 Green Apple Day of Service

Join thousands of people around the world who will take action in their communities in support of healthy, sustainable schools this September 29th.

FREE Webcast: Understanding and applying for the Dept of Ed’s Green Ribbon Schools program

Thursday, September 20 at 2 pm EDT/11 am PDT

Join the Center for Green Schools at the US Green Building Council and the Green Schools Alliance for a FREE webcast to help you navigate the application process for the Department of Education’s 2012-2013 Green Ribbon Schools voluntary recognition program. We’ll feature an overview of the program, changes from last year, a review of the application timeline, and resources to help you complete a strong application. Most importantly, we’ll hear best practices directly from three 2011-12 winning schools: The STAR School (AZ), Sidwell Friends Middle School (DC), and Pine Jog Elementary School (FL). Learn from them how to complete a winning application that will make your green efforts receive the recognition they deserve.

U.S. Department of Education Update

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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BACK TO SCHOOL TOUR

September 12-21, Secretary Duncan and senior Department officials will visit 12 states and dozens of cities across the nation as part of the Department’s third annual Back to School bus tour. This year’s theme is “Education Drives America.” Various events will highlight education successes and engage communities in conversations about P-12 school reform, college affordability and completion, and the link between education and jobs.

More specific details about the bus tour stops will become available soon, but there are press releases for individual cities at http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-duncan-and-top-education-officials-2012-cross-country-back-school-bus-.

Also, the public will be able to follow the tour at http://www.ed.gov/bustour/. And, there is an email list (subscribe at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USED/subscriber/new?topic_id=USED_104) for updates on the tour. Subscribers can expect to receive media advisories about the tour, press releases from the tour, and blog updates during the tour.
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BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS

Today, at Arlington Traditional Elementary School in northern Virginia, Secretary Duncan named 269 public and private schools as “2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools.” This program recognizes exemplary high-performing schools (schools, regardless of their students’ backgrounds, that rank among the state’s best performing as measured by state assessments [public] or that score at the highest performance level on nationally normed tests [private]) and exemplary improving schools (schools, with at least 40% of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds, that have reduced the achievement gap by improving performance to high levels, again as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests). Chief State School Officers nominate public schools. The Council for American Private Education nominates private schools. Of the schools nominated by each state, at least a third must have 40% or more of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and public schools must meet No Child Left Behind’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements, as defined by their states. All schools will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., November 12 and 13. The principal and a teacher will receive a flag and plaque. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools/. (Note: Nominated schools from California, Florida, Kentucky, and Ohio will be included following final certification by their Chief State School Officers.)
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RACE TO THE TOP

Last Friday (August 31), the Department announced that almost 900 potential applicants have submitted an intent to apply for the 2012 Race to the Top-District program, which will provide nearly $400 million to support local reforms that personalize instruction, close achievement gaps, and take full advantage of 21st century tools that prepare each student for college and careers. The list includes all those who submitted an intent to apply and does not indicate their eligibility for the competition. The intent to apply is non-binding, and potential applicants that did not submit an intent to apply may still apply for funding.

“I believe the best ideas come from leaders at the local level, and the enthusiastic response to the Race to the Top-District competition highlights the excitement that districts have to engage in locally designed reforms that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness,” Secretary Duncan said. “We hope to build on this nationwide momentum by funding districts that have innovative plans to transform the learning environment, a clear vision for reform, and a track record of success.”

The Department plans to support high-quality proposals from across a variety of school districts, including rural and non-rural, as well as those participating in a Race to the Top state grant and those not participating. The agency expects to make 15 to 25 awards. Awards will range from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of students served through the plan. Applications are due October 30. Grants will be announced no later than December 31. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/. (Note: To assist applicants, the Department has issued additional answers to Frequently Asked Questions [http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/faq.html].)
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MORE CHAMPIONS

Also last week, the White House and the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics honored educators who have devoted their time and energy to inspiring students to excel and promoting the teaching profession. During this event, 10 leaders -- most of whom are Hispanic and English language learners -- were honored as “Champions of Change.” These leaders were recognized for their roles in building a culture of high expectations, improving instruction, creating safe environments for learning, and fostering professional development, among many other efforts to elevate the quality of education in their schools. Hispanic are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in public education but have the lowest education attainment levels. The President’s Advisory Commission is working to help strengthen the P-12 education pipeline to ensure all Hispanic students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers, as well as have the resources they need to access and complete some form of postsecondary education. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions/education-champions/. (Note: A report on the Administration’s agenda and the Hispanic community [http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/hispanic_agenda_final.pdf] cites education.)
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CONSTITUTION DAY

September 17 is Constitution Day/Citizenship Day, commemorating the September 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution. In recognition, Congress has mandated that every educational institution receiving federal funds take a day to teach about the seminal document. (As September 17 falls on a religious holiday [Rosh Hashanah] this year, institutions may celebrate either the preceding or the following week.) To assist students and educators in their studies, free online resources are available from the Department’s Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site (http://free.ed.gov/subjects.cfm?subject_id=19), as well as the National History Education Clearinghouse (http://teachinghistory.org/spotlight/constitution-day) and the National Archives and Records Administration (http://www.archives.gov/calendar/constitution-day/). FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/policy/fund/guid/constitutionday.html.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• “Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study” (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012046), a new report from the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), presents 46 indicators and multivariate analyses to document the scope and nature of gaps in access and persistence in higher education by sex and race/ethnicity. Among beginning higher education students who were recent high school graduates in 2004, the odds of attaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree by 2009 were 32% lower for males than females, after accounting for background variables. Likewise, compared to white students, black students had 43% lower odds and Hispanic students had 25% lower odds. (Note: Secretary Duncan’s statement on the report is available at http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/statement-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-congressionally-mandated-report-acc.)
• In Seattle, Department staff hosted the latest Urban-Native Education Listening Session. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/08/indian-tribal-leaders-give-ed-input-on-needs-of-urban-indian-students/.
• Meanwhile, in the most recent session of the Secretary’s Student Voices Series, Secretary Duncan and Under Secretary Martha Kanter heard from youth leaders with the United States Student Association. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/09/college-students-discuss-higher-education-affordability-with-secretary-duncan/.
• The National Security Language Initiative for Youth is a multi-agency government initiative launched in 2006 to improve American’s ability to engage with people from around the world who speak Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Persian (Tajik), Russian, and Turkish. The Department of State awards merit-based scholarships to U.S. high school students for participation in summer and academic year language programs in countries and locations where these seven languages are spoken. Programs immerse participants in the cultural life of their host nation for invaluable language practice. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nsliforyouth.org/.
• Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign mobilizes children and adults to close the early education achievement gap. On October 4, millions of individuals will read “Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad” by David Soman and Jacky Davis, attempting to set a world record in the process. There is still time to pledge to read, and simple tools are available to spread the word. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.readfortherecord.org/.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“My thoughts are with the Perry Hall High School community -- students, families, and faculty -- in this difficult time. Gun violence has no place anywhere, least of all in our nation’s schools. I’d like to thank the local educators and law enforcement personnel who took action, to help prevent additional students from getting hurt. I recently had the chance to visit with Principal George Roberts and the teachers at Perry Hall. I know that he and Superintendent Dallas Dance are committed to keeping students safe and learning, and we stand ready to support them in that work.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (9/27/12), in a statement on the shooting in Baltimore, Maryland
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UPCOMING EVENTS

On September 14, during a webinar starting at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, a panel will discuss the results of the first-ever national, computer-based National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in writing. In 2011, the assessment was administered to students in grades 8 and 12. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/writing.asp.

The Green Strides Webinar Series (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/webinar-series.doc) has nearly 40 sessions scheduled through next spring, featuring programs and resources from the Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Beginning on September 19, the Department will exhibit at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Department of Education Update

ED REVIEW
August 24, 2012

...a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders
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RACE TO THE TOP

On August 12, the Department announced it had finalized the application for the 2012 Race to the Top-District competition, which will provide nearly $400 million to support school districts in implementing local education reforms that personalize instruction, close achievement gaps, and take full advantage of 21st century tools that prepare each student for college and careers. The program sets a high bar to fund those districts that have a track record of success, clear vision for reform, and innovative plans to transform the learning environment and accelerate student achievement. “Race to the Top helped bring about groundbreaking education reforms in states across the country. Building off that success, we’re now going to help support reform at the local level,” Secretary Duncan noted. “We want to help schools become engines of innovation through personalized learning, so that every child in America can receive the world-class public education they deserve.”

The program criteria invites applications from districts or groups of districts proposing to serve at least 2,000 students -- or groups of 10 or more districts proposing to serve less than 2,000 students -- with at least 40% of participating students (across all participating schools) qualifying for free or reduced-
price lunch. Districts will choose to apply for funding to support learning strategies that personalize education in all or a set of schools, within specific grade levels or select subjects. Moreover, districts must demonstrate a commitment to Race to the Top’s four core reform areas and have sign-off on their plan from the local superintendent, local school board president, and local teacher union/association president (where applicable). The Department plans to support high-quality proposals from across a variety of districts, including rural and non-rural, as well as those participating in a Race to the Top state grant and those not participating. The program offers competitive preference to applicants that form partnerships with public and private organizations to sustain their work and provide services to help meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and enhance their ability to succeed.

The Department expects to make 15 to 25 awards. Awards will range from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population served through the plan. Districts are asked to submit an intent to apply by August 30. Applications are due October 30. Grants will be announced no later than December 31. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/. (Note: To assist applicants in preparing the application, the agency is hosting technical assistance webinars [http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/resources.html] and has posted answers to Frequently Asked Questions [http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/faq.html].)
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BACK TO SCHOOL TOUR

September 12-21, Secretary Duncan and senior Department officials will visit 12 states and dozens of cities across the nation as part of the Department’s third annual Back to School bus tour. This year’s theme is “Education Drives America.” Various events will highlight education successes and engage communities in conversations about P-12 school reform, college affordability and completion, and the link between education and jobs.

Secretary Duncan will lead the tour from Redwood City, California, through Reno, Nevada; Denver, Colorado, through Kansas City, Missouri; and Charleston, West Virginia, through Washington, D.C. Deputy Secretary Tony Miller and Under Secretary Martha Kanter will also lead portions of the tour. In addition, senior officials are participating in more than 60 satellite events along the bus tour route.

The public will be able to follow the tour at http://www.ed.gov/bustour/. Also, there is an email list (subscribe at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USED/subscriber/new?topic_id=USED_104) for updates on the tour. Subscribers can expect to receive media advisories about the tour, press releases from the tour, and blog updates during the tour.
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TURNING AROUND SCHOOLS

This week, the White House welcomed more than 100 state, district, and school leaders and educators from 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Bureau of Indian Education for panel discussions on the transformative efforts underway in low-performing schools through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. During this event, 12 school turnaround leaders were honored as “Champions of Change.” These leaders were recognized for their roles in building a culture of high expectations, improving instruction, creating safe environments for learning, and fostering professional development, among many other efforts to elevate the quality of education in their schools. SIG invests in locally driven efforts to turnaround schools characterized by years of low attendance rates, low student achievement, and low graduation rates, as well as high rates of student disciplinary action and staff turnover. Currently, over 1,300 schools are working to turnaround through the SIG program. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions/school-turnaround-leaders.

In related news, the Department has re-launched the School Turnaround Learning Community (http://www.schoolturnaroundsupport.org/). The site features improved chat and search functions and a user-friendly reorganization of resources, aimed at allowing state, district, school, and community leaders to discuss innovative strategies and share promising practices. To date, the site has some 4,300 members, offers over 500 school turnaround resources, and has hosted nearly 60 webinars on critical topics, including early learning, increased learning time, teacher and leader effectiveness, family and community engagement, and supporting secondary and rural schools.
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CHANGE IS HARD -- BUT NECESSARY

Also this week, Secretary Duncan met with more than 800 language arts teachers from Baltimore County Public Schools at a professional development conference to kick-off the new school year. He thanked teachers for their commitment to students and encouraged them to continue to support the hard work of implementing higher student academic standards, transitioning to better accountability systems, and rethinking the teaching profession. “We know the quality of a school system is only as good as the quality of its teachers and leaders, and we consider it our solemn duty to support you and honor your good work,” he said. “We also know that many of the changes underway are difficult and will take time, but we all have to meet this challenge together, because the children who will be in front of you [next] Monday only get one chance at an education.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/08/duncan-tells-teachers-change-is-hard/.

That afternoon, 190 language arts teachers from each middle and high school across the district took part in roundtables with the Department’s Teaching Ambassador Fellows to discuss the Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) Project. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/08/inspired-by-teachers-again/.
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STUDENT HUNGER AND NUTRITION

According to a national survey by Share Our Strength, released August 23 at a school in Prince George’s County, Maryland, 60% of teachers said that they have students who regularly come to school hungry. The survey also found that students who are hungry have lower academic performance and suffer from health issues and behavioral problems. “When students are hungry and distracted, they’re not learning,” stressed Secretary Duncan at the release. “To set kids up for academic success, we must make sure they’re getting the healthy food they need at breakfast and lunch, so they can concentrate in the classroom throughout the day.” Share Our Strength has many resources to help educators have an impact on hunger at school. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://strength.org/teachers.

Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama recently hosted the first Kids’ State Dinner at the White House, showcasing 54 budding chefs -- between the ages of 8 and 12 -- representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several territories. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/08/20/first-lady-michelle-obama-hosts-first-ever-kids-state-dinner.
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ODDS AND ENDS

• A new White House report, “Investing in Our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/Investing_in_Our_Future_Report.pdf), reveals that more than 300,000 local education jobs have been lost since the end of the recession. As a result, the national student-teacher ratio increased by 4.6% from 2008 to 2010, rolling back gains made since 2000. The President has proposed a plan that would provide $25 billion to prevent teacher layoffs and support hundreds of thousands of teacher and other educator jobs.
• Earlier this month, the Secretary spoke at the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Higher Education Policy Conference, discussing states’ progress toward reaching President Obama’s 2020 college completion goal and initiatives to expand college access and increase transparency around college costs. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO
http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/remarks-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan-sheeo-higher-education-policy-conference.
• The percentage of U.S. high school graduates meeting all four of ACT’s College Readiness Benchmarks (25%) is unchanged from last year. Based on the actual performance of successful students in college, these benchmarks specify the minimum scores needed on each ACT subject area test to indicate a student is ready to succeed (a 50% chance of earning a “B” or higher or a 75% chance of earning a “C” or higher) in a typical first-year, credit-bearing college class in that subject area. Lack of college readiness is again most evident in the areas of math and science; just 46% of 2012 graduates are ready for college-level algebra, and only 31% are ready for college-level biology. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO
http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2012/.
• The federal government’s web portal has a Back to School landing page with resources and tips to help students, parents, and educators prepare for the new school year. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Back-to-School.shtml.
• The Census Bureau’s latest “Facts for Features” edition (http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb11-_ff15.html) presents statistics associated with the return to classrooms by students and teachers.
• The Department has launched a web page (http://www.ed.gov/parent-and-family-engagement) aimed at parent and family engagement.
• The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention is encouraging youth to submit Public Service Announcements (PSAs) -- 30- to 60-seconds in length -- that showcase ways they are taking action against bullying and promoting a culture of kindness and respect in their communities. The deadline for submissions is October 14. The top prize is $2,000. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://stopbullying.challenge.gov/.
• The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), which sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (also known as The Nation’s Report Card), is seeking nominations of qualified individuals to serve as board members for a four-year term starting October 1, 2013. NAGB is soliciting the broadest representation to fill positions in four categories: elementary school principal, testing/measurement expert, state legislator (Democrat), and general public representative (two openings). The deadline for all nominations is September 30. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.nagb.org/nominations2013.
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QUOTE TO NOTE

“America’s future is directly linked to the quality of education we provide our children, young people, and adults. It is the key to a vibrant middle class, strong national security, and global economic competitiveness…. In the past three years, I’ve traveled to 47 states, visited hundreds of schools, and meet with thousands of students, teachers, and parents who are finding new and innovative ways to teach and learn. This year’s bus tour is an opportunity to highlight what’s working and create momentum for education reforms that improve the lives of all students.”

-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (8/15/12), announcing a cross-country Back to School bus tour
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UPCOMING EVENTS

Today, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, Secretary Duncan will join NBC Today Money for a live web chat. He will answer questions about higher education-related topics, such as student loan debt and the cost of college. TO WATCH THE CHAT, PLEASE GO TO http://on.today.com/TXaV9Q.

The September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is the culmination of efforts launched by the non-profit organization MyGoodDeed in 2002, with wide support by the 9/11 community and leading national service organizations. As in years past, there will be opportunities for hundreds of thousands of volunteers to spruce up schools, paint and refurbish homes, run food drives, reclaim neighborhoods, and support veterans, soldiers, military families, and first responders. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.serve.gov/sept11.asp.

Planning is underway for International Education Week 2012 (November 12-16, coinciding with American Education Week), jointly sponsored by the Departments of Education and State. The week provides educational institutions and communities the opportunity to promote and celebrate the benefits of international education. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://iew.state.gov/

EPA to Host ENERGY STAR Buildings Partner Meeting

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will host a meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 10-11, 2012, for all ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Buildings partners. The meeting will convene expert speakers to share the latest energy management strategies, highlight how to leverage ENERGY STAR to improve business performance, and encourage sharing of best practices and lessons learned among attendees.

The Back to School and Beyond Action Kit and Calendar

The Coalition for Healthier Schools proudly announces the release of the Back to School and Beyond Action Kit and Calendar. These new resources will help ensure that your school's environmental quality is in top shape even before school starts.

U.S. Department of Education’s 2012 Back-to-School Bus Tour

DUNCAN ANNOUNCES 2012 CROSS-COUNTRY BACK-TO-SCHOOL BUS TOUR
“Education Drives America” to Spotlight Classroom Success, Link Education and the Economy

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and senior leaders from the U.S. Department of Education will push the message that “Education Drives America” in its third annual back-to-school bus tour this fall. In a series of events from coast-to-coast, Department officials will highlight education successes across the country and engage communities in conversations about school reform (P-12), college affordability and completion, and the link between education and jobs.

“America’s future is directly linked to the quality of education that we provide our children, young people and adults,” Duncan said. “It is the key to a vibrant middle class, strong national security and our global economic competitiveness.”

The bus tour will begin on Sept. 12 in Redwood City, California, and conclude at the Department of Education’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., on the evening of Sept. 21. Additional stops include, Sacramento, California; Reno and Elko, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; Rawlins, Rock Springs, and Cheyenne, Wyoming; Denver and Limon, Colorado; Topeka and Emporia, Kansas; Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri; Mt. Vernon, Illinois; Evansville, Indiana; Lexington, Kentucky; Charleston and McDowell County, West Virginia; Roanoke and Richmond, Virginia.

“In the past three years, I’ve traveled to 47 states, visited hundreds of schools and met with thousands of teachers, parents and students who are finding new and innovative ways to teach and learn,” Duncan said. “This bus tour is an opportunity to highlight what’s working and create momentum for education reforms that improve the lives of all students.”

This is the third annual back-to-school bus tour for Secretary Duncan and the Department of Education. In 2010, the back-to-school bus tour included the Delta region in the South and the Northeast. In 2011, the tour covered the Midwest from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin.

Duncan will lead the tour from Redwood City through Reno, Denver through Kansas City, and Charleston through Washington, D.C. Deputy Secretary Tony Miller and Under Secretary Martha Kanter will also lead portions of the tour.

Additional details, including specific sites, event times and participants, will be announced in the coming weeks. Senior department officials are also participating in over 60 satellite events along the bus tour route.

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U.S. DOE Releases Final App for RTT-D

On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Education posted the final application and other materials for the 2012 Race to the Top-District competition at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/.

The purpose of this nearly $400 million program is to build upon the lessons learned from previous state-level competitions and support bold, locally directed improvements in teaching and learning that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness. Applicants are invited to demonstrate how they can personalize education for all students in their schools. The Department plans to support high-quality proposals from applicants across a varied set of school districts, including rural and non-rural as well as those already participating in a Race to the Top grant and those not currently participating.

Webinars and conference calls will be offered over the coming weeks to provide technical assistance, and interested districts are requested to submit their intent to apply by August 30. Applications are due October 30. Awards will be announced no later than December 31, 2012.