ED Review (01/27/06)

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  • Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 10:28:01 -0500

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ED REVIEW January 27, 2006

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

NCLB UPDATE (http://www.ed.gov/nclb/)

January 20 marked Secretary Spellings' first year as the nation's
chief educator.  Below are excerpts from articles on the occasion.

"Taking over as education secretary a year ago, Margaret Spellings
promised to enforce the No Child Left Behind law with flexibility not
previously seen much from Bush administration officials, including
her....  She has given state leaders leeway in how and when they
measure student progress, improve teacher quality, test children with
disabilities, provide tutoring to poor kids, and cope with hurricane
evacuees....  'We're on the way to keep that promise,' Spellings said
in an interview with The Associated Press, talking about cooperation
with states.  What she wants in return is results, mainly better test
scores among poor and minority children."  (Ben Feller, "Spellings Not
Subtle About Change in Tone," Associated Press,

"It's hard to imagine most of her predecessors as education secretary,
regardless of how in tune they were with children, flopping to the
floor with students [as Spellings did in December at Guilford
Elementary School in Maryland].  It's just a small example of the way
Ms. Spellings has put a more engaging and accessible face on the U.S.
Department of Education during her first year as its helm.  She took
over at the agency from Secretary Rod Paige on January 20 of last
year, becoming the first mother with school-age children to hold the
post....  'I would not do anything differently last year,' she said in
an interview in her office on January 9 -- the day that she and
President Bush marked the fourth anniversary of [No Child Left
Behind].  'I think we're in the right place.'"  (Michelle Davis,
"Yearly Progress," Education Week,
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/01/18/19spellings.h25.html --
free registration required)

"On the issue that absorbs educators nationwide -- No Child Left
Behind -- Spellings has sought to project a new pragmatism in her
first year....  'It was, in my opinion, absolutely right to take a
hard line and to take an aggressive approach on implementing No Child
Left Behind in the beginning,' Spellings noted last week.  'Of course
it was.  But should we learn as we go?  That's equally true.'....  In
the coming year, Spellings said she wants to examine what states are
doing to improve schools that repeatedly fail to meet standards."
(Nick Anderson, "The No Child Law's Flexible Enforcer," Washington

HURRICANE RELIEF (http://hurricanehelpforschools.gov/)

Visiting with leaders of eight major New Orleans institutions of
higher education affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Secretary
Spellings announced the availability of an additional $30 million in
education aid -- on top of the $200 million appropriated by Congress
-- to help Gulf Coast colleges and universities that were directly
impacted by the hurricanes, as well as other postsecondary
institutions around the country that enrolled displaced students.  The
$30 million is unspent federal financial aid that is being redirected.
 "Institutions of higher education are a vital component in the
rebuilding of New Orleans," she stated.  "We know that much work
remains to be done, and we stand ready to help...."  FOR MORE
http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/01/01182006.html.  (Note:
The $200 million, part of the Hurricane Education Recovery Act,
includes $190 million for Louisiana's and Mississippi's boards of
higher education and $10 million for the 99 institutions that enrolled
displaced students.)


The What Works Clearinghouse, established by the Department's
Institute of Education Sciences, recently launched an Evidence-Based
Education Help Desk (http://whatworkshelpdesk.ed.gov/).  The Help
Desk's mission is to provide policymakers, practitioners, and
researchers with easy-to-use resources to advance evidence-based
education.  Specifically, the Help Desk offers resources to assist in
conducting rigorous evaluations of education programs, sponsoring
evaluations, and identifying and implementing evidence-based programs.
 Knowledgeable moderators are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
ET, Monday through Friday, by phone (1-866-WWC-9799) or by email
(mailto:info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx), to navigate users through what is available.


It's a new year, which usually means new grant competitions.  This
year is no exception.  For example, the popular Early Reading First
Program supports local efforts to enhance the oral language,
cognitive, and early reading skills of preschool-age children,
particularly those from low-income families, through strategies,
materials, and professional development.  The competition is open to
high-need school districts
(http://www.ed.gov/programs/earlyreading/eligibility.html) and
organizations (public or private) within those districts.  The
deadline for transmittal of pre-applications is February 21, while the
deadline for applications is May 8.  The AP Test Fee Program, whose
competition is limited to states, covers all or part of the cost of
test fees for needy children who are enrolled in Advanced Placement
(AP) classes.  Applications are due February 21.  The Charter Schools
Program seeks to expand the number of high-quality charter schools by
providing financial assistance for planning, program design, initial
implementation, and proper evaluation.  The competition is open to
states with a charter law and charter schools within states that elect
not to participate or do not have an application approved.  The
deadline for applications is March 10.  http://www.ed.gov/GrantApps/
lists all competitions that are currently underway and provides links
to electronic application packages, forms, and other critical information.


And with the new year comes new personnel.  First, President Bush
appointed current Chief of Staff David Dunn as acting Undersecretary
of Education
(http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/01/01182006a.html).  In
this role, he will administer policies, programs, and activities
related to postsecondary education, federal student aid (including the
President's financial reforms for the Pell Grant program), and
vocational and adult education.  Dunn has served as the agency's Chief
of Staff since January 2005, and he will continue in that capacity.
Second, in response to the departure of Nina Rees
Secretary Spellings named Chris Doherty as acting Deputy
Undersecretary for Innovation and Improvement.  Doherty, who
previously directed the Reading First Program and served as Deputy
Secretary Ray Simon's Chief of Staff, will oversee the Department's
"nimble, entrepreneurial arm," which makes strategic investments in
promising practices through discretionary grant programs and
coordinates the public school choice and supplemental education
service provisions under No Child Left Behind.  Third, former New
Hampshire lawmaker and health care consultant Rogers Johnson is the
Department's new director of Intergovernmental Affairs.  He will work
closely with state and local elected officials on a variety of
education issues.

Note: Speaking of local elected officials, the U.S. Conference of
Mayors has released "Mayoral Leadership and Involvement in Education:
An Action Guide for Success."  FOR A COPY, PLEASE GO TO


How about some insightful statistical analyses?  The Department's
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) continues to churn out
perceptive reports, based on its on-going surveys.  Among the latest:

·       "Parents' Reports of School Practices to Provide Information
to Families: 1996 and 2003."  This report examines seven school
practices to promote parent involvement

·       "Teacher Professional Development in 1999-2000: What Teachers,
Principals, and District Staff Report."  This report looks at how
teacher professional development was organized and managed, what kinds
of activities were available to teachers, and which ones they
participated in (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2006305).

·       "Public Elementary and Secondary Students, Staff, Schools, and
School Districts: School Year 2003-04."  As the title suggests, this
report has data about students enrolled in public education, as well
as numbers and types of teachers, other staff, schools, and districts

Also, NCES has updated its rural education site:

"I want to talk about 'math phobia.'....  People think, oh, I don't
want my daughter to be an engineer, she'll be a freak.  And of course
that's not true.  She'll be successful....  And we hear mom from the
soccer field say, 'You know, I don't want my kids to be stressed out;
they're not developmentally ready to take algebra yet.'  This sort of
thing, that kind of thing, is insidious.  That doesn't add up to
building demand for vigorous coursework, math and science competency,
and so forth.  So I want you all to be a part of the demand for change
at the grassroots level for the kinds of things that we must do, if
your company is going to be successful, and if our country is going to
be successful."

-- Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (1/12/06), addressing the
Microsoft Women's Conference in Seattle

Just a reminder: the President's will deliver his State of the Union
address on January 31.  And, on February 6, the President will release
his Fiscal Year 2007 budget request.

Based on an essay competition, 10 students from each state and
territory will be awarded a free trip to North Dakota to participate
in the Lewis & Clark Youth Rendezvous (August 13-18).  The deadline
for essays is February 28.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

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