[ECP] ED Review (03/09/07)

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  • Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 04:00:00 -0500


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March 9, 2007

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


On successive days last week, President Bush visited schools in New
Orleans, Louisiana, and New Albany, Indiana.  His purpose was
two-fold: (1) to herald "no excuses" schools dedicated to high
standards, assessments, and accountability and (2) to promote
reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act.  "There's nothing
better than being in the middle of a bright spot, a place that just
shines with optimism, in a part of the world that has gone through
some really difficult times," he said at New Orleans' Samuel J. Green
Charter School (see
which reopened five months after Hurricane Katrina to serve an
expanded student body (from grades 6-8 to K-8).  "I like a system that
is willing to challenge the status quo when the status quo is failing.
 One of the reasons I've come to this school is that it represents a
group of citizens?who said, we're tired of mediocrity in the school
system?.  And so the storm came and it did terrible devastation, but
it gave a chance for renewal.  And one of the areas where renewal is
most evident is in the school system of New Orleans, in the charter
system right here at Green."  At New Albany's Silver Street Elementary
School (see
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/03/20070302-8.html), the
President was more direct: "I appreciate very much that Silver Street
has met state standards for progress under No Child Left Behind every
year since 2002?.  Without a measurement system, you would be saying,
'Well, we anticipate that we are doing well.  We certainly hope that
we're meeting state standards.'  Under this system you can say, 'We
know we're meeting state standards.'  And that should give parents who
pay attention to this school a great comfort, and give the teachers
who teach here great pride?.  Watering down No Child Left Behind would
be doing thousands of children a disservice..."  At both venues,
President Bush emphasized the importance of local control, insisting
on the flexibility of the law.

Reading First was a cornerstone of NCLB. The Inspector General
Department's Report, a scorching internal review of the Bush
administration's billion-dollar-a-year reading program.

Meanwhile, to assist on No Child Left Behind implementation, the
President has designated Kerri Briggs as Acting Assistant Secretary
for Elementary and Secondary Education and intends to nominate her to
be Assistant Secretary.  Briggs currently serves as the Department's
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy
Development.  Previously, she worked in the Office of the Deputy
Secretary, as senior policy advisor.  She replaces Henry Johnson, who
retired at the end of December.  FOR

Learning English and Teach Reading

Also, adding to the dialogue on strengthening American education, the
Center for American Progress and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have
released "Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on
Educational Effectiveness."  All 50 states and the District of
Columbia are graded in nine areas, including rigor of standards,
academic achievement (using National Assessment of Educational
Progress data), postsecondary and workforce readiness, and return on
investment.  The conclusion, the researchers assert, "is unambiguous:
the states need to do a far better job of monitoring and delivering
quality schooling."   http://www.uschamber.com/icw/reportcard/

Report Cards

Evaluating the Evaluators

The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (March 20,
8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) will feature award-winning educators, university
leaders, and students discussing the Secretary's Commission on the
Future of Higher Education's final report and the Secretary's ensuing
Action Plan for Higher Education.  Specifically, guests will explore
how parents, schools, higher education institutions, and the U.S.
Department of Education can put the Commission's recommendations into
action to better prepare students for college, to help them succeed
once enrolled, and to make college affordable.  For generations, the
U.S. postsecondary education system has been the envy of the world.
Today, however, it is clear the system needs some repair.  For
example, although two-thirds of high-growth, high-wage jobs require a
college degree, only one-third of Americans have one.  Also, while 90%
of the fastest-growing jobs in the economy will require higher
education, more than 60% of Americans ages 25-64 have no postsecondary
education credential.  As a result, a U.S. worker with only a high
school diploma makes almost 40% less than one with a bachelor's
degree.  Put succinctly, in an era when what students know is the key
to the American dream, too many students are forgoing college.
You can watch live and archived webcasts at

Reading First Cost the Taxpayer
Reading First was a cornerstone of NCLB. The Inspector General
Department's Report, a scorching internal review of the Bush
administration's billion-dollar-a-year reading program.

Note: KnowHow2GO is a three-year effort aimed at helping low-income
students understand the steps they need to take to get into college.
Co-sponsored by the Ad Council, the American Council for Education,
and the Lumina Foundation for Education, the campaign is initially
targeting eighth- to tenth-graders.

On to advanced degrees.  A new report by the Department's National
Center for Education Statistics (NCES), "The Path Through Graduate
School," uses longitudinal data from an earlier study to examine
characteristics related to graduate degree enrollment, persistence,
and completion among 1992-93 bachelor's degree recipients.  About 40%
of these students had enrolled in a graduate degree program by 2003.
On average, most students waited two to three years to enroll, and,
among those who enrolled between 1993 and 2003, some 62% had earned at
least one graduate degree by 2003.  Master's degree students took an
average of three years to complete their degree; first-year
professional students took four years; and doctoral students took more
than five years.  Notably, after controlling for a range of variables,
rates of persistence and completion were higher among students who
entered graduate school immediately after earning a bachelor's degree,
who attended full-time and enrolled continuously, and who enrolled in
multiple graduate degree programs.

Be sure to review the FY 2007 Grants Forecast (as of Mach 1) at
http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/find/edlite-forecast.html, which lists
virtually all programs and competitions under which the Department has
invited or expects to invite applications for awards and provides
actual or estimated dates for the transmittal of applications under
these programs.  The lists are in the form of charts -- organized by
principal program office -- and will be updated regularly through
July.  (Note: This document is advisory only and not an official
application notice of the U.S. Department of Education.)
One grant competition that is already underway is the Early Childhood
Educator Professional Development Program.  This program complements
the President's early reading initiative by funding replicable
professional development programs that improve the knowledge and
skills of early childhood educators who serve in high-poverty
communities and who primarily work with children from low-income
families.  Eligible applicants are partnerships consisting of one or
more institutions of higher education and one or more public or
private entities (including faith-based organizations).
Applications are due April 20.

"Para Nuestros Niños: Expanding and Improving Early Education for
Hispanics," the final report from the National Task Force on Early
Childhood Education for Hispanics, urges that Hispanic children be
enrolled in quality education programs as early as possible in order
to make more rapid progress in closing the Hispanic-white achievement
gap.  Growing evidence suggests toddler/infant and pre-kindergarten
programs are producing school readiness gains for Hispanic children
who have the opportunity to participate.  Yet, Hispanic children
continue to be under-represented in such programs due to an inadequate
supply of affordable preschool seats in many communities, a lack of
program information for Hispanic parents, and language barriers with
program operators.   http://www.ecehispanic.org/

English as a Second Language Literacy Research


Late last month, the Education Rate (E-Rate) Program reached an
important milestone: 10 years of operation.  Administered by the
Universal Service Administrative Company
(http://www.universalservice.org/sl/), under the direction of the
Federal Communications Commission, the E-Rate is a federally funded
program that provides up to $2.25 billion a year in discounts on
telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal networking
to U.S. public and private schools and local libraries.  To date,
nearly $19 billion in discounts have been provided.  And, according to
a report by two technology education coalitions, the program is
working.  Indeed, the E-Rate has increased the number of public school
classrooms with Internet access from 14% in 1996 to 95% in 2005.
Moreover, the E-Rate allows 100% of public libraries to provide free
Internet access to their communities.  Nevertheless, work remains:
libraries and schools need to expand bandwidth capacities to ensure
students, teachers, and the public keep pace with technology.

 E-rate Whistle Blowers guarding against misuse or waste of E-rate
funds is a priority shared by USAC, the Schools and Libraries
Division, the FCC, applicants, service providers, and the public. To
that end, the Whistleblower Hotline allows applicants, service
providers, and others to alert us­anonymously, if desired­to instances
where E-rate funds are being misapplied or where potential program
rule violations may exist.

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