[ECP] ED Review (04/06/07)

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  • Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 04:00:00 -0400


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April 6, 2007

This week, Secretary Spellings was in Arizona (April 2-3) and
Minnesota (April 5) to engage business and community leaders and
promote reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act.
In Arizona, she toured Mesa Arts Academy, a charter school operated by
the Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley, where students have made
tremendous progress on the state assessment while infusing dance,
music, painting, and other arts into the curriculum.  She also met
with members of the Arizona Business Education Coalition, representing
technology and telecommunications companies (see
http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/04/04022007.html).  In
Minnesota, she delivered remarks to the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce
and toured Grainwood Elementary School (Prior Lake) (see
http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/04/04052007.html).  Looking
for more details?  Check out the Secretary's brand new travel log at

Right now the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is working on language for the re-authorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. This is a good time to express your thoughts and concerns to your elected leaders. One way to do this is through the "No Child Left Behind Letters to Congress Project" on-line at FaithfulAmerica.org. There you will find 10 letters ­ 10 distinct opportunities for you to weigh in on the pending reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. The letters will be sent electronically according to your zip code to your two senators and your Congressional representative. In each letter there is a place, right in the middle, for you to insert your own story. Please use these opportunities to share how NCLB is affecting your child, or a teacher you know, or your own school, or your community. Each of these letters lifts up one of "Ten Moral Concerns in the Implementation of No Child Left Behind," a statement released by the National Council of Churches last year. Please take this opportunity to tell your own truth to your elected officials.

No Child Left Behind is the latest version of the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (ESEA), signed into law by President Lyndon
Johnson in 1965.  In honor of President Johnson's commitment to
learning, President Bush recently signed a bill designating the U.S.
Department of Education's main headquarters in Washington, D.C., as
the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education building.  Before
entering politics, Johnson was a teacher.  During his presidency, he
signed more than 60 education bills, including the Economic
Opportunity Act of 1964 (establishing Head Start), ESEA, and the
Higher Education Act of 1965.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO


The registry is organized by state and by grade level.
The registry also includes sites for charter Schools, virtual schools,
school districts, state and regional education organizations, state
departments of education, state standards and state administrators.

On April 4, Secretary Spellings announced new regulations under the No
Child Left Behind Act allowing states to assess certain students with
disabilities using an alternate assessment.
Specifically, states may develop modified academic achievement
standards based on grade-level content -- and alternate assessments
based on those standards -- for students with disabilities who are
capable of achieving high standards but who may not reach grade level
in the same time as their peers.  States may count proficient and
advanced test scores on these alternate assessments for up to 2% of
all students assessed when calculating Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
under the law.  These regulations build on flexibility already
provided for students with the most significant cognitive
disabilities, where states may count up to 1% of proficient and
advanced assessment scores based on alternate achievement standards
toward the AYP calculation.
At the same time, the Secretary released guidance on the
implementation of the new regulations, offering recommendations on
such issues as how students with disabilities can be appropriately
identified for this assessment.  She also announced $21.1 million in
grants to help states develop new assessments for these students and a
Special Education Partnership for technical assistance (a July 2007
meeting with interested states, monthly teleconferences, etc.).
Plus, the Department's National Center on Education Statistics (NCES)
has released a new issue brief on the timing of entry into special
education and the primary grades in which students receive special
services.  About 12% of students receive special education in at least
one grade: kindergarten, first-grade, and third-grade, including 16%
of boys, 8% of girls, 18% of poor students, and 10% of non-poor
students.  Half of those who begin special education in kindergarten
are no longer receiving special education by third-grade.


The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (April 17,
8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) will highlight the growing range of options
available to parents who want a quality education for their children.
Today, parents have many choices.  They can choose from neighborhood
schools, charter schools, and other public schools of choice.
Increasingly, they can also transfer their children to another school
in or out of district.  In addition, they can select private schools
(religious or secular) or teach their children at home.  And, free
tutoring programs are now available to students in certain
low-performing schools.  No Child Left Behind, creative state
legislation, and the expansion of privately funded scholarship
programs for low-income children have each significantly expanded
choice.  Nevertheless, the demand for choice continues to outstrip
supply.  Thus, in his 2008 budget proposal, President Bush has
allocated $500 million to help states turn around the performance of
chronically under-performing schools and $300 million to provide new
options, including public and private school choice in the form of
Promise and Opportunity scholarships.  The broadcast will discuss
these proposals, as well as effective charter and choice programs
raising student achievement.

Speaking of choice, during the last couple of days (April 5-6) state
policymakers and researchers have been gathering at the Fairmont
Washington Hotel to hear about the Department's initiatives,
resources, and technical assistance to support charter schools.  The
National Charter Schools Program Showcase featured a variety of
practical breakout sessions and spotlighted eight charter high schools
(see http://www.ed.gov/admins/comm/choice/charterhs/).  The number of
charter schools has jumped from 2,000 in 2001 to nearly 4,000 today.

NCES' "Literacy in Everyday Life" presents data from the 2003 National
Assessment of Adult Literacy, the first assessment of the English
literacy of adults (16 and up) in the U.S. since 1992.  Three types of
literacy were measured: prose (news stories and instructional
materials), document (job applications and food and drug labels), and
quantitative (balancing a checkbook and figuring out a tip).  Between
1992 and 2003, there were no statistically significant changes in
average prose and document literacy.  However, average quantitative
literacy increased.  And, in a reversal from 1992, women had higher
average prose and document literacy than their male peers in 2003.
While men still recorded higher average quantitative literacy than
women, that gap narrowed.  Why does this matter?  There is a clear,
direct relationship between literacy and a number of future economic
indicators, such as employment status, occupation, salary, and
participation in public assistance programs.  For example, a higher
percentage of adults with high levels of literacy lived in households
with incomes above $100,000.  Moreover, parents at various literacy
levels interact differently with children at home.  For example, a
higher percentage of adults with high prose literacy read to their
children five or more times a week.

Be sure to review the FY 2007 Grants Forecast (as of March 26) 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.)
Meanwhile, the Department has reopened the Advanced Placement (AP)
Test Fee Program competition, which awards grants to states to enable
them to pay AP fees for low-income students.  Applications are due
April 18. http://www.ed.gov/programs/apfee/.

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