ED Review (09/22/06)

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  • Date: Tue, 03 Oct 2006 12:52:02 -0400

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September 22, 2006

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


Secretary Spellings recently concluded her Back to School tour of the
country with new grant announcements, two major addresses, and a
whirlwind visit to Pennsylvania.  First, she announced 33 grants,
totaling $17 million, to boost the participation of low-income
students in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and tests
(http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/09/09082006.html).  Second,
she delivered remarks at a National Historically Black College and
Universities Week conference at Howard University in Washington, D.C.,
reminding students of the availability of Academic Competitiveness and
National SMART grants
(http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/09/09122006.html).  Third,
she visited Wilson Elementary School in Imperial, Pennsylvania, spoke
to the National Conference of Editorial Writers
(http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/09/09142006.html) in
Pittsburgh, and read to children in the Reach Out and Read program at
the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  Finally, in suburban
Virginia, she announced the first of dozens of grants, totaling $22
million, to help students learn critical foreign languages

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

Yesterday (September 21), Secretary Spellings joined National Urban
League President Marc Morial in Columbus, Ohio, to announce a new
collaboration aimed at increasing parental involvement in selecting
supplemental educational services.  A town hall meeting immediately
followed the announcement, allowing parents to learn about the
services, receive information on educational providers in the area,
register their children, and speak to families who have benefited from
such services.  Similar town hall meetings are scheduled for Broward
County, Florida, and Gary, Indiana.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO
TO http://www.nul.org/PressReleases/2006/2006pr364.html.

This morning, the Secretary will name the initial batch of 2006 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools. (A second batch will be named next month, after states complete Adequate Yearly Progress [AYP] calculations.) This program recognizes high performing schools (schools whose students, regardless of background, perform in the top 10 percent on their state assessments [public] or nationally normed assessments [private]) and dramatically improving schools (schools whose students, at least 40 percent of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, significantly improved on tests to score in at least the top 40 percent statewide). Chief State School Officers nominate public schools. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. Of the schools nominated by each state, at least one-third must have more than 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds. All recipients must meet AYP requirements, as defined by their states. Schools will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., November 10-11. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/awards.html.

In other K-12 news:
In a letter to Chief State School Officers, Assistant Secretary for
Elementary and Secondary Education Henry Johnson provided an update on
the Department's priorities for the new school year, including
improving assessments for limited English proficient (LEP) students
and implementing the growth model pilot.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE
GO TO http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/stateletters/priorityltr.pdf.

Acting Undersecretary and Chief of Staff David Dunn discussed
reauthorization of No Child Left Behind at the Business Roundtable's
fourth annual forum on the law.  A transcript will be available

According to educators surveyed by the Center on Education Policy, Reading First is having a positive and significant impact on student achievement. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.cep-dc.org/pubs/readingfirst/CEP-ReadingFirst.pdf.

-->CHECK THE STATISTICS http://tinyurl.com/hhd2u
Literacy Scam and Shame http://tinyurl.com/ewgqn
9/2006 The Inspector General of the Department of Education says the
Bush administration's $4.8 billion dollar a year Reading First program
ignored the law and ethical standards to steer money how it wanted and
the conflicts of interest . Four major issues that should alarm
educators and taxpayers alike.

________________________________________________________ LEP REGULATIONS

Speaking of limited English proficient (LEP) students, the Department
has unveiled final regulations for testing and evaluating LEP students
under No Child Left Behind.  The rules differ only slightly from the
proposed regulations published two years ago, defining a "recently
arrived" LEP student as one who has attended school in the U.S. for 12
months or less -- compared to 10 months or less -- and requiring the
reporting of "exemptions."  Nevertheless, the rules codify greater
flexibility on assessment, while  holding the line on accountability.
All "recently arrived" LEP students are exempt from one administration
of the state's reading test.  They must still take an English language
proficiency test and the math test, but the scores do not have to be
used in calculating AYP until the second administration of the test.
For AYP determinations, the scores of former LEP students may be
included in the LEP category for up to two years.  FOR MORE

Note: Among the What Works Clearinghouse's latest batch of intervention reports is one on English language learning initiatives. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.whatworks.ed.gov/.


On September 19, after a year of public hearings and meetings,
Secretary Spellings received the final report of the Commission on the
Future of Higher Education.  "Among the vast and varied institutions
that make up U.S. higher education, we have found much to applaud but
also much that requires urgent reform," the members explained.  "As
Americans, we can take great pride in our Nobel Prizes, our scientific
breakthroughs, our Rhodes Scholars.  But we must not be blind to the
less inspiring realities of postsecondary education in our country."
Specifically, the Commission offers a series of recommendations
designed to improve accessibility, affordability, and accountability:

expand higher education access and success by improving student
preparation and persistence, addressing non-academic barriers, and
providing significant increases in aid to low-income students;

restructure the entire student financial aid system to combat the
escalating cost of higher education, adding new incentives to manage
costs and measure performance;

create a "culture of accountability and transparency" across higher
education, with new systems of data measurement and a publicly
available information database;

embrace a "culture of continuous innovation and quality improvement"
by developing new pedagogies, curricula, and technologies,
particularly in math and science literacy;

formulate a national strategy for life-long learning so all citizens
understand the importance of participating in higher education
throughout their lives; and

increase federal investment in areas critical to global
competitiveness and re-commit to attracting the brightest minds from
across the U.S. and around the world.

.pdf. (Note: On September 26, the Secretary will detail her action
plan for higher education at the National Press Club.)

In other higher education news:
The Secretary announced that the national student loan default rate is
5.1 percent, an increase from last year's record-low rate of 4.5
percent but 77 percent less than the all-time high of 22.4 percent.
All of the nation's colleges and universities have default rates low
enough to remain eligible for federal financial aid programs.  FOR

A report from the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance,
"Mortgaging Our Future," focuses on how financial barriers created by
rising college prices and insufficient need-based grant aid lower
bachelor's degree attainments and undercut America's competitiveness
in the global economy.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Dr. Arthur Levine, former president of Columbia University's Teachers
College, has released the second report in his four-part series on
schools of education.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO


Earlier this week, First Lady Laura Bush hosted the first White House
Conference on Global Literacy at the New York Public Library.  The
conference showcased initiatives being used in developing countries
with high illiteracy rates, including work supported by the U.S.
government, the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO), and private entities.  Panels focused on three
areas of literacy: Mother-Child Literacy and Intergenerational
Learning; Literacy for Health; and Literacy for Economic
Self-Sufficiency.  Next, UNESCO will hold regional conferences,
gathering regional experiences, disseminating effective practices, and
mobilizing partners and resources.  More than 771 million adults
around the world cannot read.  Eighty-five percent of them live in
just 35 countries, concentrated in regions of poverty, and over
two-thirds are women.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO
http://www.globalliteracy.gov/. (Note: The Secretary moderated one of
the panels.  Her remarks are at


According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development's (OECD) "Education at a Glance," which tracks 30
industrialized nations, America's international standing in education
continues to erode.  For example, the U.S. graduation rate is pegged
at 75 percent, placing it 17th out of 22 countries, behind the OECD
average of 81 percent.  Similarly, several countries have surpassed
the U.S. in individuals with a college degree; the U.S., at 39
percent, now ranks seventh, behind Canada (53 percent), Japan (52
percent), and Korea (49 percent).  Also, the U.S.'s 54 percent
"survival rate" (percentage of individuals who enroll in college and
ultimately receive a degree) is one of the OECD's lowest and well
below the OECD average of 70 percent.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO
TO http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2006/.


"By investing in literacy and education, governments build their
economies.  When people read, they're more likely to participate in
business and trade, which leads to greater economic development.  And
literacy helps both men and women provide for themselves, their
families, and their communities.  Countries prosper with an educated

-- First Lady Laura Bush (9/18/06),
   White House Conference on Global Literacy

To give the public an overview of Part B regulations implementing the
reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
will be holding a series of community-based meetings.  These meetings,
which start next week, are free, and no registration is required.  FOR
MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/cbpm/.

October 30 and November 1, the Office of English Language Acquisition
(OELA) will host its fifth Celebrate Our Rising Stars Summit in
Washington, D.C.  The theme is "Strategies to Close the Achievement
Gap."  There is a registration fee.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE TO
GO http://www.oelasummit.org/.


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