ED Review (10/20/06)

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  • Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 13:02:14 -0400

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October 20, 2006

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


In response to the recent spate of school shootings in Colorado,
Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, President Bush asked Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to
convene a meeting of school safety experts and other stakeholders to
share valuable lessons from prior incidents and emphasize what can be
done to shield schools from future violence.  (By and large, schools
remain "safe places," http://nces.ed.gov/programs/crimeindicators/,
with children 70 times more likely to be victims outside school walls
than within them.)  The diverse group met on October 10, with panels
on (1) the scope of the school violence problem; (2) steps schools and
communities can take to help avert new tragedies; and (3) short- and
long-term needs of schools and communities following traumatic events.
 At the close of the meeting, Gonzales and Spellings summarized the
panel discussions with the President.  "All of us in this country want
our classrooms to be gentle places of learning, where students not
only learn the basic skills necessary to become productive citizens
but learn to relate to one another," President Bush said.  "The
violence we've seen is upsetting to a lot of people.  But rather than
be upset, it's best for all of us...to be proactive."  Specifically,
the White House unveiled a new web site
(http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/education/schoolsafety/) as a
one-stop source of information, including a fact sheet, transcripts
and videos of the panel discussions, and a growing list of federal,
state, and local resources
That same day, Secretary Spellings also hosted a special "Ask the
White House" chat (http://www.whitehouse.gov/ask/20061010.html) on the
conference and other topics.

Note: To assist educators in their planning for pandemic influenza,
the Department has published a new planning guide.  FOR MORE

Health Map Global disease alert mapping system http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Linguistics/birdflu.html

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

On October 18, President Bush and Secretary Spellings were in the
Greensboro, North Carolina, area, emphasizing how No Child Left Behind
has helped improve education.  They met with community leaders, toured
Falkener Elementary School (which fell short of its performance goals
in 2003 but has made Adequate Yearly Progress [AYP] every year since),
and visited young children with chronic medical conditions or serious
illnesses at Victory Junction Gang Camp (founded by NASCAR's Kyle
Petty and his wife in honor of their son).  FOR MORE INFORMATION,
PLEASE GO TO http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061018.html.

Last week, Secretary Spellings announced that 36 more schools in six states (Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania) have been named 2006 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools. These schools were not among the initial 250 named last month because the Department was waiting for information on AYP. All recipients must meet AYP requirements, as defined by their states. The schools will be recognized November 10 and 11 in Washington, D.C. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/awards.html.

Also last week, the Secretary and National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Executive Director Vincent Ferrandino announced the 2006 National Distinguished Principals. "Effective principals mean better schools, motivated teachers, informed parents, and thriving students," the Secretary stated. "It's important that we commend and reward these outstanding leaders, recognizing their dedication and commitment is making a real difference in the lives of our children." The principals are selected by NAESP state affiliates and by committees representing private and overseas schools. The guidelines include: nomination by peers; demonstrated commitment to excellence; evidence of support by students, colleagues, parents, and the community; high standards and expectations for all students and staff; and service as a leader for at least five years. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/10/10102006a.html. ________________________________________________________


As part of the President's National Security Language Initiative
guage.html), the Department has announced $12.9 million in grants to
school districts in 22 states to help dramatically increase the number
of Americans learning foreign languages deemed crucial to national
security and international commerce.  When combined with the
continuation of funding for existing Foreign Language Assistance
Program grants, the agency has awarded more than $22 million.  In the
post-9/11 world, the ability to engage foreign governments and people,
especially in critical regions, is essential.  Yet, less than one
percent of American high school students, combined, study Arabic,
Chinese, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, or Urdu.  FOR MORE

Note: The Department's next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast, focusing on the National Security Language Initiative, is scheduled for November 21. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.ed.gov/news/av/video/edtv/.


Meanwhile, in various settings across the nation, the Secretary
continues to promote her comprehensive action plan for higher
education.  First, October 13, she addressed the Association of
Community College Trustees in Orlando, Florida
(http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2006/10/10132006.html), noting
the days of politicians talking about America's higher education
system merely in terms of four-year colleges and universities "are
over.  Today, the largest percentage of students receiving federal
Pell Grant aid are community college students."  (She also revealed
that, next month, she will be leading a delegation of university
presidents to Asia to consider common challenges.)  Then, on October
17, she joined students, education officials, and business leaders at
the University of New Mexico for an intense roundtable discussion on
higher education and global competitiveness
remarking "To help keep America competitive, we must provide students
and families more information and more affordable access to higher
education, while holding our institutions of higher education
accountable for student learning."

Note: Presentations by the Department's Office of Postsecondary
Education (OPE) and Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) -- including
sessions on AC and SMART grants, the Direct Loan and Family Loan
programs, and student loan forgiveness -- are posted at


More than 300 individuals representing business, education, and
government interests gathered together in New Orleans October 18-20 to
celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation
Act (NHPA).  Through this national effort and President Bush's
Preserve America Initiative (http://www.preserveamerica.gov/),
communities of students and teachers have been able to learn American
history by exploring actual physical evidence of our past.  Whether
touring historic places, visiting national parks, or observing
historical objects, children are experiencing our history and studying
the diversity that makes us so unique.  Of course, as time passes,
more and more places of historical importance are at risk.  Therefore,
the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, working in partnership
with the History Channel and the Newspaper in Education Institute, has
created a 20-page newspaper supplement and companion document to
develop a broader understanding of historic preservation and the
continuing role of the NHPA in contemporary society.  These materials
incorporate numerous examples and stories of preservation activities.


Starting November 1, students, teachers, and parents from across the
country will have an opportunity to share their ideas and viewpoints
on how technology should be utilized in the education process through
NetDay's fourth annual Speak Up survey.  This year's survey will
follow up on many of the issues discussed in previous years, as well
as address new hot topics in education.  The system will remain open
for about one month.  The results are shared with participating
schools and school districts (registration is already open!) so that
they can use the data for planning and community conversation.  In
addition, the results are used by local, state, and national
organizations and government agencies to inform new programs and
polices.   http://www.netday.org/SPEAKUP/.


"They say to me, 'What do you want from the schools?'  I don't know if
you recognize this, but [the U.S.] just had six Nobel Prize winners
recently announced, all of whom went to public schools in America.
And I hope, as I travel through the halls of schools like this one,
I'm meeting Nobel Prize winners of the future.  It's a noble
aspiration for all of us to aim for."

-- President George W. Bush (10/18/06),
   at Falkener Elementary School in Greensboro

National Veterans Awareness Week (November 5-11) encourages schools to
invite veterans into their classrooms in the days leading up to and
following Veterans Day (November 11).  Veterans are asked to share
their experiences and teach students lessons about the history and
significance of Veterans Day, helping students reflect on the
importance of sacrifice for the ideals of freedom and democracy.  FOR
MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/.  (A
school kit is available at http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/schoolkit.asp.)

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