U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Release Joint Guidance on Foster Youth

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released guidance to states, school districts and child welfare agencies on the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for supporting children in foster care. The guidance aims to assist state and local partners in understanding and implementing the new law, and to inform state and local collaboration between educational and child welfare agencies across the nation for the well-being of children in foster care. The guidance is the first the Department of Education is releasing regarding provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act, in the coming weeks and months to help states, districts and schools as the implement the new law. In addition, the Education Department is also releasing a letter to states and districts stressing the importance and utility of stakeholder engagement as they begin to transition to ESSA.

Over the past several months, the Education Department hosted over 200 meetings with stakeholders from across the country, including parents and teachers, school leaders, state and district officials, tribes, and civil rights groups on a number of issues. The most notable dialogue centered on the equity and excellence goals of ESSA, and how to protect the civil rights of students. The guidance released today has been informed by promising practices from states and districts, as well as input from many and diverse stakeholders consulted during the development of the resource.

Full story of ED and HHS release joint guidance on foster youth at ed.gov

Education Department Announces New Data Showing FAFSA Completion by District, State

The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office (FSA) today posted a series of updates to its data center, a collection of key performance data on the federal student aid portfolio. The updates, which continue the Department’s commitment to greater transparency on the federal student loan portfolio and other key financial aid metrics, include school district-level Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates and the total fiscal year-to-date dollar amount recovered in defaulted student loans by guaranty agency and collection type.

“Though students ultimately make the choice to attend college, no one makes the journey to college alone,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “It is up to all of us to make the dream of a college education more accessible for more families by removing roadblocks to college and giving borrowers options to help manage their debt. The latest updates to the FSA Data Center, which for the first time offer district-level FAFSA completion data and state-level maps, serve as additional tools for schools and families to help students go to college.”

Full story of new data showing FAFSA completion by district and state at ed.gov

Education Department Releases Guidance on Gender Equity in Career and Technical Education

As part of the Administration’s United State of Women Summit, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Adult, Career, and Technical Education released a Dear Colleague Letter today to make clear that all students, regardless of their sex, must have equal access to the full range of career and technical (CTE) programs offered.

“As the father of two daughters, I want my girls – and all young women in this country – to have access to the careers of their dreams, no matter the path,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Career and technical education is not just about preparing some students for successful lives and careers, it’s about giving all students the tools to succeed.”

Ensuring that all students have access to high-quality secondary and postsecondary CTE programs is central to achieving equity required in law. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act requires states to meet negotiated targets for participation and completion rates of males and females in programs that are nontraditional for their sex. Despite efforts to increase enrollment of male and female students in fields that are non-traditional for their sex, disparities persist in certain fields.

Full story of ED on gender equity in career and education at ed.gov

Fact Sheet: New Cities Join My Brother’s Keeper Success Mentors Initiative to Combat Chronic Student Absences and Drive School and Life Success

Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.:
“It is extraordinary and inspiring that 30 communities across the country are participating in the My Brother’s Keeper Success Mentor program. This nationwide effort is changing outcomes for students and demonstrating the power of engaging communities in helping all children thrive,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “We congratulate all the students and the mentors who are leaders in this work to end chronic absenteeism and help more students to reach their full potential.”

The White House and the U.S. Department of Education announced today the names of the 20 new communities that have joined the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Success Mentors Initiative – for a total of 30 communities. The new communities are: Albuquerque, New Mexico; Baltimore, Maryland; Cleveland, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Detroit and Flint, Michigan; Fresno, California; Hartford, Connecticut; Indianola, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Oakland, California; Orlando, Florida; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California and the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Full story on new cities joining mentors initiative at ed.gov

Federal Agencies Team-Up to Promote Diversity in Schools and Communities, and Narrow Opportunity Gaps

The U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Transportation (DOT) are partnering to help state and local leaders increase diversity in their schools and communities, and to narrow opportunity gaps. On Wednesday, June 8, the agencies will host an interagency listening session for education, housing, and transportation leaders at ED’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The afternoon session will bring together educators, researchers and community leaders with policy experts and leaders from the three agencies to discuss voluntary, community-led strategies to promote increased diversity in our schools and neighborhoods. The event will include panels on the benefits of diversity, opportunities at the federal level, a case study on diversity work in action, and community planning. Attendees will also hear from individuals on the front lines who are doing this work, as well as from senior officials at the three agencies who will discuss opportunities to further locally-driven efforts to support diversity.

Full story of promoting diversity in schools and communities at ed.gov

FACT SHEET: Supporting Dual Language Learners in Early Learning Settings

Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.:
“The number of children ages 5 to 17 in the U.S. who speak a language other than English at home has more than doubled in the past three decades. These home languages are an asset that should be valued, and research shows that supporting bilingualism from early ages can have wide ranging benefits, from cognitive and social advantages early in life, to long-term employment opportunities and competitiveness in the workplace. This statement is part of ED’s ongoing commitment to ensure that dual language learners, including immigrants and refugees, have access to high quality supports, which is especially important as we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month.”

Today the White House is announcing a new Federal policy statement from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education on better supporting our country’s youngest dual language learners (DLLs) in early childhood programs. The Obama Administration will be joined by public and private sector organizations that will also announce new commitments to support DLLs. Additionally, the White House, in collaboration with Too Small to Fail and Invest in US, is holding a regional convening today at the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education in Miami, FL to highlight the importance of supporting our country’s DLLs in early childhood programs.

Full story of supporting dual language learners at ed.gov

New Foster Care Transition Toolkit Offers Tips for Helping Foster Youth Succeed as Adults

The U.S. Department of Education today released a new toolkit to inspire and support current and former foster youth pursuing college and career opportunities. The Foster Care Transition Toolkit includes tips and resources intended to help foster youth access and navigate social, emotional, educational and skills barriers as they transition into adulthood.

Currently, there are over 400,000 children and youth in America’s foster care system and every year, more than 23,000 youth age out of the system, never having found the security of a permanent home.

“Many foster youth lack stable residences and strong support structures and face tremendous barriers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “This toolkit offers practical tips on navigating those challenges – with education as the foundation.”

Full story of Foster Care transition toolkit at ed.gov

Proposed ESSA Regulation Supports Well-Rounded Education, Protects All Students

In a major step toward implementing the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and providing important clarity for parents, students, and educators about the new law, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. today announced proposed regulations to implement the law’s accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions. The regulations would replace the narrow, one-size-fits-all approach that defined ESSA’s predecessor, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), with new flexibility for states and districts; a more holistic approach to measuring a quality education that will help prepare all students for success; and strong protections to ensure the progress of all students. It also reinforces ESSA’s strong commitment to transparency and ensures meaningful engagement and an active role for parents, teachers, students, community leaders, and other stakeholders in implementing the new law. The proposed regulations themselves were informed by extensive input from a diverse group of stakeholders. The Department of Education (Department) participated in well over 100 meetings and events and received hundreds of public comments prior to the release of the regulations. The Department will encourage additional feedback on the proposal from parents, teachers, and other stakeholders through the public comment period, and looks forward to receiving suggestions for improvements to the proposed regulations.

“These regulations give states the opportunity to work with all of their stakeholders, including parents, and educators to protect all students’ right to a high-quality education that prepares them for college and careers, including the most vulnerable students,” Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said. “They also give educators room to reclaim for all of their students the joy and promise of a well-rounded educational experience.”

Full story of proposed ESSA regulation at ed.gov

U.S. Education Department Awards $13.4 Million in Grants to Improve Services, Outcomes for Children with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education today announced more than $13.4 million in grants to higher education institutions to fund quality personnel preparation programs to help improve services and results for students with disabilities.

“We are committed to promoting equity and excellence at every level of the education system,” said Sue Swenson, acting assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.  “These grants will give special education teachers and leaders the skills to help America’s students with disabilities achieve their academic potential.”

Of the $13.4 million, more than $4.1 million is being awarded under the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities – Leadership Personnel program. The funds will go to higher education institutions to prepare doctoral students for faculty and administrator positions in special education, early intervention and related services.

Full story of grant to improve services for children with disabilities at ed.gov

FACT SHEET: Expanding College Access Through the Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment

Earning a college degree is an increasingly important step towards entering the middle class.  Yet less than 10 percent of children born in the bottom quartile of household incomes attain a bachelor’s degree by age 25, compared to over 50 percent in the top quartile.[1]  Many high school students—especially those from low-income backgrounds—lack access to the rigorous coursework and support services that help prepare them for success in college.

In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a new vision for America’s high schools, proposing funding to scale up innovative high school models and partnerships with colleges and employers so that all students can access a high-quality education and be prepared to pursue their educational and career goals. These models aim to strengthen America’s high schools by supporting stronger partnerships to expand access to rigorous coursework, support personalized learning, provide students with the chance to build work-based competencies, and allow for innovative approaches to drive student achievement.

Building on the Administration’s work to expand college opportunity including efforts to redesign America’s high schools and America’s College Promise, the President’s vision to make two years of community college free for responsible students, today the Department of Education is inviting 44 postsecondary institutions to participate in an experiment that – for the first time – allows students taking college-credit courses to access Federal Pell Grants as early as high school. As part of this experiment, an estimated 10,000 high school students will have the opportunity to access approximately $20 million in Federal Pell Grants to take dual enrollment courses provided by colleges and high schools throughout the nation. Nearly 80 percent of the selected sites are community colleges.

Full story of expanding college access through Pell Experiment at ed.gov