“In America, opportunity can never be rationed. It cannot be a perk set aside for some and denied to others. Opportunity must be available to all. Opportunity and education are not only the foundation of our economy, they are also the foundation of our democracy and the American way of life.” – U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr.
President Barack Obama entered office in 2009 with a comprehensive vision for improving our education system to advance our children’s opportunity and success. That vision included efforts to address the dropout crisis, improve student achievement, and increase graduation rates; expand equity in education through stronger schools; give more of our youngest learners access to high-quality early childhood education; ensure all students achieve high standards that prepare them for college and career; grow innovation and investment in what works, while safeguarding the right of all students to a world-class education; and have the opportunity to complete an affordable high-quality college education.
The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released today new tools to improve school climates, ensure safety, and support student achievement in our nation’s schools.
To the extent a local decision is made to use school resource officers (SROs) in community schools, these resources will help state and local education and law enforcement agencies responsibly incorporate SROs in the learning environment. Additionally, the Departments have highlighted tools available for law enforcement agencies that also apply to campus law enforcement agencies.
“As educators, we are all bound by a sacred trust to protect the well-being, safety, and extraordinary potential of the children, youth and the young adults within the communities we serve,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said. “School resource officers can be valuable assets in creating a positive school environment and keeping kids safe. But we must ensure that school discipline is being handled by trained educators, not by law enforcement officers. At the college level, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing has important recommendations that can help campus and local law enforcement both keep students safe and safeguard students’ civil rights.”
The U.S. Department of Education announced today the award of $2.5 million in grants to operate 23 Community Parent Resource Centers in 17 states and a Parent Training and Information Center to serve American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The centers provide parents with the training and information they need to work with professionals in meeting the early intervention and special needs of children with disabilities.
With the new grants, the Department now funds 87 information centers for parents of children and youth with disabilities. Every state has at least one Parent Training and Information Center that assists parents as they work to ensure their children receive a free, appropriate public education as guaranteed by federal law. In addition, the centers provide services to underserved parents of children with disabilities in targeted communities throughout the country.
As students begin the new school year, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are calling on states and districts to help enroll students in health care coverage during school registration processes and ensure students have access to the health coverage they need.
Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson joined the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), AASA, The School Superintendents Association and other officials at Cardozo Education Campus for a roundtable discussion highlighting best practices for getting more students enrolled in health care. CDF and AASA have developed the Insure All Children toolkit, informed by extensive work with districts in California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, on how schools and districts can enroll students in health care coverage through routine school registration processes.
The U.S. Department of Education today took a series of actions to protect students and taxpayers by banning ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) from enrolling new students using federal financial aid funds, and stepping up financial oversight of the for-profit educational provider.
This move follows determinations made by the school’s accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) that ITT “is not in compliance, and is unlikely to become in compliance with [ACICS] Accreditation Criteria.” This comes amid increasingly heightened financial oversight measures put in place by the Department beginning in 2014 and continued and expanded in June 2016 due to significant concerns about ITT’s administrative capacity, organizational integrity, financial viability and ability to serve students.
A student who misses just two days of school each month — 18 days total in the year — is considered to be chronically absent. However, many parents don’t realize that, even when excused or understandable, absences add up and can greatly impact a child’s education. In the United States, more than 6 million children are chronically absent from school each year.
New research released today by the Ad Council found that an overwhelming majority (86%) of parents understand their child’s school attendance plays a big role in helping them graduate from high school. However, nearly half (49%) of parents believe that it is okay for their children to miss three or more days of school per month – and that they won’t fall behind academically if they do. In reality, missing just two days of school per month makes children more likely to fall behind and less likely to graduate.
The U.S. Department of Education announced today the availability of $2.8 million for a Preschool Pay for Success grant competition for state, local and tribal governments interested in exploring the feasibility of Pay for Success to expand and improve early learning. The feasibility studies will determine if this model is an effective strategy to implement preschool programs that are high-quality and yield meaningful results.
“We have made great strides in improving the quality of early learning and expanding access through investments like the Preschool Development Grants and the Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge grants,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said. “Yet, we need to build on these efforts and do more for our nation’s youngest learners. These new grants are one way to answer the question of how we can do a better job to make sure we provide access to high-quality preschool and ensure it’s available to our kids most at risk. It also provides an opportunity to focus on long-term evidence of effectiveness and to bring in our state and local partners, along with private and philanthropic investments, to test new ideas, develop new solutions, improve the quality of early learning and further improve outcomes for our most vulnerable children.”
Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is inviting eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment.
These partnerships will allow students—particularly low-income students—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations. The goals of the experiment are to: (1) test new ways of allowing Americans from all backgrounds to access innovative learning and training opportunities that lead to good jobs, but that fall outside the current financial aid system; and (2) strengthen approaches for outcomes-based quality assurance processes that focus on student learning and other outcomes. The experiment aims to promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) today issued guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that emphasizes the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. It also clarifies that the repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports. When schools fail to consider and provide for needed behavioral supports through the Individualized Education Program (IEP), it is likely to result in children not receiving the free appropriate public education to which they are entitled under federal law.
“All students, including those with disabilities, should have the supports and equitable educational opportunities they need to be successful in school,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “It’s our duty as parents and educators to ensure that children who show up at school to learn get the maximum out of their educational experience. This guidance will help schools create a safe, supportive learning environment for those students who need additional behavioral supports and services to help them thrive.”
The U.S. Department of Education announced the award of $144 million for 459 new grant awards under the Talent Search program. Commemorating 51 years since its inception, in 2016, these five-year grants will assist more than 300,000 youth across 49 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in gaining the skills needed to successfully graduate high school and prepare for college. Of the 459 applicants who competed successfully in the FY 2016 competition, 418 applicants will begin new awards in the 2016-2017 project year and future awards will be made to 41 applicants with one or more years remaining on their current Talent Search grants. This year’s grant competition marked the first year of encouraging evidence-based strategies for both secondary completion and postsecondary enrollment.
“For the past five decades, the Talent Search program has propelled more than 11 million students towards postsecondary success,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell. “Because of the Talent Search program thousands of students, every year, enhance their ability to successfully transition from high school to college.”