For the fourth time in history, Congress is considering impeaching the president of the United States. For teachers around the country, it’s an opportunity to explore concepts and skills that are often relegated to textbooks.
We asked social studies teachers from around the country how — if at all — they’re using this teachable moment, navigating the nationally polarizing topic and trying to sidestep the often asked question, “What do you think?”
Many educators told us they’re embracing the opportunity to bring concepts such as checks and balances to life. Some say they don’t have much time to address current events in class because of the amount of material they have to cover in a year.
Last week, while the most in the media fixed their eyes on Donald Trump Jr., far-left activists geared up for a different kind of assault on the Trump administration: a full-court press to maintain a series of unlawful Obama-era policies that have stripped young men of their constitutional rights, ruined lives, and fostered politically correct (but factually challenged) hysteria on campuses from coast to coast. At issue is the Obama administration’s April 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter, a document that skipped the legally mandated regulatory rulemaking process to require colleges to adjudicate campus sexual-assault cases under a “preponderance of the evidence” standard without also securing adequate due-process rights for the accused.
Why do such a thing? Because campus activists (and Obama-administration allies) were convinced that colleges were in the middle of a “rape crisis.” Shoddy studies conducted with expansive definitions of sexual assault convinced the Left that an astounding 20 percent of college women are assaulted during their campus years, rendering the university a virtual war zone for women. It’s a rate that contradicts Bureau of Justice statistics showing that women are safer on campus than off, and that the real rate of sexual violence on campus isn’t one in five but closer to 6.1 per 1,000, a number that had been trending downward for 14 years as of 2013, the last year covered in the BJS report.
U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. today called for more high-quality education programs within correctional facilities – especially, since nearly all of America’s 1.5 million incarcerated individuals will eventually reenter society.
In a dear colleague letter that coincides with a report showing low-literacy skills among the incarcerated, King urged states to make use of expanded resources under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. With help from that law, states can shrink achievement gaps, equip prisoners with skills and credentials to find meaningful employment and support successful reentry.
“In order to reduce recidivism, it is important for these individuals to become productive and contributing members of our society,” King wrote. “Providing these individuals with opportunity, advancement, and rehabilitation is not only the right thing to do, it also positions our country to remain economically competitive in a global economy. To foster this reintegration and reduce recidivism, we as a nation must continue to expand and develop correctional education and reentry support programs.”
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.
The U.S. Department of Education has released a new guide for educators on ways to identify and help prevent child trafficking in schools. Human Trafficking in America’s Schools is a free guide for school staff that includes information about risk factors, recruitment, and how to identify trafficking; what to do if you suspect trafficking, including sample school protocols and policies; and other resources and potential partnership opportunities. The Department also has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and President Lincoln’s Cottage, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to sponsor a youth campaign focused on raising awareness about and preventing human trafficking..
“It’s hard to imagine that such heinous crimes continue to exist today, right here in America,” Deborah S. Delisle, assistant secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, said. “Human trafficking robs young people of a life that is filled with hope. The Department stands with its other federal and non-profit partners, such as President Lincoln’s Cottage, in helping these young people return to safe, supportive homes and schools.”
The U.S. Department of Education announced today that six states – Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, South Dakota and Virginia – have received a one-year extension for flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
These extensions allow states to move forward with the critical work of implementing the bold reforms they committed to in their original ESEA flexibility requests—which expire this summer—with the ultimate goal of improving achievement for all students.
“ESEA flexibility has allowed states to move beyond the one-size-fits-all mandates of NCLB, to be more innovative, and to engage in continued improvement in ways that benefit educators and students,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “As a result, we have seen a renewed focus by states on improving student achievement, and to address the needs of all students, especially those groups of students that have been historically underserved.”
Fifty years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women in the United States still earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men. The pay gap for women of color is even greater. One of the primary reasons for this persistent gap is the concentration of women in comparatively lower-paying and non-supervisory professions – well over half of all women continue to be employed in lower-paying sales, service, and administrative support positions. President Obama’s Equal Pay Task Force sees this issue as one of the greatest barriers to pay equality and is working with the Departments of Education (ED) and Labor (DOL) to expand women’s access to non-traditional occupations.
ED’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) is commissioning a study that will examine gender equity in secondary career and technical education. Specifically, it will look at whether girls and young women in high school have access to high-quality programs that prepare them for careers in non-traditional occupations – for example, law enforcement, construction, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. Similarly, DOL has commissioned several studies that identify barriers women face in accessing these occupations, as well as successful evidence-based strategies to increase employment opportunities in these professions.
President Obama has said that we are stronger when America fields a full team. Unfortunately, too many of the 6.5 million children and youth with disabilities in this country leave high school without the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in a 21st century, global economy. While the vast majority of students in special education do not have significant cognitive impairments that prohibit them from learning rigorous academic content, fewer than 10 percent of eighth graders with disabilities are proficient in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Too often, students’ educational opportunities are limited by low expectations. We must do better.
That’s why the Department is changing the way it holds states accountable for the education of students with disabilities. For many years, the Department primarily focused on whether states were meeting the procedural requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Generally, we have seen significant improvement in compliance.
One out of every three children in America —more than 24 million in total — live in a home without their biological father present, according to a 2012 White House Fatherhood Report. Roughly one out of every three Hispanic children and more than half of African-American children also live in homes without their biological fathers.
The presence and involvement of a child’s parents protect children from a number of vulnerabilities. More engaged fathers — whether living with or apart from their children — can help foster a child’s healthy physical, emotional, and social development. While evidence shows that children benefit most from the involvement of resident fathers, research also has highlighted the positive effect that nonresident fathers can have on their children’s lives.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by executive order of the President fifty years ago this month. The program recognizes and honors some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors and was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative, and performing arts.
Each year, 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the program, ED has collected reflections from past winners, who explain how the program influenced their life and career.