FACT SHEET: Expanding Access to High-Quality Early Learning

“A high-quality early education can unlock the potential in every child and ensure that all children start kindergarten prepared for success. Because of historic investments from the Obama Administration, states and cities, more children—particularly those who have been historically underserved—now have access to high-quality early learning. We must continue our collective work so that all children have the foundation they need to thrive in school and beyond.” – U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr.

High-quality preschool is a critical means of expanding educational equity and opportunity by giving every child a strong start. Studies show that attending high-quality early education can result in children building a solid foundation for achieving the academic, health and social outcomes that are of benefit to individual families and to the country as a whole. Children who attend these programs are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs and succeed in their careers than those who don’t. And they are less likely to drop out of high school, have interactions with the criminal justice system or experience teen pregnancy. Research has shown that taxpayers receive a high average return on investments in high-quality early childhood education relative to a number of other interventions—particularly those made later in a child’s development—with savings in areas like improved educational outcomes, increased labor productivity and a reduction in crime.

Full story of access to higher quality learning at ed.gov

Recognizing the Importance of Fathers

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.

Full story of fatherhood and child development at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance to Improve Educational Outcomes of Children and Youth in Foster Care

Today the U.S. Department of Education is releasing resources to emphasize and support the needs of foster care students. In addition to new guidance, ED has launched a dedicated web page, Students in Foster Care, and issued a joint letter with the U.S. Department of Health Human Services to education authorities about increasing educational stability for children and youth in foster care.

The guidance released today will make it easier for caseworkers, child welfare agencies and tribal organizations responsible for the placement and care of children and youth in foster care to have direct access to their education records. The guidance provides states with information to implement the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA), an amendment to The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). It also details the amendment’s impact on the confidentiality provisions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The guidance will help states improve educational and developmental outcomes for students in foster care by providing authorized agencies with access to the records they need to meet the early intervention or educational needs of the students.

Full story of students in foster care at ed.gov

Listening and Learning at the International Summit on the Teaching Profession

At the end of March, National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and I joined delegations from high-performing and rapidly improving education systems across the globe for the 4th International Summit on the Teaching Profession. Whether large or small, highly decentralized or not, countries share a common desire to create a high-quality education system that prepares all children for success in their personal and professional lives. The summits provide a unique opportunity for education ministers and teacher leaders to come together to learn from each other, share best practices, and look for ways to replicate or adapt back home what other countries are doing well.

New Zealand welcomed us with a powhiri, the traditional Maori ceremony, which is something most of the international guests and I had never seen. It was a beautiful and moving welcome and I was honored, as the host of the first summit in 2011, to accept the New Zealand challenge for a successful 4th summit on behalf of the international community. Many thanks to New Zealand Minister of Education Hekia Parata and her team for being gracious hosts during the summit.

Full story of international summit on teaching at ed.gov

Department of Education Releases New Parent and Community Engagement Framework

The fourth quarter of the school year is generally a time of preparation for schools and districts as they finalize next year’s budget, student and teacher schedules, and professional development for the upcoming school year. During this time of preparation, it is important that schools and districts discuss ways that they can support parents and the community in helping students to achieve success.

To help in this work, the U.S. Department of Education is proud to release a framework for schools and the broader communities they serve to build parent and community engagement. Across the country, less than a quarter of residents are 18 years old or younger, and all of us have a responsibility for helping our schools succeed. The Dual Capacity framework, a process used to teach school and district staff to effectively engage parents and for parents to work successfully with the schools to increase student achievement, provides a model that schools and districts can use to build the type of effective community engagement that will make schools the center of our communities.

Full story of parent and community engagement at ed.gov

Rethinking High School: President Obama Announces New Youth CareerConnect Grants

“How do we start making high school … more interesting, more exciting, more relevant to young people?”

That’s the idea behind the Youth CareerConnect grant program, which President Obama discussed this morning during his visit to Bladensburg High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In his remarks, the President announced that Bladensburg High was part of a three-school team in Prince George’s County that won a $7 million Youth CareerConnect grant.

Full story of youth career connect at ed.gov

U.S. Departments of Education and Health & Human Services Announce Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!

The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today the launch of Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!, a collaborative effort with federal partners to encourage developmental and behavioral screening for children to support the families and providers who care for them.

By raising awareness of child development, Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! will help families look for and celebrate milestones; promote universal screenings; identify delays as early as possible; and improve the support available to help children succeed in school and thrive alongside their peers.

Full story of Birth to 5 at ed.gov

Taking Time to Talk with Your Child about Tests

Assessments are part of life at school, but they don’t have to be a source of stress. Helping your child prepare properly for an exam is important, and the conversation doesn’t have to stop after the test is complete.

Below are some tips parents might consider discussing with their child:

  • Let your child know that you are proud of his/her achievements and together you will work on troublesome subject matter.
  • Learn about the type of tests the classroom teacher is using to prepare the children for the tests.

Full story of child discussions on school tests at ed.gov

The President’s Budget: Early Learning

Fifty adults — including the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Representative Jim Moran (D-Va.) — visited the newest preschool among the Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC) to observe a quality bilingual program in action and to discuss President Obama’s newly released budget request for Fiscal Year 2015.

The children and their engaging teacher, Tonya Johnson, showed us, once again, how much young children learn through play and working together in a stimulating environment. Even with 15 visiting adults in the room, the children stayed on task, interacted positively with each other, and went about their business of learning.

Full story on early learning budgets at ed.gov

TeachME: New CEU courses for January

Recognizing Educational Success and Professional Excellence

Course Desription

This intermediate level continuing education course was developed using the U.S. Department of Education document, A Blueprint for R.E.S.P.E.C.T: Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching. Students today are confronting unprec­edented challenges in their educations and heightened competition in an increasingly knowledge-based, global job market, and teachers have the opportunity to rethink the existing systems that have not been meeting our na­tion’s educational goal and to give their students an array of tools for leading productive and satisfying lives. The purpose of this course is to demonstrate how accomplished, effective teachers guide every student’s learning and how schools can be collaborative and innovative work­places where teachers and leaders have the capacity to improve student outcomes and close achievement gaps. The Blueprint for Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) framework for parents, students, educators, policymakers, business and community leaders, elected officials, and other partners is discussed as a means to guide the collective efforts to strengthenAmerica’s public education system.

Appraising the Progress of IDEA in Educating Children with Disabilities

Course Description

This brief, intermediate level continuing education course describes the progress that has been made in the education of students with disabilities since the enactment of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, Public Law (P.L.) 94-142 in 1975. This law, along with amendments reflected in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), has been responsible for ensuring the civil rights and providing equal access to education for all children with disabilities. The course outlines IDEA-supported programs and services that, together with IDEA support for research, training, and dissemination, have enabled children with disabilities to achieve at levels that would not have been imagined in previous decades.

 

Advancing the Well-Being of At-Risk Youth

Course Description

This intermediate level continuing education course is designed to provide strategies for improving the path to self-sufficiency for youth who are at high risk of dropping out of school, engaging in delinquent or criminal behavior, abusing drugs or alcohol, or becoming teenage parents.  The course was developed using information from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and presents a research-based framework for efforts to increase the likelihood that youth at greater risk of negative outcomes will enter a career trajectory and prepare to become well-functioning adults.  The use of evidence-informed interventions to address youths’ resilience and human capital development is discussed as well as tailored solutions grounded in a trusting relationship between youth and program staff that will help move them toward healthy functioning.

For these courses and many more, visit TeachME