White House Outlines Five-Year STEM Push

THE WHITE HOUSE announced Monday evening a five-year strategic plan for science, technology, engineering and math education, setting forth what it calls a “North Star” that “charts a course for the Nation’s success.”

“It represents an urgent call to action for a nationwide collaboration with learners, families, educators, communities, and employers,” the White House plan reads.

The administration’s goal is threefold: for every American to master basic STEM concepts, like computational thinking, in order to respond to technological change; to increase access to STEM among historically underserved students; and to encourage students to pursue STEM careers.

Full story at US News

U.S. Department of Education Builds on Efforts to Improve Services for Students, Increase Effectiveness and Fairness of Office for Civil Rights Investigations

WASHINGTON — As part of its ongoing work to protect students’ civil rights and effectively, efficiently and fairly investigate civil rights complaints, today the U.S. Department of Education announced additional improvements to the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) Case Processing Manual (CPM).

“Our top priority in the Office for Civil Rights is ensuring all students have equal access to education free from discrimination,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth L. Marcus. “Since joining the OCR team in June, I’ve reviewed our Case Processing Manual and received important and constructive feedback on it.  While we continue to work to improve the timeliness of OCR’s case processing, we have determined that additional revisions will help improve our work and allow us to be more responsive to students, stakeholders and our staff.”

The CPM provides guidelines for field investigators working to investigate and resolve complaints and to ensure schools comply with the laws and regulations enforced by OCR. The CPM underwent its last revision in March of 2018.

Full story at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Announces 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today recognized 349 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2018. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“I’m pleased to celebrate with you as your school is named a National Blue Ribbon School,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a video message to the honorees. “We recognize and honor your important work in preparing students for successful careers and meaningful lives. Congratulations on your students’ accomplishments and for your extraordinary commitment to meeting their unique needs.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

Full story at ed.gov

Communities Offer Housing to Woo Teachers

FOR ALEXANDRIA Warfield, a 27-year-old music teacher at Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School in Indianapolis, living with her parents is a trade-off she’s willing to make for the sake of saving money and having a 15-minute commute to work.

“It’s been really hard to find somewhere to rent that’s affordable and is in a pretty decent area that’s close to the school,” she says. “A downtown studio is $1,000 to $1,100 a month, and that’s just not feasible for us as teachers.”

It’s a trade-off Warfield may not have to make for much longer, however, as she is currently assessing loan options and filing paperwork in hopes of becoming one of the first teachers to nab a home that’s part of a city effort to create affordable housing options for educators.

Full story at US News

U.S. Department of Education Announces Highest-Rated Applications for the 2016 Investing in Innovation Competition

Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced the 15 highest-rated applications for the 2016 Investing in Innovation (i3) competition, which will award more than $103 million to launch and expand evidence-based practices that support educators and transform students’ academic experiences. These 15 potential grantees—selected from 385 applications—will have to secure matching private sector funds by December 2016 in order to receive federal funding.

“Today’s announcement reflects educators’ deep commitment to students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Educators are constantly developing new ideas to better assist their students, and i3 empowers educators to develop these approaches into practices that can benefit schools and districts across the country.”

Full story of 2016 Investing in Innovation competition at ed.gov

FACT SHEET: Education Department Encourages Support for Educators and Teaching Profession through Title II, Part A

The U.S. Department of Education today released non-regulatory guidance to help support the nation’s educators and elevate the teaching profession. The guidance encourages states and districts to prepare, train, and recruit high-quality teachers and principals to increase student academic achievement. With the enactment of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states and districts have the opportunity to reimagine the way Title II, Part A funds can be used through driving innovation and building on evidence to better support educators.

“As a student, teacher, and principal, I know firsthand the powerful difference educators make in our children’s future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Educators play a critical role in securing our nation’s economic future and delivering on the promise of an excellent education for all children, especially those who have been historically underserved. That’s why we are releasing guidance to help us better support our educators and ensure they not only have a seat at the table, but their voices are heard. We don’t just want educators to be part of the change; we need them to lead it.”

Full story of support for educators and teachers through Title II, Part A at ed.gov

Department of Education Releases Resources on Improving School Climate

The U.S. Department of Education today released new school climate surveys and a quick guide on making school climate improvements to help foster and sustain safe and supportive environments that are conducive to learning for all students.

The ED School Climate Surveys (surveys) and the Quick Guide on Making School Climate Improvements will enable states, local school districts, and individual schools to collect and act on reliable, nationally-validated school climate data in real-time. These new free and adaptable resources will enable educators, administrators, and school system leaders to understand and create environments where every child can be successful.

“All students deserve schools that work to ensure safe and supportive school climates in which they can reach their full potential,” said James Cole Jr., General Counsel, Delegated the Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education. “These new surveys and quick guide will support any school that seeks to make significant improvements in all students’ safety and sense of respect and connectedness at school. We owe it to our children to ensure that school is not only safe and engaging, but that we are also working to continuously improve school climate by using resources like these.”

Full story of resources on improving school climate at ed.gov

Educators Gather at the White House to Rethink School Discipline

The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice are hosting teams of superintendents, principals, and teachers from across the country today for “Rethink Discipline,” a day-long conference at the White House on creating positive school climates and implementing effective discipline practices. The conference seeks to advance the national conversation about reducing the overuse of unnecessary out of school suspensions and expulsions and replacing these practices with positive alternatives that keep students in school and engaged in learning, but also ensure accountability.

“Creating and sustaining safe, supportive schools is absolutely essential to ensuring students can engage in the rich learning experiences they need for success in college, work and life—that’s why rethinking school discipline is critical to boosting student achievement and improving school outcomes. Today’s conference shows that there are leaders across the country who are committed to doing this work. We are proud to stand as partners with these educators to say that we have to continue to do better for all of our students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Full story of educators rethinking school discipline at ed.gov

Social Media Tips for Educators: Building Capacity Among Your Staff

Our second social media tip sheet for educators is now online!

Last Monday, we told you the fact that we’ve developed social media tip sheets specifically to help state and local education agencies expand online engagement.

Our first tip sheet discussed how to develop innovative engagement in a specific community This week’s tip sheet talks about how to effectively build capacity within a state or local district.

Full story of social media tip sheets at ed.gov

States Continue Progress During Second Year of Race to the Top

Today the U.S. Department of Education released Race to the Top state progress reports for seven states that received grants in the third round of the program: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. These reports capture the highlights of progress and obstacles that the states encountered during the second year of implementation, from January-December 2013.

“Race to the Top has inspired and empowered local leaders and educators across the country to develop innovative education reform plans and put them into action,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “In the second year of this particular set of Race to the Top grants, states have made important steps toward providing better resources, tools and feedback for teachers to help expand opportunities for all students to be successful in college and careers.”

Full story of top state progress reports at ed.gov