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Weekly Update - August 23, 2010

August 24, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education issued a press release announcing Phase 2 winners of the Race to the Top competition.  The 10 winning Phase 2 states are: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

Weekly Update - August 16, 2010

The House is in recess and will return September 14, 2010.

The Senate is in recess and will return September 13, 2010.

Weekly Update - August 9, 2010

August 10, 2010, On Tuesday, August 10th, the House passed HR 1586, containing the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer Amendment, by a vote of 247-161. The legislation will provide $10 billion for additional support to local school districts in order to prevent imminent layoffs and is anticipated to help keep 140,000 educators employed next year.

Weekly Update - August 2, 2010

August 4, 2010, The Senate passed the Murray-Harkin-Reid-Schumer Amendment to H.R. 1586 by a vote of 61-38.  The legislation will provide $10 billion for additional support to local school districts in order to prevent imminent layoffs and is anticipated to help keep 140,000 educators employed next year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called back the House from their August Recess for a final vote on the Amendment next Tuesday.

August 2, 2010, The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the FY 2011 Appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. Click here to access a copy of the Labor-HHS appropriations chart. Click here to access a copy of the Labor-HHS appropriations summary.

August 2, 2010, HR 5989 was introduced by Representative Polis (CO) to amend ESEA to enhance the credit program for charter schools through green initiatives.

August 2, 2010, HR 6078 was introduced by Representative Woosley (CA) to amend ESEA to provide grants to LEAs to encourage girls and underrepresented minorities to pursue studies and careers in STEM.

Weekly Update - July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010, HR 5843 was introduced by Representative Larson of Washington to amend Title VIII (Impact Aid) of ESEA of 1965 to require the Secretary of Education to complete payments under this Title to LEAs eligible for such payments within three fiscal years.

July 26, 2010, HR 5817 was introduced by Representative Lewis of Georgia to provide children in foster care with school stability and equal access to educational opportunity.

Weekly Update - July 19, 2010

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (Rockefeller, West Virginia) introduced S 3605 (Rockefeller), the American Competes Reauthorization Act of 2010.  This bill authorizes $84 billion for research, education, and other programs over the next five years at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

S 3595 (Brown, Ohio) introduced the Diploma Act, to strengthen student achievement and graduation rates and prepare young people for college, careers, and citizenship through innovative partnerships that meet the comprehensive needs of children and youth.

HR 5753 (Carson, Indiana) introduced to amend ESEA of 1965 to award grants to eligible entities to establish, expand or support an existing school-based mentoring program to assist at-risk middle school students with the transition from middle school to high school.

Weekly Update - July 9, 2010

HR 5671 (Sanchez, California) was introduced to amend the ESEA of 1965 to create a demonstration project to fund additional secondary school counselors in troubled Title I schools to reduce the number of dropouts.

Weekly Update - July 2, 2010

The Senate nominated Eduardo Ochoa to be the U.S. Department of Education's Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education and Ann Stock to be Assistant Secretary of State of Education and Cultural Affairs.

On June 28, Congressman John Barrow (GA) introduced legislation to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to establish a technical school training subsidy program (HR 5594).

D.C. Teachers' contract is approved unanimously by Washington, DC council. The DC Council unanimously approved a contract with the Washington Teacherâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢ÃƒÂ¢ÃƒÃ‚¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¾ÃƒÃ†Ãƒ¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’¢â‚¬Å¡ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s Union that promises significantly higher wages for educators who demonstrate results in the classroom. The deal provides for a 21.6 percent salary increase through 2012 and will raise the average salary for a D.C. teacher from $67,000 to $81,000. In addition, educators that show substantial growth in student test scores could be granted up to $20,000 to $30,000 more. Click here to view the full story.

Weekly Update - April 16, 2010

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) is planning to mark up ESEA reauthorization legislation next month in hopes of having the bill reach the Senate floor by late June or July. The Obama administration has called for reauthorization this year, however both Democrats and Republicans predict this would be very difficult. House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (CA) has indicated that the House and Senate have a joint goal of finishing reauthorization before the August recess.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan created a blueprint for ESEA revisions that include increased local flexibility and control, higher standards to guarantee that graduates are college-ready and requirements that schools reward excellence. The blueprint is open for comment until April 28, and several interest groups including mayors, governors, teachers unions and education and civil rights organizations have provided their feedback. Although the current law has received criticism from both parties for setting unrealistic goals, there are currently no Republicans committed to support the reform proposed by Secretary Duncan. The last reauthorization of the legislation, known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was completed in 2002.


·         August 25, 2010, âââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…â€Ã…â€Å“Education Secretary Arne Duncan wants schools to give parents, teachers more dataâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚ Secretary Duncan insists that public schools share information on teacher effectiveness with parents and student achievement data with their educators.  To read the full story, click here.


·         August 24 2010, âââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…â€Ã…â€Å“Race to the Topâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢ÃƒÂ¢ÃƒÃ‚¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¾ÃƒÃ†Ãƒ¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’¢â‚¬Å¡ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s Round 2 Winners, And Why They Matterâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚ The ten Phase 2 winners of the competition and the efforts toward education reform that distinguished them from a list of 19 finalists are highlighted.  To read more, click here.

·         August 19, 2010, âââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…â€Ã…â€Å“U.S. Department of Education Awards $28.8 Million to School Districtsâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚ 98 grants were awarded to schools across America in order to improve readiness and emergency response plans. To read the full story, click here. 

·         August 10, 2010, Communities for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) published a report entitled,âââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚Our Communities Left Behind: an Analysis of the Administration's School Turnaround Policies."  CEP analyzes the four interventions being funded through the School Improvement Grants program and calls for research-based educational strategies in their proposal, "Sustainable School Transformation." To read more, click here.


·         August 10, 2010, New - â€Ã…â€Å“Race to the Top" Briefing. The New Teacher Center policy brief analyzes aspects of the nineteen Phase Two Race to the Top finalists' applications related to new teacher induction and teaching and learning conditions. To read the brief, click here.


·         July 28, 2010, 'Race to the Top' Finalists Named; Obama's Education Agenda Stagnates.  Senator Duncan discussed Obamaâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢ÃƒÂ¢ÃƒÃ‚¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¾ÃƒÃ†Ãƒ¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’¢â‚¬Å¡ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s stalled agenda for education in Congress in his speech Tuesday at the National Press Club. He also announced the finalists for the âââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…â€Ã…â€Å“Race to the Topâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚ contest. Read the full story here.


·         July 6, 2010, Report on Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) Program. The U.S. Department of Education released their evaluation on the implementation of the RLIS Program this week.  The report found that districts are using federal funds to improve instruction and education achievement by hiring teachers, purchasing instructional materials, and providing professional development. Click here to view the full story.


·         July 5, 2010, ESEA Committee Chair Calls For Delegate Advocacy: The chair of the National Education Association's ESEA Advisory Committee, Christy Levings, called on delegates to âââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…â€Ã…â€Å“beef up their lobbyingâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚ and become more actively involved in bringing about a renewed law.  Click here to view the full story.


·         July 4, 2010, NEA's Delegates Vote 'No Confidence' in Race to the Top: After a protracted debate, delegates to the National Education Association voted on Sunday to take a position of "no confidence" in the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top guidelines and in the use of competitive grants as a basis for the reauthorization of ESEA.  Click here to view the full story.


·         After Zones: Creating a Citywide System to Support and Sustain High-Quality After-School Programs: Public/Private Ventures. This report presents an analysis of the implementation of the AfterZone initiative, a citywide system-building effort in Providence, RI, that aims to provide high-quality, accessible out-of-school-time services to middle school youth. The report examines the implementation of the initiative's unique features and documents its operations. It also explores the challenges and successes of Providence's system-building efforts as well as the strategies used to sustain them 

·         More Time for Learning:  Promising Practices and Lessons Learned: Massachusetts Expanded Learning (ELT) Initiative- This report highlights how successful expanded-time schools are using additional time to individualize academic supports to meet student needs; help teachers strengthen instruction; use data to make effective decisions about how to focus teaching and learning; and add high-quality enrichment programs and community partners to build studentsâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢ÃƒÂ¢ÃƒÃ‚¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¾ÃƒÃ†Ãƒ¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’¢â‚¬Å¡ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢ skills, interest, and self-confidence. 


·         August 30-31 2010, Secretary Duncan will be traveling by bus through New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine continuing his âââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…â€Ã…â€Å“Courage in the Classroom: Back to Schoolâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚ Bus Tour.  

·         August 31, 2010, the Department of Education will be hosting a webinar entitled, "ED's OCFO Recaps: Cash Management Requirements for Recipients of Grants and Cooperative Agreements" at 2:00 p.m. EST. For more information, click here.

·         September 14, 2010, President Barack Obama will deliver his second annual Back to School speech. The speech will be broadcast online and in schools nationwide.

·         September 21, 2010, Washington Monthly magazine will release its annual College Guide, covering a range of important issues in higher education and focusing on one of the yearâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢ÃƒÂ¢ÃƒÃ‚¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¾ÃƒÃ†Ãƒ¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’¢â‚¬Å¡ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s most pressing issues:  college dropouts. 

·         September 27, 2010, NBC News launches its first annual "Education Nation," a nationally broadcast in-depth conversation about improving education in America.  A two-day summit will take place at Rockefeller Plaza and include more than 300 big thinkers in government, politics, business and technology, as well as school administrators, teachers, parents and students from across the country. Click here for more information.


·         September 27, 2010, The Reading Recovery Council of North America hosts "Leadership for Accelerating Growth and Eliminating the Achievement Gap: The Power of a K-3 Comprehensive Literacy Plan" at the Capital Hill Hotel in Washington, D.C.  To sign up for this event, click here.


·         September 29, 2010, CEF Legislative Conference and GALA will be held at the Capitolâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢ÃƒÂ¢ÃƒÃ‚¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¾ÃƒÃ†Ãƒ¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’¢â‚¬Å¡ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s Visitor Center from 8:30am -12pm. Secretary Duncan will be speaking and CEF Awards will be presented at this event.  To attend, click here.


·         August 25, 2010, applications for the new Education Jobs Fund Program have been released to governors across the country and are now available on the Education Departmentâââ€Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢ÃƒÂ¢ÃƒÃ‚¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¾ÃƒÃ†Ãƒ¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’¢â‚¬Å¡ÃƒÃ¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¢s website. This $10 billion federal program will assist schools in creating or saving education jobs for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year. The application period closes September 9, 2010.  To find out more, click here.

·         August 19, 2010, The Mind Trust announced a new rolling application process for its Education Entrepreneur Fellowship. Candidates may now submit applications to transform K-12 public education at any time during the year. The Fellowship provides education entrepreneurs with the support they need to help underserved or disadvantaged children.  The Mind Trust expects to award up to three Fellowships in 2010. To learn more, click here.

·         July 19, 2010, The Foundation Registry i3, a new online application, was launched to simplify the private funding application process for potential grantees and increase access and visibility for new, especially smaller, applicants. It also aims to improve the ability for foundations to examine investment opportunities and better coordinate efforts with the U.S. Department of Education around the i3 Fund. Click here for more information.


The Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) web site makes it easy to find learning resources from some 50 federal organizations. Whether you are looking for teaching ideas and learning activities or primary documents like audio recordings, maps, paintings, and photos, FREE offers one-stop access to items created by the Library of Congress, NASA, and the Smithsonian Institution, to name a few. And, every weekday, a new resource is featured.

Also: The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) web site,, is a database of more than 24,000 high quality lesson plans, curriculum units, and other resources across more than 400 web sites

Community Involvement: A win-win approach to school facility planning: -- Current literature has offered answers to the what and the why of community involvement in school facility planning. But the "how to" of involving community members in planning a school facility has not been practically explored. This is the first attempt to provide a conceptual framework of how to involve the community by initiating a win-win approach to school facility planning. 

Tools for school improvement planning can be found on a new website from the Annenberg Institute. It contains observation protocols, focus group samples and questions, surveys, questionnaires, and other techniques to help you examine your specific school-improvement concerns. In addition, this site features two other essentials for school improvement, including a school-improvement guide with a step-by-step process for successful school improvement, including sample worksheets and rubrics. In the "Using Data" section, you'll find resources on using data -- a key to sustained improvement: types and uses of data, selecting and analyzing data, and using results to drive your planning efforts.

Over the last four decades college graduation rates have remained remarkably stable despite steady increases in the number of high school seniors pursuing postsecondary education. On its face, this would appear to be a good thing-as more kids are entering college (4 out of 5 students who graduate high school in four years enroll in some kind of postsecondary education), more are earning a college degree. According to a study by the Education Trust, however, the completion rates of yesterday are no longer acceptable today. (For more on the graduation rate crisis, see our review of Double the Numbers.) As the earnings gap between college grads and high school grads widens, "the consequences of not graduating have not stayed the same" and with global market competition, "low graduation rates are something our economy can no longer afford." The study, which used data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education's Graduation Rate Survey (GRS), observes significant gaps between the college graduation rates of low- and high-income students and between white and minority students. To wit, only 54 percent of low income students graduate in six years compared with 77 percent of high income students. Further, less than half of all minority students graduate while 67 percent of white students earn a postsecondary degree. Interestingly, the study also showed marked differences in graduation rates between schools with very similar student bodies. According to author Kevin Carey, colleges need to start taking responsibility for improving their own completion rates and can do so by studying the successful practices of similar schools with better track records. Carey's findings and argument for institutional reform are worth the read. Check it out at 

Study indicates positive effects of preschool and kindergarten on learning Children who attend preschool for two years are twice as likely as children with no preschool experience to have the language, literacy and math skills needed to be ready for kindergarten, concludes a new study. The study makes several recommendations on how to narrow the achievement gap between poor and non-poor students and reach other goals. Some of the recommendations include ensuring full access to preschool programs in poor school districts, providing two years of preschool rather than one, ensuring health care access for poor families and maximizing federal funding of health care for the poor. 
Click here for more information.

A direct link to the U.S. Department of Education for quick, concise, and targeted responses to questions about No Child Left Behind: 1-888-NCLB-SUP (1-888-625-2787). The resource line will be staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET. During off-hours, or when the lines are busy during the week, superintendents will be able to leave messages. Also, for the technology-savvy may send email inquiries to a dedicated Inbox: Staff will ensure that all issues are addressed as efficiently as possible. For more information:

"After-School Programs: Expanding Access and Ensuring Quality" (link below), by education consultant Chrisanne Gayl, examines the history of and rationale for after-school programs, evaluates federal after-school investments to date, and highlights promising state and local initiatives. Gayl also offers recommendations for how policymakers can expand and improve quality in after-school programs to ensure they can help all children meet their potential. 
Click here for more information.  

The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that the state's voucher program unconstitutionally strips school boards of local control. The Denver Post reports that the 4-3 decision upholds a district court finding that locally raised tax money can't be used to pay for private education.

Investment in Education Best Route to Fairer Economy: As state and local governments face tight budgets, a new Economic Policy Institute report shows adequate and effective funding of education is thebest way to achieve faster growth, more jobs, greater productivity, and more widely shared prosperity. "Smart Money: Education and Economic Development," by economic development expert William Schweke, shows how more investment in education, from preschool to college, spurs economic development through increases in productivity, learned skills, technology and workers' average earnings. At a time when our knowledge-based economy demands increasingly higher skills to stay competitive, support for well-resourced schooling and training is key, Schweke says. This strategy is also an important tool for advancing economic equality. As more public school students are poor, minority, or new immigrants, they need good education as a foundation to avoid many social problems stemming from poverty and inequality, and to eventually become productive, highly-skilled workers.
Click here for more information.

Tapping Potential: Retaining and Developing High Quality New Teachers: American schools spend more than $2.6 billion annually replacing teachers who have dropped out of the teaching profession. Alliance for Excellent Education has released a new report that cites comprehensive induction, especially in a teacher's first two years on the job, as the single effective strategy to stem the rapidly increasing teacher attrition rate. The report includes federal policy recommendations, in-depth analysis of new teacher induction practices, and four case studies. According to the report, one out of every two new teachers will quit within five years. About 207,000 teachers, nearly 6 per cent of the teaching workforce, will not return to teaching next fall. Research shows that comprehensive induction cuts attrition rates in half and develops new teachers more rapidly into highly skilled, experienced professionals. Induction has been shown to create a payoff of $1.37 for every one dollar invested; however, only one percent of beginning teachers currently receives the ongoing training and support that constitutes comprehensive induction when they enter the teaching profession. Comprehensive induction is defined as including high-quality mentoring, common planning time, ongoing professional development, an external network, and standards-based evaluation. Tapping the Potential makes the following recommendations: states and school districts should use funds from Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now the No Child Left Behind Act) to fund comprehensive induction programs; Title II of the Higher Education Act should be amended to require partnership grantees to provide comprehensive induction; and new funding should be appropriated by Congress to ensure that every new teacher in our nation's high-need schools receives comprehensive induction.




    For information about Education issues, please contact:

    Kathy Amoroso
    Assistant Executive Director
    U.S. Conference of Mayors
    1620 I St., NW, 4th Floor
    Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 861-6723 (w)
    (202) 293-2352 (f)