E-Update for September 9, 2016

E-Update for September 9, 2016

Highlights

  • This week marked Congress’ first week back in session after its August Recess.
  • On September 8, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released resources for school districts, college campuses, and law enforcement agencies on the appropriate use of school resource officers and campus police.
  • On September 6, USED Secretary John King and USED Under Secretary Ted Mitchell responded to the closure of ITT Educational Services Inc. (ITT) by outlining students’ options regarding loans and transfer moving forward, directing students to additional resources, and emphasizing USED’s commitment to supporting students in the continuation of their degrees.

U.S. Congress

Ranking Member Scott Releases Statement on Head Start Performance Standards: House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) released a statement applauding the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) newly released standards for ensuring that children in Head Start receive the necessary learning time to prepare them for kindergarten. Ranking Member Scott noted that while the standards are a step forward and help ensure that parents have job stability, providers will need additional resources to implement the new requirements. He thus urged Congress to fully fund Head Start programs as budget priorities are considered. A previously-released statement from Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is available here. A previously-released joint statement from House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) can be found here.
September 1, 2016

Administration

K-12 Education:

USED and DOJ Release Resources on the Appropriate Use of School Resource Officers and Campus Police: USED and DOJ sent letters and rubrics to college campuses and school districts outlining how resource officers, campus police, and local law enforcement officials can balance encouraging student safety while also ensuring that disciplinary actions are not disproportionately doled out to some subgroups of students. On the topic of school resource officers, USED Secretary King explained, “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.” The DOJ letters can be found here and here. The USED letters are available here and here.

Following the Administration’s letters, House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Scott released a statement applauding the Administration for taking steps to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Ranking Member Scott noted, “We must ensure that institutions of learning are designed to educate and nurture our students – not put them on the wrong path” and expressed his commitment to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. The press release is available here.
September 8, 2016

The White House Honors Leading Science and Math Teachers: The White House held a ceremony to honor the newest recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) which is the nation’s highest honor for math and science teachers. The teachers participated in an Active Learning in STEM Education symposium led by the National Science Foundation and the Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning where they shared best practices for using and expanding active learning pedagogy. As part of the recognition activities, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy also announced a nationwide Active Learning Day on October 25 to encourage STEM educators to use active learning techniques in their classrooms, such as engaging students in authentic scientific research and class discussions, and using interactive computer activities.
September 9, 2016

USED Awards a Project SERV Grant to Baltimore City Public Schools: USED announced the awarding of a $350,000 Project School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) grant to help Baltimore City Public Schools recover following the homicide of a student at Renaissance Academy. The grant will provide students with targeted resources such as counseling and home visiting interventions to help them feel safe at school and cope with the tragic event.
September 2, 2016

Postsecondary Education:

USED Responds to the Closure of ITT Educational Services Inc.:  Following the closure of ITT, a for-profit college group, USED Secretary King wrote a letter to ITT students outlining students’ options moving forward and reiterating the Department’s commitment to ensuring oversight of institutions and accreditors. USED Secretary King explained that some students will have the option of having their federal student loans discharged while others may be able to transfer their credits to another school in order to complete their degree. He also directed students to a webpage set up by USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid which provides additional information and resources to students. Secretary King’s letter can be found here.

USED Under Secretary Ted Mitchell made a public statement in response to ITT’s closure, in which he laid out the next steps for its students. USED Under Secretary Mitchell described how USED will take action to inform students of their loan options and how USED will work with accreditors to support students with transferring credits to other institutions. In his statement, USED Under Secretary Mitchell announced that USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid will host in-person transfer fairs in select states and encouraged students to continue their education. USED Under Secretary Mitchell’s statement is available here.
September 6, 2016

USED’s Office for Civil Rights Settles Title IX Case with Frostburg State University: USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reached an agreement with Maryland’s Frostburg State University after OCR found that the university’s policies and procedures used to respond to sexual violence complaints did not comply with Title IX. As part of the agreement, Frostburg State University will provide training to students, faculty, and staff on Title IX and conduct climate checks with students to assess the effectiveness of the university’s efforts to provide a safe environment, among other solutions.
September 9, 2016

Upcoming Events:

From September 27 to 29, USED Green Ribbon Schools Director Andrea Falken will visit schools in eastern Pennsylvania as part of USED’s third annual Green Strides Best Practices Tour. The tour’s theme is “Real World Learning” and will focus on honoree’s initiatives to create safe, healthy, and sustainable school environments, encourage better nutrition, increase outdoor physical activity, and provide environmental education to students. The schedule can be found here.

During the month of September, USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid will host webinars to inform ITT students about their options and provide students with an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns. More information is available here.

Publications

IES Releases Report on Using the School Survey of Practices: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a report on how state education departments, school districts, and educators can use a survey of school practices developed by Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Midwest and its School Turnaround Research Alliance. The survey is intended to measure the degree to which schools are engaging in practices associated with high performance. It will allow for the comparison of practices across school subgroups and it will help identify important school interventions.
September 8, 2016

IES Releases Guide on Developing and Evaluating a College Readiness Screener: IES released a guide to help postsecondary institutions develop a screening tool for more accurately estimating applicants’ college readiness and to identify students in need of remediation. The tool outlines the steps to create and use a screening tool such as developing a college readiness definition, selecting predictors of college readiness, collecting and organizing data, and evaluating screening results. The goal of the guide is to encourage colleges to develop a broader screening method that incorporates additional student information in addition to placement test scores.
September 7, 2016

NCES Releases Report on Trends in Remedial Coursetaking: USED’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report analyzing beginning postsecondary students’ course taking spanning a six year period. The report documents the scope, intensity, timing, and completion of remedial coursetaking and its association with various postsecondary outcomes among students who began at public 2- and 4-year institutions between the years of 2003-2009. The report finds that on average, students at public 2-year institutions took more remedial courses than students at public 4-year institutions.
September 6, 2016

NCES Releases Report on Minnesota’s Ramp-Up to Readiness Program: NCES released a report examining the Ramp-Up to Readiness program in Minnesota’s public high schools in comparison to the college readiness supports that are typically offered by high schools. The report analyzed whether schools were able to implement the program to the developer’s satisfaction, and how staff in high schools implementing Ramp-Up perceive the program. Among other findings, the report found that staff in schools that use the Ramp-Up program placed a greater emphasis on college readiness than in the comparison schools.
September 6, 2016

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