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At a few institutions, a new choosiness about awarding AP credit has coincided with a rethinking of their own general-education requirements.
More than one million students in the high-school graduating class of 2013 completed an Advanced Placement exam, the College Board reports.
Supporters say the legislation would help fix a "broken budget process." Critics say it would make some programs appear to cost more than they actually do.
At a meeting in Washington, trustees and presidents question the feasibility and fairness of such a system to their institutions.
The largest growth by source was in donations from alumni, according to a survey by the Council for Aid to Education.
While ED’s National Blue Ribbon Schools (NBRS) are all national stars of educational excellence, the challenges faced in their respective communities are not equal. High student achievement earned Merrillville, Indiana’s Salk Elementary School its official status as a 2013 NBRS. However, those accomplishments came about amidst striking demographic changes, making Salk a superstar, in my book.
Since 2005, Salk’s low-income student population has nearly doubled, to 61 percent. The percentage of minority students – both black and Hispanic – also spiked more than 20 percent over the past 8 years in the Merrillville community, 40 minutes southeast of Chicago. The sheer number of students at Salk swelled from 479 to 674 in the same timeframe. And yet, more than 92 percent of all Salk students met or exceeded reading and math standards in 2012, including subgroups of black and Hispanic children, and students eligible for free or reduced priced meals.
Salk’s principal for seven years, Kara Bonin, said the key ingredient for the school’s success amidst dramatic change in Merrillville was a “no excuses attitude” among all staff, from educators to the clerical staff.
“We make the most of every minute that our students spend at Salk,” said Bonin, who recently became the Merrillville School Corporation’s Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction. “Teachers take extra time from their days to research new strategies to help specific students. Secretaries take time from their days to read to kids. Whether our students need remediation, enrichment, or something else – there’s always someone there to help,”
That philosophy grew from alarm among Salk staff, nearly a decade ago, when they began to see increased numbers of children arriving at school who were unprepared to learn. As detailed in the school’s NBRS application, “students were coming to school hungry, homework not completed, and tired from sharing their bedroom with four other siblings.”
“We can’t control what goes on outside of school,” said Bonin. However, the school employs multiple measures to help families overcome barriers to their children’s achievement: Salk’s social worker helps connect families to community resources. The school partners with local churches that donate school supplies to needy families, and with a mobile dentist who provides free cleanings to students. Salk was also named one of Indiana’s Title I Distinguished Schools in 2010, earning it a $50,000 award that funded a Parent Resource Center with a variety of materials for parents to check-out and use at home.
Bonin noted that the district’s early response to changes in the community was critical. “We didn’t wait for problems to occur to adapt our practices,” she said.
One of the school’s first steps was to implement diversity training for all of its staff members. Professional development remains a Salk cornerstone, with early student dismissals scheduled every Thursday to allow time for staff training and collaboration.
“Leaders at Salk and the Merrillville Schools Corporation created an environment, early on, that prevented the school from falling into the downward spiral that other schools in similar communities have seen,” said Noe Medina, who visited Salk as a consultant to the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, which also selected Salk for one of just five 2013 awards to schools.
One of the other schools recognized was Merrillville High School. While noting it’s unusual to recognize two schools within the same district, Medina said that the performance numbers justified both awards and paint a consistent picture.
“Salk teachers seem to always be searching for new and better ways to support students,” said Medina. “You can’t just tell teachers to do creative things to help kids without providing them support to do it — whether it’s time, resources or professional development. Kara and district leaders developed a culture that supports that innovation.”
Julie Ewart is the director of communications and outreach for the Great Lakes Region of the U.S. Department of Education
Their median annual pay is similar to their predecessors’, but education makes the big difference, says a report from the Pew Research Center.
The issue is a "huge priority" for her office, the Education Department's top enforcer of civil-rights laws told officials attending a conference at UVa.
The 70-percent increase suggests that a recent surge in the number of Indian students entering American graduate schools may continue.
In final rules for the new health law, the IRS says colleges should take into account time spent outside the classroom grading papers and preparing for class.
After five tumultuous years, Francisco G. Cigarroa will return to his roots in surgery, a move that was called "a serious loss" to higher education in the state.
In his fifth State of the Union address, President Obama called on the nation to make 2014 a year of action. He laid out a clear vision for promoting equality of opportunity and challenged everyone to go all-in on the innovations that will help this country maintain its edge in the global economy. “Here in America,” said the president, “our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That’s what drew our forebears here. … Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.” The president also put heavy emphasis on career and technical education and training that prepares young people for work. “We’re working to redesign high schools,” he said, “and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career.”
February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) month—a great opportunity to acknowledge the important contribution CTE is making to individual citizens, our economy, and our nation. Every year, during this month, we recognize the efforts and accomplishments of the many students who are pursuing their ambitions through CTE pathways. We also thank all those working tirelessly so that more students can find their life’s passion and reach their full potential. Each day, thousands of teachers, school and district administrators, state education officials, career and technical student organization leaders, business and labor leaders, parents, and others are helping to equip students with the academic knowledge—as well as the technical and employability skills—they need to find productive careers and lead fulfilling lives.
Today’s CTE students and educators face a more difficult challenge than those of earlier generations, when a high school diploma and the skills it represented were enough to secure a place in the middle class. Those low-skilled, well-paid jobs are gone, and they won’t return. By working together, those at the local, state, and national levels are making significant progress in improving the rigor and relevance of CTE programs all across America.
In the 21st century, we need to prepare all students to succeed in a competitive global economy, a knowledge-based society, and a hyper-connected digital world. All students must be lifelong learners, able to re-skill frequently over the course of their careers, in order to meet the changing demands of the workplace and the marketplace. They’ll need the flexibility and ingenuity to thrive in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet! Teaching and learning must change, in part, because the very nature of work has changed. President Obama’s North Star goal in education is for every student to graduate from high school and obtain some form of postsecondary training or degree.
High-quality CTE is absolutely critical to meeting this challenge. Inspiring CTE teachers and effective curricula are essential to ensuring that students can master the new realities and seize the amazing new opportunities that await them.
The president and I believe that high-quality CTE programs are a vital strategy for helping our diverse students complete their secondary and postsecondary studies. In fact, by implementing dual enrollment and early college models, a growing number of CTE pathways are helping students to fast-track their college degrees.
CTE programs provide instruction that is hands-on and engaging, as well as rigorous and relevant. Many of them are helping to connect students with the high-demand science, technology, engineering and math fields – where so many good jobs are waiting.
In visiting CTE programs across the country, I’ve seen many excellent examples of partnerships that are providing great skills and bright futures for students. Our challenge is to replicate these successful programs so they become the norm—especially in communities that serve our most disadvantaged students. This administration’s goal is to prepare students to excel in college, in long-term occupational skills training, in registered apprenticeships, and in employment.
The president’s 2014 budget proposal includes both continuing and new funding to support this agenda. In addition to refunding the Perkins Act at roughly $1 billion, the Department of Labor will complete providing approximately $2 billion in Trade Adjustment Act funds over four years for CTE partnerships led by the nation’s community colleges. And, in November, the president announced a new $100 million initiative between the departments of Labor and Education to fund Youth CareerConnect grants.
Youth CareerConnect will encourage school districts, higher education institutions, the workforce investment system, and other partners to scale up evidence-based models that transform the U.S. high school experience. Best of all, with this grant program, we can plan on making awards early this year.
In celebrating CTE month, we celebrate all the partners—students, parents, business, union and community leaders, educators all through the pipeline, and many more—who are helping to transform CTE and achieve our shared vision of educational excellence and opportunity for all students. At the Department of Education, we’re proud to be your partner.
Together, we can make the year ahead a time of bold, smart, far-reaching action.
Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education
Robert L. Trivers, who was briefly barred from the campus in 2012, says he is being punished for complaining to students about a teaching assignment.
Imagine you have a painful toothache that has gone untreated. Or a headache after squinting at the book you’re reading. Now imagine yourself in a classroom, struggling to pay attention and be engaged in class, with this pain gnawing at you.
For students in every part of our country, this has become a day-to-day reality.
A student’s health is strongly linked with his or her academic performance. The lack of health coverage – and the corresponding likelihood of poorer health – therefore makes it harder for many children in low-income and minority communities, to reach their full potential.
That’s why President Obama has asked every American who knows someone without insurance to help them get covered between now and March 31. Families and individuals can shop for plans and sign up for coverage online at HealthCare.gov; by phone at 1-800-318-2596/TTY 1-885-889-4325; by mail; or directly through an insurer, agent or broker. They can also find in-person assistance in their own community at LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov.
There are 5.7 million uninsured children in our country, including more than 730,000 African American children. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the new Health Insurance Marketplace, it’s a new day: families across the nation have greater access to quality health care.
For kids of all backgrounds, access to affordable, quality coverage means the opportunity to get regular checkups, vaccinations, depression screenings, dental care, and many other preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost to their parents or caregivers. With greater access to health care services, children will be more likely to receive the necessary care and treatment for mental health and physical illnesses that could impede their ability to perform in the classroom. We also know that parents can take better care of their children when they take care of themselves.
Already more than 9 million Americans have signed up for a private health insurance plan, or signed up for, renewed, or been determined eligible for Medicaid coverage. Plus coverage in the Marketplace is more affordable than you might think. Many people are eligible for lower costs to help pay for monthly premiums. A family of four making $50,000 in Dallas, for example, can buy a plan for as little as $26 a month after financial assistance, and $72 a month in Miami.
And for young adults who are trying to decide on a higher education or the right job, or who perhaps are focusing on managing a chronic illness, the Affordable Care Act allows them to remain covered by their parents’ plan up to age 26. More than 3 million young adults who otherwise would have been uninsured – including more than 500,000 African Americans — were able to get covered by their parents’ plan.
It is not enough to just have strong principals, top teachers, and engaged families. If a child is not healthy, then he or she is unlikely prepared to learn and develop – and contribute to their community. The Affordable Care Act is helping us make sure that more children across the nation are healthy and ready to learn.
David J. Johns is the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. The Initiative contributes to closing the achievement gap for African American students.
To learn more about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit www.HealthCare.gov or call (800) 318-2596.
In a survey, students give the colleges high marks for teaching and scheduling, but a third of graduates say the high cost makes the program not worth it.
Once trusted advisers, academics are now trying to be heard from the outside as they question the agency’s tactics.
Robert DePoe III grew up on Montana’s Flathead Indian Reservation. Now he has "come home," he says, as a college president.