Higher Education News
At Johns Hopkins and Dartmouth, student journalists are forbidden to report on some public proceedings.
The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, have been on the minds of many of us at the Department of Education. Secretary Duncan addressed the topic in a staff-wide email just before the Thanksgiving holiday. Because of the importance of the topic, we are posting his email below.
Like many of you, I have been troubled by the death of Michael Brown, the tragic loss to his family and his community, and what has been happening in Ferguson, Missouri, over recent months and over the past 36 hours.
We come to work at this agency each day because we believe in the world that is possible when equity and justice and peace and opportunity are a reality in the lives of our communities and our young people. Thus, it is especially difficult to watch the scenes of violence and unrest in Ferguson. Evident in those scenes is a broken trust that exists within communities well beyond Missouri, between people – particularly those of color – and the official institutions that are there to serve them.
I must stress that nonviolence is the most powerful strategy and the only path to a real solution. What we are seeing in Ferguson speaks to some important and deep issues that won’t be resolved just by bringing quiet to the streets there.
For our young people to succeed, they have to be connected, to know that they have a stake, to have opportunities open to them, to trust in our legal system, and trust that the adults and society around them have their best interests at heart. I worry when young people may have lost their trust in our system of laws and democracy, and become disconnected – from adults, from society, from school, and from the police. I believe that this alienation, lack of trust, and disconnect is how we start to lose some of our young people, especially in communities of color. I believe it is our job as adults to do everything we can to rebuild that trust – in Ferguson and throughout the country.
Solving those problems and setting communities on a path to trust isn’t a quick fix. Relationships are built – or damaged – over time. We should take away from Ferguson that we need a conversation to rebuild those relationships, throughout the country, and that need is urgent. It needs to involve everyone – our young people, our parents, our schools, our faith communities, our government officials, and the police. It needs to happen now.
Moving that conversation forward is part of the work that so many of us do – and in fact, for many of us, it’s the reason for it. We are together in that effort, and it has never been more important. Thanks for what you do every day to advance opportunity, cohesion, understanding, trust, and justice.
Finally, as you gather with your families and in your communities for Thanksgiving, let’s all be thankful for our many blessings and hopeful that we can get to a place where all of America’s children feel they have an equal opportunity to succeed in life thanks to a great education, a rewarding job, and the caring of adults around them.
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With Thanksgiving around the corner, people across the country will be reflecting on the things they are most grateful for. During this time, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education would like to recognize and express gratitude to the teachers, parents, coaches, mentors, and others who have made a difference.
One of the ways we do this is through our ongoing Know It 2 Own It campaign. We want to encourage young adults to learn about the history of the disability rights movement and for those with disabilities to understand their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. We also want to hear from young adults with disabilities who are working to make a difference in their communities.
As we have demonstrated in past blog posts, disabilities don’t all look alike. Each month we strive to tell different stories about challenges and successes within the disability community.
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month. We recently invited students and young adults living with epilepsy to express their appreciation for those who have helped them along the way. Below are some of the compelling responses we received:
My name is Dalton, I am 19 years old and live in Texas. I can’t honestly narrow down a mentor to just one person. My mentors were my camp counselors Jonathan, Jake and Ryan at the summer camp I attended in 2008 for children with epilepsy. When I first arrived I was nervous, homesick and withdrawn. I had hardly opened up with anyone since my diagnosis two years earlier. After spending one week with them my life completely changed for the better. I realized that epilepsy was not going to keep me from living my life and that I could have friends and have fun just like any other kid. Because of camp, I joined the football team and then became a pole vaulter! Now I am a camp counselor just like they were, and even was a head counselor last summer! I hope to make a difference in a kid’s life, just like they did mine. (Dalton, Texas)
I had just begun high school when at the age of fourteen, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I had never heard of the condition, wasn’t familiar with the causes, and didn’t know which treatment option to select. My teachers and counselors not only offered valuable advice but helped me navigate the fears I had. When I needed them most, they were there, and I will forever be grateful to each and every one of them. (Ryan, Missouri)
My friends always support and encourage me. They will do epilepsy runs with me and remind me to take my meds. My friends are trained to know what to do if I have a seizure and to recognize symptoms. My friends encourage me when I participate in sports and don’t make me feel like I can’t do what they are doing because I have epilepsy. (Jarin, Wisconsin)
Throughout my 4-1/2 year journey with epilepsy, one important person in my life comes to mind that has supported, helped, encouraged and cheered me on to speak up, speak out and be bold about my diagnosis. To share my story with the world so as to help other teens and families going through the same roller coaster ride of emotions that me and my mom have lived every day since my diagnosis. My mother, she has been my biggest and strongest advocate. Watching how she has taken this bull by the horns instead of letting epilepsy drag us by the tail, has shown me her strength, determination and — biggest of all — her unwavering faith that we will live life exactly as God has planned for us.I may never fully understand why I was given epilepsy but as I always say, “God gave me this life because He knew I was strong enough to live it.” He has put people and opportunities in my path over the years where I can use my voice to tell my story and to help inspire other teens like me not to fear the diagnosis but to have Hope for our futures. (Abie, Texas)
The testimony above showcases the resiliency of young people with disabilities and the value of their support networks. We want to continue to highlight stories like those above – and want to hear from you. Please continue to share your stories with us on social media by using the hashtag #know2own. And view past blog posts for additional inspiration.
Alexis Perlmutter is a Special Assistant in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education.
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Great teachers matter enormously to the learning and the lives of children. Every parent knows it, and study after study proves it.
Unfortunately, teachers, principals and researchers have made clear: too many teacher preparation programs today aren’t equipping teachers with the skills they need to be successful. Teaching is one of the most important and challenging careers, yet new research shows that many teacher preparation programs offer easy A’s instead of rigorous learning
That’s why ED today announced new regulations that will build on momentum to improve teacher training. The proposed regulations will be different than current reporting requirements – which focus almost exclusively on inputs – by establishing meaningful outcome indicators, like employment outcomes, teacher and employee feedback, and student learning outcomes.
The proposed regulations will also:
- Encourage states to develop meaningful systems to identify high- and low-performing teacher preparation programs across all kinds of programs, not just those based in colleges and universities;
- Reward only those programs determined to be effective or better by states with eligibility for TEACH grants, which are available to students who are planning to become teachers in a high-need field and in a low-income school, to ensure that these limited federal dollars support high-quality teacher education and preparation; and
- Offer transparency into the performance of teacher preparation programs, creating a feedback loop among programs and prospective teachers, employers, and the public, and empower programs with information to facilitate continuous improvement.
The regulations would provide significant flexibility for states, allowing them to set performance thresholds and additional performance categories or indicators. Programs would be assessed using a minimum of four performance levels: exceptional, effective, at-risk, or low-performing.
These changes will not only create a new feedback loop among programs and prospective teachers, employers, and the public, but it will also empower programs with better information to facilitate continuous improvement.
Final regulations will be published in Summer 2015. You can learn more about the proposed regulations on our teacher preparation web page, which includes a printable fact sheet and PowerPoint presentation.
Or will impatient recruiters and résumé-reading robots threaten the value of alternative credentials?
Colleges treat it as a problem to be solved through education, not enforcement, despite evidence that information alone isn't enough.
“We really need to break down the barriers between federal programs so we can better meet the needs of our most vulnerable youth”, says Lori Kaplan, President and CEO of the Latin American Youth Center in Washington D.C. “Many of the young people we serve come to us with a multiplicity of needs. These kids often require multiple interventions, over longer periods of time than is currently allowable under some federal programs.”
Over five million 14-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. are out of school and not working. In many cases, they face the additional challenges of being low-income, homeless, in foster care, or involved in the justice system. In response, five federal agencies are coming together to offer a new opportunity to help communities overcome the obstacles they face in achieving better outcomes for these “disconnected youth,” as well as those at risk of becoming similarly disconnected from critical social institutions and supports. Secretary Arne Duncan emphasized the importance of this unprecedented Federal collaboration to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable youth, saying, “We have reduced the dropout rate to a historic low, but we can’t stop there. We need to find better ways to reconnect the millions of young Americans who are not engaged in education, training, or work. This new performance partnership effort gives state, local, and tribal leaders the flexibility to develop innovative solutions to more effectively serve these “opportunity youth”, and put them on a path to the middle class.”
For the next 100 days, state, tribes, and municipalities can apply to become a Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies for achieving significant improvements in educational, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth. This initiative is one of the more promising and exciting opportunities to move the needle on improving the outcomes for over five million young people in our cities, states, and native communities.
This P3 initiative enables up to 10 pilots to blend together funds that they already receive from different discretionary programs administered by the departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services and the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
P3 allows new flexibility under federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements to overcome barriers and align program and reporting requirements, enabling applicants to propose the most effective ways to use these dollars. In addition, pilots will receive start-up grants of up to $700,000.
Government and community partners already invest considerable attention and resources to meet the needs of America’s disconnected youth. However, practitioners, youth advocates, and program administrators on the front lines of service delivery have let us know that achieving powerful outcomes is still sometimes inhibited by programmatic and administrative obstacles, such as poor coordination and alignment across the multiple systems that serve youth and fragmented data systems that inhibit the flow of information. P3 responds directly to these challenges by offering broad new flexibility in exchange for better outcomes.
As an evidence-based initiative, P3 will prioritize applicants whose proposals draw on existing evidence of what works and show that they will collect and use reliable data for decision-making and accountability. Applicants that propose to rigorously evaluate at least a component of their pilot will receive competitive preference. In order to look across all pilot sites, the Federal agencies will initiate a national P3 evaluation to examine implementation and build the base of knowledge of how to best serve disconnected youth.
In order to test this new authority in diverse environments across America, P3 includes priorities for applicants that propose to serve disconnected youth in rural communities, and applicants that propose to serve disconnected youth in tribal communities.
Applicants will have 100 days to submit their applications, and the Federal agencies plan to announce the pilot sites in late spring 2015. Lead applicants must be a State, local, or tribal government entity, represented by a chief executive. The lead applicant will submit the proposal on behalf of a partnership that involves all public and private organizations (including non-profit, business, industry, and labor organizations) participating in the pilot. Although non-governmental entities are not eligible to be a lead applicant, they may still serve as key partners in designing and implementing pilots.
To hear representatives from Federal agencies present the details of the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) on P3, including application requirements and selection criteria, for potential applicants, please register and join us for the P3 National Webinar on December 1st, from 3:30 to 5 pm EST.Additional Resources:
Johan Uvin is the Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education and the co-chair of the federal Interagency Forum on Disconnected Youth.