Monthly Archives: May 2009

Federal Education News and Events – May 2009

Education news headlines: [please see the end of this email for the full text of all articles]

Ed. Dept to States: Stimulus Money Available! Act Now! [Article 1] 

Montgomery Co. Touts ‘Seven Keys to College Readiness” as an Academic Pathway [Article 2]  

Congressional Committee hearings: 
House Committee on Education and Labor:
May 20: The Obama Administration’s Education Agenda
10:00 a.m., 2175 Rayburn House Building, Capitol Hill
Witness: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan 

May 21: Increasing Student Aid through Loan Reform
10:00 a.m., 2175 Rayburn House Building, Capitol Hill
Witnesses to be announced 

May 29: Field Hearing, Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness
New Innovations and Best Practices under the Workforce Investment Act
10:00 a.m., Nevada State College, Liberal Arts and Sciences Building, Room #120, 1021 East Paradise Hills Drive, Henderson, Nevada
Witnesses to be announced
Note: this is part 5 in a series of hearings  

Other Events:
May 21: Webinar: Education Stimulus: A Progress Report
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Guests: Alyson Klein, Education Week writer, Michele McNeil, Education Week writer
Register here:

May 21: Getting To Work: The Tough Journey of Getting To More Postsecondary Degrees
Opening Remarks:  James Kvaal, Senior Director, White House National ,Economic Council Advisors, Richard Stephens, SVP of Human Resources and Administration, Boeing Corporation;
Featured Panelists: James Merisotis, CEO, Lumina Foundation for Education;.Arthur M. Hauptman, Independent policy consultant, Nancy Hoffman, Vice President, Jobs for the Future; Nisha Patel, Program Officer for Special Initiatives, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Center for American Progess, 13th and  H Street, NW, 10th Floor., Washington, DC   

U.S. Department of Education:
Press release:Secretary Duncan Urges “States to Act Now’ and Submit Stimulus Fund Applications [Article 3] 

Institute of Education Sciences: New report: How State Education Agencies in the Northeast and Islands Region Support Data-Driven Decision Making in District and Schools: 

For information on the negotiated rulemaking process for the Higher Education Opportunity Act now under way please visit the Department’s Higher Education Opportunity Act website: 

FY10 Education Budget:

The Education Department has posted FY2010 Budget Justifications (May 13): 

The Education Department budget summary (released May 7): 

The House and Senate conferenced budget resolution:  

Statement of the Managers:

Federal Education Training and Grant Opportunities, Notices:

Link to today’s Federal Register:  

Yesterday in Congress:
H.R.2187 : To direct the Secretary of Education to make grants to State educational agencies for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public school facilities, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6] (introduced 4/30/2009)      Cosponsors (25)
Committees: House Education and Labor; Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
House Reports: 111-100
Latest Major Action: 5/18/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.2456 : To amend section 484B of Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for tuition reimbursement and loan forgiveness to students who withdraw from an institution of higher education to serve in the uniformed services, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Davis, Susan A. [CA-53] (introduced 5/18/2009)      Cosponsors (5)
Committees: House Education and Labor
Latest Major Action: 5/18/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (stimulus):
Education Recovery and Reinvestment Center:

Updated: The State and Local Resources page is tracking all activity at the state level and has a good collection of links, documents, and local news stories on distribution of education stimulus money: 

The Department has released revised guidance for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund which strongly discourages using funds for school construction projects (updated May 13): 

The Department has noted in the Federal Register that the deadline for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund applications is July 1, 2009: 

As of May 13, the Department has approved 13 applications for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin: 

On May 12 the GAO released a new report on the Recovery Act: As Initial Implementation Unfolds in States and Localities, Continued Attention to Accountability Issues Is Essential. This report tracks the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund money among other funding streams: 

Grant notices (May): Early Head Start Expansion:

Head Start Expansion:

The Coalition for Student Achievement has released a report entitled “Smart Options; Investing the Recovery Funds for Student Success” (April 30)The full report:

Letter from the Dept: Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement (April 24): 

Idea Paper from the Education Commission of the States on Maximizing Education Reform in the Stimulus Bill; Enhancing Summer Learning Programs (updated April 16):

The Department has released guidance, fact sheets, and applications for various stimulus funding, including the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Title I funding, IDEA funding (REVISED April 13), Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants, Independent Living Services funding, Impact Aid Construction Formula Grants and McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth Grants (updated April 13): 

OMB has published updated guidance to Federal agencies for implementing the ARRA (updated April 3): 

Table showing the Initial Release of Recovery Act Funds, by State (updated April 9):

The ARRA website has a map with links to each state’s recovery web page that helps explain how they are spending funds allocated by the Recovery Act (added March 17):  

U.S. Department of Labor announced funding for employment and training programs under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (updated March 6):  

The Department of Labor has released guidance for implementation of the Workforce Investment Act and Wagner-Peyser Act Funding in the ARRA, and State Planning Requirements for Program Year 2009 (updated March 30): 

Please contact D’Arcy Philps, Vic Klatt, Rich Stombres or Danielle Ballard at Van Scoyoc Associates with any questions or comments.
(202) 638-1950

Article 1

Ed. Dept. to States: Stimulus Money Available! Act Now!

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has billions in state-stabilization funding burning a hole in his pocket. And he’s urging states to apply to pick up their checks before he runs out and spends the cash on extra-long suits and a basketball court for 400 Maryland Ave.
In all seriousness, it sounds like the Education Department is getting a little antsy. After all, the $32.6 billion in state-stabilization money available in the first round was intended to be sent out quickly to help save jobs, stimulate the economy, and restore school programs that might be on the chopping block.But, according to a statement the department released this morning, just under $13 billion of that money has been allocated. So far, it has gone to 13 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin. Puerto Rico and another nine states have applied: Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.Put another way, of the 52 applications that need to be submitted, 29 remain outstanding. Note that the states in arguably the most dire fiscal straits—California, Florida, and Nevada—are among those that have received their funds. The stragglers include some states in comparatively good financial shape, such as Texas and Wyoming. So is lack of need the main reason some states are taking their time? That’s possible, but hard to imagine in most cases. Any ideas?    

Article 2

Montgomery Co. Touts ‘Seven Keys to College Readiness’ as an Academic Pathway
By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 18, 2009

In a region where college preparation often begins at birth, some glossy new public school brochures offer a tantalizing formula for parents who crave assurance that their children are on track: a seven-step pathway to higher education that starts as early as kindergarten. Montgomery County educators are blitzing parents and students with information on what they call “Seven Keys to College Readiness.” The initiative, also promoted on the Web (, spells out in detail the courses and tests that officials say point toward academic prosperity. Measuring students early and often against lofty goals is part of school culture in the Washington area. School systems in Fairfax, Prince William and Calvert counties, among others, set annual targets in such areas as college entrance testing and accelerated math. With his campaign, Montgomery County School Superintendent Jerry D. Weast goes a step further, telling parents how their children should score on each test, and which courses they should take — and when — if they wish to earn a college degree. “What our job is, is to connect the dots,” Weast said April 28 at Northwood High School in Silver Spring as the campaign was launched. “We’re trying to answer the parents’ question: ‘What’s the pathway?’ ” Some of the goals are obvious. Savvy parents know that a college-bound student should score at least 1650 out of a possible 2400 points on the SAT, and pass at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test. Those are two of the seven goals. A third widely accepted goal is for students to take Algebra I, traditionally a high school course, in middle school. But Weast’s campaign also suggests that a child can be deemed college-bound from a first-grade reading score or a fifth-grade math course. Weast says he wants 80 percent of the county’s 140,000 students on the college-ready path by 2014. It’s a typically bold, splashy — and potentially risky — strategy for a superintendent who views the “keys” as the culmination of nearly 10 years at the helm of Maryland’s largest school system. Some parents say the campaign is costly and unnecessary. (School officials say the brochure cost $18,895, with half the sum covered by business partners.) “I glanced at it, felt that it didn’t really apply to my family, and moved on,” said Julie Garcia, who has two children at Burning Tree Elementary in Bethesda, one of the region’s top-performing schools. Weast said he was more concerned about schools such as Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Silver Spring, where more than half of families qualify for meal subsidies. “The goals may be obvious to some, but I can guarantee that there are quite a few parents that weren’t clear on the [college] pathways,” said Ricky Ford, father of two students at Lee. Weast released the seven goals with research that attempts to link them to one another, and to the ultimate goal of college graduation. School system analysts found that a student who met one goal probably would meet the next goal, and so on. There are well-established links between the final goals — scoring well on college entrance tests and AP or IB exams — and success in college. Roughly two-thirds of Montgomery kindergartners already meet the first goal: advanced performance on a school-system reading assessment in the primary grades. Just under half of all students meet the second, advanced performance on the Maryland School Assessment in reading in grades 3 to 8. About half of students take advanced math in grade 5, the third goal. For goals four through seven: — Fifty-seven percent attain a C or better in Algebra I by eighth grade; — Forty-nine percent successfully complete Algebra II by 11th grade; — Forty-six percent pass at least one AP test in high school; and — Forty-nine percent score 1650 on the SAT or 24 of a possible 36 points on the ACT. To buttress their argument for college-readiness benchmarks, Montgomery officials point to a school system analysis that tracked the Class of 2001. It found that about half of the county’s graduates complete college, compared with 27 percent nationally. It found a much higher college completion rate — 77 percent — among students who attained the county’s target score on the SAT or ACT. In public education, college readiness is often touted but seldom defined. In an influential report two years ago, University of Oregon education professor David Conley said the term comprises an assortment of high-order cognitive skills, such as the ability to write a properly structured research paper and conduct a laboratory experiment using the scientific method. Conley predicted that the Montgomery effort will help prepare children for college, regardless of whether each “key” is well-chosen. “The students get the message from every direction that it’s important to be thinking of their education beyond high school,” he said.

Article 3 

Secretary Duncan Urges “States to Act Now” and Submit Stimulus Fund Applications
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today urged states to submit applications for State Fiscal Stabilization Funds as quickly as possible, saying teaching jobs are at risk and reforms must move forward. “We have an urgent need to reform our schools and prevent teacher layoffs,” said Duncan. “The Department is turning around applications within nine days on average. States that have not yet applied need to do so now.” Of the over $100 billion stimulus dollars designated for education, $48.6 billion was designated for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. On April 1, the first $32.6 billion was made available. This includes $26.6 billion exclusively for K-12 and higher education and $6 billion for education, public safety or other government services. So far, nearly $13 billion has been awarded to 13 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin. Another nine states and Puerto Rico have applied: Tennessee, Rhode Island, Indiana, North Carolina, Washington, Idaho, Massachusetts, Virginia and Iowa. In addition to the stabilization funds, $11.4 billion under the Title I, IDEA, Vocational Rehabilitation and Independent Living programs was available on April 1. Title I programs serve schools with large concentrations of low-income students. IDEA funds serve students with disabilities. A second round of Title I and IDEA funds will be available later in the year.