Posts filed under ‘Federal education news’

States and Nation Focus on Elementary Reading

Education Week has a good article today about the push to focus on reading abilities prior to 3rd grade. The article discusses the approach a number of states are taking to focus on clear, comprehensive assessments of student progress, intervention for kids who are struggling and training and tools for teachers so they can better teach kids with differing needs. While it doesn’t highlight the WaKIDS initiative here in Washington, it does outline similar concepts happening elsewhere.

Here’s a quick excerpt which emphazies the reasons Stand for Children and our ESN coalition partners supported expanding the WaKIDs program: “In drafting laws and designing initiatives, politicians and educators are relying on a growing mound of research that points to 3rd grade reading proficiency as a crucial milestone. One of the latest studies, released in April, found that children who aren’t reading on grade level by 3rd grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school by age 19 than peers who are. If those struggling readers are poor, they’re 13 times likelier to be high school dropouts than their reading-proficient peers.”

Read the full article at:


June 29, 2011 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

A report from the National Center for Ed

A report from the National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), on 2009 Mathematics and Reading assessments was released yesterday. Generally, Washington is following the National trend, which is not a good thing in this case as the National trend is that even though scores have gone up overall, no progress has been made in the past 20 years in actually closing the gap between Hispanic students and Non-Hispanic White students. For one set of measures, Washington’s gap was significantly higher than the National average “The Hispanic-White achievement score gap in mathematics for public school students at grade 8.”

The full report is online at:

Ed Week has an interesting article outlining the findings on a National level

June 24, 2011 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

First round of federal stimulus dollars available for education

UPDATED 4/3/09: Education Week has a great page with news coverage and analysis of the stimulus and schools.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that nearly $50 billion for education will be available to states this week–with strings attached. Duncan made it clear that he wants the money directed to innovative reforms, and some additional funding will be contingent on improvements in key areas.

“Every dollar we spend must advance reforms and improve learning. We are putting real money on the line to challenge every state to push harder and do more for its children,” Duncan said in a statement.

Specifically, the administration calls for states to show that they are:

  • Making improvements in teacher effectiveness and ensuring that all schools have highly qualified teachers;
  • Making progress toward college and career-ready standards and rigorous assessments that will improve both teaching and learning;
  • Improving achievement in low-performing schools, by providing intensive support and effective interventions in schools that need them the most;
  • Gathering information to improve student learning, teacher performance, and college and career-readiness through enhanced data systems that track progress.

Duncan said last week he would “come down like a ton of bricks” on states that do not use the stimulus funds on education reform. The second $50 billion will be distributed later this year, and an additional $5 billion in Race to the Top grant funds will be available to districts and states that aggressively pursue education reform.

Read the Department of Education’s press release
Read The Washington Port’s coverage

Read the transcript of last week’s interview with Arne Duncan

April 1, 2009 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment

Arne Duncan: Federal stimulus money must go to reform

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan warns schools to spend stimulus on reform

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan warned today that he expects states and school districts to spend incoming stimulus money on true innovation, not the “status quo.”

Moreover, schools that do not spend the money on reform, he said, will not be favored for upcoming federal grants, and could even lose out in a second round of stimulus funding.

Duncan spoke with reporters, including from the Post-Dispatch, this morning to discuss education reforms laid out in President Obama’s budget proposal.

He said the department will “aggressively pursue a reform agenda.”

He talked about rewarding teacher excellence, encouraging alternative certification, and building financial incentives to persuade good teachers to go to troubled schools.

He encouraged schools to think about extending school days, school weeks, school years.

He said more money will be dedicated to charter schools than ever before.

But, more than anything, he emphasized how stimulus money will focus on innovation and accountability.

Billions of dollars will be invested in school districts, he said. They must use that money to make a difference in students’ lives. “Just filling holes isn’t going to get us where we want to go,” he said, “even when the holes are large and significant.”

Schools must give students more access to great teachers, after-school programs, and extended learning time. “It isn’t just about money,” he said. “It’s about being more innovative and more creative.”

Schools that don’t follow his guidance, he said, could lose their second round of stimulus dollars, and even give them a disadvantage in future grant fund competitions.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure every dollar is spent wisely,” Duncan said.

And if it is not spent well, he said, “we’re going to come down like a ton of bricks.”

Watch the Web cast of Duncan’s remarks on USA Today’s web site.

March 27, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Obama calls for education reform

In his first major speech on education since taking office, President Obama called for sweeping reform in our schools to ensure every kid gets a quality education and is prepared to succeed in the 21st century. Many of the reforms he proposes are addressed in the Basic Education Finance Task Force recommendations, such as expanding early education and reforming how we recruit, mentor, and compensate the next generation of teachers. Read the whole White House’s blog entry here and The New York Times’ article on his speech here.

The President’s five pillars of education reform:

1) “Investing in early childhood initiatives” like Head Start;
2) “Encouraging better standards and assessments” by focusing on testing itineraries that better fit our kids and the world they live in;
3) “Recruiting, preparing, and rewarding outstanding teachers” by giving incentives for a new generation of teachers and for new levels of excellence from all of our teachers.
4) “Promoting innovation and excellence in America’s schools” by supporting charter schools, reforming the school calendar and the structure of the school day.

5) “Providing every American with a quality higher education–whether it’s college or technical training.”

March 11, 2009 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment


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