From: Honeysett, Adam
Subject: [ED_REVIEW] ED Review (08/01/14)
Date: Fri Aug 01 14:05:49 MDT 2014

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August 1, 2014




On July 21, President Obama visited Washington, D.C.’s Walker Jones Education Campus to participate in a town hall with youth and to announce new commitments in support of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.  “This isn’t some new, big government program,” he said in his opening remarks.  “It’s actually a team effort.  It’s all about a whole bunch of folks -- educators, business leaders, faith leaders, foundations, government -- all working together to give boys and young men of color the tools they need to succeed and make sure that every young person can reach their potential.  And so the reason we’re here today is to announce some of the pledges that have already been made, some of the commitments that have already been made by a series of institutions that just give you a sense of the kind of progress and excitement that we’ve seen since we launched this initiative.”


The Administration is doing its part by identifying policies and programs that work and recommending action (task force report) that will help all young people succeed.


Now, leading private sector organizations announced commitments (fact sheet) that further the goals of My Brother’s Keeper and directly address some of the key recommendations, including:

·         The National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Basketball Players Association, and the National Basketball Retired Players Association announced a five-year commitment in partnership with Mentor: National Mentoring Partnership, Team Turnaround, and the Council of Great City Schools.  The partnership will focus on recruiting mentors and work with educators in at-risk schools to provide incentive programs that increase attendance and improve overall school performance.

·         AT&T announced an $18 million commitment to support mentors and other education programs with a mentoring component.

·         Becoming A Man and Match tutoring programs announced $10 million in new funding to expand to 3-5 new cities over the next three years and support a large-scale study on long-term effects.

·         Citi Foundation is making a three-year, $10 million commitment to create ServiceWorks, a national program to help 25,000 young people in 10 cities across the U.S. develop the skills they need to prepare for college and careers.

·         The College Board is investing more than $1.5 million for “All In,” a national program to ensure that 100% of African-American, Hispanic, and American Indian students with Advanced Placement (AP) potential enroll in at least one matched AP class before graduation.

·         Discovery Communications will invest more than $1 million to create an original programming event to educate the public about issues related to boys and men of color and address negative perceptions.

·         Along with their partners from Silicon Valley and elsewhere, the Emerson Collective, founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, will collaborate with school districts and educators to launch a new competition to find and develop the best designs for next generation high schools.  Together, they will contribute $50 million.

·         The leaders of 60 of the largest school systems in the country, which educate nearly three million of America’s male students of color, have joined in an unprecedented pledge to change life outcomes by better serving these students at every stage of their education.




The Department recently announced a new round of experimental sites (ex-sites) to allow colleges and universities to test alternative methods for administering federal student aid programs.  “At a time when a college degree matters more than ever, we have to provide a flexible, innovative experience that can meet the needs of every American,” Secretary Duncan said.  “This initiative will enable institutions to try some of their best ideas and most promising practices to provide more students with the opportunity to pursue a higher education and become equipped for success in today’s workforce.”  While providing flexibilities for institutions to pursue innovations, the Department also conducts evaluations to demonstrate the effectiveness of these alternative approaches and inform future statutory and regulatory changes.  The new ex-sites will promote competency-based education, as well as prior learning assessments and near-peer counseling.  (Note: Ex-sites were cited in the Vice President’s “Ready to Work” skills report, which highlights successful job training programs and details executive actions [fact sheet].)




In guidance issued by the Department’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center, schools and districts are urged to be proactive in communicating how they use student data.  Information should be available to answer common questions before they are asked.  “Now, more than ever, schools need data to monitor academic progress and develop successful teaching strategies,” the Secretary stated.  “At the same time, parents need assurance that their children’s personal information is being used responsibly.  This guidance helps schools strike a balance between the two.”


To keep the public informed about privacy and the use of student records, the Department’s Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) also announced a companion web site that includes a variety of resources and information regarding the federal laws it administers.


In the coming months, the agency will post decision letters from prior complaints handled by FPCO and feature an online “community of practice” for school officials to share best practices, information, templates, and other resources.




On July 22, the Secretary, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Mike Boots, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Sustainability Mark Schaefer congratulated 2014 U.S. Department of Education-Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees at a special ceremony at the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.  The Secretary also announced the “Healthy Schools, High-Achieving Students” Best Practices Tour.  This six-state tour, spanning August to October, will spotlight practices that improve the overall achievement, productivity, and wellness of occupants through educational, health, and safety improvements in school facilities.  (Note: For the 2014-15 award cycle, in addition to up to five school and district nominees, each state may also nominate a postsecondary institution.)




ED Review is pleased to introduce two members of the Department’s State and Local Engagement team.


Joe Walsh, who joined the Department this spring, is the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for State and Local Engagement.  He leads the State and Local Public Engagement team, which includes intergovernmental affairs, rural outreach, staff in 10 regional offices throughout the U.S., and the agency’s signature recognition programs for schools and students.  He serves as a senior member of the Department’s Communications and Outreach team and advisor to Secretary Duncan, as well as an ambassador to elected and appointed officials at the state and local level.


Most recently, Joe worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on education as Deputy Director of U.S. Policy and Advocacy.  Previously, he spent more than a decade in leadership roles in state and local government, including serving in the cabinet of Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty as director of the state-level workforce development agency, and in the administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as director of policy and planning for the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.  He was also director of the City of Salem, Massachusetts’ planning and economic development department and, prior to that, chief of staff to the mayor.  He began his career as a high school program instructor at the Close Up Foundation, the nation’s largest civic education program, and served as education director of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.


And, the Department is pleased to announce this week that Lucy Johnson, former mayor of the City of Kyle, Texas, has joined the State and Local Engagement team and has been appointed to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach, the Department’s primary liaison to education stakeholders in rural and small communities and the organizations that represent them.


Lucy recently left office as mayor after deciding not to seek a third term.  During her time as mayor, she worked to secure better access to education for Kyle’s residents, building a new city library, campaigning successfully for a community college campus, and actively fostering relationships between local school district officials and the city.  A strong believer in youth involvement, she also helped create the Kyle Area Youth Advisory Council (KAYAC) to advise council members and city staff on a variety of municipal issues and voted to create an honorary council position for a youth representative.  Growing up on a Texas ranch led to an early appreciation for rural America -- both its joys and challenges -- and, as mayor, Lucy helped navigate her home town of Kyle through a period of heavy growth and development as it shifted from a small farming and ranching community to a prosperous suburban extension of the Austin metropolitan area.




·         To date, the Department has approved 13 states for one-year extensions of flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA): Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia.  These extensions allow states to move forward with the critical work of implementing the bold reforms they committed to in their original flexibility requests with the goal of improving achievement for all students.  The Department is reviewing state requests for one-year extensions on a rolling basis and anticipates approving additional extension requests over the coming weeks.  (Note: The Department has posted here approved flexibility requests and highlights of each state’s plan.)

·         On July 28, in partnership with the White House, the Harvard Graduate School of Education convened leaders in education to discuss how improvements in school counseling and college advising can bring about greater postsecondary opportunities for all Americans.

·         On July 29, Secretary Duncan and Labor Secretary Tom Perez traveled to Toledo, Ohio, to see, first-hand, model programs and partnerships equipping Americans with the knowledge, skills, and industry-relevant education they need to get on the pathway to a successful career.

·         The last two installments of this year’s “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” summer enrichment series took place at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (blog) and the Library of Congress (photos).

·         The Department’s Progress blog showcases state and local innovative ideas, promising practices, lessons learned, and resources informed by the implementation of K-12 education reforms.  Currently, one can read about how teacher leaders in South Huntington, New York, are engaging and informing parents in the transition to higher standards, Rhode Island’s new educator support system is establishing specific goals related to student learning, and selective programs in Florida are turning teachers into principals through experience in schools.  Ideas for content may be sent to

·         Peg + Cat, the animated PBS KIDS math series launched last fall with funding from the Department’s Ready to Learn program, won three Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards last month, including “Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Animated Series.”

·         This month, Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell and Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey sent a letter to institutions of higher education encouraging them to affirm support for the 8 Keys to Veterans’ SuccessOver the past year, the number of commitments have doubled, with more than 500 colleges and universities pledging to assist veterans and service members in transitioning to higher education, completing college programs, obtaining career-ready skills, and achieving success.  Show your institution’s support and join now!




The signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 creates a blueprint for job growth and makes key improvements to the nation’s workforce development system.  For the unemployed, the new law offers hope; for the young, it offers encouragement; and for people with disabilities, it brings opportunity.  This law helps workers attain the foundation skills necessary for 21st century jobs and fosters a modern workforce that can compete in a global economy.  It emphasizes the creation of career pathway programs, improved training, and streamlined service delivery to individuals, especially for underserved youth and adults.”


-- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (7/22/14), in a statement on the President’s signing of the WIOA (fact sheet, Frequently Asked Questions, and resource pages: Labor, OCTAE, and RSA)




Register today for the fourth annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering, September 22 and 23 on the George Washington University campus in Washington, D.C.  Participants will have opportunities to tell stories about what is happening on their campus, learn about best practices, and celebrate ongoing work, so that they will return to their campuses truly inspired to take the President’s challenge to the next level.



ED Review is a product of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Communications and Outreach, State and Local Engagement – Joseph P. Walsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary


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