School Days - November 2011

Uploaded by usedgov on 09.12.2011

It's School Days, the monthly video journal of the U.S. Department of Education.
In our November 2011 edition, we look at States seeking waivers from parts of the No Child
Left Behind Act; a new report showing that schools serving low-income students aren't
getting their fair share of state and local funds; Secretary Arne Duncan's visits to Ohio,
Kentucky, and Rhode Island; and a lot more.
In our top story, less than two months after President Obama announced a plan to offer
flexibility from key provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act -- in exchange for a
strong commitment to reforms that will boost student achievement -- 11 states formally
submitted requests for waivers from NCLB. In their waiver applications, the states outlined
plans to introduce college and career ready standards; focus on low-performing schools;
and create better systems for developing, supporting and evaluating principals and teachers.
Student: Come on, come on. Narrator: A new report from the Education
Department reveals that schools serving disadvantaged students are being shortchanged, because many
school districts are unfairly distributing their state and local funds. The result is
that high-poverty schools have fewer resources than schools attended by wealthier children.
Arne said students who need more are getting less, perpetuating a problem rather than solving
it. Arne traveled to Providence, Rhode Island,
to take part in a town hall with teachers and principals, elected officials, students,
union leaders, and others. He also spoke to business and community leaders at the Rhode
Island Convention Center, talking about school reform and how the American Jobs Act would
provide critical resources for education during tough economic times.
Arne Duncan: We're trying to push this American Jobs Act very, very hard. There will be 60
billion dollars for education, 30 billion to keep teachers in the classroom so they
don't get laid off. In Las Vegas, Arne delivered a speech to the
annual Federal Student Aid Fall Conference attended by 8,000 financial aid professionals
from more than 2,000 postsecondary schools across the country. Containing the cost of
college and lowering student debt were the focus of his remarks. He also hosted a town
hall at a community college outside of Las Vegas.
ED announced plans to create a new Office of Early Learning, which will administer the
Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants and will coordinate programs for young children
across the Department. Senior Advisor Jacqueline Jones will lead the new office, which will
operate within the Department's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Seven states applied for the third round of ED's Race to the Top Round program. Arizona,
Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will compete for
a share of $200 million in grants for comprehensive reforms. With their application, the states
commit to improve their data systems, raise academic standards, improve principal and
teacher support and evaluation, conduct interventions in under-performing schools.
In another grant program, ED announced the highest rated candidates in this year's "Investing
in Innovation" or "I3" competition. The finalists, selected from nearly 600 applicants, must
now secure matching private funds in order to receive their grants. The projects range
from early childhood interventions to school turnaround models - and from STEM education
to rural schools.
Teacher: You have 13, so if each one is 15 how are you going to figure out what the perimeter
Narrator: ED observed Veterans Day with a moving ceremony honoring Department employees
who have served or are serving in the military - or who have family members in uniform. The
celebration included a student music performance, a color guard from a Virginia high school's
ROTC program, a speech by Glen Kunkel of the Wounded Warrior Project, and the unveiling
of a "wall of honor" dedicated to ED's veterans.
Ensuring that students with disabilities receive a world-class education was the topic of the
latest Student Voices discussion with Arne. Arne Duncan: Give me an example of a class
where you had a professor that did do a good job of assesssing, a really good job of assessing
what we do to show mastery of a subject. Narrator: High schoolers from Montgomery County,
Maryland, and New York's "Project Eye to Eye" took part in a lively conversation about what
must be done to make sure that all students reach their full potential.
Narrator: Arne visited Mason, Ohio - outside Cincinnati - for a town hall with parents
and community members. Parenting Magazine's Mom Congress helped to put together the conversation
Arne Duncan: Parents -- step up and take responsibility, and great teachers, great schools can't do
this alone. We have to be full and equal partners. Narrator: Principals and teachers from the
2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools came to Washington, DC, to be honored for their outstanding
achievements. Arne Duncan: I feel smarter being in a room
like this.
Narrator: Arne was on hand to congratulate the 315 winning schools for helping close
the achievement gap and encouraging their students to reach high academic goals.
In Louisville, Kentucky, Arne delivered remarks at a conference focused on Improving Productivity.
He praised the state as a leader in education reform for the past two decades., noting that
Kentucky's schools and student Arne Duncan: I want you to know how much I
appreciate the hard work, how much the President appreciates the hard work. I think the public
has a growing sense of how critically important this is, to our collective future.
Narrator: Arne and his senior staff highlighted the achievements of ED employees over the
past year on the second annual AppreciatED celebration. Arne visited staff in the Department's
four Washington DC buildings and held a video teleconference with employees in the regional
Arne joined National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel in celebrating
NEA's American Education Week. The event at Alexandria, Virginia's T.C. Williams High
School aimed to raise public awareness of the importance of education and to highlight
the work of teachers across the nation. And Arne observed the Thanksgiving holiday
by offering a special thank-you to teachers. In a video produced by the online Teaching
Channel, he expressed his gratitude to teachers for, quote, "transforming students' lives."
Arne Duncan: But please, thank your teachers. They are doing the work every day, not for
the money, not for the glory, because they care about you, they care about your future.
Happy Holidays everyone. And that is all for now. For updates check out the blog at
and we will see you next month on School Days.