School Days, December 2011

Uploaded by usedgov on 18.01.2012

It's School Days, the monthly video journal of the U.S. Department of Education. In our
December 2011 edition, President Obama gives a major speech and talks about how education
is essential for ensuring American prosperity; Secretary Arne Duncan joins a special White
House celebration of the teaching profession; the Department of Education announces nearly
$1 billion in new grants to drive reforms in schools across the country; and more.
It starts by making education a national mission. A national mission.
In our top story: President Obama traveled Osawatomie, Kansas, the site of an historic
address by Teddy Roosevelt, to lay out his vision for broad-based prosperity in America.
The President said that education is the foundation for a strong middle class in this country
- and that our world-class colleges and universities will help build that foundation.
In this economy, a higher education is the surest route to the middle class. We shouldn't
be making it harder to afford college, we should be a country where everyone has a chance
to go and doesn't rack up $100,000 in debt just because they went.
During the holiday season, the Department of Education played Santa Claus to states
and school districts, offering nearly $1 billion in funding for preschool through 12th grade.
In the last few weeks of December, ED announced grants of:
$500 million to nine states in the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge fund;
More than $28 million in implementation and planning grants to 20 different communities
in the Promise Neighborhoods program; $150 million in grants from the Investing
in Innovation or I-3 program, supplemented by commitments of another $18 million in private-sector
matching funds. And, finally, $200 million to seven states
in Round 3 of the Race to the Top program.
Arne joined the outgoing Domestic Policy Council Director, Melody Barnes, and Obama Administration
leaders at the White House to congratulate the newest class of National Board Certified
teachers. The National Board announced that 6,200 teachers achieved National Board Certification
in 2011, the most advanced professional credential available to American teachers.
Just like when you went through the certification process, there's not one thing you did in
the classroom that assigned you the title of accomplished teacher, but it was a preponderance
of evidence of many things.
Arne joined Vice President Joe Biden on a trip to Neptune Beach, Florida, to talk with
high school students and their families about the importance of college and the steps the
Administration has taken to keep college affordable. A college education is not about filling a
bucket, it's about lighting a fire. And a college education will spark that fire. It
gives you a chance to have it burn your entire lifetime. See college is worth it. It's worth
it not just because of the economic incentives, it's simply just worth it.
During the meeting, the Vice President and Arne called on colleges and universities to
do their part to contain costs and to ensure college remains within reach of the middle
class. So we're trying to do everything we can to
make sure college is accessible, is affordable, and help youtake that next step.
Along with Under Secretary Martha Kanter, Arne went to the National Press Club to announce
the first-ever Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The winner, Valencia College in
Orlando, Florida, and four other finalists were awarded a total of $1 million for delivering
exceptional results in helping students complete college and secure well-paying jobs.
Arne dropped by the N Street Village, a community organization serving homeless and low-income
women in Washington, D.C. The program -- which offers assistance in housing, income, and
employment, as well as mental and physical health --is a beneficiary of the Combined
Federal Campaign charity. This past year Arne has served as the campaign's honorary chair,
which has raised nearly $60 million for charity from Federal employees.
ED's Washington, DC, employees had a chance to donate to the Combined Federal Campaign
when they attended the annual holiday gathering with Arne and his top staff. The celebration
also included caroling, skits, and a performance of the "ED Rap" by Teaching Ambassador Fellow
Genevieve DuBose. I'm here to represent the numbers. One country,
50 states all among us. A hundred thousand schools, 14 thousand districts. Three million
teachers. Can you believe this? Happy New Year to you!
That's all for now. For updates, check out the blog on
And see you next month on School Days. Education for all. I got to have it. Education
for all. I got to have it. What you going to do when you go back to your cube? What
you going to say? Who's world are you changing today? Thank you so much, ED. (Applause)