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After discussions with the agency about how they can aid a campaign to make published scientific findings more reliable, about 40 editors have endorsed a "general agreement."
A bill that would let borrowers refinance existing student loans at the lower rates for new loans is part of a platform focused on pocketbook issues.
Interviews with administrators in the sciences suggest that, while some view hiring and retaining more women as their responsibility, most see it as largely up to someone else.
When Congress passed a gender-equity law more than 40 years ago, no one expected it to make colleges responsible for responding to rapes.
Dexter McCoy knew that going to college was the right decision for his future, but after graduating this spring from Boston University, he has something else on his mind: repaying about $30,000 in student loans.
Far too many American students, like Dexter, and their families are worried about paying for college or are struggling with student loan payments. Over the past five years, the Administration has been listening to students tell their stories and has taken steps to help – including increasing the maximum Pell Grant by about $1,000 and providing loan repayment options like Pay As You Earn, which caps monthly payments at an amount that based on how much you’re making so student loan bills are more manageable.
But we want to do more. That’s why today, Dexter joined more than a dozen recent graduates, education advocates, economists, and college presidents for a discussion with Dr. Jill Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the White House about college affordability and student loans.
“It’s the story of many people my age across the country,” Dexter said. “It’s really important to me that the White House is taking steps to address this issue.”
Secretary Duncan and Dr. Biden believe that a college education is absolutely critical to strengthening the lives of American families and the country’s economy.
“We all recognize that going to college has never been more important than it is today. Unfortunately it’s also never been more expensive,” Secretary Duncan said. “Somehow, we have to find ways to reduce that burden.”
As the voices around the table continued to stress, higher education has increasingly felt out of reach for middle-class families and students, with many feeling overwhelmed and not sure how to navigate either the college selection or student loan repayment process, or like costs continue to escalate with little relief.
For Dr. Biden, the themes that were shared were similar to those she hears every day as a full-time community college teacher. Her students juggle work, families and school, but they are committed to getting an education and building a better life.
“That’s why college affordability is so critical,” Dr. Biden said. “And we need to make sure there’s an affordable path to higher education for all, and not just a luxury for a few.”
That’s something the Administration has taken to heart. As many leaders today stressed, being able to access and complete college is important not just for the lives of individual Americans, but also for the economic strength of our country.
On Monday, the President will talk more about this issue. Over the coming months, we will continue to act to ensure that all students – especially minority students and those from lower-income and historically underserved backgrounds – are able to afford a quality higher education.
Sara Gast is director of strategic communications at the U.S. Department of Education.
Having worked tirelessly towards this culminating moment, June is always an exciting time of year for graduating seniors and their families. Filled with college-going tasks and deadlines, the senior year is intense, and students look forward to the brief reprieve of summer. With the bulk of the college-readiness tasks behind them, all that is left for a student to do is attend commencement, update Instagram with a celebratory selfie, and report to college the first day of class, right? Well, not entirely.
Summer is a critical time for college-going seniors and an optimal time to continue to reach out and engage them in the college process. Having access to a rich social network that will continue to advise them on how to navigate their college pathway, remind them of deadlines and tasks, and help them to overcome their barriers over the summer months, is one of the most valuable tools a graduating senior can have. Here are a few resources to consider for your students social network:
- Educators: Encourage your student to stay connected with school counselors, teachers, administrators, and college advisors over the summer months. School counselors are uniquely trained to help students navigate the college-going process and are a great resource. Some school districts specifically employ school counselors over the summer months to advise and assist seniors with challenges that may arise.
- Parents/Guardians: Talk with your student often about the college process. Studies show that speaking frequently to your student about college increases the likelihood of enrollment by seven percentage points.
- Peers: Connect your student with others going to college for the first time or students already enrolled in the college he or she will attend. Peer influence increases the likeliness of enrollment by over 14 percentage points.
- Colleges & Universities: Link your student with the new learning community early. Most colleges and universities offer programs that connect with students over the summer months. While some do so through social media, reminding them about mandatory deadlines and tasks, others offer in-person programs such as freshman orientation and bridge programs. Contact your student’s admission office and inquire about such opportunities.
I’ve spoken to thousands of students over the years, and when asked who had the greatest influence in their accomplishments, without fail, nine out of ten times, they name a parent or guardian. Your support and encouragement not only inspires them to go to college, but will sustain them through their pursuit of their degree. As a Professional School Counselor, I’ve watched this moment play out in the lives of numerous families. I encourage you to stop, be present, and tell your student how proud you are of them.
Jasmine Mcleod is the 2014 Scholar-in-Residence for the American Counseling Association and Instructional Systems Specialist for School Counseling & Psychology at DoDEA schools.
At stake are a dozen or more faculty jobs, three academic programs, and professors' hopes that they will have a voice in how their institution deals with a deficit.
The diminished profile of the association’s president has left some observers wondering who is in charge.
More members voted for the measure than did not, but supporters fell far short of the minimum participation requirement for it to become official policy.
Adjuncts and graduate students say a recent report on the Ph.D. in language and literature paid too little attention to conditions for those working off the tenure track.
Lacking a strong role model, Hector Araujo’s community told him that an education was not necessary to be successful. He spent his life running races; the only problem is, this race would have led him into the criminal justice system.
That changed, though, when Emily Johnson — a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Coordinator from Boise, Idaho — transplanted herself into Hector’s school. He was awe-struck when he found that someone believed in him.
“She has been the greatest factor in my life,” Hector said on stage at the 2014 Building a GradNation Summit hosted by America’s Promise Alliance, before introducing Secretary Arne Duncan. “What is [most] important is that there are people in your life that are going to support you and nurture you to achieve the dreams that God has put in your heart.”
Today, the U.S. Department of Education is announcing the availability of $75 million for two new Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) competitions. The aim of this year’s GEAR UP competition is to improve college fit and readiness, so all students graduate from high school prepared for college without needing remedial courses – a problem for millions of beginning college students each year – and enroll in an institution that will help them maximize their success. This follows up on a commitment the Department made at the White House College Opportunity summit in January to help students achieve the necessary milestones that provide a pathway to college success.
This year’s competition also focuses on projects that are designed to serve and coordinate with a Promise Zone, which are high-poverty communities where the federal government has partnered and invested to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, and improve public safety. This year’s GEAR UP program also places a priority on helping to improve students’ non-cognitive skills and behaviors, including academic mindset, perseverance, motivation, and mastery of social and emotional skills that improve student success.
Thanks to the GEAR UP grant program, Hector was the first person in his family to graduate from high school and is now pursuing his masters in higher education at the University of Arizona. He wanted to pursue a career in education because of the powerful feeling gained when helping America’s students — especially those who may lack exposure to higher education opportunities. Hector wrote in his GEAR UP Alumni Leadership Academy biography that “it is critical to let youth know that they are important, beautiful and capable of achieving anything.”
Secretary Duncan agrees. “We have to make sure all of our young people — all of them — have the kind of education that truly prepares them for that future,” he said at this year’s Building a GradNation Summit, adding, “We have to redouble our efforts for those who aren’t even making it to the starting line. Because high school graduation may once have been the finish line, but now it’s the beginning.”
GEAR UP grants currently fund 87 programs across the country that serves approximately 420,000 middle and high school students who often come from historically underserved backgrounds. This program offers the federal government, states, nonprofits, districts and schools an opportunity to partner together to increase these students’ chances for success.
Michael Lotspeich is an intern in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach and a junior at the University of Illinois-Springfield.
The Department of Education (ED) is the place where you can explore your interests in education policy research and analysis, or intergovernmental relations and public affairs, or even work with social media while learning about the role Federal Government plays in education.
If the above appeals to you, then an internship at ED may be right for you. Not only will an internship at ED provide an opportunity to learn first-hand about federal education policy while developing a variety of other skills, including writing, researching, communication and time-management skills, but interns also participate in group intern events, such as brownbag lunches with ED officials, movie nights and local tours. One of the many advantages to an ED internship is the proximity to some of the most historic and celebrated sites in our nation’s capital, all accessible by walking or taking the metro.
ED is accepting applications for Fall 2014 through July 15. If you are interested in interning for the upcoming fall term, there are three materials you must send before being considered for an interview:
- A cover letter summarizing why you wish to work at ED and stating your previous experiences in the line of education, if any. Include here what particular offices interest you, keeping in mind that due to the volume of applications received, you may not be awarded with your first-choice office upon acceptance.
- An updated resume.
- A completed copy of the Intern Application.
Once these three documents are finalized, prospective interns should send them in one email to StudentInterns@ed.gov with the subject line formatted as follows: Last Name, First Name: Fall Intern Application.
(Note: For candidates also interested in applying specifically to the Office of General Counsel (OGC), please see application requirements here.)
An internship at ED is one of the best ways a student can learn about education policy and working in the civil service, but it is not limited to this. Your internship at ED is where you will develop crucial workplace skills that will help you in whatever career path you choose, and it is also where you will meet fellow students like yourself, who share your passions for education, learning, and engagement.
Click here for more information or to get started on your application today.
De’Rell Bonner is a special assistant and youth liaison in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education.
Flags representing students from around the world blew gracefully in the breeze last weekend as I joined thousands to celebrate the graduation of the class of 2014 at Brown University. The image was a beautiful reminder of how much we gain from getting to know people from different countries, cultures and perspectives, and how important it is that we build deep personal relationships and connections that can bridge these differences.
Also last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s International Affairs Office hosted a policy seminar on the importance of education diplomacy, with a particular focus on the role of study abroad. We heard from an undergraduate student, a STEM teacher, an academic mobility researcher, and a university vice president. They were all passionate about their overseas experiences and the importance of broadening the availability of study abroad, to make it the norm rather than the exception.
Currently, less than 10 percent of all U.S. undergraduates study abroad. The number would increase with a broader definition – adding, for example, internships, research projects, and volunteer opportunities – but even still the experience would not be the norm for most U.S. students. Rajika Bhandari, from the Institute of International Education (IIE) and one of the experts who joined us during our seminar, is exploring an expanded definition of study abroad and also supporting an effort to double the number of students studying abroad through IIE’s Generation Study Abroad. This is a simple but ambitious goal. Fanta Aw, from NAFSA and American University, also stressed during the seminar that bold action is required to increase study abroad opportunities for U.S. students from all backgrounds and to ensure the U.S. is a welcoming face to international students coming here.
Multiple perspectives, cultural empathy, and intercultural fluency are part of what one learns from international experiences. Jake Sorrells, an undergraduate at Georgetown University, came away from his high school experience in Paraguay with a new understanding of human relationships and the value of studying other languages. As an example, he described how much his host father, a large, gruff man, cared for him and tried to express it across linguistic differences. Jake also talked about the highly diverse high school he attended in suburban Maryland and how he wished that he had engaged in more genuine conversations across groups of students. Fanta Aw talked about her experiences growing up in Mali, France and the U.S. and how being a “global nomad” shaped her worldview. “You find yourself among people from all different walks of life, who speak different languages and come from different cultural backgrounds,” Fanta explained. “But you also realize what you have in common and what you have in common is deep fundamental human values.”
The Department of Education’s international strategy defines global competencies as “21st century skills applied to the world.” Overseas experiences help students to gain these competencies: to see things from different perspectives, to apply what they’ve learned to new challenges, and to think outside the box. Maya Garcia, a recipient of the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching and a STEM specialist in DC public schools, found that her overseas experiences dramatically changed the face of what she is doing in DC, including blending global competencies into the curricula, taking students overseas and designing professional development programs for her colleagues.
Michele Obama confirmed the importance of connecting across the globe in her talk with students during her recent trip to China, reminding them that “in the years ahead, much like you and I are doing today, you will be creating bonds of friendship across the globe that will last for decades to come.” You can watch excerpts of the First Lady’s talk here.
Maureen McLaughlin is senior advisor to the Secretary and director of international affairs.
A remarkable thing is happening. Local leaders in cities across the country are plowing ahead — in some areas, without additional funding from federal or state governments — and making commitments to quality early education. Increasingly, cities are seeing high-quality early learning programs as a way to improve their communities and to become more competitive sites for the high-skills jobs of the future.
I recently visited two very different communities—Dallas and Salt Lake City. Each city is experiencing disparate challenges and moving forward on early learning in a distinctive way, determined, in part, by the preschool policies of each state.
Let’s look at Texas first.
Texas provides preschool to more than 50 percent of its four-year-olds through the Texas Public School Prekindergarten Initiative, launched 30 years ago. But in Texas, success shouldn’t be measured in quantity, but in quality. Unless the local districts go above state requirements, the quality of early learning programs can be low. No limit is put on class size so one teacher can have 24 four-year olds without an assistant teacher. Additionally many districts must give educators specialized training because the generalist teaching certificate doesn’t adequately prepare teachers for preschool.
Dallas is boldly addressing these challenges by improving the quality of instruction and the reach of the program. Last year school officials realized many eligible children were not signed up for preschool, so the mayor and others, with backing from the Dallas area foundations, launched a public education campaign and have now signed up more than 3,000 of the 4-year-olds who were previously going unserved.
Seeing these efforts in Dallas is heartening, making me hopeful for strengthened preschool across Texas.
Now let’s look at Utah.
If you searched the latest State of Preschool Yearbook for information on the preschool program in Utah, you’d find a page that says, “No Program” because there is no direct state funding for preschool in Utah.
Despite this, Salt Lake County offers a strong preschool program serving many at-risk children.
The Granite School District works with United Way of Salt Lake and Voices for Utah Children to provide preschool services in the 11 schools most impacted by poverty.
The program uses a sustainable financing model (sometimes called Social Impact Bonds) for funding. This model quantifies the cost savings achieved through reduced special education use and reinvests the savings into the preschool program to serve more children in the future. Early results from the Granite School District in Utah are promising, showing both significant cost savings and improved child outcomes. Other districts in the county are using Title I funding to ensure their children get a strong start.
Finally, both Salt Lake and the state have embraced technology as a way to reach more children and families. The Utah Education Network connects all Utah school districts, schools, and higher education institutions to a robust network and quality educational resources. Every Utah teacher, caregiver, and family with a young child has free access to a “Preschool Pioneer Online Library.”
The U.S. Department of Education also recently awarded an i3 grant to expand the reach of UPSTART to children from rural districts in Utah who have traditionally had less access to educational resources. This at-home school readiness program is designed to provide preschool children with an individualized reading, math, and science curriculum (with a focus on literacy).
Many other cities also are actively promoting early learning: San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, Cleveland, Kansas City—just to name a few. But cities can’t do this work alone. Nor can states. We need every governmental entity to do more to support early learning, which is why the President proposed his Preschool for All initiative, which would greatly expand services for children from birth to preschool in our nation. As the examples of Salt Lake and Dallas show, cities are moving forward in exciting ways, but they need help to reach all children.
Libby Doggett is the deputy assistant secretary for Policy and Early Learning in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.
The New American Foundation says the association overvalues research statistics and undervalues teaching. The AAU says its criteria are broader than the foundation's report acknowledges.
In a roundtable discussion, the Missouri Democrat said more needed to be done to deal with the issue.
The U.S. Department of Education has updated its Open Government Plan.
We consider open government to be a critical component in achieving the administration’s ambitious education goals, which are:
- The U.S. is to become No. 1 in the world in the percentage of the population with a college degree by 2020; and
- The U.S. is to significantly reduce gaps between low-income and minority students and their peers in high school graduation and college access and success by 2020.
The Open Government Plan of the U.S. Department of Education highlights how the department is using open government, including increasing our transparency and accountability, soliciting and incorporating more public input, increasing collaboration and communication with other organizations, and creating a culture of openness within our own organization.
Our Flagship Initiatives, highlighted in the newest version of the document, outline how we’re currently applying open government. From our data inventory website to our new version of FREE.Ed.gov to our Federal Student Aid Integrated Student Experience, we’re using open government throughout the department in a variety of innovative ways.
The principles of open government are now vital to effectively communicating and interacting with the general public, students, parents, teachers, and all stakeholders engaged in public education. These principles have changed how the Department of Education operates and its internal culture.
Jill James is web director at the U.S. Department of Education and co-chair of the Department’s Open Government Working Group.
Throughout my childhood, school was an oasis from my chaotic home life. I reveled in learning new concepts and thrived off of the validation my teachers offered me. The classroom was the only place where I received consistent affirmation and felt safe. When I became a foster child at the age of fifteen, my education became one of my primary concerns. I was afraid that my education would be affected, and my fears were soon confirmed.
My social worker informed me that there were very few foster homes for someone my age, and that it was highly unlikely that I would find a permanent place to stay until I graduated from high school. Changing foster homes frequently would have interfered with my ability to stay at my high school, and I was not willing to give up both a stable family and a stable education. Instead, I learned that a law called the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act would allow me to remain in my high school when living outside of the school district as long as I met the act’s definition of homeless. In Connecticut, foster youth placed in emergency youth shelters receive McKinney-Vento protections, and I chose to live in emergency shelters in order to maintain educational stability.
Although I did not have a physical house to call home, the administration at my high school provided me with the nurturing and stability that I so desperately needed. One staff member that impacted me tremendously was my school social worker, Mrs. Dietter. Whether it was a pep talk over a school lunch or a tearful conversation as I left school to an unpredictable home, Mrs. Dietter constantly validated my fears and instilled within me the belief that I would be victorious over the present life trials. My life circumstances could have easily rendered me a failed statistic, but it was with Mrs. Dietter’s guidance and support that I am the successful and happy adult that I am today. In many ways, I believe she serves as a model for how a school staff member can best serve vulnerable students.
One of the ways that she ensured my success was by offering me “tough love”. While she acknowledged that my home life was reason to be upset, she did not allow me to use my tribulations as reason to perform poorly in the classroom. Mrs. Dietter expected that I strive to achieve excellent grades in every class and that all school work was completed on time. She would be disappointed when I would slack off in the classroom and would remind me that I was a very capable student. At the time, I thought that she was being too harsh but in hindsight I realize that her insistences pushed me to live up to my potential. If she had not pushed me to achieve all that was possible, I would have let myself fail.
Fortunately with the passage of the Fostering Connections Act (FCA) in 2008, Congress recognized the importance of a consistent educational environment for students in foster care. Now youth in foster care are entitled to educational stability, and coordinated efforts by child welfare and local education agencies must be made to keep them in their same school whenever possible. Another helpful provision of the FCA is the ability for states to extend foster care to the age of 21. The extension of services allows foster youth much needed supports as they attend college. I’ve personally benefitted from this provision in the form of tuition assistance and funds to afford housing during academic breaks.
I’ve gone on to become the successful adult that Mrs. Dietter knew I would become.
I graduated from the same high school in which I started, and am currently a junior at Quinnipiac University studying political science and women’s studies. My past challenges have been transformed into a narrative that I use to inform policy as an intern in the House of Representatives.
Though policy is key to improving the lives of vulnerable Americans, legislation is futile without members of the community stepping up to assist those individuals on a personal level. In the case of foster children, educators and school staff are often the only stable adults in that youth’s life, much like how Mrs. Dietter was the only consistent mentor I had throughout high school. Social and emotional learning are as important as core curriculum, and educators can use the relationships with their most vulnerable students as an opportunity to foster moral growth in those children.
Lexie Gruber, 21, is an alumni of foster care, and just finished her junior year as a political science major at Quinnipiac University.
On the heels of National Foster Care Month, the U.S. Department of Education released new guidance today to make it easier for caseworkers, child welfare agencies and tribal organizations responsible for the placement and care of children and youth in foster care to have direct access to their education records. Read more.