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Frederick Wiseman is known for not overtly shaping the stories he films. But at Berkeley in 2010, financial pressures were everywhere.
Garage-style start-ups are using cheap devices to study microbes living in our bodies, in the hope that "citizen science" can improve health care.
Glimpses of Life in Academe From Around the World.
Achieving Excellence and Equity: The U.S. Department of Education’s Strategic Plan Released for Public Comment
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access to quality educational opportunities. Every four years, the Department of Education has the opportunity to share our strategic plan for achieving this mission—making clear our goals and how the Department will meet them. Too often, achieving excellence and equity has been relegated to a wish rather than elevated as an attainable goal. This plan attempts to make clear how we will define and attain this audacious goal; and we hope to get your input.
Ensuring America once again leads the world in post-secondary completion by 2020 is the North Star guiding all our work at the Department of Education. The basic arithmetic of achieving this goal requires improvement at every level of education—from school entry to post-secondary enrollment and completion—and for all populations, including the historically underserved, from poor children to displaced adults.
We must address existing opportunity gaps so that all youth, beginning at birth, have access to a high-quality education and graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and careers. Dramatically improving learning and life outcomes across the spectrum means that we must identify and develop significantly more effective and more scalable approaches to our most persistent educational challenges.
To guide our efforts, ED has committed to goals and objectives in six areas during this next phase of the agency’s work:
- Early Learning
Improving the health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes for all children from birth through third grade, so that all children, particularly those with high needs, are on track for graduating from high school college- and career-ready.
- Elementary and Secondary Education
Continuing to improve the elementary and secondary education system’s ability to consistently deliver excellent instruction aligned with rigorous academic standards while providing effective support services to close achievement and opportunity gaps and ensure all students graduate high school college- and career-ready.
- Postsecondary Education, Career and Technical Education, and Adult Education
Increasing college access, affordability, quality, and completion by improving postsecondary education and lifelong learning opportunities for youths and adults.
Increasing educational opportunities for and reducing discrimination against underserved students so that all students are well-positioned to succeed.
- Continuous Improvement of the U.S. Education System
Enhancing the education system’s ability to continuously improve through better and more widespread use of data, research and evaluation, evidence, transparency, innovation, and technology.
- U.S. Department of Education Capacity
Improving the organizational capacities of the Department to implement this strategic plan.
A subset of objectives will be prioritized and will guide the day-to-day work of the Department for the next two years. These goals include: supporting comprehensive early learning assessment systems; supporting the successful implementation of college- and career-ready standards and assessments; ensuring more students have effective teachers and leaders; decreasing disparities in the national high school graduation rate; dramatically decreasing the number of high schools with low graduation rates; increasing college degree attainment among 25-34 year olds; and increasing evidence-based decision making and investment.
Although we, at the federal level, have chosen in many cases to hold ourselves accountable for the ultimate educational outcomes of Americans, we are clear that educators at the classroom, school, district, and state levels will continue to design, lead, and execute the efforts determinative of our collective success. We are also aware that Congress will define the breadth, depth, and sustainability of our success; therefore, this plan assumes Congress will provide the needed context and resources to support this plan. Finally, the ability to build stronger and better partnerships with stakeholders—from parents to CEOs—always has been and always will be essential to educational success.
Although we at the Department of Education fully anticipate realizing our goals, we are also conscious that the road ahead will not be easy. We believe our mission and the potential benefits of success are worth the challenges.
To view and contribute to the development of the Department of Education’s Draft fiscal year 2014-2018 strategic plan and 2014-2015 priority goals, please click here. We invite your questions, comments, and all other feedback on the draft plan.
U.S. Acting Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton
Starting the task of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, a committee delves into the roles of the states, accreditors, and the federal government.
The U.S. Agency for International Development calls off a sudden cut for the group that runs the partnerships, but the group's days may still be numbered.
Other recommendations in a draft report prepared for the American Bar Association focus on holding down law-school costs and the debt students accrue.
The education secretary acknowledged the difficulty of creating the system, but he said that could not be a "discussion-ending excuse for inaction."
Acting Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services for the United States Department of Education Michael Yudin joined a crowd of more than 1,000 students, teachers, and parents in Marana, Ariz., on September 11, in an effort to bring healthy habits back to America’s schools through the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Active Schools (LMAS) initiative.
Yudin greeted an ecstatic student body at a pep assembly hosted inside Marana Middle School’s (MMS) gymnasium on Wednesday and was supported by members of the town of Marana and 17 school wellness coordinators from each school in the Marana Unified School District. After being introduced by Marana Middle School principal Kristin Reidy, Yudin congratulated the school for joining LMAS and spoke of MMS’s strong push to keep both students and community members active. Yudin supported the school’s efforts to be healthy, commenting that after school opportunities such as an open gym, cardio and weight rooms, and various family-oriented athletic programs make Marana unique. He then continued by praising Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative, encouraging every school in rest of the district to join along with MMS in hopes of becoming only the second district in the entire U.S. to accomplish such a feat.
Michael Yudin spoke proudly as the crowd of students filled the gym with enthusiasm.
“Active kids do better. It’s that simple,” he stated. “You feel better about yourself, you can focus, and you can learn more.”
Yudin’s strong remarks left a lasting impact on the students, staff, and parents of Marana; however, he was not alone in his efforts. The entire audience rose to their feet as they welcomed four special guests to the pep rally. John Fina, a former NFL offensive lineman, University of Arizona Hall of Famer, and an advocate for the Fuel Up and Play 60 program, was welcomed with a roar of enthusiasm. Following Fina, the University of Arizona’s women’s basketball head coach, Niya Butts, entered the gym and immediately brought the crowd to their feet with her undeniable energy and enthusiasm. Following Butts was a retired coach from the U of A, considered a legend by most Arizonans, 1997 NCAA Championship men’s basketball head coach, champion Lute Olsen. The 78-year-old, considered a celebrity in the Marana area, greeted a star-struck audience that welcomed him with cheers.
The other celebrity guest introduced was three-time All American wrestler and 2010-2011, 125-pound eight class NCAA champion Anthony Robles. The 25-year-old wrestler is a recipient of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, a wrestling analyst for ESPN, and the newest member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. However, the most intriguing and inspiring aspect of this young man is the fact that he has accomplished every feat with only one leg. Born without a limb, Robles crossed the gym floor on crutches as hundreds of exuberant students cheered for him.
The guests each were given a chance to speak, expressing their undying support for physical activity. Coach Butts emphasized the need to take action in an effort to be healthy.
“It’s not just about talking of being active, or talking about eating healthy. It’s about what we do,” she told the crowd of nearly 1,100. Coach Butts emphasized that actions speak louder than words, saying, “What [we] do speaks so loudly that others cannot hear what [we] say.”
Robles also added to the discussion, congratulating MMS on being one of the first schools to sign up for LMAS in the nation.
“It’s inspiring to me and that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “To be inspired, to get out there, move around, and wrestle obesity out of this country.”
After the guests spoke, Principal Reidy challenged MMS along with all 16 other schools in the district to have each of their students participate in 60 minutes of physical activity for 60 consecutive days. Each student willingly rose to the challenge by way of applause and immediately began with a competitive dance and relay race involving both students and their parents. Hula hoops, footballs, scooters, basketballs, roller blades, and even stilts were used to get kids moving as they joined in the fun.
After the athletic competitions ended, students, staff, and parents exited the gym while dancing along to the beat of popular music; however, several students stayed to meet their new heroes. Robles, Fina, Olsen, and Butts stayed and offered to pose for pictures and sign autographs. The guests spent extra time getting to know the students and talked with them personally about the importance of maintaining good health. Robles even stayed to visit classrooms after the event.
“I loved being able to meet and talk to [the guests],” said Makayla Barrett, a seventh grader at Marana Middle School. “It was awesome to learn about how important it is to be active from them.”
Parents and teachers were also supportive of LMAS’s program and its effect on the Marana community. Kevin Corner, football coach and teacher at Marana Middle School, completely supported the First Lady’s initiative to create a nation of active youth.
“To have a movement at a national level that supports what we have right here [in Marana] is tremendous,” he said.
Parent Stephanie Ashcraft also expressed her appreciation, saying, “It’s great to see the community come together and rally around [LMAS]. Everyone can tell that the kids are really excited to take on the challenge to be active.”
The sense of excitement from students and staff alike was astonishing. Every student was on his or her feet in full support to make a change. Kids such as Devin Giordano were inspired by the challenge and have a new desire to motivate themselves for greatness.
“I admit that I’m not too active, but after being a part of this I plan to do a lot more [exercise],” he said.
Devin and countless other students took the 60-day challenge on that day and were inspired to be more active.
“What was really amazing was that the kids really understood it,” said Fina. “They were attentive and they were really active, too. This is what our country needs right now. We all need to rally around something like this that is good for everyone. The Let’s Move! Campaign is perfect for that.”
Riley Heflin is a student at Marana High School, Marana Ariz.
Marana Unified School District is a 2010 Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grantee.
Department Launches College Affordability and Value Outreach Initiative Today – Starting with Student Advocates
We know a college degree is the best investment students can make in their future. But despite historic investments and reforms, attending college has never been more expensive. Too many young adults are burdened with debt as they seek to launch a career, start a family, buy a home or save for retirement – and too many students are afraid to pursue higher education because they think it’s too expensive.
The federal government provides over $150 billion each year to support students as they pursue postsecondary education – from public and private universities to community colleges to technical schools and online programs. Although choosing a college is one of the most important decisions that students face, clear and useful information about the cost and quality of different colleges is often hard to find.
In August, President Obama put forward an ambitious new agenda to combat rising college costs, encourage colleges to improve their value, and empower students and families with information to make informed decisions about which college to attend. The President’s plan included three parts: paying for performance; promoting innovation and competition; and ensuring that student debt remains affordable. As part of this plan, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Education to develop a ratings system to better inform students and encourage institutions to improve. These ratings will compare colleges with similar missions and identify those that do the most to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as colleges that are improving their performance. In the future, President Obama has proposed to use the rating system to steer taxpayer dollars toward high-performing colleges.
To better understand college affordability and value, inform the development of the college ratings system and gather input from the wide range of stakeholders, today the Department is launching a nationwide series of public discussions by convening student advocates and leaders – since students will benefit the most from these efforts – at the Department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Department wants to hear feedback from students and parents, state officials, college presidents from a variety of institutions, higher education faculty and administrators, businesses and industry leaders, researchers, data experts, higher education associations, innovators, philanthropies, policy leaders and others to hear their thoughts on how best to promote college affordability and value while ensuring access and success for disadvantaged students is encouraged, not discouraged.
Today’s discussion will build on conversations Secretary Duncan has led with students and college leaders about the importance of college affordability, including events during his back-to-school bus tour through the Southwest last week. During the tour, Secretary Duncan and senior leaders from the Department met with high school students from across the region and hosted a college access and affordability town hall at Arizona State University.
To develop the college ratings system, the Department wants the country’s best ideas and most creative thinking to addresses key themes:
- College access, such as the percentage of students receiving Pell grants;
- College affordability, such as average tuition, scholarships, and loan debt; and
- Outcomes, such as students’ graduation and transfer rates, graduate earnings, and advanced degrees of college graduates.
Over the coming months, the Department looks forward to hearing what measures should be included, how to best assess college affordability and value, and how to provide the information in the most user-friendly and helpful way for students and families. Leaders from the Department will be traveling across the country to host open forums, town halls, and roundtable meetings to gather suggestions.
The Department will use the feedback it receives to propose a rating system that will be available for public comment. Once the measures are finalized, ratings will be published on the College Scorecard before the 2015 school year. Over the coming years, the Department of Education will refine these measures in collaboration with the higher education community, students and families, and the public.
Members of the general public are invited to send their ideas about the President’s plan and suggestions for the ratings system to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the college value and affordability outreach initiative will be available on the Department’s College Affordability and Completion website in the coming days.
Martha Kanter is the U.S. Under Secretary of Education
A union lawyer's op-ed column about a longtime adjunct's life and death resonated widely among advocates of those who work off the tenure track.
Congress is gearing up to “reauthorize,” or renew, the Higher Education Act, the major law that governs federal student aid. This guide contains information about what's at stake for colleges.
Faculty members objected to the questions as invasive and to the $1,200-a-year penalty for not answering them as coercive.
How colleges will comply with the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act was the topic of a panel discussion and report released on Wednesday.
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The contract agreement calls for pay increases, protections for faculty speech, and stronger support for professors off the tenure track.
Say Yes to Education Inc., which seeks to build a college-going culture in cities, now has 54 member institutions.
The group that runs USAID's higher-education partnerships may soon see its operating budget slashed. That could mean an early end for some projects.
In a survey released by Northeastern University, a majority of respondents agreed that a well-rounded education was more important than job-specific skills.
The standards, meant to help prepare schoolchildren for college or the work force, are not getting the cooperation they need from many higher-education institutions.