How can federally funded grant programs continue to implement time-tested strategies when federal funding ends? That was the central question at the recent 2011 national conference of the Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs). In May 2011, the PIRCs learned that their program would not be funded beyond this fall. The Parental Options and Information (POI) Office in the Office of Innovation and Improvement quickly geared up to bring the PIRC leaders together to learn strategies for sustainability and for sharing data and their successes.
Secretary Arne Duncan expressed appreciation for independent schools that are expanding educational opportunities for underserved public school students at ED’s Annual Private School Leadership Conference on September 28. Private Schools with Public Purpose (PSPP), a growing, nationwide initiative, offers “huge potential,” according to the Secretary, for improving achievement for high-need students. PSPP efforts, several of which were discussed during the conference session with Secretary Duncan, include private school-public-school collaborations that provide direct services to students, including summer-learning programs, as well as professional development for teachers. Read more about Secretary Duncan’s remarks and PSPP on the ED Blog.
In proclaiming October as National Arts and Humanities Month, President Obama said the arts and humanities “speak to our condition and affirm our desire for something more and something better.” A new poster from the National History Clearinghouse, "How Do You Piece Together the History of the Civil War?,” employs images of objects such as a quilt, a map, some photographs, a haversack, and a receipt to deepen understanding of the Civil War and about how historians piece together the past.
This 24-by-36-inch poster features a collage of primary sources and related questions that get students thinking about how we know what we know about the past, as we do with all history, but especially in relation to our country’s most devastating conflict, the Civil War. The question, “How can geography impact a battle?,” accompanies a map of Gettysburg while a slave receipt prompts students to think about the laws, economics, and, most importantly, people involved in the institution of slavery.
Department Awards Nearly $5 Million in Charter School Grants for Planning, Program Design, Implementation and Dissemination
(October 5, 2011) The U.S. Department of Education announced today charter school grants totaling $4,792,526 to charter developers for planning, program design, and initial implementation, as well as for dissemination. These Charter School Program Non-state Educational Agency (Non-SEA) grants will assist in expanding the number of high quality charter schools in the nation by providing funding to 23 new, or recently opened, charter schools over the next three years. These grants will also provide three high quality charter schools the ability to partner with other charter and non-charter public schools to improve academic performance and share effective practices.
Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton was the featured guest blogger on Education Week’s “Sputnik” blog on September 28. To read Shelton’s piece, “Education Innovation: What It Is and Why We Need More of It,” check here.
(September 28, 2011) The U.S. Department of Education announced today charter school grants totaling $25 million to replicate and expand high-quality charter schools that have demonstrated success. Today's grants will serve nearly 45,000 students in 124 new and 3 expanded charter schools over the next five years.
“We are rallying the full forces of the federal government, academia, entrepreneurs, the technology sector, and researchers … to fundamentally re-imagine learning,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as he announced the launch of Digital Promise at the White House on September 16. “There’s no silver bullet when it comes to education,” observed President Obama on the occasion of the launch, “but technology can be a powerful tool, and Digital Promise will help to make the most of it.”
The Transition to Teaching (TTT) Grants Program is administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement. TTT is part of the Teacher Quality Program, which supports and tests innovations in teacher and principal recruitment, preparation, and professional development. Click here to see the Department’s press release.
As Arts in Education Week – September 11-17 – was being observed, arts integration was a hot topic nationally. Consider these two statements about arts integration: (1) “Creative teachers have integrated the arts with other subjects for years. During the past decade, however, there has been an upsurge of interest in this approach.” And, (2), “In recent years, arts integration has … generated a lot of enthusiasm from classroom teachers, school administrators and policy researchers for its ability to produce results.” These are very similar testaments to the concept of arts integration, but more than three decades separate the two.
The first statement is from “Coming to Our Senses: The Significance of the Arts for American Education,” a landmark report of a national panel convened by David Rockefeller, Jr. in 1977 to explore the notion that “education” and “the arts” need not be mutually exclusive – that they in fact could be productive partners. The second is taken from “Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools,” a report of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) released this past May.
The research is clear: Children who are not able to read by third grade and who are not prepared with foundational math skills are at a significant risk to fall behind and not graduate from high school. Recognizing the importance of early learning, the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund made it a competitive priority in its first round of 49 grants in 2010. As the Department’s “Education and the Economy” Back-to-School Bus Tour stopped in Wisconsin, i3 grantee the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee reported on the first-year progress of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project, a three-prong – school, community, and family – effort to ensure that students are reading by grade three. An “innovation roundtable” was held at the Brown Street Academy Elementary School, one of seven Milwaukee elementary schools participating in the early literacy project.