Educational Improvement
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The Pathway to Success: From Cradle to Career

Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton is a featured guest blogger on Tavis Smiley’s “Too Important to Fail” website, following the national premiere of the PBS documentary that examines one of the most disturbing aspects of the education crisis facing America today--

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.

Grants Awarded Under Charter Schools Program’s Charter Management Organization Competition

(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.

Feature: It’s “Déjà Vu All Over Again” for Arts Integration

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.

City-Based Charter School Efforts: A Growing Movement

Education reform leaders gathered in New Orleans last month for a one-day National Charter School Resource Center (Resource Center) conference titled "Transforming Urban Public Education: Exploring the Potential of City-Based Strategies."  The conference focused on building charter school support infrastructures that effectively coordinate stakeholders' activities, drive growth in high-quality charter schools, and foster the policy environment that facilitates the work.

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