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From the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, on a national tour to discuss No Child Left Behind (NCLB), participated in an education policy roundtable meeting in Baton Rouge with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek. The Secretary praised gains made by students in the state and noted opportunities for improvement that could help build on Louisiana's progress such as raising high school achievement, increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in core academic classes, and improving the high school graduation rate. (Jan. 31)

Secretary Spellings visited St. Peter Claver Catholic Central School, a Pre-K to 8th grade elementary school in New Orleans, and praised the school for their dedication to preparing all students for the global knowledge economy. In New Orleans she also announced a $2.6 million School Improvement Grant for Louisiana to help turn around low-performing schools. (Jan. 31)


As part of her national tour to discuss NCLB, Secretary Spellings traveled to Alabama where Governor Bob Riley hosted an education policy roundtable with state legislators, educators, and business leaders at the Alabama State House in Montgomery to discuss how the federal government can partner with the state and districts to support innovation and get every child performing on grade level or better. She also kicked off Black History Month by participating in a meeting with African American leaders at a roundtable meeting hosted by 100 Black Men of America to discuss raising student achievement. (Feb. 1)

Secretary Spellings unveiled President Bush's FY 2009 budget request, which focuses on strengthening NCLB so that all students will perform on grade level or above by 2014, challenging high school students with rigorous coursework, closing the achievement gap, and making college more affordable. Spellings made special mention of the budget request to restore funding for Reading First and to target resources to schools and students who need it most. The President's budget includes an increase in funding for NCLB to $24.5 billion, up 41 percent since 2001, and support for Title I Grants to high-poverty schools that is stronger than ever at $14.3 billion, an increase of 63 percent since the enactment of NCLB. (Feb. 4)

Secretary Spellings announced the creation of Teaching Ambassador Fellowship (TAF) positions at the U.S. Department of Education. TAF will provide two kinds of opportunities for teachers across the country. Up to 20 Classroom Fellows will be chosen who remain at their local schools under their regular teaching contracts and will provide their experience and perspectives to the Department through various part-time assignments and projects. Up to five Washington Fellows will become full-time federal employees in Washington, D.C., working on education programs and participating in policy discussions. Applications are due by April 7. (Feb. 8)

The February edition of the "Education News Parents Can Use" television program highlighted dropout prevention strategies that work, including adolescent reading interventions, intensive tutoring and remediation techniques, alternative high school programs, mentoring initiatives, and community college dual enrollment programs. NCLB focuses on improvement of public schools serving low-income students and on strategies to help students stay in school and on pace for success. For more information, go to To watch the archived webcast go to:

The National Center for Special Education Research is sponsoring a two-day training institute to increase the capacity of researchers to conduct rigorous special education research, using single-case methodologies that incorporate quantitative analyses. The institute will be held in Washington, D.C., from April 15-16. For more information, please contact Kristen Lauer, or Erin Caffrey. (Feb. 2008)

Assessments in music and visual arts begin this winter for eighth graders in selected schools who will participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress. For more information about these innovative surveys, download the Sample Questions Booklet for music and visual arts. The arts were last assessed in 1997, and the results may be viewed online. (Jan. 28)

The Department's What Works Clearinghouse has released two new intervention reports developed under the Clearinghouse's dropout prevention review. The first is on New Chance, a program for young welfare mothers who have dropped out of school. The second is on First Things First, a program designed to boost student achievement in schools serving a large number of economically disadvantaged students. (Jan. 24)
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Title Annotation:What's New
Publication:The Education Innovator
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 29, 2008
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