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U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings spoke at the school choice forum at the Greater Allen Cathedral in Jamaica (NY).

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings spoke at the school choice forum at the Greater Allen Cathedral in Jamaica (NY). She discussed public school choice options and tutoring under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The Secretary noted the initial success of federally funded opportunity scholarships in Washington, DC, as well as the America's Opportunity Scholarships for Kids initiative proposed by President Bush. (Apr. 5)

Secretary Spellings praised the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 609, the College Access and Opportunity Act of 2006, and the companion McMorris American Competitiveness Amendment. Secretary Spellings urged both houses of Congress to "act swiftly and comprehensively to prepare our students and schools for the demands of the 21st century." (Mar. 30)

Secretary Spellings announced that a total of $30 million has been awarded for the 2006-2007 academic year to support the implementation of eight Striving Readers programs across the country. Over the five-year grant period, these recipients will receive a combined total of over $142 million. The Striving Readers program focuses on middle and high schools that have large proportions of struggling readers and that are striving to meet Adequate Yearly Progress requirements in reading. The programs include a range of research-based adolescent literacy projects serving diverse populations. Independent researchers will evaluate each program. (Mar. 22)

At the Council of the Great City Schools Annual Legislative and Policy Conference, Secretary Spellings praised urban schools for raising students' academic achievement and discussed the importance of mathematics, science, and rigorous coursework in preparing American students to be globally competitive. (Mar. 20)

Secretary Spellings addressed the Intel Science Talent Search Award winners. She called on the winners to "lead the way" in helping America keep its competitive edge with other countries. Past winners of the talent search have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals, and National Medals of Science. (Mar. 15)

At the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers, Secretary Spellings noted, "If America is going to remain the world's innovation leader--then our students must have the skills, especially literacy and proficiency, to compete and thrive." (Mar. 14)

Secretary Spellings, as Chair of the Academic Competitiveness Council, issued a statement regarding the council's first meeting. She noted that over the next few months, the council will look at data to examine which policies are working for students and determine where taxpayers' dollars can be used more efficiently. She stated, "One of the best ways to do that is to align programs with the principles of NCLB, focusing on accountability, assessment, scientifically- based research, local control, and results for students." (Mar. 6)

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded new five-year contracts to ten Regional Educational Laboratories that will conduct research, development, dissemination, training, and technical assistance activities. The laboratories will be administered by the department's National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance in the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). (Mar. 28)

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will sponsor a three-and-a-half-day advanced studies seminar on the use of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) database for education research and policy analysis. Faculty and advanced graduate students from colleges and universities, as well as education researchers and policy analysts with strong statistical skills from state and local educational agencies and professional associations, are welcome to attend. The seminar runs from June 20-23, and the deadline to register is May 8. (Mar. 24)

NCES has released a new study, Fifth Grade: Findings from the Fifth-Grade Follow-Up of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99. This report highlights children's gains in reading and mathematics over their first six years of school. While all children showed progress, some learning gaps persisted. Certain variables, such as poverty and the highest level of education a child's mother received, were found to be associated with reading and mathematics achievement. (Mar. 24)

Characteristics of Schools, Districts, Teachers, Principals, and School Libraries in the United States is now available through NCES. This report introduces data from the fifth administration (2003-2004) of the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). SASS is the nation's most extensive sample survey of public, private and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) elementary and secondary schools, teachers, and administrators. (Mar. 23)

A new "Finance Longitudinal Data Tool" has been added to the Education Finance Statistics Center (EDFIN) website. The website now includes two searchable data tools. The "Peer Search Tool" allows comparisons of the finances of a school district with its peers based on the latest fiscal data. The new Longitudinal Data Tool allows comparisons of fiscal and non-fiscal school district data over time from 1989-1990 to 1999-2000. (Mar. 21)

NCES has released Characteristics of Private Schools in the United States: Results From the 2003-2004 Private School Universe Survey PDF (527KB). The report presents data on K-12 private schools by selected characteristics such as school size, school level, religious orientation, association membership, geographic region, community type, and program emphasis. In the fall of 2003, there were 28,384 private schools in the country, enrolling 5,122,772 students. (Mar. 16)
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Publication:The Education Innovator
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 13, 2006
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