By Alyson Klein
Set your DVRs: President Barack Obama will give his State of the Union speech next week, on Jan. 28. So that means a week from now, we’ll all be mulling over the education portion. After all, Obama (and most other presidents) typically use their annual address to Congress to outline an edu-wish list for the year. It often includes at least one big idea (whether brand new or recycled from an earlier proposal).
Is Obama usually able to get what he wants from Congress? Short answer: Not so much. For the longer answer, check out these past State of the Union speeches:
via Obama’s State of the Union Speeches and Education: A Scorecard – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Michele McNeil
Today, the Obama administration will announce details of a $100 million competition for high schools that better prepare students for college and high-tech careers, U.S. Department of Education officials confirmed this morning.
First reported in the Wall Street Journal, the competition is shaping up to be a mix between the federal Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation programs, and will be funded and run through the Department of Labor. Between 25 and 40 grants will be awarded next year for high schools that team up with colleges and employers. The grants will range in size from $2 million to $7 million. Just as with the i3 competition, winners will have to secure private matching funds of at least 25 percent to get their grant.
via High Schools to Compete for $100 Million in New Race to the Top-Style Contest – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Alyson Klein
Brokedown Congress appears likely to spend the weekend attempting to keep the government from shutting down and the U.S. from defaulting on its debt. The sticking point this time isn’t schools. Instead, education is getting caught in the crosshairs. Republicans want to defund, or at least delay implementation of, the president’s landmark health care overhaul law (the Affordable Care Act to its fans and “ObamaCare” to its critics).
What does the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad budget situation mean for schools?
via What Does the Possible Government Shutdown Mean For Schools? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Michele McNeil
A new report by the Economic Policy Institute finds big flaws in the Race to the Top program and questions how much the $4 billion spent to spur education improvements in the states will actually narrow achievement gaps and improve student outcomes.
The report was released today by the American Association of School Administrators and the Broader Bolder Approach to Education, a national campaign launched by the left-leaning EPI. The Race to the Top is the Obama administration’s signature education-improvement tool, funded originally with $4 billion in economic-stimulus money provided by Congress in 2009.
via Let’s Reverse the Damage From Race to the Top, EPI Report Says – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Alyson Klein
The big news today is President Barack Obama’s push to create a new rating system for colleges. The proposed system would take into account affordability, outcomes such as graduation rates, and how well schools provide access to populations such as Pell Grant recipients. The rating system could be tied to the $150 billion in student financial aid the federal government gives out each year.
The administration is also encouraging colleges to become more innovative, by promoting dual enrollment, for example. Much more from my colleague Caralee Adams, of College Bound fame.
via Obama’s Big Higher Education Push: Does it Have a Shot? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Alyson Klein
President Barack Obama used a high-profile speech on the nation’s economic future today to bolster his administration’s case for investing in education programs. This will be a hot issue as Congress crafts the spending bills for fiscal year 2014, which starts on Oct. 1. Those spending bills will give lawmakers an opportunity to stop “sequestration”—a series of across-the-board cuts to federal education spending slated to go into effect.
“If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs in the 21st century,” the president said in prepared remarks released in advance of the speech at Knox College in Illinois. “If we don’t make this investment, we’ll put our kids, our workers, and our country at a competitive disadvantage for decades.”
via Obama Stumps for Education Spending, Pre-K – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Kathryn Baron
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called on President Obama to veto a Republican-sponsored reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act if it should come before him. The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed H.R. 5, dubbed the Student Success Act and authored by House education committee chair, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., on a straight party-line vote of 221 to 207.
It’s a sharp reversal of the broad bipartisan support surrounding the first incarnation of NCLB, which was sponsored by such unlikely allies as liberal Massachusetts Democrat Edward Kennedy in the Senate and conservative Republican John Boehner of Ohio in the House. The new bill is also a departure from the strong accountability measures built into Bush’s version of NCLB.
via President asked to veto GOP reauthorization of No Child Left Behind | EdSource Today.
By Lillian Mongeau
Early childhood education advocates are working to make it clear that not everyone supporting President Barack Obama’s proposal to vastly expand federal funding for preschool and infant and toddler care is a tax-and-spend liberal.
“This has become a bipartisan issue in the real world,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said recently in a sound bite that has become standard language in his stump speech for the president’s proposal to invest $75 billion over the next decade for states wishing to create or expand public preschool for 4-year-olds and early care for infants and toddlers.
Business, military signal strong support for public preschool, but Republican lawmakers unswayed | EdSource Today.
By guest blogger Sean Cavanagh
President Obama is expected on Thursday to call for an ambitious overhaul of the federal E-rate program, a step that many education and technology advocates have been urging for years to improve what they see as schools’ badly out-of-date technological capabilities.
The administration will ask the Federal Communications Commission to consider rechanneling and increasing funding through the program, which is derived from telecommunications fees, with the goal of giving 99 percent of the nation’s schools access to high-speed broadband and wireless Internet access within five years.
via Obama Calls for Revamping of Federal E-rate Program.
By Jane Meredith Adams
President Barack Obama on Monday asked teachers to help identify and seek help for children who are suffering from mental health disorders, saying that it was time to bring “mental illness out of the shadows.”
More than 75 percent of mental illnesses, including depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa, emerge when children are school-aged or young adults, Obama noted. But he said that only about half of children who need mental health treatment receive it. The untreated disorders can lead to poor academic performance, behavioral issues in the classroom, social isolation at school, and in the most extreme cases, suicide and violence.
via President Obama calls on teachers to help identify mental health disorders in students – by Jane Meredith Adams.
President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan again appealed to Congress to come up with the money to pay for more counselors, social workers, and psychologists in schools during a national conference on mental health at the White House on today.
Obama promised to launch a “national conversation” on mental health after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. in December.
via Obama Presses for Mental-Health Care for Students, Cutting Its Stigma.
By Lillian Mongeau
Four new pieces of legislation aimed at expanding preschool nationally have been introduced in the U.S. Senate in the weeks since President Barack Obama made a call for universal preschool in his State of the Union address, according to Education Week.
In the January address, Obama said the federal government would partner with states to expand public preschool offerings for 4-year-olds. Two pieces of proposed legislation closely mirror the president’s proposal to form partnerships, another suggests offering competitive grants to states to form or expand programs, and yet another focuses on increasing parents’ access to information on where to enroll in early childhood programs.
via Senators introduce preschool bills since State of the Union – by Lillian Mongeau.
Prekindergarten is the hottest issue under the sun these days, ever since President Barack Obama made it a focal point of his State of the Union address, then released the bare bones of a plan to expand prekindergarten access to more low-income 4-year-olds. On the heels of the announcement, some folks in Congress released legislation aimed at expanding access to early childhood education programs. The measures include:
•A bill by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee who has been interested in early childhood education issues for quite some time, put forth a bill that sounds like it’s got a lot in common with some of the administration’s ideas to expand early learning. For one thing, it has a similar goal—providing high-quality prekindergarten to low-income families—although Casey would add a focus on kids with special needs.
via Lawmakers Eye Early Childhood Expansion.
Attendance Works Director Hedy Chang will be honored by the White House on today (2/26) for her leadership in promoting educational opportunities for African-American students, one of 10 leaders who are being named Champions of Change. Since chronic absence disproportionately affects children of color, Chang’s work to improve the policy and practice around school attendance can especially benefit educational opportunities for African-American students.
“President Obama has made providing a complete and competitive education for all Americans – from cradle to career – a top priority,” said Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett in a White House press release. “That’s why, last summer, he signed an executive order to establish the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. This week, we look forward to welcoming Champions of Change who have been working to ensure that all African American students receive an education that fully prepares them for high school graduation, college completion, and productive careers.”
via White House Names Hedy Chang “Champion of Change”.
On Thursday, President Obama unveiled some of the details of his proposal for universal pre-K education. Robert Siegel talks with University of Chicago economist James Heckman, who’s studied the benefits to society of early intervention.
via Study: Pre-K Investment Pays Off With Higher Incomes, Reduced Crime.
By Kathryn Baron
Students planning to attend one of the nation’s 4,500 colleges and universities have a new interactive College Scorecard touted by President Obama in his State of the Union address as a tool “to compare schools based on a simple criteria – where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”
Community college leaders say the focus on costs and graduation rates is a flawed lens for measuring their worth. Give it a few weeks, though, and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office will be launching its own scorecard tailored to the broad mission and local scope of the state’s 112 campuses.
via Community colleges to release scorecard rivaling the president’s – by Kathryn Baron.
By Lillian Mongeau
President Barack Obama has yet to issue any cost estimates for his proposal to expand access to preschool for 4-year-olds, but there is one certainty should Congress approve the program: It will be expensive.
California currently serves about one in five of the state’s low-income 4-year-olds in state-funded preschools at a cost of $3,820 per student, according to the California Department of Education. That covers a half day of preschool for 180 days, the length of a regular school year. Some preschool programs offer full-day services and the state spends additional funds to support those programs. The total spent on state-supported preschools in California in 2011-12 was $368 million, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
via Obama’s expanded preschool plan likely to be costly – by Lillian Mongeau.
By Jim Sanders
President Barack Obama’s call for states to provide high-quality preschool for every child was met Wednesday with both applause and skepticism in California, where officials are ready, willing – but not yet able.
Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday hit a sore spot in the nation’s most populous state, where proposals for massive expansions of publicly funded preschool programs were killed by lawmakers in 2007 and voters in 2006.
via California preschool advocates want Obama to show them the money.
President Barack Obama used his State of the Union speech to make a big splash on early-childhood education, calling for expanding access to preschool programs to just about every child in the country. But he gave almost no details on the plan in his Tuesday address, including how Congress would pay for it in a tight budget year.
While the financing mechanism still remains somewhat cloudy, the White House put forward additional details this morning about just how the effort would work. Much of the funding would appear to come from states, through a partnership arrangement with the federal government. But the administration also wants to beef up other services for very young children and babies, including home visits from social workers and nurses, although it doesn’t say just how much that expansion would cost.
via White House Gives Outline of Early-Childhood Ed. Expansion Plan.
President Barack Obama called on Congress in his State of the Union address to significantly expand access to preschool to all 4-year-olds from moderate- and low-income families, and to create a new spin-off of his Race to the Top program aimed at pushing high schools to adopt curricula that better prepare students for the jobs of the future.
He framed both proposals as part of a broader strategy to invest in the nation’s economic future and bolster the middle class—the overaching theme of his first State of the Union speech since winning re-election. The president told the nation his ideas wouldn’t add to the federal deficit, as Washington struggles to rein in spending.
via Obama Urges Big Preschool Expansion in State of the Union Speech.