March/April 2006 Archived Information by db3541f97e1ae297


									                                           Archived Information
The                                                                                                                U.S.

                                VOL.5, NO.3              MARCH/APRIL 2006    

   President Calls for
Streamlining in Education
                                    Budget Proposal Advances NCLB,
   Spending in 2007
                                    Introduces Competitiveness Initiative
         n February, President George W. Bush              of $3.1 billion, or 5.5 percent, from 2006. Much
         unveiled a budget request for 2007 that           of that decrease is calculated against funding            I N S I D E
         reaffirms his commitment to close the             inflated by one-time costs for Hurricane Katrina
    achievement gap among the nation’s students and        relief. Even with the proposed reduction, discre-
    provide a quality education for every child. The       tionary funding for education would be up more       2    Spellings Addresses
    request increases funding for the No Child Left          than $12 billion, or 29 percent, since 2001.            Girl Scouts Leaders

    Behind Act (NCLB) to $24.4 billion,                              “This budget request soundly targets
                                                                                                                     Around the Country—
    up 4.6 percent from 2006, and up 40                              resources where they are needed most            Oklahoma and Virginia
    percent since the law was enacted in                              and working best,” said U.S. Secretary
    2001. Support for economically disad-                              of Education Margaret Spellings.         5    Calendar
    vantaged schools through Title I grants                               The increase in NCLB spending
    remains strong at $12.7 billion, an                               includes $380 million under the
                                                                                                                     College Expenses
    increase of 45 percent since 2001.                               American Competitiveness Initiative to
       In an effort to support what works and                      promote stronger instruction in math,             Education News Parents
    cut the federal budget deficit, the education            science and critical foreign languages in high          Can Use
    budget also eliminates underperforming and             schools to give America’s students the skills
                                                                                                                6    New Resources at the
    lower-priority programs while increasing               needed to compete in the global workforce.
                                                                                                                     FREE Web Site
    resources for initiatives that promise improve-           Furthermore, to bring high standards and
    ment in student outcomes. President Bush               accountability to our nation’s high schools, the
    requests $54.4 billion in discretionary funding        president proposes $1.475 billion for the High
    for the U.S. Department of Education, a decrease       School Reform Initiative designed to focus more
                                                                                  > continued on page 2
    ‘Outside the Book’

    Rigorous Curriculum Puts South Texas Students on
    Track for High-Tech Careers
                                  The Science Academy of South Texas puts a slightly different spin on the popular

                                  adage “Think outside the box,” but the school’s adaptation conveys the same
                                  principle: Ideas are not developed within a vacuum.
                                     Its motto “Think outside the book” is the creation of the school’s
      “Learning                   district leaders. The South
                                  Texas Independent
     takes place                  School District is an
                                  all-magnet school dis-
       in many                    trict—the only one in the
                                  state—whose mission

       arenas.”                   is to demonstrate
                                  the life application
                                  of classroom
                                 > continued on page 3
> continued from page 1

    attention on at-risk students struggling to          Such comprehensive data have led to the         $200 million for the Title I School Improve-
    reach grade level in reading and math. The        early identification of schools and districts      ment Grant Program.
    effort calls for reading and math assess-         in need of improvement. To help turn
    ments in two additional high school grades        around such schools, as well as those              For additional highlights from the president’s education
    to give educators better data to keep all         identified in need of corrective action            budget request, visit
    students on track towards graduation.             or restructuring, the president proposes

                                                                                                                                                              Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts of the USA
   Spellings Addresses Girl Scouts Leaders
                                                      previous three decades combined. …

   L       ast month, Secretary Spellings (pictured
           at right with Lizzie Dement of the Girl
           Scouts of Citrus Council, Orlando,
   Fla.) addressed leaders of the Girl Scouts of
   the USA at its annual work session for board
                                                         We started with the basics: ensuring every
                                                      child is reading and doing math at grade
                                                      level by 2014. The next step is to make sure
                                                      they’re also learning the problem-solving
   chairs and CEOs in Orlando, Fla. An excerpt        skills that are essential for 21st-century jobs.
   of her speech follows.                                You know as well as I do that our children
                                                      are not living in the same world we grew up
      … The Girl Scouts also taught me a lot                                                                Across our country, girls currently make up
                                                      in—let alone the world our parents grew up
   about serving others, and I’m proud and hon-                                                          only one-third of Advanced Placement physics
                                                                                  in. When your
   ored to continue that tradition by working for                                                        classes, and only 15 percent of AP computer
                                                                                    organization was
   a president who believes, as we do, that                                                              science classes. And at the college level, less than
                                                                                     founded in 1912,
   every child can learn and                                                                             20 percent of engineering majors are women. …
                                                                                      Girl Scouts were
   every child                                                                                              … Math teaches problem solving. Science
                                                                                       working on
                                                                                                         teaches how to investigate our world. These
                                                                                        badges like
                                                                                                         are essential skills in every field, and we must
                                                                                                         make sure our children are learning them—
                                                                                                         especially our girls. That’s certainly what I
                                                                                                         want for my two daughters! …
                                                                                                            … As your public service announcement
                                                                                                         shows, we must help girls go from Charlotte’s
                                                                                                         Web to Charlotte’s Web site. And every day,
                                                                                                         you’re showing us how to get there. …
                                                                                                            That’s why I’m pleased to announce that,
                                                                                                         later this year, the Department of Education
                                                                                                         will host the first-ever national summit on math
                                                                                                         and science for girls. We will bring together our
                                                                                                         best and brightest women leaders to develop a
                                                                                                         national strategy to help more girls and their
                                                                             on vacuuming and
                                                                                                         parents get excited about math and science.
                                                           polishing a floor. And when I was a Girl
                                                                                                            … When educators get together with women
                                                      Scout in the late 1960s, the most popular
                                                                                                         astronauts, scientists, engineers, business leaders
                                                      badge was called Social Dancer.
                                                                                                         and, of course, the Girl Scouts, it all adds up to
                                                        Now, I certainly have nothing against a
              deserves a chance to succeed. Our                                                          higher achievement for girls and for our nation. …
                                                      well-kept home, and who doesn’t like to
   primary federal education policy, known as         dance? But all of us know that today girls         For the full speech, visit and click on
   No Child Left Behind, is all about making sure     need more advanced skills to succeed. …            “Speeches” for the Feb. 28, 2006, remarks.
   that we’re providing every student—regard-
   less of race, background, or ZIP Code—with
   a high-quality education. And across our
   country, schools are showing it can be done.           AROUND THE COUNTRY
      In the last two years, the number of fourth-
                                                                                                                     OKLAHOMA—In an effort to
   graders in our country who learned their
                                                                                                                     boost economic development and
   fundamental math skills increased by
                                                                                                                     improve per capita income, the
   235,000 kids, enough to fill 500 elementary
                                                                                                                     Oklahoma Senate recently authorized
   schools. According to the national education
                                                                                                                     legislation to strengthen the state’s
   report card released last summer, over the
                                                                                                                     education system. If approved by
   last five years, more reading progress was
                                                                                                                     House members, Oklahoma teachers
   made among nine-year-olds than in the
                                                                                                                     will receive the largest pay increase in
                                                                                                                     seven years with a $3,000 raise. In
page   2                                                                                                             addition, teachers earning National
> continued from page 1

   As Edward Argueta, principal of the               students as well as from having a small
   Science Academy, explained, “A book               learning environment with a low student-
   doesn’t have the key to instruction.              to-teacher ratio of 13 students for every
   Learning takes place in many arenas.”             teacher. At the same time, as a high-poverty,
      The Science Academy is one of four mag-        multicultural school serving students from
   net schools in a district that stretches across   nearly 30 districts who have varying skill
   three counties in the Rio Grande Valley and       levels, the Science Academy faces the same
   that offers junior and senior high school         challenges as many of the nation’s richly
   students a rigorous education to prepare          diverse high schools.
   them for a career in the 21st century.               Created to prepare minority youths for
   Located in Mercedes, a small town just            higher education, the Science Academy
   10 miles from the Texas-Mexico border,            started as a school-within-a-school at its
   the Science Academy focuses specifically          sister campus for health professions across
   on professions in architecture, engineering       the street. Schroll was one of the original
   and computer science.                             teachers who developed the curriculum,
      Enrollment is open to any student resid-       attracting the support of partners Rice
   ing in the tri-county area, with the only         University and Baylor College of Medicine
   requirement being that new registrants start      in Houston, the area’s largest urban neighbor.
   at the ninth or 10th grade. The students,            From its humble beginnings of six teach-
   a number of whom live as far as 45 miles          ers and 89 students, the school has grown
   away, understand that learning at the             into a monumental figure for advanced
   Science Academy will be demanding.                learning. For the past 11 years, it has held
   “That’s impressive to me, when you’re in          the title of “Texas Exemplary Campus”
                                                                                                      Science Academy requires four years of
   the eighth grade [and you] make a decision        based on student passing rates exceeding
                                                                                                      math and science each, a year more than
   to come to a school like this,” said teacher      90 percent on state tests. In addition to
                                                                                                      the state’s requirement. The scale for rigor
   Mark Schroll, who helped to launch the            being ranked eighth by Newsweek in 2003
                                                                                                      ranges from introductory classes, mostly
   school 17 years ago. “You don’t want to           among the 100 top public high schools in
                                                                                                      for freshmen, to Advanced Placement (AP)
   let kids like that down.”                          the country, the school last year was named
                                                                                                      classes and other course work earning
      The school, of course, benefits                  a No Child Left Behind—Blue Ribbon
                                                                                                      college credit. There are various levels of
   from attracting highly                               School by the U.S. Department of
                                                                                                      math (algebra, geometry and calculus) and
   motivated                                              Education.
                                                                                                      science (biology, chemistry and physics),
                                                              Science Academy students surpass
                                                                                                      but the expectation is for all students to
                                                            state averages on many academic
                                                                                                      complete courses for which they will
                                                              measures. For instance, approxi-
                                                                                                      receive college credit.
                                                               mately 93 percent of the class of
                                                                                                         In addition to the AP courses, the
                                                                2004 graduated, compared to
                                                                                                      school’s dual-credit program allows many
                                                                  85 percent statewide.
                                                                                                      students to graduate with over 20 hours of
                                                                                                      college credit. Taught by Science Academy
                                                                                                      teachers, most of whom have master’s
                                                                    because the curriculum
                                                                                                      degrees, dual-enrollment courses offer both
                                                              puts students on track for careers
                                                                                                      high school and college credit, which is
                                                              that require additional schooling,
                                                               96 percent of the graduates

   Board Certification will see an annual
                                                         enrolled in postsecondary institutions.
                                                        The college preparatory program at the

                                                     VIRGINIA—This April, Prince William
                                                                                                      Science A
                                                                                                      will feature over 15 workshops on instruc-
   salary increase from $5,000 to $10,000.           County Public Schools will host its 10th         tional strategies, particularly in math, that
   The state Senate also approved legislation        annual Closing the Gap Summit as a profes-       were developed to reach all students. The
   for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access           sional development opportunity for teachers      district serves approximately 68,000 stu-
   Program to raise the income cap for eligi-        and administrators in the school district as     dents, of whom African-American and
   bility, which would expand the scholarship        well as in the surrounding area. The summit      Hispanic students comprise 22 percent
   program to 75 percent of high school              will include presentations by education          each. Its scores rank among the highest in
   students in the state.                            researchers who have explored the issue of       Virginia, with more than 80 percent testing
                                                     learning among diverse populations and           proficient in reading and math.
page   3
  transferable to any state university in Texas.   From left to right: Science teacher Betty Warrington with Principal Edward Argueta;
     Some graduates have earned as many as         physics teacher Scott Wiley with seniors Blas Quiroga, III, and Luis Larraga; technol-
                                                   ogy teacher Mark Schroll; and senior Alex Hilmy. On the cover, junior Flor Rodriguez
  47 credit hours. One year, the mother of
                                                   programs a robot. Photos by Gabe Hernandez.
  one of these students wrote the school a
          thank-you letter exclaiming, “You’ve     integrating other math and science classes           From this project-based learning, senior
                          literally saved us       at the Science Academy and has given stu-         Alex Hilmy feels he is getting the most out
                                                   dents an enormous pathway for hands-on            of his education. With 27 college credits
                                                   learning. Piloted in upstate New York, the        already under his belt, Hilmy, who plans
                                                   nonprofit program was created by an engi-         to pursue a career in either medicine or
                                                   neer in search of a curriculum that prepares      mechanical engineering, said, “I never felt
                                                   students for the rigors of a college engineer-    like I was doing busy work at the Science
                                                   ing education.                                    Academy. I never felt like the teacher said,
                                                       Project Lead the Way requires students        ‘Here’s a textbook, take a quiz on it.’ I actu-
                                                   to take one course each year from a roster        ally benefited from what I was learning …
                                                   of offerings, most of which offer college         because the staff here know what they’re
                                                   credit through its partner, Rochester Institute   talking about—they’re not just regurgitating
                                                   of Technology. The four-year sequence of          something they’ve read.”
  thousands of dollars!” Argueta points            courses culminates with Engineering and                                      —BY NICOLE ASHBY
  out another benefit of earning college           Design Development, for which seniors are
  credit in high school: With most freshmen        required to look for a real-life problem and
  courses completed by enrollment, students        develop a technological solution.
  have a jumpstart to begin focusing on                One student’s senior project led to a
  their college major.                             U.S. patent for his invention of an improved
     Staff believe that these advanced courses     ambulance stretcher. Several interviews
  have a practical application. “In learning       with emergency care personnel revealed
  physics,” said Scott Wiley, who made the         the need for a stretcher that would allow
  foray into teaching six years ago after work-    technicians, while in transit, to tilt
  ing as a computer consultant, “the students      patients who were secured to a back-
  become problem solvers.”                         board in order to clear their air
     Schroll, who teaches a digital electronics    passages during bouts of nausea.
  course, added, “Tearing apart a problem,         Another student received a seal
  looking at its individual pieces, and then       of approval from the U.S.
  trying to be innovative about how you            Coast Guard for her design
  approach those things works in any job.”         of a reversible wind-
     Schroll’s course is one of six “required”     breaker with a built-in
  electives comprising a program that has          life jacket.
  catapulted the school’s already rigorous
  curriculum to higher levels of scholarship.
  Project Lead the Way, which the school
  implemented in 2000, is a national
  technology program whose engineering
  courses have provided a platform for

Academy of South Texas                                  > Grade Span: 9–12                            > Special Education Students: 6%
                                                        > Locale: Small city                          > Percentage Proficient: In English,
                                                                                                        95%; in math, 94% (based on 2005
                                                        > Total Students: 623
                                                                                                        state exam results).
                                                        > Race/Ethnicity Enrollment:
                                                                                                      > Interesting Fact: A former Science
                                                          66% Hispanic, 25% white, 8% Asian,
                                                                                                        Academy student received a patent
                                                          1% black
                                                                                                        for his senior class project, a tiltable
                                                        > Free or Reduced-Price Lunch                   stretcher that allows the secure
                                                          Eligible: 41%                                 movement of emergency care patients.
                                                        > English Language Learners: 2%
 page   4
Calendar   April 2–8
           National Library Week,
           an observance sponsored by the
           American Library Association
           since 1958. This year’s theme,
                                               QA            &                G L O S S A R Y
                                                                                                equipment, that must be paid to a
                                                                                                postsecondary institution as a condition of
           “Change Your World @ Your                                                            attendance or enrollment. A student who
           Library,” is part of a public       Are my college expenses                          does not qualify for either the Hope or
           awareness campaign to promote       tax-deductible?                                  Lifetime Learning credits because of his or
           the value of libraries and their                                                     her income level may take this deduction.

           staffs in the 21st century. For              s the 2005 tax-filing season draws to   > Student loan interest deductions. The inter-
           programming ideas, visit                     a close on April 17, a record number    est paid on student loans—Federal Stafford,
  or call toll-free                of students attending college,          PLUS and Perkins loans; federal and direct
           (800) 545-2433.                     including those receiving financial aid, are     consolidation loans; federal loans for health
                                               looking into the tax breaks available to make    care professionals; and private education
                                               higher education more affordable. Following      loans issued by schools, banks and nonprofit
                                               is a summary of some of these benefits.          associations—may be tax-deductible up
                                               > Tax credits. The Hope Credit and the Life-     to $2,500.
           April 12                            time Learning Credit reduce federal income          For more information about these tax
           White House Faith-Based             taxes based on qualifying education              benefits, visit or call (800)
           and Community Initiatives           expenses, which include tuition and fees less    829-1040 for a copy of the Internal Rev-
           Conference, Jacksonville, Fla.,     any grants and scholarships received. The        enue Service’s Publication 970: Tax Benefits
           sponsored by a consortium of        Hope Credit is available for only the first      for Education.
           federal agencies, including the     two years up to $1,500 per student, while
           U.S. Department of Education.       the Lifetime Learning Credit is unlimited in
           Part of a series of regional                                                             tax-deductible:            an item or
                                               years for up to $2,000 per tax return.
           conferences being held around                                                            expense subtracted from adjusted gross
                                               > Tuition and fees deduction. This deduction,
           the country, this meeting for                                                            income to reduce the amount of income
                                               capped at $4,000, is based on qualified
           grassroots leaders will provide                                                          subject to tax.
                                               education expenses, including student
           information about federal grant
                                               activity fees and costs for supplies and
           opportunities. For more infor-
           mation, visit or
           call (202) 456-6718.
                                               News Shows: At-Risk Youths, Great Leaders

           On the Horizon                              he March edition                                              recent Department
                                                       of Education News                                             efforts to expand the
           This summer, the U.S. Depart-
           ment of Education will host                 Parents Can Use,                                              number of highly
           a series of free professional       the U.S. Department of                                                 qualified teachers—
           development workshops for           Education’s monthly televi-                                            especially in critical
           teachers across the country.        sion program, focused on                                               foreign languages,
           As part of its Teacher-to-Teacher   Helping America’s Youth,                                               math and science—
           Initiative, the Department will     a national initiative led by                                            along with tips to
           partner with TechNet, a group       First Lady Laura Bush that                                              assist parents in
           of technology companies, to         encourages youths to take                                               identifying effective
           develop training opportunities
                                               action in three key areas:                                               teachers and
           that focus on math, science
                                               family, school and commu-                                                principals.
           and technology. In addition,
           future workshops will focus         nity. The show featured best practices              Each month, Education News Parents
           on foreign languages, including     in positive youth development and tips           Can Use showcases: schools from across
           Mandarin Chinese. To receive        for parents on keeping children safe and         the country; conversations with school
           announcements on dates and          on the right track.                              officials, parents and education experts;
           locations, register for “Teacher       In April, the broadcast will showcase         and advice and free resources for parents.
           Updates” at by           exceptional teachers and principals and             To learn about viewing options, includ-
           selecting the link “Teacher”        examine the ways in which innovative             ing live and archived webcasts, visit
           and then “Teacher-to-Teacher        routes to teaching, school leadership and and click on “Parents,” then
                                               compensation systems impact student              “News Parents Can Use,” or call toll-free
                                               achievement. The show will also explore          (800) USA-LEARN.
   page    5
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION                                                                                       POSTAGE AND FEES PAID
            ED PUBS                   The                                                                           U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
          P.O. BOX 1398                                                                                                  EDUCATION
      JESSUP, MD 20794-1398                                                                                            Permit NO. G-17

     OFFICIAL BUSINESS                                     VOL.5, NO.3       MARCH/APRIL 2006
                                                                                                                       FIRST CLASS

New Resources at the FREE Web Site

               he human cell, the stock               the body of toxins, enabling learning and
               exchange and the environment           producing hormones.
                                                                                                           U.S. Department of Education
               are among the topics of new            > U.S. Securities and Exchange Commis-
                                                                                                              400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
    resources just added to the federally sup-        sion: Teachers and Students is a Web site                Washington, DC 20202
    ported Web site A one-           that includes a guide for educators and
                                                                                                       The Achiever is a monthly publication
    stop shop for hundreds of teaching                parents to help young people learn about         for parents and community leaders
    and learning resources from more than             saving and investing, as well as an interac-     from the Office of Communications
                                                      tive quiz that tests one’s “money smarts.”       and Outreach, U.S. Department of
    35 federal organizations, the FREE (Federal
                                                                                                       Education (ED). Margaret Spellings,
     Resources for Educational Excellence) site       > Exploring the Environment, funded by the       secretary.
     includes the following additions, which          National Aeronautics and Space Administra-
                                                                                                       Comments? Contact Nicole Ashby   ,
      focus on math and science literacy:             tion, is an online program featuring modules     Editor, (202) 205-0676 (fax), or
       > Inside the Cell, an 84-page booklet          and activities that put students in problem-

         from the National Institutes of Health,      based learning scenarios to investigate such     Address changes and subscriptions?
           provides an illustrative tour of the       topics as population growth, water pollution     Contact (877) 4ED-PUBS, or
                                       roles that     and global warming.
                                       cells play     > Five Lessons: A Taste of the Future, Today     Information on ED programs, resources
                                                                                                       and events? Contact (800) USA-LEARN,
                                       in the         is a Web site that offers interactive software   or
                                       human          for students to explore key math and science
                                                                                                       The Achiever contains news and
                                       body, such     concepts, such as a lesson on designing          information about and from public
                                       as covering    molecules and watching them self-assemble,       and private organizations for the
                                                                                                       reader's information. Inclusion does
                                       the skeletal   created by the Concord Consortium, with          not constitute an endorsement by the
                                       frame,         support from the U.S. Department of Educa-       U.S. Department of Education of any
                                                                                                       products or services offered or views
                                       purging        tion and the National Science Foundation.        expressed.

page   6

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