Nuestra Iniciativa - August 2013 Issue

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Nuestra Iniciativa HeaderAugust 2013 Issue
Alejandra Ceja

Increasing awareness of and access to quality early learning programs for Hispanic children remains a key priority for the Initiative and the Administration.  Hispanic children represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population under the age of five, yet, less than half are enrolled in any early learning program.  In this month’s edition of Nuestra Iniciativa we highlight the growing support for the President’s early learning agenda and introduce you to Dr. Libby Doggett, the newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education.  The President has said that a thriving middle class is a strong education. To help ensure a successful future for our children the Administration continues to make large investments for our community. You will read about new grant competitions, college savings and the common core standards – tools helping our families get to and stay in the middle class.  Lastly, we are Texas bound this September and look forward to sharing with you the promising practices on student success taking place in that region of our country. 

FY13 Race to the Top - District Competition

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a second Race to the Top - District grant competition. The final application and other materials for the 2013 Race to the Top-District competition can be found here.

Webinars will be offered over the coming weeks to provide technical assistance (schedule) and interested districts are requested to submit their intent to apply by August 23Applications are due October 3.  Awards will be announced no later than December 31, 2013.

Did You Know?
  • According to a National Assessment of Education Progress 2011 study, more than four of every five Hispanic children (81%) were not reading proficiently by fourth grade.*
  • Over one-third of young Latino children have parents who have not graduated from high school*
  • Today, nearly one in four K-12 students enrolled in America’s public schools is Latino.*
  • Only 7% of all public school teachers are Hispanic.*

*Read more in the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics 2012 Report on Activities.  

The Initiative in Texas
Texas Flag

Texas Back-to-School Tour

September 4-6, 2013 

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics will visit South and West Texas - a region with a high Hispanic population, to engage key stakeholders on the current state and future of education. Through the tour, the Initiative will:

  • Share information about federal resources, initiatives, and policies,
  • Identify successful models and discuss what works,
  • Gather input and feedback from community leaders and stakeholders about issues of concern, and
  • Explore public/private partnerships to increase opportunities and improve outcomes in education for Hispanics.

The tour will make about seven stops in a region that includes a combined population of nearly 3 million people, of which 2.3 million are Hispanic. The tour will seek to bring significant attention to communities in this area, highlighting both pressing issues in the Hispanic community and effective efforts to resolve them.

More information will be sent out in a special edition of Nuestra Iniciativa!  

Early Learning Letter to Congress
Letter about Early Learning

Researchers have discovered that early exposure to two languages does not cause confusion in children and that it, in fact, promotes their ability to think flexibly. 

A total of 27 organizations and nationally recognized researchers from across the state, including Early Edge California and National Council of La Raza submitted a letter to Congress sharing this new research. Read their letter here.  

New Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Early Learning
Dr. Libby Dogget Photograph

The Department has announced that Dr. Libby Doggett will be named Deputy Assistant Secretary, leading the Office of Early Learning within the agency’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.  Dr. Doggett recently directed the Pew Home Visiting Campaign, partnering with state legislators and other leaders to promote effective state policies and investments in high-quality, home-based programs for vulnerable new and expectant families.  Previously, she led Pre-K Now, Pew’s 10-year campaign that advanced high-quality, voluntary preschool nationally.

Early Learning at ED

Do you want more information about the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Early Learning? Sign up for the NEW newsletter here!

5 Tips to Save for CollegeSaving for College Photo

Let’s face it. College tuition can be expensive. If you think about it in real terms, the annual cost of attending some colleges can equate to purchasing a new car each year. It seems absurd, right? Like many others, you might be wondering “How am I ever going to pay for college” and “Is there anything that I can do to lower my costs?” Read 5 Tips on Saving for College

Cutting Student Loan Interest Rates
Photo of Money

This week, Congress approved a bipartisan compromise to keep student loan interest rates low this year.  This compromise -- similar to a plan proposed by the President in the spring -- cuts rates on all new loans this year and saves a typical undergraduate student $1,500 over the life of the loan.  The plan allows borrowers to benefit from the low interest rates currently available in the marketplace and guarantees that borrowers are able to lock-in these rates over the life of their loans. Read Secretary Duncan’s statement

Also, federal bank regulatory agencies issued a joint statement encouraging financial institutions “to work constructively with private student loan borrowers experiencing financial difficulties.”

Recursos en Espanol

¿Estás embarazada o cuidando tu bebé? El Título IX te protege contra la discriminación en la escuela. Las Enmiendas de Educación del Título IX de 1972 es una ley federal de derechos civiles que prohíbe la discriminación por motivos de sexo, incluido el embarazo y el ser padre, en los programas y actividades de educación. Aprende más.

Estudiantes con discapacidades en las actividades deportivas extracurriculares. La Oficina para Derechos Civiles publicó su Carta a los Estimados Colegas donde se aclaran las obligaciones que tienen los distritos escolares de proporcionar a los estudiantes con discapacidades las mismas oportunidades para participar en actividades deportivas extracurriculares. Aprende más

What are Common Core Standards?
Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an education initiative sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers that seeks to bring together diverse state curricula into alignment with each other. Learn More

Common Core Myth Busters

Myth: Teachers were not involved in writing the Common Core State Standards.

Fact: The common core state standards drafting process relied on teachers and standards experts from across the country. In addition, there were many state experts that came together to create the most thoughtful and transparent process of standard setting. This was only made possible by many states working together.

Myth: The federal government will take over ownership of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Fact: The federal government will not govern the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The Initiative was and will remain a state-led effort. The National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers are committed to developing a long-term governance structure with leadership from governors, chief state school officers, and other state policymakers.

Upcoming Events




Archive Newsletter Access Here
Stay Connected to the WHIEEHFacebookTwitterA Must Read

A new mini-brief by the Education Trust titled, Intentionally Successful: Improving Minority Student College Graduation Rateshighlights the increase in Latino college enrollment and completion. 

$12 million for charters

The Reinvestment Fund, Build with Purpose, and the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency were awarded three grants totaling 12 million to assist charter schools. Learn more


Why Early Learning?

This past month Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary Arne Duncan, Jennifer Garner, Alma Powell, and Laurie Berkner spoke about why we need our early learning policies to begin at birth. Click here to watch the Virtual Baby Rally.

Texas Senator Van De PutteNAGB Logo

Texas State Senator Leticia Van De Putte was appointed as one of five new National Assessment Governing Board members to serve four year terms. Learn more about her and the other great leaders.


Eva Longoria on EducationEva Longoria Photo

Eva Longoria Discusses The Importance Of Education For Latinos at the NCLR Conference: 

"The barriers have not changed in the last 30 or 40 years, and so we have to stop identifying them; we know what the barriers are, whether they be socio-economic status, immigration, language barriers, financial…we need to focus on what we are doing right to make change.” 

Access the livestream video


Music Education MattersPhoto of Child listening to music

Can music offset the ever-widening academic gap between rich and poor? Researchers at Northwestern are conducting a longitudinal study that investigates the impact of music education on child and adolescent brain development.

Read the Blog

A New Normal For YouthYoung Women Speaking on Stage

By canvassing their neighborhoods, organizing rallies, telling stories and holding press conferences, Baltimore city students’ civic engagement contributed to Maryland’s adoption of the Maryland DREAM Act last year.

Read the Blog

DREAM Riders

Secretary Duncan met with a group of young people who are mounting an inspiring fight to overcome barriers and make this country stronger. They are called the DREAM Riders, and they are taking their vital message to the entire country. 

Read AAPI Dream Riders Inspire


More News

*Statement from POTUS on confirmation of Tom Perez: "I welcome today’s confirmation of Tom Perez to serve as Secretary of Labor.  Tom has lived the American dream himself, and has dedicated his career to keeping it within reach for hardworking families across the country. Read more 

* There are several ways you can save money in the Health Insurance Marketplace. How you save, and how much you save, depends on several things, including family size and income. Read the list of ways to save in the Health Insurance Marketplace. 

* The Federal Communications Commission recently voted to accept the President's challenge to bring America's classrooms into the modern age with high-speed Internet. Read Secretary Duncan’s statement.

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