OVAE Connection - Issue 174 - November 21, 2013

OVAE Connection

                                               OVAE Connection - Issue 174 - November 21, 2013

National Science Foundation Requests Comments by Dec. 2 About Its Advanced Technological Education Program

The November 1 Federal Register included a request from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for comments about possible changes in emphasis to the solicitation for the Advanced Technological Education Program (ATE). Such changes could include new areas for attracting skilled technicians in strategic advanced technology fields, new focus areas that need to be addressed by the program, new kinds of partnerships with researchers, scientists and others, and new R&D for innovating developments in curriculum, assessments, faculty, and the like.

Comments should be sent either in writing to Advanced Technological Education Program, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 835, Arlington, VA 22230 or via email to atecomments@nsf.gov.

December 2013 Training Conference for Financial Aid Professionals

The Department’s Federal Student Aid office is sponsoring a training conference from Dec. 3 to 6 in Las Vegas, Nev. The conference is designed for financial aid professionals at schools and institutions receiving Title IV (HEA) funds. Details about conference sessions and registering are at http://fsaconferences.ed.gov/lasvegas13.html.

Department Announces Final Regulations for New Student Loans

On Nov. 1, the Department of Education released final regulations, to be effective July 1, 2014, related to loan discharge, repayment, defaults, forbearance, and enrollment status for the Direct Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), and Perkins Loans. For details, please go to


OVAE Announces Engagement Process in Response to PIAAC Results

On Nov. 12, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released Time for the U.S. to Reskill? What the Survey of Adult Skills Says, which is based on the survey from the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, (PIAAC). The release was part of an event at the Center for American Progress, Boosting Adult Educational Skills Can Grow the Middle Class.

In response to the report and the findings that show that the U.S. has a significant low-skilled workforce challenge, Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education, announced an engagement process to understand these challenges, inform the development of a national response, and gather input from a wide range of stakeholders. The goal of the process is to develop a national plan for improving the foundation skills of low-skilled adults in the U.S.

The first step in that process occurred on Nov. 20 with an event hosted by the Department to examine the PIAAC findings in more depth. This was followed by a response from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a panel with federal agency representatives and national organizations representing state and local perspectives. Participants engaged in small group discussions to share their perspectives on what the findings mean for their stakeholders and interests.

OVAE will continue to host engagement events around the country, seeking input from individuals, state and education officials, business, industry, policy, and labor leaders, researchers, data experts, education associations, philanthropies, and others concerned with the health and well-being of democracy in America.

These events are intended to solicit, in particular, the country’s best ideas and most creative thinking to addresses the following themes:

  • Expanding opportunities for adults to improve foundation skills by scaling up proven practices and using emerging technologies to personalize and accelerate learning for America’s low-skilled working population.
  • Building stronger partnerships among business, industry, labor, state and local governments, and others, in order to sustain the nation’s workforce capacity, economic vitality, and democratic values.
  • Strengthening the connection between foundation skills and workforce readiness in ways that help adults gain basic skills, particularly in the STEM fields, and pursue specific occupations and credentials more rapidly.

OVAE will use the feedback to develop the national plan to improve the skills of low-skilled adults. Continue following OVAE Connection and the OVAE Blog for more information about this adult skills outreach initiative.   

New Data on Parent and Family Involvement in K–12 Education

Parent and Family Involvement in Education, a recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics, presents data from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012, Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey on U.S. school students who attended kindergarten through grade 12 in 201112 and their families. Data on the involvement of parents and families in the educations of their children are presented in the context of demographic information about them, including the poverty status of students, the education levels of the parents, and the principal languages spoken at home. Information about school characteristics is also reported. Those data, based on parental reporting, revealed, in part, the following:

  • The parents of 87 percent of k12 students received communications from the school addressed to all parents. In addition, those of 57 percent of students received information specific to their children, and those of 41 percent of students were contacted by telephone.
  • About 87 percent of parents participated in general school or similar meetings. Those of 76 percent of students attended a parent-teacher conference, while lesser percentages of parents participated in other activities.
  • The parents of approximately 76 percent of public school students thought the amount of homework assigned to their children was “about right.” The comparable figure for the parents of students attending private, religious schools was 85 percent.
  • Some 96 percent of students in k12 did homework outside of school. Of these, 86 percent had a designated place in their home to do it. Some 67 percent of students had a parent who determined that the homework was done.
  • For students in grades 612, 1 percent of the parents did not expect their children to complete high school, 9 percent did not expect their children to enroll in postsecondary education, and 8 percent expected their children to attend vocational or technical school. About 17 percent of parents expected their children to attend college, while 28 percent expected them to attain a four- or five-year degree. Finally, 37 percent of parents of 6th- to 12th-graders expected their children to earn a graduate or professional degree.
  • In the month prior to the parental responses, a higher percentage of students attended a community, religious, or ethnic event than visited a library or bookstore than went to a play, a concert or other live show, than visited an art gallery, museum, historical site, zoo, or aquarium, or than attended an athletic or sporting event.
  • Dring the 2011–12 school year, approximately 3 percent of the school-age population was home-schooled, with white students being home-schooled in far larger percentages than any other reported group.

The data presented in this report are descriptive. Causal inferences based on these data are unwarranted.


It is with deep sadness that we note the passing of Massachusetts State Director of Adult Education Anne M. Serino on Nov. 3, 2013.  She passed away suddenly at her home in Lynne, Mass.  Anne was highly respected and loved, and known for her passion for adult literacy, her quiet wisdom, and her true dedication to the students, teachers and administrators of Massachusetts.  She was a fine and original person whom we will remember always. You can read her obituary and contribute to her legacy of memories at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=167872695