June 5, 2014
by July 7, 2014
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
that $19.3 million in funds are available under the FY 2014 Distance Learning
and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program. These grants are designed to provide rural
Americans with access to education,
training and health care resources.
The DLT Program, according to the grant notice, delivers financial assistance “to encourage and improve telemedicine services and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies to be used by students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents.” The competitively awarded grants “may be used to fund telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies, which extend educational and medical applications into rural areas,” the grant notice indicates. DLT grants will benefit populations in rural areas, who are often not located near the source of educational or health care services. The following legally organized entities are eligible for DLT financial assistance: “An incorporated organization or partnership; an Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in 25 U.S.C. 450b; a state or local unit of government; a consortium, as defined in 7 CFR 1703.102; a library; or, (an) other legal entity, including a private corporation organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis.” Entities providing and coordinating services for adult learners in rural locations are encouraged to apply for this opportunity.
review the Federal Register notice
for more information, including application instructions. Interested
parties may also access the DLT website for up-to-date
resources and contact information for DLT programs.
Apply by July 7,
The USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) recently announced that $13 million in grants are available under the
FY 2014 Community Connect Grant Program to provide unserved areas with
broadband service. According to the Federal Register notice, “this service is
vital to the economic development, education, health, and safety of rural
Americans.” The program intends to provide financial assistance to eligible
applicants that will provide broadband service to currently unserved areas.
This will be done on a “‛community-oriented connectivity’ basis … that fosters
economic growth and delivers enhanced educational, health care, and public
safety services” to rural, low-income areas.
This concept is intended to “stimulate practical, everyday uses and applications of broadband facilities by cultivating the deployment of new broadband services that improve economic development and provide enhanced educational and health care opportunities in rural areas.” The approach is also designed to offer rural communities the opportunity to benefit from the many advanced technologies available to them to reach these goals.
The notice indicates that priority will
be given in the selection process to rural areas with the greatest need for
broadband service. Those eligible to
apply for a grant include incorporated organizations; Indian tribes or tribal
organizations as defined in 25 U.S.C. 450b (e); state or local units of
government; and cooperative, private corporations or limited liability
companies organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis. Entities providing
and coordinating services for adult learners in rural locations are encouraged
review the Federal Register notice for more information, including application
instructions. Interested parties may also wish to access the Community
Connect website, for up-to-date
resources and contact information. Additionally,
the RUS will host a series of public
webinars about the Community Connect program, on June 3, June 18, and July 2,
2014, from 1–3 p.m., EDT. Registration is required and limited for these
sessions. Click here for registration
Periodically, OCTAE Connection presents information on attempts to assess the academic achievement of U.S. students. Recent columns have addressed AP and SAT test results, an ACT report on college readiness, and the PISA report on problem solving. This article reviews the achievement in reading and mathematics for high school seniors from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2013 Grade 12 Reading and Mathematics Assessment. The assessment found that there has been no improvement in average reading and mathematics achievements between the high school class of 2009 and the high school class of 2013. On a scale of zero to 500, 12th-graders scored 288 (on average) on the reading exam. This represents no change from the results of the senior class of 2009. Thirty-eight percent of 12th-graders were proficient or above on reading, while a quarter of the students scored below the basic achievement level. In mathematics, on a scale of zero to 300, the average score of 153 for the 12th-grade class of 2013 was identical to the average score of the 12th-graders who took the exam in 2009. Twenty-six percent of these12th-graders were proficient or above in mathematics, while 35 percent scored below the basic level. In an era where a college degree is the goal of many students, NAEP results can indicate a 12th-grader’s readiness for college. This is a relatively new expectation of NAEP. In 2003, the National Assessment Governing Board established a commission to explore using the 12th-grade NAEP results as an indicator of academic readiness for postsecondary education and training. The commission’s work led to a revision of the 12th-grade reading and mathematics assessment frameworks, which were revised and used for the first time in the 2009 12th-grade assessments. The results of studies conducted under the commission’s direction indicate that students scoring at or above 163 on the NAEP mathematics scale and those scoring at or above 302 on the NAEP reading scale “are likely to possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities in those subjects that would make them academically prepared for college.” On the 2013 12th-grade NAEP, 39 percent of the test takers scored 163 or above in mathematics, while 38 percent of the test takers scored 302 or above in reading. The 2013 NAEP assessments produced other outcomes and comparisons of interest to educators and policymakers, including13 state results, which can be accessed here.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research has initiated an effort to help colleges and communities expand access and supports for postsecondary students with children by integrating child care supports into bundled services at 15 community colleges in four states. For more information, please visit http://www.iwpr.org/.