OCTAE Connection - Issue 210 - August 7, 2014

OCTAE Newsletter

                              August 7, 2014


Excellent Educators for All Initiative   

In July of this year, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the Excellent Educators for All Initiative to help states and school districts ensure that all students receive “a high-quality education—regardless of their race, family income, or zip code.” Duncan noted that “despite the excellent work and deep commitment of our nation’s teachers and principals, systemic inequities exist that shortchange students in high-minority, high-poverty schools across our country.”  For example, the race and family income of students “often predicts their access to excellent teachers.”  To remedy this, the secretary said that it is “critically important” that principals and teachers receive the support they need to help all students reach their “full potential.” 

According to the program’s website, the initiative consists of three parts: 

Comprehensive Educator Equity Plans.  The U.S. Department of Education is asking states to create new comprehensive equity plans that implement local solutions, based on consultations with parents, teachers, principals and the community, that provide effective educators to every student.  They are to be submitted to the Department by April 2015.

Educator Equity Support Network.  The Department is committing $4.2 million for a new technical assistance network to help states and districts develop and implement their plans to ensure excellent educators for all students.

The network will help with developing model plans, sharing promising practices, and fostering communities of practice that enable educators to discuss common challenges and share information with each other.

Educator Equity Profiles.  The Department will publish Educator Equity profiles later this year to help states and communities with their equity agendas.  These profiles will assist states in identifying “gaps in access to quality teaching for low-income and minority students,” and highlight schools where students are “beating the odds” as well as those that are recruiting and retaining successful educators.

To assist in this effort, each state will receive its complete data file from the Civil Rights Data Collection. This will give localities the ability to conduct detailed analyses of their data to inform state improvement plans.

This initiative complements other departmental equal opportunity initiatives, such as My Brother’s Keeper, Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility, School Improvement Grants, and the Race to the Top—Equity and Opportunity proposal.

OCTAE Announces Collaborative Call for Papers on Links between Education and Health Outcomes 

OCTAE recently announced a collaboration with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), both at the National Institutes of Health, to sponsor a call for research papers on the relationship of education and skills to public health for adults and their families to be published as an online, special collection by the Public Library of Science (PLOS). The call for papers, posted here, is excerpted as follows:

“This collaboration signifies a shared commitment to increasing the evidence base for the work that these agencies perform, and to making that evidence freely available for all. The theme of the call is Improving the Lives of Adults and Families: Identifying Individual and Systems-level Factors Relating Education, Health, Civic Engagement, and Economic Well-being.”

“This effort leverages and extends the recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on U.S. Health in International Perspective , as well as the recently released Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD)  cross-national, population-representative dataset, the Survey of Adult Skills—part of the “OECD Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC),” … “an ongoing endeavor to assess educational and workplace-related skills among adults in order to inform policy. The PIAAC Survey of Adult Skills quantifies adults’ ability to utilize literacy and numeracy skills and to apply information and communication technology to solve problems.”

“The collection organizers welcome primary research articles utilizing the PIAAC dataset, and in particular, research that combines PIAAC with other extant datasets.”

“OCTAE, NICHD, and OBSSR plan to cover the publication fees associated with a select number of initial publications for this collection. Authors interested in applying for financial consideration by these groups should submit a preliminary draft paper for funding consideration by Jan. 30, 2015, to brett.miller@nih.gov. Authors will be notified of all decisions before initial submission deadlines for this call for papers.”

All interested parties are encouraged to visit the Public Library of Science blog, PLOS, for complete information on the call for papers, including a list of some of the areas of inquiry that are of direct relevance and particular interest to the collection organizers, and for submission requirements.