OVAE Connection - April 25, 2013 - Issue 147

OVAE Connection

                                                                                 April 25, 2013 - Issue 147

Important Information is now available about the Affordable Care Act, getting ready for the upcoming implementation of Health Insurance Exchanges, and the choices involved. Please share this information with your constituencies.

New Report Outlines Equity and Excellence Strategy for Every Child

The Equity and Excellence Commission, a federal advisory committee chartered by Congress, was charged with providing advice to the U.S. secretary of education on the “disparities in meaningful educational opportunities that give rise to the achievement gap” between advantaged and disadvantaged students. In February 2013, the commission issued a report, For Each and Every Child – A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence, that focuses on systems of finance, and provides recommendations for federal policies to address those disparities. In addition to finance, the report deals with four areas of concern on which it made recommendations. It did not include cost estimates for its recommendations. The report was not an official product of the Department. Upon receiving the report U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted that it was an “extraordinarily thoughtful, provocative document that challenges us to take on the status quo.” Furthermore, he said that the “Commission has sounded a powerful and important alarm about the distance we still have to go to improve education for every American child.”

The report’s introduction emphasizes the need to find the solution to America’s persisting achievement gaps. These gaps are impediments to a strong democracy, to economic competitiveness, and to the standard of living to which all Americans aspire. They result in the “loss of trillions of dollars of economic growth,” per the commission. On the other hand, acknowledging that the United States has made progress over the last several decades in improving education, the commission concludes that, while the reform agenda is unfinished, “[f]ixing our nation’s equity and excellence gaps is eminently doable.” 

The report then addresses the “major elements of an equity and excellence agenda” the commission believed “to be equal to the scale of the challenge.” This agenda started with “high standards of learning for all our students and a commitment to do what it takes to get each and every one of them there.” The strategy to achieve this objective has five parts: (1) restructuring the finance systems, focusing on equitable resources and their cost-effective use; (2) providing quality teachers and schools leaders for all students; (3) making the case for the importance of high-quality early learning programs for all children, especially for low-income children; (4) providing support systems that help children do well in school, including increased parental involvement, health and social services, and additional instructional time and assistance; and (5) setting forth the necessary changes in accountability and governance that will ensure equity and excellence for students in all of America’s public schools do not erode again. 

The report is supplemented by a Compendium of materials independently authored by individual members of the commission.

Experimental Sites Initiative Deadline Extended to April 30

The U.S. Department of Education has extended the deadline for postsecondary educational institutions to express interest in participating in one or more of the Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI) experiments currently in process for Title IV student assistance programs. Interested institutions now have until April 30, 2013 to send an email message to experimentalsites@ed.gov, following the submission guidance provided in the initial invitation at DCL GEN-13-03. For more information on ESI and for guidance on submitting an application, see the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL GEN-13-08) issued by the Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid.

National Center for Innovation and Career and Technical Education Launches Website

The National Center for Innovation and Career and Technical Education (NCICTE), funded in 2012 and authorized under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV), has launched its website at http://ctecenter.ed.gov.  It features proposed research by the center, related research in the CTE resource section, and online training modules that provide guidance for translating the center’s studies into application at your college, district, or school

$26 Million for Serving Juvenile Offenders

The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration recently announced the availability of grant funds totaling approximately $26 million for awards of up to $1 million to serve juvenile offenders. Based on the belief that youths can leave past transgressions behind, these Face Forward grants will provide participants opportunities to succeed in the workplace. Further, they can help youths avoid the stigma of a juvenile record through diversion and/or record expungement strategies. While these processes are under the juvenile justice system, to enable the best possible outcomes for these youths, additional supportive services provided by other organizations are needed. The deadline for receipt of applications under this announcement (SGA-DFA-PY-12-09) is May 10, 2013, by 4 p.m. EDT.

$474.5 Million Available in Third Round of TAACCCT Awards

On April 19, the U.S. departments of Education and Labor announced the availability of $474.5 million to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to educate and train workers with the skills employers need. This is the third round of funding under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, for a total of nearly $1.5 billion.

"Equipping our nation's students with the skills they need is one of the best investments we can make to keep our economy growing," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "This third round of funding will build on the work of earlier grantees by strengthening partnerships between institutions and employers so students develop the skills and attain the credentials they need for jobs in high-need fields now and in the future."

Institutions or consortia that are interested in applying for funding can go here for more information. The TAACCCT program is one component of President Obama's plan to help every American have at least one year of post-secondary education and for America to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Prospective applicants are encouraged to view the online tutorial, Grant Applications 101: A Plain English Guide to ETA Competitive Grants, at http://www.workforce3one.org/page/grants_toolkit. Prospective applicants can register on www.Grants.gov to access the Solicitation for Grant Application.