OVAE Connection - Issue 149 - May 9, 2013

OVAE Connection

                                                                     May 9, 2013 - Issue 149

The Digital Public Library of America Opens to the Public

                                  Offers 2.4 million resources from its archives

Following two-and-a-half years of planning, the beta version of the discovery portal of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is now available. It contains some 2.4 million records of materials found in American archives, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage institutions for use by students, teachers, scholars, and the public.

What is DPLA? It is the first public online-only library in the United States—a free, open-source resource that makes digital collections and archives from American institutions available in one place and freely available to the world. DPLA has received support for its first three years of operation from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Arcadia Fund, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has also partnered with state and regional digital libraries and large cultural heritage institutions— including the Smithsonian, the National Archives, New York Public Library, the University of Virginia Library, Harvard Library, Digital Library of Georgia, Minnesota Digital Library, and the Mountain West Digital Library—to provide access to millions of unique digital objects. All of the text, photos, videos, and audio contained in the DPLA can be searched, or browsed by place or time.

How does it work? DPLA operates on a network model, with its platform serving as the central nexus for a group of hubs. Each hub features state or regional services and information about digital content constituting a geographically and historically diverse slice of our nation’s archives. Through the hubs, DPLA works with hundreds of libraries, archives, museums, and knowledge institutions across the nation and abroad to increase access to our shared cultural heritage. Each hub will collect content from its region, which DPLA will assist in aggregating and making available digitally to users in a manner similar to finding a book through an interlibrary loan system. The result will be that readers will have access to works that might otherwise be unavailable or inaccessible to them.

DPLA has the potential to enrich the experience and digital literacy of students at every level of the educational system, including that of adult learners, their teachers, and the programs that serve them. These programs include not only those in geographic locations with limited resources, but also those in institutional settings. For example, as John Linton, director of correctional education in OVAE’s Division of Adult Education and Literacy recognized, the DPLA has the potential to provide access to learning materials for individuals in correctional education.


Equity in Education and the Future of the American Economy

Late last year, the Alliance for Excellent Education released Inseparable Imperatives: Equity in Education and the Future of the American Economy, which argues that “America cannot afford to ignore the gaps in educational achievement and high school graduation rates. Failing to close these gaps … will have dire consequences for the American economy.” The Alliance is a national policy and advocacy organization founded in 2001 that works to make every child a high school graduate so they will be prepared for college, work, and to be contributing members of society.

This brief notes that, while the moral imperative to educate all children has been recognized for 60 years, the economic imperative to do so has become apparent only more recently—principally because the demographics of the American population are changing so rapidly. The “dire consequences” arise from the fact that two-thirds of the American economy is driven by consumer spending. Rebuilding the information-age economy with its dependence on consumer activity requires a broad-based middle class of educated Americans encompassing all ethnic, gender, and racial groups. As the report asserts, “[A]ny successful economy strategy must eliminate the gaps in education attainment and achievement and enable the fastest-growing populations to reach their full potential as wage earners, consumers, and citizens.”

The benefits to educated individuals are obvious from comparisons of earning power. The brief demonstrates that in 2010, a high school dropout earned an average of $19,000 per year, a high school graduate earned an average of $28,000 per year, and those with at least a college degree earned $52,000 per year on average.

The projected benefits to the nation also are obvious. Projecting the hypothetical benefits to the high school class of 2011, a graduation rate of 90 percent would yield 75,000 additional high school graduates. These graduates would earn more than an additional $9 billion each year compared to their earnings without a high school diploma. Such earnings would generate billions of dollars of expenditures on housing and cars alone. Moreover, posits the report, “This increased economic activity would create a ripple effect through the entire community, supporting the creation of as many as 47,000 additional new jobs nationally and increasing the gross domestic product by as much as $6.6 billion by the time these new graduates reach the midpoint of their careers.” In addition, graduating 90 percent of high school students from the class of 2011would be expected to boost tax revenues at the local, state, and national levels by a combined total of as much as $2 billion in an average year.

In addition to increased economic benefits, higher education outcomes benefit society through saved costs on health care, unemployment, incarceration, and other dimensions. These significant potential gains can be realized, however, only through a closing of the education achievement and attainments gaps. Thus, the economic imperative takes its place beside the moral imperative to achieve equity in American education.


                                                           Announcements

NationalCenter for Innovation in Career and Technical Education Launches Website

The National Center for Innovation in 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 practice at your college, district, or school.


OVAE's 2013 Community College Webinar Series Continues May 14

The third in OVAE’s 2013 community college webinar series will be held on Tuesday, May 14, from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT. Building on the National Dialogue on Career Pathways held last October, this event will bring together foundation, state, and local community college representatives to discuss the central role of community colleges in career pathways systems. Whitney Smith, program director of employment at the Joyce Foundation, will discuss the importance of career pathways systems and the foundation’s work to expand their development in the Great Lakes region. Jay Box, Chancellor of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, will present on the various initiatives under way in Kentucky to ease postsecondary access and transitions for youths and adults. The webinar will also highlight two promising local career pathways programs. Deborah Davidson, vice president for Workforce and Economic Development at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis., will discuss the work of her institution to provide on-ramps for low-skill adults to access postsecondary education and training.  Lupe Chavez, director of High School Programs at South Texas College in McAllen, Texas, will present that college’s efforts to expand partnerships with local high schools, increase dual enrollment, and promote postsecondary transitions for young adults.

 Click here to register for this event. Questions about the webinar series or requests for an accommodation may be addressed to Matthew.Valerius@ed.gov


New IES Funding Opportunity

The Department’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released FY 2014 funding announcements for five grant competitions in education and training research last week. Three of these opportunities relate to postsecondary and adult education:

  1. The Education Research Grants program (305A) supports efforts to develop, improve, and evaluate education policies and programs in 10 research topic areas, including postsecondary and adult education, and with five research goals.
  2. The Education Research and Development Centers program (305C) supports research, development, evaluation, and national leadership activities aimed at improving the education system and, ultimately, student achievement. This year IES is holding a competition for a new five-year, $10 million National Center on Developmental Education Assessment and Instruction.
  3. The Partnerships and Collaborations Focused on Problems of Practice or Policy program (305H) supports efforts in which education practitioners and researchers work together to develop research plans, adopt a continuous improvement strategy, or evaluate education policies and programs that are already operating on a large scale. Postsecondary and adult education programs qualify for this program.

More about these programs, as well as other IES funding opportunities, is available at http://ies.ed.gov/funding/.