ED Youth Voices January Newsletter

ed youth voices

February 1, 2018 | Sign Up to Receive ED Youth Voices

In This Issue:


Celebrating National School Choice Week

Secretary DeVos video at NSCW event on Capitol Hill

Last week was National School Choice Week (NSCW), the world’s largest celebration of opportunity for choice in education, with tens of thousands of events around the world. The purpose of NSCW is to elevate public awareness of educational options available to families and to rally support in states without expansive school choice programs to implement new policies that empower families to choose the right school for their children. You can read the Secretary’s op-ed on why family deserves a choice in education here.


Secretary DeVos Describes Pitfalls of Federal Reforms, Calls for America to “Rethink” Education

The last few decades have seen a number of federally driven education reforms with varying degrees of success. To explore the lessons learned from these reforms, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) sponsored a research conference on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C., featuring panelists who set policy in the Bush and Obama administrations, followed by a keynote address from Secretary DeVos. She stressed that future reforms must focus on empowering parents and educators – those who know students best – in order to truly unlock students’ potential.  For the full text of the secretary’s remarks, click here.


Secretary DeVos Encourages Mayors to Listen to Parents, Take Active Role in Improving Education

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C., Secretary DeVos shared her thoughts on the state of education in the U.S. today: “Parents know that we need solutions for today's education problems. And they recognize how little education has changed since they were students. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Students lined up in rows. A teacher up front, framed by a blackboard (or perhaps a "smartboard" today). Sit down; don't talk; eyes front. Wait for the bell. Walk to the next class. And… repeat. That's what it was like for me, and I bet it was true for many – if not all – of you too. In fact, it hasn't changed much since the 1800s. It's no wonder many employers are hard-pressed to find employees with 21st-century skills when they're being taught in a 19th-century model.” You can read the secretary’s full speech here


Education Is the Ticket Out of Poverty

Toni Airaksinen reading in a library

Toni Airaksinen, a current senior at Barnard College in New York, illustrates the powerful impact of school choice and how a student’s potential for prosperity can be supported with access to educational options. You can read more about Toni's experience here


The ED Games Expo Comes to the Kennedy Center

In January, the fifth annual ED Games Expo was hosted at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The event showcased more than 100 learning games, most developed with funding from 17 different ED and other government programs. The games were for students of all ages in both regular and special education, and covered topics across STEM, reading, social studies and social development. Many incorporated emerging technologies, such as virtual realityaugmented reality and maker spaces with 3D printing stations, as well as engaging approaches to learning, such as narrative adventures  and puzzle games.

You can read more about the ED Games Expo here

Things You Can Do


Public Comment Sought for Report on Obtaining Input From Rural Schools and Local Education Agencies

Secretary DeVos seeks information from the public regarding actions the Department can take to improve how it considers the unique needs of rural schools and local education agencies (LEAs) as it develops and implements its policies and programs. The secretary intends to use this information in a final report describing the actions the Department will take to increase the consideration and participation of rural schools and LEAs in the development and execution of the Department’s processes, procedures, policies, and regulations. Here is a link to the preliminary report and the addresses for sending comments, which are due by Feb. 20.

Are You a Student or Recent Graduate Interested in Working for the Federal Government?

Have you been thinking about applying for employment with the federal government? Would you like guidance from experts on how to get a federal job? Join staff from the Recruitment Policy and Outreach division of the Office of Personnel Management for a series of in-depth briefings designed to assist those seeking jobs in the federal sector. The sessions are open to anyone who wants to learn more about the federal hiring process; however, registration for each event will be limited to 1,500 attendees. There are no costs for these sessions and, because they are virtual (online), you can participate from any location provided you have an Internet connection.

Finding and Applying for Jobs in the Federal Government (Navigating USAJOBS)

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.(EST)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.(EST)

Pathways Programs—Recruiting and Hiring Students and Recent Graduates Into Federal Careers

 Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EST)

 Wednesday, March 14, 2018 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.(EST)

Interviewing Techniques

Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 from 11 a.m. to noon (EST)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.(EST)

Writing Your Federal Resume

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.(EST)

Monday, March 12, 2018 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.(EST)


Tools for You

The School Ambassador Fellowship Program Application Period Is Now Open

The Department announced the availability of the online application for the 2018–19 School Ambassador Fellowship Program.  The program enables outstanding teachers, principals, counselors, librarians and other school-based professionals who interact with students on a daily basis to bring their expertise to the Department and expand their knowledge of the national dialogue about education.  In turn, fellows facilitate the learning and input of other educators and community members.  As in previous years, applicants may choose to apply as Washington Fellows—a full-time appointment where fellows are based in residence at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.—or as Campus Fellows—a part-time appointment where fellows collaborate with the agency while maintaining their regular school responsibilities in their home communities. The application closes February 14, 2018, at 5:00 PM Eastern Time. 

Is Better Training a Key to Improved College Counseling?

A recent study looked at the success of an independent college advising firm in working with low-income students in the college selection process.  Readers of the study determined there were three key factors that led to the program’s success, including counselor awareness of colleges where completion rates were high and costs were low. This finding reinforces the idea that reform may be needed in the graduate programs that train school counselors. Of the 500 programs in the U.S., less than three dozen offer a course focused on college counseling, which coincides with counselors regularly reporting that their training in college counseling was insufficient in their work with students and families. 

Environmental Education Grants Are Now Available

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pleased to announce that up to $3 million in funding for locally focused environmental education grants is available under the 2018 Environmental Education (EE) Local Grants Program.  EPA will award three to four grants in each of EPA’s 10 regions for no less than $50,000 and no more than $100,000 each, for a total of 30–35 grants nationwide. Proposals are due on March 15, 2018. The Requests for Proposals are posted on www.grants.gov. Additional background on the EE Grants Program and resources for applicants can be located here