ED Youth Voices April Newsletter

ed youth voices

May 5, 2018 | Sign Up to Receive ED Youth Voices

In This Issue:

  • Five Ways to Cut the College Price Tag 
  • The Nation’s Report Card Is In. How Can We Improve Stagnant Scores?
  • American Families to Benefit From Tax-free Withdrawals for Education Expenses
  • Secretary Visits Memorial to Victims of Opioid Epidemic
  • Youth Engagement at ED 
  • High School Students Take a Unique Approach to Financial Education
  • Are You a Student Interested in Working for the Federal Government?
  • Girl Scout Ranger Program
  • Department Hosts Listening Sessions on School Climate 
  • 2015–16 Civil Rights Data Collection Released
  • “How School Counselors Make a World of Difference"

Five Ways to Cut the College Price Tag

Following is an excerpt from “5 Ways to Cut the College Price Tag,” on ED’s Homeroom blog:

“Working as a Financial Aid Counselor, families often ask me how they can pay for college. More often than not this conversation takes place during the student’s senior year in high school. As a first-generation college student, there are things I wish my family and I had known to help us save on our college bill.”

You can read the full article here.

The Nation’s Report Card Is In. How Can We Improve Stagnant Scores?

Secretary DeVos addressed the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results at the Reagan Institute Summit on Education (RISE), observing the 35th anniversary of the A Nation at Risk report released under President Ronald Reagan. During a fireside chat with former Secretary of Education William Bennett, DeVos noted, "If you look at per-pupil spending, it's gone up since A Nation at Risk was reported. Scores continue to muddle along. This is not something we're going to spend our way out of, and this is not something we're going to mandate or regulate our way out of." (video). 

American Families to Benefit From Tax-free Withdrawals for Education Expenses

According to an April 17 USA Today op-ed by President Trump, “A typical family of four earning $73,000 a year can expect to see an income tax cut of more than $2,000 when they file their tax return in 2019—slashing their income tax bill in half. The standard deduction has been nearly doubled, so now twice as much income is earned tax-free. The tax law also doubled the child tax credit and lowers rates across the board for hardworking families.”

In addition, the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that President Trump signed into law expanded 529 plans. The 529 plans provide tax advantages and potentially other incentives to make it easier to save for college and other postsecondary training, or for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school for a designated beneficiary, such as a child or grandchild. You can learn more about 529 plans here

Secretary Visits Memorial to Victims of Opioid Epidemic

Earlier this month, Secretary DeVos visited the National Safety Council’s Prescribed to Death Memorial to victims of opioid misuse. The memorial, located on the Ellipse at the White House, was a powerful reminder of the nation’s opioid epidemic. Opioid overdoses claimed more lives than car crashes in 2016 and 2017, and the effects of opioid misuse are felt by students, parents, and educators across the country.

ED is taking a number of steps to support the Trump administration’s efforts to fight this “crisis next door.” ED’s website now includes a page providing resources to help schools, students and families combat the opioid crisis. The National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments is hosting a webinar, “The Opioid Crisis and K–12 Schools: Impact and Response,” designed for state-, district-, and building-level administrators, teachers, and specialized instructional personnel.

Secretary DeVos visits White House memorial

Youth Engagement at ED

This past month the Department had the opportunity to host student leaders from across the country, including an amazing group from the National 4-H Conference. These 4-H high school student leaders were charged with developing recommendations on how students can improve school culture to decrease bullying and harassment and increase learning through productive civil dialogues. They proposed starting a social media campaign focusing on cyber-bullying, and building a partnership with ED to help increase collaboration between 4-H high schools and the land grant universities that support them

In addition, 20 University of South Carolina educational administration master’s and Ph.D. students met with ED’s Office for Civil Rights staff to learn about policy and enforcement initiatives. They also met with staff from the Office of Postsecondary Education's Federal TRIO Programs to hear about best practices in higher education administration.

Six high school student leaders from Maryland attended ED’s Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.'s Drum Major Legacy: Innovative Pathways to Success event, where they re-imagined education and gained mentorship from adult mentors at the conference.

Finally, last week ED hosted around 150 students for the annual Take Your Child to Work Day. The half-day event was packed with physical education, STEM learning, and story time. Students exercised, played virtual-reality educational games, operated a 3-D printer, and listened to a reading of Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, among other activities. 

If you are heading to the Washington D.C. area or interested in having ED staff engage with your students virtually, please email youth@ed.gov

High School Students Take a Unique Approach to Financial Education

April is Financial Capability Month. To help mark this occasion, high school students Sam Gelb and Timo Hemphill offer perspectives on their very different experiences in obtaining financial education. Their financial literacy journeys connected through The Blake Asset Management Group, a financial literacy club at their school. You can read about their experiences here

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

The Office of Personnel Management is hosting free virtual and in-person briefings and presentations to help individuals and groups gain a comprehensive understanding of federal employment. Topics will include an overview of the federal hiring process; how to find and apply for federal jobs on USAJOBS; how to write a federal résumé; techniques for interviewing; Pathways programs for students and recent graduates; special hiring authorities, such as the use of Schedule A for individuals with disabilities; and related topics.  Questions about these programs should be directed to outreach@opm.gov. Click on any of the upcoming events below for more information and to register.

Navigating USAJOBS

Wednesday, May 2, 2018, from 3 to 5 p.m. (ET) ; Wednesday, May 23, 2018, from 4 to 6 p.m. (ET) ;Monday, June 25, 2018, from 1 to 3 p.m. (ET) ;Wednesday, June 27, 2018, from 10 a.m. to noon (ET)

 Writing Your Federal Resume

Monday, May 14, 2018, from 11 a.m to 12:30 p.m. (ET) ; Monday, May 14, 2018, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. (ET) ; Wednesday, June 13, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (ET) ; Wednesday, June 13, 2018, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (ET)

 Interview Techniques

Wednesday, May 9, 2018, from 3 to 4:15 p.m. (ET) ; Wednesday, May 16, 2018, from 6 to 7:15 p.m. (ET) ; Monday, June 4, 2018, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. (ET) ; Wednesday, June 20, 2018, from 4 to 5:15 p.m. (ET)

 Pathways Programs for Students and Recent Graduates

Thursday, May 31, 2018, from 4 to  5:30 p.m. (ET) ; Thursday, June 28, 2018, from 4 to  5:30 p.m. (ET)

Girl Scout Ranger Program

Girl Scout Logo

The National Park Service and the Girl Scouts of the United States of America have partnered to create the Girl Scout Ranger Program

In this program, Girl Scouts are invited to participate in a variety of existing, organized educational or service projects at national park sites. They can also design their own experience or project to align with Journey work, badge activities, or a Highest Award project. 

Department Hosts Listening Sessions on School Climate

Last month, Secretary DeVos hosted two listening sessions on school safety concerns and the current climate in schools nationwide. The discussions focused on the Dear Colleague Letter regarding Title VI, which prohibits racial discrimination, and its impact on school discipline that was jointly issued by the departments of Education and Justice in January 2014.  Participants shared their perspectives on how to best protect all students' civil rights and promote positive school climates, and how the current approach is helping or hurting those efforts. 

2015–16 Civil Rights Data Collection Released

On April 24, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released the 2015–16 Civil Rights  Data Collection (CRDC).  This data, which is self-reported by public school districts, schools, and educational programs, is collected and published biennially by OCR, to be reviewed, analyzed, and utilized by local, state, and federal education leaders.  For example, OCR used the latest CRDC data to produce topic-specific briefs on two major topics: “STEM Course Taking and “School Climate and Safety.”

“How School Counselors Make a World of Difference”

Long considered an integral part of a school’s support system, school counselors bring a wealth of insight and resources to a variety of student-centered issues. As part of a team of mental health experts, school counselors work with students individually and collectively to create a school climate that leads to healthy learning, living, and growth. Patrick J. O’Connor, ED's school counselor ambassador fellow, describes the role of the school counselor, and the results, and impact that they have on students’ academic and social-emotional development. You can read his article here, at kappanonline.org.