|AAE Federal Update May 4, 2011|
|posted by: Alix | May 04, 2011, 07:53 PM|
Teacher Appreciation & Charter School Week
This week, May 2-8, 2011, is both National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Charter Schools Week. AAE is pleased to recognize both American educators and charter schools this week and every day. It goes without saying that AAE is not only a committed supporter of American educators but charter schools as well. This week is a special occasion for our members in all educational settings.
In commemoration of this important week in education, some important national education leaders commented on the occasion:
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan: "...Working together, we can transform teaching from the factory model designed over a century ago to one built for the information age. We can build an accountability system based on data we trust and a standard that is honest—one that recognizes and rewards great teaching, gives new or struggling teachers the support they need to succeed, and deals fairly, efficiently, and compassionately with teachers who are simply not up to the job. With your input and leadership, we can restore the status of the teaching profession so more of America's top college students choose to teach because no other job is more important or more fulfilling..."
U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN): "Charter schools epitomize innovation and flexibility – not only do they raise the bar for student achievement, they also encourage parents to play a more active role in their child's education. Best of all, the success of any given charter school hinges on results – in this performance-based education system, teachers and officials are held accountable for the achievements of every student. Washington leaders on both sides of the aisle recognize high-performing charter schools as a valuable subset of the public school system that should receive our unwavering support. As we forge a new path for education in America, we must learn from the accomplishments of these schools and promote federal policies and initiatives that encourage choice, innovation, and excellence."
AAE Executive Director Gary Beckner: "Everyone has a teacher in mind that has made a significant impact in his or her life. American teachers ignite passions and shape the people we become. This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week, an opportunity for not only students to celebrate their teachers, but a way for everyday Americans to recognize their hard work. AAE is proud to empower teachers across the country, this week and always."
"This week, AAE is pleased to recognize the growing charter school community and the efforts of those involved with these excellent educational institutions. This year we have seen tremendous strides in the creation and expansion of charters across the country. AAE joins with communities, parents, and students to express gratitude of the teachers, administrators, and leaders who make these life-changing schools possible. Your work will have an impact for generations."
For more about National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Charter Schools Week, visit their respective websites for information about how you can get involved.
Federal Budget's Impact on Technology in the Classroom
While education experts and policy makers continue to advocate for increased technology in the classroom and the need to keep up in a global economy, federal budget realities might make that more difficult than planned.
The Enhancing Education Through Technology program is one such initiative that could be on the chopping block due to federal budget shortfalls. Despite a recent report highlighting the programs nationwide successes, the outlook remains grim. Congress had already approved and President Obama had signed a bill to finance the federal government through Sept. 30, in the process stripping the remaining $100 million in annual funding from the program and leaving proponents of educational technology to wonder about life after EETT's demise.
While supporters lobbied hard to show the merits of the once-$700 million-a-year program they say was a vital stream of aid for ed-tech professional development—and the Department of Education's only program devoted exclusively to technology—they must now figure out how to modernize schools and integrate technology into instruction without the funding.
Advocates say they will encourage states and local districts to try to direct broader funding streams toward technology, and shift from other less critical areas. While this will solve some technology funding shortfalls, technology professional development will certainly take a hit.
Duncan Continues National Tour
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been touring the country these past months commenting on state-led education and labor reform legislation and advocating for the goals of the Obama administration.
In these last few weeks, Secretary Duncan has participated in literally dozens of community forums across the country, including one in the Minnesota district of Congressman John Kline, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. Meeting with both policy makers on the state and federal levels, Duncan has also had the unique opportunity to field questions from everyday Americans interested in education.
In one Maryland meeting Secretary Duncan answered some interested questions from a well-informed audience. A former union member and advocate wanted to know if the administration would favor the use of the Praxis and other subject-knowledge tests to determine whether a teacher meets federal standards. The Secretary responded that he'd like to move closer to a system that considers teacher effectiveness, not just qualifications. The answer showed Duncan's willingness to move toward a system where a broader range of professionals could pursue a career in teaching.
One attendee asked if the Obama administration would support moving education funding to the mandatory side of the federal budget ledger, freezing funding in place and shielding it from political whims. Duncan indicated that it was unlikely as the funding is very complex and that it is directed into several different arenas.
Secretary Duncan will continue his time on the road in order to drum up excitement for Obama policy initiatives. Visit the Department of Education website for the latest on upcoming public forums.