Follow AAE on:

Subscribe to RSS Feed:

AAE Federal Update July 24, 2012
posted by: Alix | July 24, 2012, 07:22 PM   

President Obama Calls for $1 Billion "Master Teachers" Program

Following a renewed commitment to education and teacher quality policy that began earlier this year, the Obama administration this week unveiled plans to create an elite corps of master teachers with the stated goal of ushering in a new era of respect and retention for the profession. The program is projected to cost $1 billion and is designed to recruit and retain teachers with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experience.

The Master Teacher Corps program proposal initially calls for recruiting 2,500 educators and increasing that to 10,000 over the next four years. The federal government would pay them an additional $20,000 stipend on top of their base salaries from their school or district as an incentive. Each teacher would be required to serve at least four years. Sold as an investment in STEM education, the goal would be to create a program that will multiply an effective workforce in which expert educators share their knowledge and skills with other teachers, improving the quality of education for all students in the long term.

President Obama discussed his vision at a rally for his re-election in Texas on Tuesday. "I'm running to make sure that America has the best education system on earth, from pre-K all the way to post-graduate," President Obama stressed. "And that means hiring new teachers, especially in math and science." He told the crowd that his commitment to increased federal education spending stood in contrast to Republican challenger Governor Romney.

According to insiders, the plan faces an uphill battle in Congress. As it stands, the $1 billion price tag would come from funds that make up part of Obama's 2013 budget proposal. With a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, the budget stands little chance of becoming law.

Congressional Hearing Highlights Innovative State Efforts to Curb College Costs

The Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), last week held a hearing entitled, "Keeping College Within Reach: Exploring State Efforts to Curb Costs." The hearing brought together state and higher education stakeholders to discuss state-led initiatives to address rising college costs.

In recent years, several states have taken steps to develop innovative programs that promote better use of limited resources while also encouraging higher education institutions to reduce the student debt burden. In Louisiana and Florida, for example, both states have successfully implemented comprehensive articulation agreements, which make it easier for students to transfer course credits between state institutions.

Indiana and Pennsylvania have introduced 'pay for performance' structures that offer additional state resources to high-performing postsecondary institutions with the best retention, completion, and placement rates. According to Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers, "Funding for our state's colleges and universities should be tied to key values and needs, especially higher graduation rates and credentials that lead to greater economic opportunity for students and the state."

Click here to read full testimony or watch the archived podcast.

Additional States Awarded NCLB Waivers

Last week, Secretary Duncan announced that Washington and Wisconsin will receive flexibility from the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In exchange for this new flexibility, the states have agreed to raise academic standards, improve accountability, and undertake essential reforms to boost teacher effectiveness.

The controversial federal education law has been due for congressional reauthorization since 2007. In the face of congressional gridlock, President Obama announced in September of 2011 that the Obama administration would grant waivers from NCLB to qualified states.

"It is a remarkable milestone that in only five months, more than half of the states in the country have adopted state-developed, next-generation education reforms to improve student learning and classroom instruction, while ensuring that resources are targeted to the students that need them most," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement.

The announcement brings the number of states with waivers to 26.  Five other applications are still under review.  The Department expects additional states to request NCLB flexibility by September 6, 2012.

Click here for more information on the status of your state's NCLB waiver.

Department of Education Launches Summer Fitness Program

Earlier this month, Obama administration officials promoted student fitness and keeping children active and engaged over the summer with the kickoff of the "Let's Read! Let's Move!" series at the Department of Education.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined Personal Chef to the First Family Sam Kass and Cornell McClellan, fitness consultant and personal trainer to the First Family, in welcoming local children for a day of exciting reading and fitness activities.

The children participated in games and fitness activities directed by ED's partner, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington Physical, Healthy, Drive (PHD) program. Kass and McClellan joined the students in a shopping cart nutrition relay while the secretary shot some hoops with children. The initiative is designed to engage students in fitness activities and continued learning over the summer months.

Click here to watch the video announcing the program.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Submit a comment
 (not published)
smaller | bigger

security code
Write the displayed characters