New Efforts to Increase Access to Pell Grants for Incarcerated Students

By: Amy Loyd, Acting Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona recently invited students who had attended college-in-prison programs to share their experiences. Their stories were moving; all of the students who attended the virtual roundtable told the Secretary that they truly realized their potential while participating in education while in prison, thanks in large part to the efforts of educational institutions that offered them a second chance. Today, those students have rewarding careers and full lives. Most are also actively engaged, in one way or another, in ensuring that people who are currently incarcerated received a second chance just like they did. Postsecondary educational programs offered in prisons give students who are incarcerated new opportunities to improve their education, obtain employment, reconnect with family, and re-engage with their communities.

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Innovations in Addressing COVID-19 and Promoting Equity: FY 2021 Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Competition Announcement

Written by Jamila Smith, Director, Innovation and Early Learning Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

The U.S. Department of Education is pleased to announce the $180 million FY 2021 Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Early-Phase Competition. The EIR program provides funding to create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations aimed at improving outcomes for high-needs students. The program also supports the rigorous evaluation of these innovations. The Department expects that early-phase grants will be used to fund the development, implementation, and feasibility testing of a program.

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The American Rescue Plan: Building the Bridge to Education and Beyond for Students Experiencing Homelessness

Written By: Chandler K., SchoolHouse Connection Scholar

I can remember being a young teen, living with my mother and six siblings and being locked out of the house until the early hours of the morning on multiple occasions. Abuse was prevalent in my home and trying to navigate school with honors and AP Courses throughout this experience was next to impossible. Eventually, the abuse became so bad that I had no choice but to flee. I searched for alternative housing options, but the only option I could find was an old RV behind my Grandparents’ home. The RV smelled of mildew, had no power or running water, and though it was safer than my home, the nights spent on the small RV mattress still haunt me to this day. I felt incredibly isolated during this time, because I felt I had to do my best to hide the fact that I was homeless. I sometimes look back and wonder how people didn’t know. I would often have to wear the same clothes multiple days in a row and I struggled to meet my basic needs like having access to food and hygiene supplies.

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A Renewed U.S. Commitment to International Education

Guest blog by Maureen McLaughlin, Senior Advisor and Director of International Affairs, Office of the Secretary

a renewed U.S. commitment to international education

If it wasn’t already clear before the pandemic, it should be clear now that, in today’s interconnected world, many of our biggest challengesreducing economic and social disparities, building prosperity, supporting public health, addressing climate change, and maintaining peaceare global in nature. To address these challenges, we must work togethernot just within the United States, but also with others around the world.

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Next Steps in OCR’s Comprehensive Review of Title IX Actions: A New Q&A and the Public Hearing Transcript

Title IX next steps: A new Q&A and the public hearing transcript

The following is a cross-post from the Office for Civil Rights.

As the Office for Civil Rights continues our comprehensive review of the U.S. Department of Education’s actions under Title IX, the landmark law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in our nation’s schools, we are pleased to share several recent steps—including two taken today.  

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Students, Immigration Status, and the Right to Public Education

Students, immigration status, and the right to public education

The following is a cross-post from the Office for Civil Rights.

An essential part of ensuring equal opportunity is protecting all students in their access to education free from discrimination. This includes the right of all students in the United States to attend America’s public elementary and secondary schools, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status.

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American History and Civics in Our Schools

The teaching of civics and history – an opportunity to better understand our past and how our government works so we can engage in and influence our future – has long provided the foundation for students to be active participants in society and help our nation live up to its highest ideals. These values have been championed over the years by Americans of all backgrounds, and they are deeply embedded in our commitment to both patriotism and progress.  

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A Summer to Remember

Guest blog by Christian Rhodes

My first “real” job was as a camp counselor at the local Boys and Girls Club in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. I spent the summer ensuring middle school students had fun while learning. I would stay up late thinking of new lessons to teach or a motivating message I would recite during our morning check-ins. I appreciated each high five, smile, and even a few tears as camp concluded as I got ready for my next semester at UNC-Chapel Hill. Occasionally, I would see my “students” when I visited home at the grocery store or church. I was always surprised that they remembered our special handshakes, mostly because I had forgotten them. I loved being a camp counselor. I loved the young people I met and hopefully positively influenced.

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A Promise to Students: Improving How We Award Federal Student Aid

As the father of twins who recently graduated from college, I can appreciate what you or your parents go through each year as you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA® form. As you know, completing this form can open the door to your higher education dreams by providing federal student grants, work-study funds, and loans. The FAFSA form can also unlock other opportunities for grants and scholarships from states, schools, and private organizations.

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From World War II to Harvard: the Nisei Soldier who served and taught America

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes raided the U.S. Naval Base Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The massive surprise attack thrusted America into World War II. Following the attack, government suspicion arose around Americans of Japanese descent. A few months later, on March 29, 1942, Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt of the Western Defense Command issued Public Proclamation No. 4, which forced the evacuation and detention of West Coast residents of Japanese American ancestry. Approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans were sent to concentration camps in the United States between 1942 and 1945.

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Explore U.S. History at our Nation’s Most Hallowed Ground

Arlington National Cemetery  (ANC) is considered America’s most hallowed ground and a sacred shrine to service and sacrifice. More than 400,000 people are laid to rest at ANC including former presidents, astronauts, civil rights activists, medical professionals, and prominent military figures.

ANC recently launched an education program for students, families, and lifelong learners. The program aims to honor the sacrifices and extraordinary lives of American service members and their families, support remembrance of the past and present military conflicts and circumstances surrounding them, and invite personal exploration of connections to America’s diverse history. As the school year draws to a close, this program provides a great summer learning opportunity to explore and discover U.S. history through the unique lens of ANC.

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First-Ever RISE Awardee Announced

Need a reason for celebration? In the Recognition Programs Unit of ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach, we have several of them spread throughout the year.  The newest recognition award joining the family, structured to shine a spotlight good work and ignite more positive contributions, while engaging state and local stakeholders with their federal education agency, is the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees award.

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