By: Amy Loyd, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Our nation’s future depends upon an educated and skilled workforce—especially as economic mobility is in decline and the world of work is rapidly shifting. The preparation of young people through career and college pathways is a powerful, evidence- and research-based approach to provide students with the education and experience they need and deserve to participate in our democracy and thrive in our economy. In a recent “Pathways in Action” webinar, we heard from leading experts whose work centers on young people and employers within an education-to-employment system. These experts represent several key stakeholders who are central to this work, including high schools, community colleges, workforce development, nonprofits, chambers of commerce, business and industry, and philanthropy. They also represent exemplars of cross-sector partnerships that span our nation, from California to Boston, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and in Dallas. In this dynamic discussion, these experts shared how they engage with diverse stakeholders to drive collaboration and build systems that support all students to earn postsecondary credentials and fulfill their endless potential.
By: Dawn Ellis, PhD, Liaison to Parents and Families, National Engagement Team, Office of Communication and Outreach
In January 2022, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona shared his vision for education in America, which addressed the need for more meaningful and authentic parent and family engagement. Sara Morrison, a mother of five living in New York, has experienced parent and family advocacy on different levels and knows the importance of meaningful and authentic family engagement. She has always been involved with her children’s education but shares more recent experiences with her younger two children. In an interview with the Department’s national liaison to parents and families, Dawn Ellis, Sara shared, “…as a mother who is legally disabled, raising two children who need supports through an IEP is no easy task. At times, I felt guilty as though I failed my children, not recognizing that their frustration was a cry for help. Once I stepped back and began to understand what they were experiencing through observing their learning process at home, having them explain their thought process behind a response to a homework assignment or connecting with teachers to see what they saw in my children, I became more active in their education, and within the school district. This served as a foundation for my advocacy for both my children and the families I advocate for. That is where I found true value in parent voice.”
By: Aysha E. Schomburg, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Ruth Ryder, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), U.S. Department of Education
The 2021-2022 school year has come to a close. As students begin their summer break, the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) come together to highlight the significant work that American educators and child welfare professionals have done to support students in foster care; to provide information about resources available for schools to support students in foster care; and to provide information about federal collaboration and efforts in this space.
By: Anna Hinton, PhD, Director, Charter Schools Program, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
The U.S. Department of Education is committed to ensuring that all its programs are implemented in ways that increase educational opportunity for students and address inequities in our education system. In keeping with this commitment, today, the Department issued notices inviting applications for two programs authorized under the Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter School Programs (CSP) – the Grants to State Entities and the Grants to Charter School Developers for the Opening of New Charter Schools and for the Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools programs. Together, these programs will provide an estimated $77 million in new funds to support high-quality charter schools. Every student should have access to a high-quality public education, and we believe high-quality public charter schools play an important role in that access.
By: Brenda Calderon, Ph.D., Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
“Promise Neighborhoods build on the rich resources, ingenuity, and creativity of communities to bring together schools, nonprofits, and other organizations in a concerted effort to meet the needs of children and youth” — Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
One of the most critical challenges illuminated by the recent period of emergency remote learning has been providing access to reliable, high-speed internet and connected devices to facilitate everywhere, all-the-time learning. Data clearly show the lack of these essential technologies impact communities of color and low-income communities to a disproportionate extent. As schools recover from the pandemic, several federal agencies and the Office of Educational Technology (OET) are stepping up to provide resources to close the digital divide.
By: Misael Gonzalez, High School English Language Arts teacher, Miami, Florida
In many ways, my definition of teacher leadership was shaped by dramatized Hollywood portrayals of real accounts: a heroic singular leader fighting the system to make a change, a school in a “rough part of town” with a high minority-student population, and a challenge that had been thought a lost cause by everyone else I have come to realize that teacher leadership is not a case of catching lighting in a bottle. Through research, reading, and learning in my doctoral program, I’ve come to understand teacher leadership relies on collaborative efforts in and out of the classroom, requires a unique set of skills, and needs the right culture to truly grow. Here is what I’ve learned:
By: Chris Soto, Senior Advisor, Office of the Secretary
The Puerto Rico education system is at a pivotal moment with many influences converging to help accelerate positive change for the Puerto Rico Department of Education, and ultimately the students it serves. The combination of the influx of federal relief dollars, a strengthened relationship with the U.S. Department of Education, and an island-wide recognition of the urgency for structural changes that address root causes and prioritize student outcomes, provides an opportunity to take a proactive approach towards addressing long-standing challenges.
By: Julian Guerrero, Director, Office of Indian Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Haa Maruaweka (“Hello everyone,” in Comanche language)
Advancing its commitment to maintaining, protecting, and revitalizing Native American languages – the U.S. Department of Education has announced approximately $1 million in grant funding available for Native American Language (NAL@ED) projects. Native American language learning is fundamentally connected to the well-being and sustainability of Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. A major emphasis of this program is to fund both partial and full immersion programs in addition to developing new or expanding existing language programs.
This is our moment to truly reimagine education. This is our moment to lift our students, our education system, and our country to a level never before seen. As the great Congressman Lewis said, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
-Secretary Cardona’s Vision for Education in America (2022)
Imagine a high school in which every single student is energized, excited, and engaged in powerful learning that connects them to their communities, nurtures their career aspirations, and provides them with a head start on college. These students are thriving in rigorous academics, earning several college credits before graduating from high school—including their first college math and English classes, and two classes connected to their possible future careers. These students, along with their families, receive personalized and ongoing career and college advising and navigation supports so that they make informed decisions about the classes they take, the pathways they pursue, and the goals they set for their lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic proved to all of us just how important access to childcare and early childhood education is not only for children, but for parents and caretakers. I know I felt that tension, personally, as I too juggled childcare responsibilities for my daughter and work at the beginning of the pandemic. Eventually, I was able to enroll her in a universal pre-K program. However, due to pandemic policies, that was only four hours per day, and balancing work, virtual school, and the need for additional childcare was a complicated mix.