My mother grew up as one of nine children. Her youngest sibling, my aunt Cheryl, was born with Down Syndrome. At the time of Cheryl’s birth in 1962, the doctors told my grandparents that Cheryl would only live until the age of three, and as such, the family should consider putting her into an institution. My grandparents adamantly refused this recommendation, and Cheryl continued to live at home. My aunt Cheryl passed away in November 2021, just a few months before her 60th birthday. She was deeply cared for and loved by my family until her last day on Earth.
By: Luke Rhine, Deputy Assistant Secretary the Office of Career, Technical & Adult Education
Dual enrollment works. The Biden-Harris Administration is deeply committed to the use and expansion of high-quality dual enrollment programs to improve student access to rigorous coursework and equitable postsecondary opportunities. Recently, the Department of Education hosted a webinar featuring a panel of dual enrollment experts who reviewed the current state of policy, practice and research as well as the future of dual enrollment. The session also included a summary of the latest research and evidence for dual enrollment, from the recent College in High School Alliance publication, Research Priorities for Advancing Equitable Dual Enrollment Policy and Practice. Here is what experts from the field said:
By: Rebecca Standridge, Program Specialist for ESE Curriculum and veteran Special Education Teacher in Marion County, Florida
As a child, I dreamed of growing up and becoming a teacher; practicing reading aloud with my baby dolls and stuffed animals and was always the first to volunteer to help the teacher grade papers. I am now an adult, living my dream of teaching while continuing to learn and explore the field of education. During my career, the lifestyle of a military spouse has been a challenge to my development as a teacher leader. I feel like I have to prove myself to my coworkers and administrators at each new school. I begin teaching at a school, and within one school year I have established myself and built solid relationships with coworkers; these relationships strengthen and just as I feel confident in my position and moving upward, it is time to move again. But, I’ve found several ways to make sure that I can continue to grow as a leader in this unique and constantly-uprooted professional journey.
“Back-to-school season is a time of possibility and promise for students, parents and families, and educators alike. To all the school leaders working to ensure your campuses can remain safely open for in-person learning throughout this new academic year, all of us in the Biden-Harris administration appreciate your dedication in making in-person learning happen. To all the teachers preparing your classrooms and helping to connect students and families with resources to promote their health and wellness, thank you. In this administration, you will always have strong champions. To all the students heading back to in-person learning at school or college, excited about the year ahead, we believe your potential is without limits. We will continue to invest in your academic growth and support your wellbeing in schools that are healthy, safe, and inclusive places to thrive. To all the parents and caregivers, we know you want the very best for your children, and we will continue to provide supports to help schools mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe, in-person instruction all year long. I’m confident that with the support of the American Rescue Plan and other federal resources, we can keep all our children, all across the country, safe, healthy, and learning on the road to success. Together, we will make this school year one of our best yet.”
By: Kaitlin Thach, Intern, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Communication and Outreach
“The main function of an academic advisor is to bring holistic support to students as they navigate their higher education to post grad journey.”
Universities and higher education institutions nationwide provide academic advising for both undergraduate and graduate students. This principal academic resource can go underutilized as students often consider advising as a resource only when they are frantic with worry when they realize that they have little time to sign up for classes.
By: Andrea Suarez Falken, Special Advisor for Infrastructure and Sustainability, U.S. Department of Education.
On July 26, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) recognized 27 schools, five school districts, and four postsecondary institutions, as well as one state education agency official, at a Washington, D.C. ceremony for their efforts to cultivate sustainable, healthy facilities, wellness practices, and hands-on, outdoor, environmental learning.
By: Richard Cordray, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid
For many, summer is a time for family trips and backyard BBQs, but it is not all fun and games. Before we know it, many students will be rushing to complete summer assignments before heading back to school. Here at Federal Student Aid (FSA), we have had a major “summer school” assignment of our own: we have been working hard to launch a new website that helps financial aid professionals at colleges and career schools prepare for the upcoming school year.
By: Antoinette Flores, Senior Advisor, Office of Postsecondary Education
The Department of Education (Department) is committed to ensuring that institutions of higher education (institutions) maintain high quality standards and strong student outcomes. As a member of the Federal triad, which under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) requires the Department to work in conjunction with states and accrediting agencies to ensure oversight and accountability of postsecondary institutions, the Department expects this same commitment from our partners.
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.