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Still looking for a good New Year's Eve party?  I'm sure the FritzWire can help you out.  Or at least keep you up to speed on DC events, announcements, and other such Beltway stuff. 

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December 29, 2009


The U.S. Department of Education announced on December 28th that it will hold a second round of public input meetings to be held in the Washington, D.C. metro area to listen to and learn from assessment experts and practitioners.  To date, the department has convened seven meetings in Boston, Atlanta and Denver where thirty-seven states joined department leadership and nearly 700 members of the public to hear from assessment experts in general assessment, high school assessment, the role of technology in assessment, assessing students with disabilities, and assessing English language learners.  As with the previous meetings, the goals of the upcoming meetings are two-fold: first to gather technical input to inform the development of a Race to the Top Assessment Competition; and second to enable states, who will be the competition applicants, and the public to participate in and learn from these events.
 "The next generation of assessments will provide information that helps accelerate student learning and improve teachers' practice," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "Our first set of meetings was extremely helpful in gathering cutting edge expertise on assessment from around the nation and world.  We are eager to continue learning from the field on an important range of next topics and questions.  We are eager to employ that knowledge in supporting the work that States will do to build the new assessments our country needs to ensure that our students are prepared for success in college and careers."
As announced in advance of the first round of public meetings, Duncan has pledged to reserve up to $350 million to support consortia of states that are working to create new assessments tied to a common set of standards. The grants will be distributed next year through a competitive process. The assessment grants will come from the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund and will be awarded under a separate program from the larger one designed to support states' comprehensive efforts to reform education.

Over the course of three additional meetings held in January, department officials will continue to solicit input from expert assessment practitioners and researchers about how innovative and effective approaches to the development of the next generation of assessments.  The meetings are open to the public.  The department is inviting states, in particular, to attend the meetings, and will share on its website both the transcripts of the meetings as well as all written input received.  (Past transcripts and written input received to date are available on the departments web site at http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/resources.html.)
The meetings will be held in the Washington, DC metropolitan area on Jan. 13, 14 and 20.   Department officials and invited experts will spend a full day on Jan. 13 discussing project and consortium management.  The department has invited a panel of experts to join on Jan. 14 for a half-day discussion of procurement in complex cross-state initiatives.  Finally, on Jan. 20 department officials and invited experts will spend a full day discussing general assessment issues. Department officials will use the input gathered to design the assessment competition.  Consortia of states, who are the applicants for the competition, will use the information to inform their proposed assessment designs. The department plans to publish a notice inviting applications in the spring and will award grants by September 2010.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $4.35 billion for the Race to the Top Fund. The law focuses on four areas of reform:
Adopting college- and career-ready standards and assessments;
Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals;
Building data systems that measure student success and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve their practices; and
Turning around our lowest-performing schools.

"To succeed in comprehensive efforts to reform, states need to have plans to address each of these areas," Duncan said. "But high-quality standards and assessments are the foundation on which reforms are built. High-quality assessments are one of the most important ingredients of reform. We look forward to supporting states as they lead the way in this critical effort."
The Department is publishing an official notice about the assessment meetings in the Federal Register. You can read the notice at http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html.

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New -- Hearings, Meetings, Webinars,  Etc: 

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Legislative Activity


Floor Action:

Since the Senate passed its version of Health Care Reform, there will be staff work and a conference committee to meet after January 1 to come up with a compromise bill between the House and the Senate.  This will be interesting.

Committee Activity:

Legislation Introduced:



Due to the holidays there are no meetings scheduled or posted from December 28- January 4.





January 11, 2010, A Penny Saved: How Schools and Districts Can Tighten Their Belts While Serving Students Better, cosponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.  To be held from 9 AM to 5:30 PM at the Mayflower Hotel in the State Ballroom.
The 2008-2009 economic tsunami has slashed tax collections, squeezing government and forcing public agencies to search out cost savings. The nation's K-12 schools, which depend upon $600 billion in local, state, and federal funding, have been buffeted by declining revenues after decades of steady increases. A recent National Council of State Legislators report finds that half of the states are anticipating a cumulative shortfall of $144.8 billion for the fiscal year 2010. How can they weather this storm and prepare themselves for even leaner times? Where might they find cost savings? Are there alternatives to simply cutting back educational programs or laying off teachers? The pressures are not likely to alleviate anytime soon but will only intensify in the years ahead as stagnant real estate values depress local and state revenues, as new federal initiatives and historic deficits squeeze federal spending, as one-time stimulus funding recedes; and as an aging and retiring teaching force creates greater pension obligations for states and districts. Not only is cost cutting essential in this era of constrained resources, but eliminating inefficient spending is also a critical step in freeing up the resources to drive reform and fuel school improvement.
Unfortunately, there are few visible or successful precedents for significant belt tightening, restructuring, and reorganizing in K-12 schooling. Yet, news accounts tend to celebrate new initiatives and bemoan any reductions in spending, and there is little research examining how best practices from other sectors might be applied to schools. AEI resident scholar and director of education policy studies Frederick M. Hess and Thomas B. Fordham Institute vice president Eric Osberg have commissioned ten papers to explore how schools can save money and enhance student achievement by overcoming the particular forces and factors that make effective cost cutting difficult. At this cosponsored event, the authors of the studies will present their findings and discuss them with expert practitioners.  Register online at
 http://www.aei.org/event/100164  .  For more information email:  jenna.schuette@aei.org

Tuesday, January, 12, Briefing-The Path to Economic Growth: The Economic Benefits of Reducing the Dropout Rate in the Nation's Largest Metropolitan Areas by the Alliance for Excellent Education.  The briefing will feature Edward B. Rust, Jr., Chairman and CEO, State Farm; Governor Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education; and additional participants.

At this event, the Alliance for Excellent Education will release findings from its groundbreaking analysis of regional economies and the significant economic contributions that additional high school graduates would make within their communities. The event will feature projections for the forty-five largest metro areas in the country on several key economic indicators-growth in jobs and gross regional product, increases in regional home and auto sales, and several others-all as the result of reducing the regional dropout rate for a single high school class by half.

To be held at the Washington Court Hotel, Ballroom, 525 New Jersey Avenue, NW, from 9:30 AM to NOON.  Contact the Alliance for more information.

Thursday, January 14, How State Charter Laws Rank Against A New Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is pleased to announce its first-ever measure of state charter school laws based on the strengths of each state's charter school law, including key indicators of charter school quality. Please join us for a policy briefing describing the report findings and their relation to the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top competition. The Alliance will also unveil an interactive web site that describes how each state scores overall and on each of the 20 essential components of the Alliance's new model law by Todd Ziebarth of the Alliance. 

This report is the first to accurately gauge a state's public charter school law with respect to its commitment to the full range of values in the public charter school movement: quality and accountability, funding equity, facilities support, autonomy, and growth and choice. It looks at each individual state that has a charter school law, assesses the strengths of its law against the 20 essential components of A New Model Law For Supporting The Growth of High-Quality Public Charter Schools , released in June 2009, and ranks them from 1 to 40. It is closely aligned with the original intent of public charter school law, which is to establish independent public schools that are allowed to be more innovative and are held accountable for improved student achievement.

To be held from 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm, at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20045.  To RSVP go to: www.publiccharters.org

Thursday-Saturday, January 14-16, 2010, US EPA-IAQ Tools for Schools Symposium-10th annual-Washington, DC,  Go to--
Sunday - Wednesday, January 17 -20, 2010, National Association of Private Special Education Centers Annual Leadership Conference.  go to: http://www.napsec.org

 Tuesday, January 25, Briefing-Informing Federal Education Policy Through Lessons from New York City sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education.  Featuring:  Joel Klein, Chancellor, New York City Public Schools;  Governor Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education; and Additional participants TBA.
As federal policymakers look ahead to opportunities to systemically improve high school outcomes-including through the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act--they are eagerly looking to districts that have been engaged in major reform to understand the implications for supporting and encouraging these reforms at scale. One relevant case study is New York City (NYC)-the nation's largest and most diverse school district-where district leaders have prioritized redesigning high schools and improving outcomes as part of a districtwide reform effort. These efforts have caught the attention of advocates, policymakers, and educators across the country for the breadth of changes implemented as well as the preliminary indications of success in improving student outcomes and closing achievement gaps. Building on the parallels between the NYC experience and the federal policy conversation, this briefing will provide an opportunity to look at lessons learned as part of NYC's efforts to improve high school outcomes and to identify federal policy recommendations that emerge from that experience.

To be held from 11:30 am - 3:30 pm (Lunch included) at the Washington Court Hotel, Ballroom, 525 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

January 26-27, 2010, CEFPI AIA-CAE High Performance Schools Symposium,  Austin, Texas entitled ReThink· ReShape·RESULTS! A Futures Conference on Learning

What will the future of education be like?  Who will all be involved in the learning process?  Where will learning take place? How and when will it occur?
CEFPI and AIA-CAE have partnered to engage some of the world's greatest thinkers recognized for their innovation, creativity, and ability to inspire, as we explore the answers to these questions and more. Educators, designers, facility planners, architects and anyone with a passion for children's success will gain an expert's view on how, ReThinking - ReShaping   the classroom will incorporate RESULTS! AIA Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) credits and REFP credits available.

January 29, 2010 from 2-4 P.M. (ET) in Washington, DC the Data Quality Campaign will release its first report on the 10 State Actions to ensure the effective use of longitudinal data, which will provide greater detail on how states are changing policies and practices to promote linkages across systems, ensure appropriate access to new data and analysis, and strengthen stakeholder capacity to use the information. The event will also include an award ceremony to officially recognize exemplary leaders in their efforts to build and use longitudinal data systems and a corresponding panel to highlight the work of these leading states and districts. To register:  http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/events/263

Friday, Feb 5,  Briefing-America's Rural High Schools: Challenges and Opportunities for Success sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education.

When rural high schools are strong, they provide twenty-first-century students with the high-level knowledge, skills, and technology they need to succeed in college, careers, and life. In too many rural communities, however, that is not the case. With more than 3.4 million American students currently attending rural high schools, these troubling outcomes are more than a "local" problem-they are a national crisis. Given the local and national implications of the rural high school crisis, practitioners, education leaders, and policymakers need to understand the challenges facing rural high schools as well as the inherent assets that rural schools bring to the national education reform debate.  At this briefing, the Alliance for Excellent Education will share the findings of its new report Current Challenges and Opportunities in Preparing Rural High School Students for Success in College and Careers: What Federal Policymakers Need to Know and explore important federal policy considerations for rural high schools.

To be held from Friday, 9:00 am - 10:45 am at the Newseum, Room 705, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

Friday, February 5, Webinar-America's Rural High Schools: Challenges and Opportunities for Success.  Following the morning release of its new report Current Challenges and Opportunities in Preparing Rural High School Students for Success in College and Careers: What Federal Policymakers Need to Know, the Alliance will host a webinar to provide policymakers an opportunity to learn more from the field and to connect local stakeholders with the national policy conversation on this topic. A brief presentation on the report will be followed by an interactive conversation with panelists using questions submitted by participants from the around the country.   To be held from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm.
Register here: http://newmediamill.com/webcasts/all4ed/register/

February 7-9, 2010 in San Jose, CA, New Teacher Center Annual Symposium, http://www.newteachercenter.org/symposium/registration/

Februaary 11-13, 2010, American Association of School Administrator's National Conference on Education, Phoenix, Arizona
. Details and register: www.aasa.org/nce

 February 17, FCC to deliver to Congress a new National Broadband Plan.

 February 17 - 20, 2010, Learning Disabilities Association of America 47th Annual International Conference IN Baltimore, MD.  For information and registration:  http://www.ldaamerica.org/conference/index.asp.

February 17-20, 2010, Beyond School Hours 13th Conference and Winter Institute -- Expanding Foundations for Learning at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront, Jacksonville, Florida.
February 19-22, The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education for its 62nd Annual Meeting and Exhibits as the association membership discusses new and innovative approaches to preparing educators for effective professional service in a changing world.  For details and registration,
go to www.aacte.org.

February 28 - March 2, 2010, COSN Annual meeting at the Omni Shoreham 
March 6-8, ASCD's Annual Meeting  in San Antonio, Texas, entitled Critical Transformations.  For more information go to:  http://www.ascd.org/conferences/annual_conference/2010.asp

March 12-14, 2010, National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Convention & Exposition, Phoenix, AZ.  Every school leader has specific interests and specific professional development needs.  The NASSP Convention provides targeted professional development to meet those needs.  Don't miss this opportunity to network with exemplary educators and share your own expertise.  Explore today's most pressing education issues and contribute to the discussions that will shape education policy. And you will gather proven strategies that you can implement immediately.  For complete details and to register visit www.nasspconvention.org.

March 19-21, the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching is holding its 10th Annual National TAP Conference in Washington, D.C. in March 2010. For your information.  The link to the conference site:

March 24 - 27, 2010
, National Service-Learning Conference- Inspire. Imagine. Innovate! The conference will be held in San Jose, California.  This event celebrates service-learning as a force that spans cultural and national boundaries, builds communities, and strengthens young people.  The conference draws an estimated 2,500 attendees from across the United States and over 35 other countries.
The conference will feature speeches by Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader on creativity; Carol Bellamy, President and CEO of World Learning and former executive director of UNICEF; Talia Leman, CEO and a founder of RandomKid; and Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, and Judy Bernstein, authors of They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys of Sudan.  The conference will also include over 150 workshops, service-learning projects, and networking events.   For more information please visit our website at www.nylc.org

April 7 -10, 2010  National School Social Work Conference, School Social Work Association of America, St. Louis, MO.  For more information and registration, go to www.sswaa.org.

 April 7-10, 2010, Coalition for Community Schools National Forum to be held in Philadelphia.  www.communityschools.org

 April 8-9, 2010, National Partnership for Educational Access Conference
From Access to Success: Best Practices for Student Achievement.  To be held in Baltimore, MD.  Registration opens the week of December 14.  Visit www.educational-access.org for more information.

April 11-13, 2010, National Center for Family Literacy's 2010 conference in San Antonio! The 2010 conference is designed to provide attendees with one-stop shopping to gather new information and free tools, learn about advancements in research and literacy, and network with an energized base of literacy professionals.

Proposals for concurrent sessions are now being accepted at http://www.famlit.org/conference/call-for-proposals. Proposals addressing one or more of the following topics are of specific interest:

- Early literacy, including infants and toddlers
- Blending literacy services across generations, from early childhood to adult literacy
- Promising solutions and innovations for literacy in:
   - Technology
   - Education
   - Health
   - Environment
- Sustainability of literacy programs and projects
- New research and evaluation in family, children's and adult literacy
- New and free resources for literacy leaders, administrators and practitioners

April 18-21, the Natonal Afterschool Association and Afterschool Alliance Annual Conference --BE THE CHANGE.   To be held at the Gaylord Nationnal Hotel and Convention Center near Washington, DC.  To register now and receive this great rate, visit www.naaconvention.org/registration.html

April 26-30, 2010, School Building Week
Reinforcing the connection between school facilities and student learning, School Building Week provides an opportunity to increase public awareness of the importance of well-planned, healthy, high performance, safe and sustainable schools that enhance student performance and contribute to community vitality.

The School of the Future Student Design Competition is the centerpiece of School Building Week and illustrates the kind of creativity students bring to the planning and design process. The competition challenges middle school students to design or redesign their schools to enhance learning, conserve resources, be environmentally responsive and engage the surrounding community.  The multi-disciplinary solution requires students to follow a planning process from the concept phase to the completion of a formal school building design project.  The first-place regional winning teams travel to Washington, DC for the final jury process, awards ceremony and cash prizes.
Each day of the week has a different theme: Monday, April 26 - Healthy Schools Day; Tuesday, April 27- Historic Schools Day; Wednesday, April 28 - Senior Citizens in Schools Day and School of the Future National Jury; Thursday, April 29 - Schools as Centers of Community Day and School Building Week Reception and Awards Ceremony; and Friday, April 30 - School Building Day.  Please visit www.cefpi.org/sbw for more specifics or contact Barbara Worth, barb@cefpi.org for further information.

 April 30-May 4, 2010  Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Denver, CO.  Theme:  Understanding Complex Ecologies in a Changing World For Annual Meeting information, please visit www.aera.net

 June 28- July 1, 2010, 1oth Annual National Charter Schools Confernence in Chicago. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will provide keynote remarks at the opening general session on June 29. For information on registration go to:   natlcharterconf@continue.uoregon.edu; FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE QUESTIONS
Email: nationalconference@publiccharters.org
Call: 1-800-280-6218



NEW:  Dear State Leaders,
On December 24, the U.S. Department of Education announced it will hold a second round of public input meetings as an extension of the Department's efforts to listen and learn from assessment experts and practitioners.  To date the Department has convened seven meetings in three cities (Boston, Atlanta, and Denver).  Thirty-seven States joined Department leadership and nearly 700 members of the public to hear from assessment experts in general assessment, high school assessment, the role of technology in assessment, assessing students with disabilities, and assessing English language learners.
Today's notice announces three additional public meetings to be held in Washington, D.C.  These meetings will address questions that were not fully covered at the previous meetings, as well as new topic areas and questions that have emerged based on public and expert input.  As with the previous meetings, the goals of these meetings are to gather technical input to inform the development of a Race to the Top Assessment Competition and to enable states, who will be the competition applicants, and the public to participate in and learn from these events.
Secretary Arne Duncan has pledged to reserve up to $350 million to support consortia of states that are working to create new assessments tied to a common set of standards.  These grants would be distributed through a competitive process in Spring 2010.  The grants would come from the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund and be awarded under a separate program from the larger one designed to support states' comprehensive efforts to reform education.
Over six days of meetings in November and December in three cities, and now three additional meetings in January in Washington, D.C., Department officials have and will continue to solicit a wide-range of input from assessment practitioners and researchers about how innovative and effective approaches to the development of the next generation of assessments.  In these three meetings, Department officials and invited experts will consider a range of questions related to consortium management, procurement matters, and general assessment design.
The meetings will be held in Washington, D.C., on the following topics and dates:
Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: United States Department of Education's Potomac Center Plaza
550 12th Street, SW., 10th floor conference room, Washington, D.C.
Date: Thursday, January 14, 2010
Time: 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Location: United States Department of Education's Potomac Center Plaza
550 12th Street, SW., 10th floor conference room, Washington, D.C.
Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: TBD, Washington, D.C., metro area
(final details will be posted on the Department's web site at http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/)
The official notice announcing the Race to the Top Assessment Program meetings can be found on the Department's web site at http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/.  Meetings are open to the public on a first come first serve basis.  Seating is limited.  Those interested in attending should send an e-mail to racetothetop.assessment@ed.gov or visit our web site for detailed information on how to RSVP.
The Department encourages the submission of written input (see details of submission process on our website).  All submissions of written input received, along with transcripts from each of our meetings, will be posted on our web site.  To view past transcripts and written input received to date visit http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/.
Thank you for your interest in the Race to the Top Assessment Program.
(Note: Regarding the larger competition designed to support states' comprehensive efforts to reform education, Addendum 3 to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) has been posted at http://www.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/faq.html.)
Stacey Jordan
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
U.S. Department of Education
Massie Ritsch
Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs and Outreach
U.S. Department of Education

  Working Group comprised of members of the Chief State School Officers and the Association of Test Publishers have been discussing and drafting a set of operational best practices for use in state assessment programs.  This guidance covers all major components of operating such programs, from procuring a testing contractor, to designing, developing, administering, scoring statewide assessments, to reporting test scores, and is completely non-regulatory in nature and intended to complement but not conflict with the use of the professional technical psychometric standards adopted by AERA, APA and NCME.

CCSSO and ATP invite all state testing stakeholders and other interested members of the public to comment on the Draft Best Practices.  Comments will be accepted until February 2, 2010, and will then be reviewed by the joint Working Group before a final document is published.  Those desiring to view the Best Practices and comment should go online at http://www.ccsso.org/best_practices/index.html

Important:  Applications are now available for the $3.5 billion in Title I School Improvement grants to turn around the nation's lowest performing schools at http://www.ed.gov/programs/sif/applicant.html and are due into the Department of Education by Feb. 8, 2010.
            These funds are made available to states by formula and competed for by school districts.  As they compete for the funds, school districts (LEAs) must identify the schools they want to transform, and then determine which of the four following models is most appropriate.  If a school has begun implementation of one of these four models or components of one of these models within the last two years, it may apply to use SIG funds to continue to implement the full model.
·         Turnaround model: Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50 percent of the staff and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes.
·         Restart model: Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process.
·         School closure: Close a school and enroll the students who attended that school in other schools in the LEA that are higher achieving.
·         Transformation model: Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; and (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support.
            In selecting the districts to which funds will be awarded the state must use specific criteria outlined by the Department.  In their applications, states must identify and prioritize these funds to its persistently lowest-achieving schools. These schools are defined as:
·         Tier I: Any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that-
(i)  Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the state;
(ii) Is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined in 34 C.F.R. § 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of years;
·         Tier II: Any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I funds that-
(i)  Is among the lowest-achieving five percent of secondary schools in the State that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds; or
(ii) Is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined in 34 C.F.R. § 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of years.
·         Tier III: Any state Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring; SEAs will set exact criteria, which could include schools with low absolute performance but high growth rates over a number years, or the bottom 6-10 percent of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring.
            Title I School Improvement Grants are funded by $546.6 million in the fiscal year 2009 appropriation and an additional $3 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support the transformational changes that are needed to turn around the nation's lowest-achieving schools. The Department is also making available the 5 percent administrative funds to SEAs to assist with planning and program activities related to SIG implementation.
            The full list of requirements and final application can be found at http://www.ed.gov/programs/sif/applicant.html

Reminder:  Entries for the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council's (PESC) Annual Best Practices Competition are now being accepted.  Now in its 11th year, the Best Practices competition is held to highlight and promote innovation and ingenuity in the application and implementation of standards for business needs. First instituted in 1999, the competition is open to associations, organizations, institutions, states, agencies, providers and individuals that have collaborated to design and/or implement an electronic standardization initiative via a published article, a specific implementation, and/or other medium.  The Best Practices Competition for 2009 is open for submissions until February 1, 2010.  Documents detailing the scope of a project, participants, type of standards employed, relevant dates of project milestones, copies of articles (if an article submission), outline of mission/objectives and any related statistics (number of transactions transmitted, estimated cost savings, etc.) should be included in the submission.  All entries should be submitted to Michael.Sessa@PESC.org or at:

Michael Sessa
Executive Director
Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council
1250 Connecticut Avenue, NW  Suite 200
Washington, D.C. 20036

All entries will be judged by the PESC Board of Directors.  First place and those receiving special recognition will be notified by March 1, 2010, an official public announcement will be made immediately before the Spring 2010 Data Summit, and the award presentation will be made during the general session of the Spring 2010 Data Summit April 1 - 2, 2010.


The Board of Directors of PESC - the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council is pleased to announce that public comment period is now open on the graduation rate XML components for the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) XML Upload components.
With the development work on Graduation Rates recently completed and submitted to PESC, the IPEDS XML Upload specifications are now immediately ready for public comment period.  The complete submission can be accessed at http://www.PESC.org.  The public comment period began yesterday, Thursday December 3, 2009 and will end at the close of business on Tuesday January 5, 2010.
All comments from the the general public and PESC membership should be made in the form of an e-mail to the PESC Executive Director at: Michael.Sessa@PESC.org.  Public comments can address any and/or all part of the standard being proposed.  The comment e-mail should clearly identify the:
1)   Responder full name and appropriate contact information (phone, email, organization, etc);
2)   Source of the comments, i.e., whether the comments are individual or originate from a group the responder represents;
3)   Nature of the responder's interest in the standard (what is the issue and why is it important?);
4)   Element(s) of the proposed standard with which issue is taken;
5)   Changes suggested to resolve the issue(s).
Within 30 calendar days after the close of the public comment period, the Change Control Board (CCB) of PESC's Standards Forum for Education will address and consider all public comments and make, in consultation with NCES any necessary revisions.  All public comments will be posted to the PESC website during the review process.  The CCB's consideration/revision period expires on Thursday February 4, 2010 unless extenuating circumstances exist which require further deliberation.
Once changes resulting from the public comment period have been incorporated, the CCB will recommend to the Standards Forum's Steering Committee and the PESC Board of Directors that the IPEDS XML Upload specifications be submitted to a vote by the PESC members.  The PESC office will issue electronic ballots to the official contacts of PESC member organizations.  Completed ballots, including the reason(s) for any rejection, must be returned to the PESC office via e-mail attachment, fax, overnight delivery, or U.S. Postal Service within ten (10) business days. PESC staff will then publish/post all necessary documents and communications and implement version control on all documents.  PESC approved standards are freely accessible on the PESC website (http://www.PESC.org).  More information about IPEDS can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds.

            Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that application requirements for the final $11.5 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 are now available.  In exchange for this unprecedented funding boost, the department is asking states to provide some basic information on teacher distribution, the collection and use of data, standards and assessments, and support for struggling schools.
            Identifying what works and does not work in the classroom will promote a shared responsibility for improving educational opportunities and outcomes that engages all of the key stakeholders - students, parents, teachers, principals, administrators, community leaders, business leaders, and elected officials at every level.
            Taken together, these four commitments will help ensure outstanding teachers in America's schools, arm educators with the tools and data needed to determine what does and doesn't work in our nation's classrooms, align curricula and assessments with rigorous standards that prepare young people for college and careers, and transform our lowest-performing schools.
            "The Department of Education has moved quickly to award over $67 billion in education stimulus dollars to date to stabilize state budgets and save jobs," said Duncan.  "We are now asking states to implement reform based action items in order to receive the remaining $11.5 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds."
            Monday's application requires states to provide data that will lay the foundation for reform including:
·           How teachers and principals are evaluated and how this information is used to support, retain, promote, or remove staff.
·           The extent to which the state has a Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems that includes all of the necessary America COMPETES Act and how it will implement a comprehensive system by 2011.
·           Whether the state provides student growth data on current students and the students taught in the previous year to, at a minimum, teachers of reading/language arts and mathematics in grades in which the state administers assessments in those subjects in a manner that is timely and informs instructional programs.
·           The number and identity of the schools that are Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that are identified as persistently lowest-achieving schools.
            State applications must describe the state's current ability to collect the data or other information needed for the assurance indicators and descriptors as well as the state's current ability to make the data or information easily available to the public.  If the state is currently able to fully collect and publicly report the required data or other information at least annually, the state must provide the most recent data or information with its plan.
            If a state is not currently able to fully collect or publicly report the data or other information at least annually, the plan must describe the state's process and timeline for developing and implementing the means to do so as soon as possible but no later than Sept. 30, 2011.  The state plan must describe the state's collection and public reporting abilities with respect to each individual indicator or descriptor.
            The application, requirements, and summary of the requirements can all be found here: http://www.ed.gov/programs/statestabilization/applicant.html.



NEW:  The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) seeks Research Assistant responsible for gathering, analyzing, and communicating research, best practices, trends and federal and state policy information related to career and technical education and workforce development issues. Individual will work in public policy department to develop materials to support the policy, advocacy, and media efforts of the association and its members, and will represent the association at research and policy-related events. Requirements include bachelor's degree and excellent analytical, organizational and writing skills, ability to work independently to manage multiple projects and strong customer service orientation. Some administrative duties required. Send resume to sdewitt@acteonline.org.

NEWFIGHT CRIME: Invest in Kids is seeking a dynamic and creative Communications Director to be responsible for creating and implementing a communications strategy producing measurable results. The Communications Director will supervise the national communications staff and provide guidance to state offices. As a part of the senior management team, the Communications Director will play a key role in crafting messages that help achieve the organization's goals.


  • Develops and implements the organization's communication plan, including recommending news events, news hooks, and other communications strategies.
  • With senior management, develops messages for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, and assists in developing messages for allies supporting similar policies.
  • Manages Communications Department, including supervision of:  2 national staff; Daily media monitoring; Maintenance of clip files, clip tracking and other necessary recording; Communications services provided to other departments, state offices.

·      Directs responsibilities of department:

-       Planning and implementation of news conferences and other media events.

-       Preparation of press releases, advisories, op-eds and letters to the editor as necessary.

-   Pitches stories and appearances to:

- Reporters


-Editorial Writers

-Broadcast producers, reporters and hosts


·      Works with pollsters as necessary to produce surveys for media release.


Qualifications: At least five years' paid professional experience in media or public relations in a management capacity. We are seeking an energetic and strategic thinker with a passion for crime prevention and kids. We expect you to have strong oral and written communication skills, with the proven ability to craft powerful, persuasive messages. You should have knowledge about the special requirements of each form of major media: print, broadcast and online. Applicants must possess strong interpersonal skills along with the ability to juggle multiple projects and shift gears as necessary.


Pluses: Prior experience in developing media strategies that have enhanced policy efforts on a national or state level.  Established personal contacts with key members of the media. Familiarity with the legislative process, and with policies affecting children and youth. Prior experience working with the law enforcement community.


Salary: Commensurate with experience, plus excellent benefits.


To Apply: Please send by e-mail, fax or mail your complete application package, which must include a cover letter, your resume with specific dates (including months) of employment indicated, a relevant writing sample and the completed questionnaire (see below) to: jobs@fightcrime.org or Fax: 202-776-0110 or mail to:  

Communications Director Search, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 1212 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005

 Application Questionnaire:

(Please do not include substantive information you feel you have already included in your letter)

1.  Your name

2.   Telephone

3.  When are the best hours to reach you?

4.  Why are you interested in this position?

5.  Please describe any related experience, and how you developed relevant skills.

6.  - The salary you think you should be paid for this position and the minimum salary you would consider

7.  How did you hear about this opening? (Please be specific, e.g., who referred you or what publication or Website listed the position.)

8.  Additional comments (if you choose)

1. The PIE Network seeks web-savvy Director of Communications & Public Affairs with strong traditional media relations skills as well as online marketing expertise for full time contract position with potential to grow into full-time, salaried role.  The mission of the PIE Network, an organization founded by four leading national policy organizations, is to build, support, and promote a network of state education advocacy organizations working to improve public education within their states and across the U.S.

The Media and Communications Director will play a crucial role in the PIE Network's mission to "build, support, and promote" the network and its members. This position provides a unique opportunity to work with a team of dynamic education leaders across the nation as well as to shape the footprint of a growing national organization.  This position currently blends communications with website/media management and requires innovative talents in these areas. This individual will work to support the media relations and communications efforts for state member organizations as well as promote members and the PIE network among national opinion leaders and media. Therefore, it calls for team- building talents to support and channel the collective energies of network members in their roles as voices for education reform.  While we like to say our website is the network's "headquarters," PIE maintains an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We prefer a local candidate, but will consider candidates who can work remotely depending on experience, expertise and suitability for the position. (This arrangement would increase travel expectations substantially). Currently, network members meet twice annually and otherwise work remotely via the web and email.


Online Outreach and Website

·    Monitor, improve, and update the PIE Network's website. Develop and implement a strategy to ensure timely and engaging content and to expand its utility to network members and friends of the network.
·    Mange contracts with web vendors as needed to ensure smooth website operations. ·    Work with members to train users and trouble shoot user problems. ·    Develop and implement online outreach strategy to maximize the PIE website's social networking capability while also building and maintaining PIE's presence in outside social and new media networks.

Media and Network Communications
·    Develop a media strategy to promote and build the PIE Network's brand and reputation as a thought leader for effective education advocacy. Promote education advocacy success stories from network states and help position education advocacy organizations as key players in reform.
·    Plan and manage all publicity, advertising, public information programs and promotional activities in support of PIE-Net's conferences and other meetings and events as well as targeted communications to promote member activities and accomplishments.
·    Cultivate and maintain local and national media contacts for disseminating information as well as arranging interviews and other public relations opportunities.
·    Manage print and electronic communications and outreach to ensure broad coverage and effective and consistent messaging about the Network and its members.
·    Support and coordinate message development and discipline among network members. ·    Monitor media coverage nationally and devise reporting strategy for dissemination to network members.
·    Direct the production of printed publications such as brochures, newsletters, websites and other communications.
·    Design and monitor document templates and ensure consistent brand for PIE Network materials. ·    Manage contracts as needed to design and produce print materials. ·    Work with staff to write and edit well-written, error-free research, board, development and communications materials.

·    Support development functions by creating "boiler plate" materials to support grant proposals and by maintaining a data-base of success stories for reporting to funders and other network supporters. ·    Support the Executive Director in producing annual reports and final reports to funders as needed.
Team member:
·    Play leading role in envisioning how the PIE Network can serve as a voice for the education reform sector working with The Network work's Executive Director and the communications directors of network members.
·    As position grows, this individual may supervise others or may identify interns to support this work. December 10, 2009

·    Strong commitment to the promotion of excellence in education and the policy commitments indicated on PIE's website.
·    Previous communications experience required. Print and/or broadcast journalism experience preferred.
· Website management experience required, including knowledge of various operating systems, programming languages, web-based communications tools (i.e., rss feeds) and familiarity with social networking tools such as twitter, facebook, etc. Experience with basic programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. Photoshop expertise a plus.
·    Superb research, analytical, and writing abilities. Must be particularly skilled at marshalling information to form a persuasive argument for a variety of audiences and at translating complex policy issues into straightforward communications including press releases, articles, and position statements, e- communications. Utilizes analytics to measure website traffic, referral sites, most utilized information.
·    Ability to build and draw upon significant relationships with internal and external constituents, including building a strong network of contact within the local and national media.
·    Strong project management skills related to document production and proven ability to work with teams of people to manage complex projects to completion on time and on budget.
·    Desire to work in a growing organization that affords a great deal of flexibility and requires a great deal of initiative, self-direction, and tolerance for the ambiguity characteristic of a startup organization.
·    Able to work both independently and as a member of a complex, mostly virtual team. Able to work in a support function for network members as well as provide strong leadership in developing overall network strategy.
·    The ideal candidate will bring communications experience working in advocacy as well as the tactical know-how for advocacy-oriented communications.
· Bachelor's degree required. Background in communications, journalism, or public policy preferred, credentials in these fields at the graduate level a plus. An education background is NOT required, but we do seek individuals with strong ideological alignment to the network's goals.
·    Preference given to candidates residing in the Twin Cities (Minnesota) but we are also willing to consider virtual working relationships.

Compensation commensurate with experience. As a still growing organization, we are not able to provide benefits initially but will include in the compensation package a benefits allowance until we formalize a benefits package.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to Suzanne@pie-network.org.  For more information go to www.pie-network.org

2. American Educational Research Association seeks an Associate Director for Government Relations.

General Description:  The American Educational Research Association seeks an experienced individual to support the Association's advocacy objectives for research and science policy. AERA strives to promote understanding and appreciation of the relevance of scientific research and its application to all aspects of education. This position is central to the government relations team and AERA's ambition to advance education research policy and funding. The Association leads and collaborates with professional and scientific associations to improve the nation's education research capacity.
·    A Ph.D., Ed.D. in education research or other relevant social science or other comparable graduate/professional degree preferred;
·    At least five years' experience working with the federal legislative process in education policy or related fields preferred;
·    Demonstrated ability to synthesize complex information into focused public policy materials and understand policy issues affecting education and education research;
·    Strong written and oral communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills and the ability to juggle multiple tasks and work under tight timelines; and
·    Expertise in research policy or government relations based on experience in scientific societies, federal agencies, Congress, or research/academic institutions.  
Salary and Benefits: AERA has an excellent benefits program and a competitive salary structure commensurate with experience and background.
Application Process: Please submit your resume, cover letter, and a list of five professional references to Human Resources, Attention: Judi Jackson, at employment@aera.net. Applications will be reviewed and telephone interviews will be conducted with selected candidates before finalists are invited for on-site interviews. This is a new position; persons interested in advancing the field of education research through advocacy at the national level are encouraged to apply in a timely fashion.

3. Data Quality Campaign seeks a Program Coordinator to be located in Washington, D.C.

Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree in education, public policy, or related field, and 2-4 years experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Requires excellent written and verbal communication skills, strong organization and problem solving skills, ability to collect and analyze research data, and proficiency with personal computers and computer software. Must have an interest in the education policy field and be comfortable working in a virtual environment.

Work Preferences: Master's degree in a related field

Essential Job Functions: Coordinate, implement, and monitor the Data Quality Campaign efforts to improve the quality of longitudinal education data. Research and write policy briefs, articles, website material and other publications and provide support to all areas of the campaign.

Typical work-related activities include:

· Carry out policy analysis on various policy issues and related activities regarding the development of state data systems.
· Assist in the research and writing of resource briefs, pamphlets, web-based reports, newsletter articles, web-site updates, power point presentations and toolkits for policymakers and educators.
· Serve as liaison with internal and external customers and constituencies.
· Craft conference proposals.
· Track grant progress and facilitate meetings among DQC staff and partners to ensure that timelines and required milestones are achieved.
· Organize, participate in, and conduct meetings including state summits, state site visits, and webinars. This involves occasional travel.
· Represent the DQC in meetings and events in both formal and informal settings and presentations.
· Coordinate meetings and communications for DQC's work in areas such as common data standards, state/district connection, state legislation, early childhood, postsecondary, and workforce.
· Assist with the project management of several simultaneous activities.
· Maintain a high level of confidentiality.

Compensation: Starting salary commensurate with qualifications. Excellent benefits and work environment.

Reports To: Director, State Data Systems, Data Quality Campaign

Applications: For more information about ACT benefits and how to apply for this Data Quality Campaign position, visit the employment page of the ACT website (www.act.org/humanresources) and click on the position listing.

4. The National Wildlife Federation is seeking a S
enior Legislative Representative for Education Advocacy based in Washington, DC,
to advance federal policies that increase the time children and families spend in the outdoors, as well as federal policies that foster sustainability education and green jobs training on college campuses. To achieve these goals the position will need to recruit or engage a b



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