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Keeping Up with the Latest White House Education Initiatives

Keeping Up with the Latest White House Education Initiatives


The White House and the Department of Education have been busy in recent months announcing new initiatives that are designed to improve the national quality of education. Here’s a list of the most recent announcements to keep track of what’s going on.

Obama Announces $4 Billion Commitment to Computer Science for All

In late January, President Obama announced his commitment of $4 billion to work to provide computer science classes to all of the country’s students.

The funding will be available to states to improve computer science offerings over the next three years.

"The funds would give states and districts the resources to train both existing and new teachers to teach CS, build effective regional collaborations, and expand access to high-quality learning materials and online learning options,” said the White House in a press release.

“States and districts could use these funds to provide access to CS courses to every high school student within five years, create a progression of CS learning experiences in elementary and middle schools, and ensure additional support and resources for students traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.”

Read more. 

Department of Education Announces Mentorship Program to Reduce Chronic Absences in Schools

The Department of Education is also aiming to tackle chronic absences by providing schools across the country with a mentorship program that targets at-risk students.

Students are paired with trained individuals three times a week to ensure school attendance and future success.

"The MBK Success Mentors Initiative aims to reduce chronic absenteeism by connecting over one million students with caring mentors,” said the White House in a press release.

"It is the nation’s first-ever effort to scale an evidence-based, data-driven mentor model to reach and support the highest risk students – using existing resources already linked to schools, and the metric of chronic absenteeism to drive school and life success. The Initiative is a partnership between the Department of Education and Johns Hopkins University.”

Read more here. 

Department of Education Addresses Disparities in Treatment of Minorities with Disabilities

In order to address the disparities in treatment of students with color with disabilities, the Department of Education has proposed the Equity in IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) rule.

"The proposed Equity in IDEA rule would, for the first time, require states to implement a standard approach to compare racial and ethnic groups, with reasonable thresholds for determining when disparities have become significant,” the White House said.

" That determination is critical to ensuring students get the supports they need and deserve. Once identified as having a significant disproportionality, the district must set aside 15 percent of its IDEA, Part B funds to provide comprehensive coordinated early intervening services. Further, the policies, practices, and procedures of the district must be reviewed, and, if necessary, revised to ensure compliance with IDEA.”

Read more here. 

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor 

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