Sen. Murkowski's Education Newsletter for the week of May 28, 2010

The latest Education News you can use in one place.

New E-Rate Regulations Proposed

The FCC is proposing new regulations governing the e-rate program.  Please note that comments must be received within 30 days of May 20th, the date the proposed regulations were published in the Federal Register.

Among other changes, the FCC proposes to change the definition of "rural" to conform to the 2006 USED Locale Codes.  More information can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/rural_locales.asp and http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/PDF/states/AK.pdf.  


USED Approves Some States' Graduation Rate Goals and Targets

USED has approved the graduation rate goals and targets proposed to date by 36 states.  Alaska is not on this list; I'm sending this information so you can review what has been approved for other states.  Per USED:

The October 2008 Title I regulations require each state to establish a single graduation rate goal and annual targets that reflect continuous and substantial improvement from the prior year toward meeting or exceeding the goal (C.F.R. § 200.19 (b)(3)(i)(A)-(B)). In January 2010, each state submitted its goal and targets for peer review and U.S. Department of Education (Department) approval. The Department then worked with each state to help ensure that its goal and targets complied with the regulations. As of May 18, 2010, the Department has approved the goal and targets for 36 states; approval determinations for the remaining states are pending. This table shows the goal and targets for each of the 36 states and will be updated as the Department makes additional determinations. 

The Department approved each state's goal and targets for adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations based on 2009-10 and 2010-11 assessment results. States will use their approved goal and targets as they transition to the regulatory four-year adjusted-cohort graduation rate calculation required for AYP determinations based on 2011-12 assessment results.


Wallace Foundation Report on Successful School Turnaround Models

The Wallace Foundation has published a report that outlines successful strategies used by district office administrators in three Lower 48 school districts to turn around low performing schools.  To the extent that this information is compatible with the efforts being made and the challenges faced in Alaska, I hope this is useful. 

A summary of the Report by the Wallace Foundation  includes: "One of the first and most comprehensive studies of its kind, this report identifies five major changes that can help transform the focus of school district central offices from administration and compliance to improving classroom instruction.  The report is based on an in-depth study of central office reform efforts in Atlanta, New York City, and Oakland, CA.  The changes identified include the offices' strong engagement with school principals on improving instruction in the schools, and the reorganizing and 'reculturing' of every central office so it centers its work on the classroom.  The report is part of a series by University of Washington researchers that investigates how leaders can contribute to improved student achievement, particularly in challenging schools and districts."


Final Common Core Standards to be Released on June 2nd

The National Governor's Association Center and the Council of Chief State School Officers will release the final Common Core State Standards in Math and English Language Arts on June 2nd @ 10:00 a.m. ET.  The release will occur at Peachtree Ridge High School just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.  A video of the release will be posted on the www.corestandards.org website later that day. 


"Rosa's Law" Moved Out of Senate HELP Committee

On Wednesday, May 26th, the Senate HELP Committee voted an amended "Rosa's Law" out of committee.  Senator Murkowski co-sponsored Rosa's Law and supported moving the amended bill on for the full Senate's consideration.

Rosa's Law, or S. 2781, would remove from those federal laws under the committee's jurisdiction the phrase, "mental retardation" and replace it with "intellectual disabilities".  This change is important, because the term "mental retardation" or some form of it has been used to label or stigmatize individuals with certain disabilities.  The federal laws include: the Higher Education Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Health Research and Health Services Amendments of 1976, the Public Health Service Act, the Health Professions Education Partnership Act, and others.

The substitute amendment, which was adopted before members voted to move the bill out of committee, specifies that the bill is not intended to change coverage, eligibility, rights, responsibilities, or definitions in existing laws.  The amendment also clarifies that states are not required to make this change-a clarification sought by Senator Murkowski at DEED's request after the State Board of Education and numerous stakeholders changed state law to use the term "cognitive disability" instead of "mental retardation".


Your Comments on the LEARN Act Sought

While many of you are busy closing up the school year, getting ready for vacation, or getting the grill out for Monday's barbeques, I wonder if you would have a chance over the next several days or so to glance at the Literacy Education for All, S. 2740, - Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act introduced by Senator Murray.  Senator Murray, a member of the Senate HELP Committee, will likely offer this bill up during the discussion of the ESEA reauthorization.  I would like to know what Alaskans think about this bill as the Committee moves forward into negotiating actual legislative language.


Murkowski and Begich Announce Mobile Office Locations

This week, Sen. Begich and I announced the first dates and locations for our mobile office visits. Staff members from both of our offices will visit communities in Alaska to meet with constituents and community leaders. During mobile office hours, our staffs are happy to accept casework requests and listen to constituent concerns. All information gathered during these visits will be directed to me and Sen. Begich for review.

Next week, June 1-4, members of our staffs will visit Whittier, Cooper Landing, Seward, Ninilchik and Homer. During the week of June 7-14, our staffs will visit Delta Junction, Tok, Glennallen, Copper Center and Valdez. During the week of June 14, our staffs will be in Southeast. The visits will be posted on our websites once the details are finalized. 

The dates and locations of the mobile office are as follows:


Tuesday, June 01, 2010:
Whittier Council Chambers
P-12 Building
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010:
Seward Post Office
507 Madison Avenue
10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Cooper Landing Post Office
38741 Snug Harbor Road
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Thursday, June 03, 2010:
Ninilchik Post Office
15700 Kingsley Road
Noon - 3:00 p.m.


Friday, June 04, 2010:
Homer Post Office
3658 Heath Street
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.


Monday, June 07, 2010:
Delta Junction Post Office
266 Richardson Highway
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Tok Post Office
1314 Alaska Highway
3:15 p.m. 6:15 p.m.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010:
Glennallen Post Office
9998 Aurora Drive
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Copper Center Post Office
101 Old Richardson Highway
3:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010:
Valdez Consortium Library
212 Fairbanks Street
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.