Whiteboard Notes | Trump Launches Job Training Initiative; New Research on Summer Learning Loss

Trump Administration Launches Job Training Initiative: President Donald Trump signed an executive order today to create the "National Council of the American Worker.” Composed of senior administration officials, the Council will develop a national strategy to train and retrain employees for high-demand industries. The White House expects the executive order to generate new investments for training current and future U.S. workers. As part of the initiative, the Trump Administration is calling on U.S. companies and organizations to sign the “Pledge to America’s Workers,” and commit to expanding apprenticeships, increasing on-the-job training, and helping Americans of all ages secure stable jobs.
Blew Confirmed as Assistant Secretary: The U.S. Senate confirmed James Blew to be the new Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education. Blew was confirmed by a 50-49 vote along party lines. Prior to his confirmation, Blew has been working as a special assistant to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos since last fall. He previously served as director of the group Student Success California and led Students First, a national advocacy organization founded by former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Blew’s nomination was opposed by Democrats because of his past support of school vouchers.
Bipartisan Support for Trump Career and Technical Education Appointee: In a unanimous 80-0 confirmation, the U.S. Senate confirmed in Scott Stump as the new Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education. With a background in community college administration and technical education management, Stump is seen as a natural fit for the position, which is responsible for implementing the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.


School Lunch Bill Awaits Action From Illinois Governor: bill that would require every Illinois school to provide lunch to all students regardless of student ability to pay was delivered to Governor Bruce Rauner (R) on June 28. Referred to as the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act, the legislation also prohibits publicly identifying or stigmatizing students who cannot pay for meals or snacks. The Governor has until August 27 to act on the bill, or it becomes law without his signature.
Massachusetts Education Funding Bill Approved by House, Moving Through Senate: bill that would provide approximately $500 million to school districts over the course of five years to address special education is progressing through the Massachusetts General Court. The legislation is the House’s response to the Foundation Budget Review Commission’s 2015 findings, which suggest that special education costs are outpacing funding. The 2015 Commission also found that additional resources are needed to support low-income students and English learners, but the pending legislation does not allocate funding for those populations. The bill passed the House unanimously on July 11, and awaits concurrence in the Senate.

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Oklahoma Teachers Participate in Local Summer Externships: The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s summer externship program for teachers has grown to serve four times as many teachers in its second year. The program is designed to help teachers develop hands-on skills while working for local companies in fields such as, technology, engineering, math and science. Not only can teachers translate their training directly into lesson plans, they can also share opportunities and experiences with students looking to join the workforce directly after high school.
Research Reveals New Trends Relating to Summer Learning Loss: New data from an ongoing study by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) indicates that summer learning loss worsens as students advance to higher grades. NWEA also found that summer learning loss was not a factor of race or household income, contrary to previous research; differences between students at different schools drove the gaps in summer-learning, rather than race or socioeconomic status.
Chicago Mayor Announces Universal Pre-K Plan: Chicago joins cities like New York, DC, and Boston in proposing a universal pre-K program. Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to roll out his plan for free, full-day pre-K for all 24,000 four-year olds in the city over the next five years, starting with an estimated 3,700 students this fall. Research demonstrating the benefits of early childhood education has strengthened bipartisan support for state-funded pre-K in recent years; however, only a few states have pre-K programs that can be described as truly ‘universal’, meaning free and open to every child.


University of California Prepares to Cut Tuition: The University of California is in the process of eliminating a $60 tuition surcharge put in place in 2007 to fund nearly $100 million in costs related to class-action lawsuits over the system increasing graduate student fees midsemester. The tuition rollback would be the first in almost 20 years for the university. Once the UC Board of Regents approve the fee will be eliminated for the upcoming school years.
Analysis Identifies Education Deserts: More than 11 million U.S. adults live more than an hour drive away from a public college or university, according to an analysis conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Called “education deserts,” these areas are largely rural and predominately white. The Chronicle’s analysis also found that Native American adults are more than five times more likely to live in an education desert compared to white Americans.
New 2-Year Institution For Latino Immigrants: Instituto College, a Chicago based non-profit is opening a private two-year institution aimed serving Latino immigrants with limited English and no high school diploma. The two year program will also allow  students to enter into middle skill training programs. This upcoming fall, Instituto will welcome its first 24 students into their pilot nursing program. The college has hopes to expand and train students in health-care leadership, production and operations, manufacturing management, networking technology, and organizational leadership.