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Entries in Department of Education (4)

Friday
Dec232011

Seven State School Systems to Get Share of $200 Million Jackpot

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Christmas will arrive two days early for school systems in seven states.

The Education Department announced Friday it will divide a $200 million jackpot among the following states in the latest round of the “Race to the Top” competition:

-- Arizona, $25 million
-- Colorado, $18 million
-- Illinois, $43 million
-- Kentucky, $17 million
-- Louisiana, $17 million
-- New Jersey, $37 million
-- Pennsylvania, $41 million

The states were all finalists in last year’s competition and won for making commitments to invest in college and career prep, particularly in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math.  California could have won too but the state’s application was incomplete.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan also threatened that one of last year’s winners, Hawaii, could lose more than $70 million of its grant for failing to keep its promises.

Last Friday, the Obama administration doled out $500 million in Race to the Top grants for pre-K programs in California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec092010

Feds: Virginia Tech Violated Federal Law for Failing to Issue Timely Warning

A Virginia Tech student breaks down in tears while remembering the 2007 on-campus tragedy. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday issued a report that found the administration of Virginia Tech University in violation of federal law for its handling of the mass shootings on its campus in 2007. The department ruled that Tech had failed in its legal obligation to issue a "timely warning" to the campus community after two students were shot in a dormitory in the early morning hours of April 16, 2007.

More than two hours later, Seung-Hui Cho, a 23-year-old student with a history of mental health problems, chained the doors of a classroom building and went on a shooting rampage, killing 30 other students and faculty before taking his own life.

In making its final determination, the Education Department wrote that "Virginia Tech failed to issue adequate warnings in a timely manner in response to the murders on campus." When Tech did eventually issue a warning two hours after the dorm shooting, the report says the alert "was not prepared or disseminated in a manner to give clear and timely notice of the ongoing threat to students and employees."

Virginia Tech is charged with violating the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which requires colleges and universities to publicly disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The complaint against the university was lodged three years ago by the advocacy group Security on Campus, which was formed by the parents of Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered in 1986 and for whom the law is named. Under the law, the Department of Education has the authority to investigate violations and enforce penalties, which can include fines and, in extreme cases, suspension of federal financial aid.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio ´╗┐

Tuesday
Oct262010

Education Department Cracks Down on Bullying

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Education issued guidance to educators across the country, clarifying that certain forms of bullying, such as harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students based on gender stereotypes, violate federal education anti-discrimination laws and, in extreme cases, posed the possibility of pulling education funding from schools failing to comply with the department’s standards, which has never been done despite the option existing.

The guidance issued by the Department of Education does not contain any new legal criteria but rather, for the first time, provides a clarification that bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students based on gender stereotypes is considered harassment.

In the form of a “Dear Colleague,” letter, the guidance was sent to over 15,000 schools and school districts, and over 5,000 colleges and universities across the country.  The White House will also host a conference on bullying next year to spark a dialog between government officials, educators, parents and students on the ways to unite to prevent bullying in schools.

The Department of Education plans to work on the local level to eradicate bullying and the cultures that foster harassment in schools but believes everyone holds a responsibility to fight against the root causes of bullying.

“Nobody gets a pass here,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on a Tuesday conference call.  “We don’t get a pass.  Congress doesn’t get a pass,” he said. “We need to point fingers and we can fix this thing.  So I think everyone who cares about our nation’s young people has a responsibility to step up and be part of the solution.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Tuesday
Oct262010

Department of Education to Issue Bullying Guidance to Schools

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Education will issue guidance Tuesday clarifying that certain forms of student bullying violate federal education anti-discrimination laws. The White House will also announce that it's hosting a conference on bullying early next year to raise awareness and educate parents, students and teachers about the tools available to prevent harassment.

“We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage, or an inevitable part of growing up. It’s not,” President Obama said in a written statement. “We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. Every single young person deserves the opportunity to learn and grow and achieve their potential, without having to worry about the constant threat of harassment.”

Although current laws do not protect against harassment based on sexual orientation, they do protect against the harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals based on gender stereotypes. The current federal policy is the same as it was under the Bush administration.

“We are not creating new policy....We are making clear [to schools] what their responsibilities are,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali said on a conference call Monday afternoon. “Where it transcends just sexual orientation discrimination and becomes about gender stereotyping or not conforming to traditional gender roles, that very well could rise to the level of a violation of Title IX.”

The guidance, in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to schools, explains to educators their legal obligation to protect students from harassment and bullying.

The administration’s call to action comes in response to the recent wave of gay teen suicides. “Certainly, the unspeakable tragedies over the last several weeks contribute to our sense of urgency and it's important that the public know that there are things that schools and universities can and should be doing to help prevent such tragedies from occurring,” Ali told reporters on the call.

“Bullying is a problem that shouldn't exist.  No one should ever feel harassed or unsafe in a school simply because they act or think or dress differently than others,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. “To every student who feels threatened or harassed -- for whatever reason -- please know that you are not alone. Please know that there are people who love you. And please know that we will protect you.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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