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to strengthen and expand early learning investments through reauthorization of ESEA in both competitive and formula programs.  The Blueprint for ESEA Reform  encourages the development and implementation of comprehensive early learning assessment systems that can be used to improve early learning instruction and promote continuous program improvement.  Both the Race to the Top and the Investing in Innovation program encourage applicants to include early learning proposals in their applications, and more than a quarter of the winning applicants in i3 include components of high-quality early learning programs .  Lastly, the current Recently, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee advanced legislation for FY 2011 funding which includes  $300 million to support the Administration’s Early Learning Challenge Fund, a national competition to  provide grants to model states that offer bold and innovative strategies to integrate and improve  state systems of early learning.

Advancing Educational Equity

President Obama and Secretary Duncan believe that every child deserves a world-class education. When they say every child, they mean every child, regardless of skin color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or disability status. Equity is at the heart of our Administration’s education agenda:

The U.S. Department of Education’s reinvigorated Office for Civil Rights (OCR) takes in thousands of complaints each year and has already launched more than two dozen compliance reviews.   The office also provides technical assistance to states, districts, and institutions of higher education.

Eighty percent of K-12 funding in the President’s 2011 budget is for formula programs, including programs for students who are low-income, homeless, migrant, and English learners.

The Administration’s competitive education programs will reward proposals that give priority to high-need students, providing an  incentive to expand  services and programs for students who need them the most.

The Blueprint for ESEA Reform includes several competitive and formula programs that will  help prepare, attract and retain the best teachers in schools that serve large shares of poor and minority children.

Throughout the Blueprint for ESEA Reform, the Obama administration proposed numerous strategies to improve equity in education, from phasing out the comparability loophole – an existing policy that allows districts to use accounting measures to hide inequities in funding for poor and minority children – to focusing on teacher equity and dramatically improving our lowest-performing schools that disproportionately serve low-income and minority students.

In March of 2010, OCR opened an enforcement action in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) examining whether LAUSD provides English learners (EL) with an effective program of English language development and meaningful access to core curricular content. The review will also examine whether the district regularly evaluates the implementation and effectiveness of the EL program and communicates effectively with parents of EL students.  The enforcement action in Los Angeles will ensure that 240,000 English learners have access to equal educational opportunities.

To address concerns of the Beaufort, S.C., community over a proposed charter school that would have been a racially isolated white school, the Office for Civil Rights negotiated a revised desegregation plan for the school district.  This updated plan allowed the charter school to open so long as it met rigorous goals for increasing African-American enrollment, staff, and school leadership and governance. Just one year later, Riverview Charter School has substantially increased its population of African-American students and is on track to meet the goals of its desegregation agreement. In addition, the school has recruited minority parents for its board of directors, increased the number of minority staff, completed the first of its annual cultural competence and community relations training sessions, and undertaken other measures to ensure that the school reflects the greater Beaufort community.

College Access, Affordability, AND Completion

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