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DFER's Guidance on the Guidance

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The U.S. Department of Education is supposed to release guidance as soon as this week on how states and districts can tap and use the $100 billion in education funding in the stimulus.

But while you're waiting for the official word, check out this memo sent to Secretary Arne Duncan by Democrats for Education Reform, a political action committee, which also released a Wish List of Obama Appointees for Top Education Jobs.

As you might expect, the recommendations are pretty wonky, but they give a good indication of how the school reform crowd might want the feds to use the stimulus dollars to leverage change.

For instance, the group suggests that the Department be pretty strict in deciding which states get those Race to the Top grants. States that get those funds should be "going above and beyond" on making progress on the "assurances" spelled out in the law, they say.

And they say that states that get school improvement money available under the stimulus should show that they are providing "meaningful" transfer options as required under No Child Left Behind.

They also have some strong recommendations requiring that states give charter schools equal access to any funds used for modernization, repair, and renovation, and for using the school improvement funds provided under the bill to get states to jettison, or at least significantly overhaul, any caps on the number of charter schools.

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There are some good ideas in this document. I hope that the new Education Secretary takes heed, rather than use the "stabilization" money to perpetuate the status quo. Or even better, I'd hope to see some traction for these ideas:


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