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Friday Reading List: Handicapped Buses and Who's Who at the Education Department

Happy Friday and Almost-Memorial-Day!

After you're done watching the On-Demand version of our stimulus webinar (register first here) check out these good reads:

First, crack education finance researcher Marguerite Roza has a report out on the stimulus and the prospects for school reform. There's a super-helpful chart showing just how much of a difference the money will make to each state's K-12 budget that you'll definitely want to bookmark. Looks like there are a lot of places where it won't make much of a difference.

One of the states that will actually be in the black after the stim, according to Roza: Arkansas. And it sounds like some districts there already are thinking about how they want to use their stimulus funds.

For instance, the Crossett School District would like to purchase handicapped-accessible buses. Apparently, school district officials want to get their contract in as soon as possible because they expect the stim money to ramp up demand for those vehicles. They're also planning to use some of the money to pay tuition for school staff members seeking master's degrees. Good use of the funds or swimming pool? Discuss.

Another district in the Natural State had considered using the money to pay for teaching coaches—one of Ed Sec Arne Duncan's top recommended uses for the funds. But the local board nixed the idea because members are worried about making investments in staff that they won't be able to sustain over the long haul.

If you're looking for a list of Who's Who among the department's political appointees, check out this page on ed.gov, featuring new chief of staff Margot Rogers (and former EdWeek reporter David J. Hoff).

Over at This Week in Education, Alexander Russo ponders the Thelma Melendez appointment—and disses her blog.

And at Flypaper, Mike Petrilli bemoans the fact that there aren't many, or any, former state sups working at the department. Check it out, there's even a picture of Mr. T.

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