January 2010 Archives

Duncan on Katrina: 'Best Thing' for New Orleans Schools

In an interview, the education secretary says that Hurricane Katrina allowed for a new, better school system in New Orleans.

Friday Reading List: Race to the Top Judges and a New Blog

Edubloggers, including none other than Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, are having quite the back-and-forth on the issue of whether the list of Race to the Top judges should be kept a secret: Quick Reacap: Michele brought up the question last week. Then AEI's resident edu-smartypants Rick Hess gave his take. Duncan didn't respond directly, but addressed the issue here. Hess shot back, reminding the Education Department what happened when allegations of conflict of interest were raised about Reading First. And Eduwonk engaged in a lively debate... with himself. Hess explained here why one of the debating Eduwonks is wrong ...

An 'Alliance' on ESEA Reauthorization?

Two alums of the Alliance for Excellence Education are likely to play key roles on Capitol Hill.

Can ESEA Renewal Be Bipartisan?

Republicans seem to have mixed views on whether the Obama administration's hopes for a bipartisan reauthorization of the law are realistic.

UPDATED: K-12 Could Be Bright Spot in Austere Budget

Despite a pledge to hold the line on many domestic programs, President Barack Obama is expected to highlight a proposed boost for K-12 education in tonight's State of the Union address to Congress.

Ed. Dept. Expands Pool of Schools Eligible for Turnaround Aid

The department is also increasing the maximum grant award that each school can receive under its Title 1 school improvement grants program.

President Obama to Propose Freezing Spending on Some Programs

It's not clear whether K-12 education programs would be subject to the freeze, and which ones.

Administration Proposes Expansion of Child Care, Student Loan Benefits

The White House is gearing up for Wednesday's big state-of-the-union speech and already a few proposals are dribbling out

Massachusetts: Fall-out for K-12 and 2010 Midterms

Folks are still sorting out the results of the Massachusetts special election, and what it means for the Democrats' congressional agenda. (In case you somehow missed it, Bay State voters selected a Republican, Sen.-elect Scott Brown, to fill the seat of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Democratic stalwart who passed away last year.) Mike Petrilli, over at Flypaper, took the first crack at explaining what all this means for the Obama administration's K-12 plans. And Alexander Russo dug up some great news stories on Brown and education; be sure to click on the one about the school assembly. Now ...

Transparency Watch: Race to Top Judges to Be Kept Secret

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has pledged to conduct an open, transparent competition for $4 billion in Race to the Top funds. But the Education Department is falling short on one key piece: letting the public know who will judge the competition. The department has vetted and selected 60 peer reviewers, and there will be a training session for them tomorrow. But the department won't say who they are—that will be announced in April when the winners are named. These are the folks who are tasked with reading through thousands of pages of applications from 40 states,...

Bureau of Indian Education Schools Want In On Race to the Top

Bureau of Indian Education schools, which are run by the U.S. Department of the Interior, would automatically get a slice of the highly coveted $4 billion Race to the Top and $650 million Investing in Innovation funds under a bill introduced this week by Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., who sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. McCollum's release on the bill says essentially that it was an oversight on Congress' part to exclude BIE schools from the original funding. And it points out that RttT is supposed to help the neediest kids and that there are a lot of ...

Rotherham, NewSchools' Smith to Form New Eduventure

Departing Education Sector co-founder Andy Rotherham, aka Eduwonk, is finally spilling the beans about his next great eduventure: a nonprofit firm that will specialize in improving outcomes for low-income students. He is joining forces with Kim Smith, co-founder and senior adviser of NewSchools Venture Fund, Chicago-based education consultant Monisha G. Lozier, and Mary K. Wells, a management consultant who has done work in Texas on the state's STEM initiative. (UPDATE: Please note that I corrected Kim's title. Thanks to the great reader for pointing this out!) The new firm will be called Bellwether Education, (to answer your question, Russo), and ...

40 States Plus D.C. Apply for Race to the Top

There will be more analysis forthcoming, but let's get right to the news. Forty states plus the District of Columbia made the 4:30 p.m. deadline for applying for the first round of Race to the Top. Here's who did NOT apply: Alaska, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. In a statement, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said: "This exceeded our expectations. We received word from 40 states that they intended to apply, and thought there might be some drop off. There wasn't. Let the race begin." And just to cover the bases, here's who ...

Big Promises in Race to the Top Applications

With the deadline less than an hour away for states to get their Race to the Top applications in, many already are putting their exhaustive submissions online. It will be interesting to see if all states follow suit and publicize their applications. The U.S. Department of Education has said it won't make the applications public until the winners are announced in April. But what's already online makes for very interesting reading, especially the opening narratives in which states are encouraged to brag about how great they are in the area of education policy. Florida's 327-page application (not counting the ...

Race to the Top: Where the Money Might Go If It Were Purely Political

It's interesting to speculate on who would have an edge if Race to the Top were purely, or even partly, political. And, despite the department's best efforts, if certain states get grants, I'm sure some folks out there will wonder whether politics had any sort of role in that decision.

'Cadillac' Plans an Issue in Health Care Conference

Congress is back this week. And while we've got a ways to go before lawmakers get down to work on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act, or even the fiscal year 2011 budget bills, there's one piece of legislation folks in the K-12 community should watch very closely: the health care bill. While there isn't much in the bill that relates to schools specifically, at least one debate over how to help fund a health care overhaul could have a lasting impact on teacher recruitment and retention. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have approved their ...

Stimulus Spending: A Bright Spot

Arkansas superintendents greet the challenge of spending millions in extra federal funds.

District Participation in Race to the Top: Binding, or Not?

Earlier this week, Alyson blogged about the tension between states and districts over Race to the Top participation. The more school districts that sign an MOU agreeing to participate in a state's reform plan, the more points a state gets in the competition. And participating school districts, in return, would enjoy a slice of their state's award. But many districts aren't sure exactly what they're committing to do, and even wonder if it's a binding agreement. Well, the U.S. Department of Education weighed in on this during two technical planning seminars last month, when state teams asked whether local ...

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Won't Run For Re-Election

Colorado's Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat whose state is engaged in an all-out campaign for a Race to the Top Fund grant, has decided to not run for re-election. It's too soon to say what his decision will mean for the Centennial State's chances in the hot competition for a slice of the $4 billion in economic-stimulus program grants. Maybe nothing. Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien told me the state has worked hard to get broad, bipartisan support so that the plan will be carried through no matter who is in office next year. But some folks had speculated that Colorado ...

With Dodd Bowing Out, NCLB Foe May Run for Senate

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, a Democrat who has been very active on education issues throughout his decades-long career and came super close to being chairman of the Senate education committee when Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., passed away, plans to announce today that he won't seek re-election. Dodd has struggled with Connecticut voters who haven't liked his leadership on financial issues. (He's the chairman of the Senate banking committee and helped craft the multibillion-dollar Wall Street bailout/rescue package in fall 2008.) Interestingly, Dodd's departure might mean more of a role for education in the Senate race, not ...

District-State Tension an Issue in Race to the Top

As states scramble to get their Race to the Top Fund applications in before the Jan. 19 deadline, it looks like there's tension—or at least questions—emerging concerning those Memorandums of Understanding that districts are supposed to sign off on to show that they're planning to participate in the Race to the Top. Folks at two organizations that advocate for districts, the National School Boards Association and the American Association of School Administrators, tell me they've been fielding lots of questions on this issue. It sounds like in some places district officials aren't clear on whether the MOUs are...

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