February 2010 Archives

Kline: Voluntary Standards OK, But Federal Standards Aren't

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee—one of the key lawmakers the administration is trying to court in its push to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with bipartisan support—said he's withholding judgement on the administration's proposal to make Title I funding contingent on states adopting college- and career-ready standards. "We'll see what that means" once more details are worked out, Kline told reporters yesterday. "In all of these cases, where we often get into a rub, is [who is setting the standards]. If the United States Department of Education...

Lots of Love, But Also Questions for Charter Schools

Yesterday, I said that the House Committee on Education and Labor was likely to be able to come together on a bipartisan basis to embrace the proliferation of good charter schools. (This was also the very first hearing this year on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.) And, as expected, there was a lot of praise for charter schools at the committee's hearing today and for the the potential of charters to serve as laboratories to improve public schools, tailor services to students with a range of learning needs, and emphasize subjects (like science) that sometimes get ...

Not Everyone Loves White House Title I/Standards Proposal

Yesterday, we heard from governors who either praised the proposal to tie Title I money to rigorous college and career-readiness standards in a renewed Elementary and Secondary Education Act ... or said they were still "studying" it. But last night, the National School Boards Association put out its own statement. And that group is not happy with what it sees as federal "coercion" (Catherine Gewertz over at Curriculum Matters has more.) Meanwhile, David Shreve over at the National Conference of State Legislatures also told me he's worried about the feds stepping on what has been a state and local issue. It ...

Duncan: Governors Have Been Receptive to ESEA

So far, governors appear open to the administration's proposal to make receipt of Title I funds contingent on states adopting higher, more uniform college- and career-readiness standards, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said today.

Obama Ups Ante for Common Core

As Lesli Maxwell over at State EdWatch previewed yesterday, President Obama today dropped another big clue as to how the administration wants to reshape the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This is timely especially as congressional hearings in the House get underway on Wednesday, and as finalists for Race to the Top are expected to be announced next week. In order to qualify for billions of dollars in Title I money for disadvantaged students, states will have to certify that their math and reading standards are college- and career-ready. They can either do this by adopting the state-led "common core" ...

Obama Gives Govs. Another Reason to Adopt Common Core

The state-led effort to adopt a common core of academic standards is getting a lot of back-up from the feds. And President Obama is expected to give the movement another shot in the arm tomorrow. Lesli Maxwell over at State EdWatch has the scoop....

House to Start Hearings Next Week on ESEA Rewrite

Committee leaders promise a "bipartisan, open" push to revise No Child Left Behind.

Reauthorize ESEA Now, or Never

That's the dramatized version of the message former longtime Democratic congressional aide Jack Jennings has for Education Secretary Arne Duncan and crew. And Congress appears to be leaning towards now, according to a story in the Washington Post that went online late Wednesday night. If Jennings knows anything after 20-plus years working for Congress, it's the congressional schedule, said Jennings, who is now the Center on Education Policy's president and CEO. If the gears don't start turning on reauthorization in the next two months, he predicts we'll all have to live with the rules of No Child Left Behind Act ...

Happy Birthday Stimulus! Now, What's Next?

Today is the one-year anniversary of the economic stimulus package, which infused an unprecedented $100 billion in new federal aid into education. To me, the biggest effect so far has been how it saved states from making scary-deep, Draconian cuts to K-12 budgets. It remains to be seen how much impact the stimulus will have on Race to the Top-style reforms. Rather than looking back, or celebrating the birthday, as countless others are doing in statement after statement, I want to look ahead and examine the biggest question marks out there as we go into the stimulus package's second and ...

Agriculture Secretary Calls for Improved Access to School Meals

On the heels of Michelle Obama's launch of her new "Let's Move" initiative to combat childhood obesity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is gearing up for the reauthorization of the $18 billion national school lunch and breakfast programs. The goals for this reauthorization are two-fold, Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said today in a conference call: improve access to free or reduced-price meals, and improve their nutritional value. On the issue of access, Vilsack points out that while there are 31 million students in 102,000 schools that take advantage of free or reduced-price lunches, only ...

Sad News For STEM Fans

U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., a major advocate for math and science education, has announced that he will retire.

Is Stimulus Money Being Spent Equitably?

I'm at a two-day symposium in New York City put on by the Campaign for Educational Equity (and sponsored by Teachers College, Columbia University) that's examining whether the stimulus funds have been spent and used equitably to help improve achievement, especially among at-risk students. Sam Dillon did a piece previewing the papers being presented, in which he focused on the funding cliff that the stimulus is creating. Since we've already written a lot about the funding cliff, I thought the more interesting part of these papers, and the symposium itself, was the warning flags being raised about some of the ...

The Department's Budget 'Plan B'

As we've already reported, the U.S. Department of Education put out a bold new budget proposal last week that includes major program consolidations and sketches out the preliminary details of the administration's plan to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. That reauthorization would have to pass this year for many of the budget proposals to become reality. Many folks think that's a long shot. And it appears that the department is at least preparing for the possibility that the bill won't make it to prime time this year. Buried in the mega-thick budget document is the administration's budget ...

Help Wanted: i3 Judges

In many ways, the i3 competition is a much bigger logistical problem for the department than Race to the Top, which has higher stakes.

Vital Stats on Race to Top Judges

We may not know who the Race to the Top peer reviewers are, but the Education Department has provided some basic demographic information on this jury that will help dole out the first round of $4 billion in competitive grants. Not that these tidbits will satisfy the critics of the department's decision to keep the panelists' identities secret, but they're worth sharing nonetheless. The crew of 58 looks like this: 15 are former principals, 30 are former K-12 teachers 4 are attorneys 35 have doctoral degrees 12 have served on state or local boards of education 15 are former state ...

Duncan Apologizes for Katrina Remarks

The U.S. secretary of education says his comments were "dumb" and expressed in a "poor way."

Budget and ESEA Proposals Released

The measure of gauging student performance would be changed from adequate yearly progress to a system that measures readiness for college and careers.

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