September 2010 Archives

IG: ED Could Have Done a Better Job Tracking Stim Funds

Auditors took a look at the department's work in pushing the $53.6 billion in state stabilization funding, the largest single program in the stimulus, out the door.


Good News and Bad News for Race to the Top Fans

Supporters of the Race to the Top program have reasons to both cheer and jeer at Congress this week.


U.S. Department of Ed. to Give Out Grants to 12 Charter Networks

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that the department will allocate $50 million in grants to top-notch charter management organizations to help them expand their reach. This is the first time the feds have specifically sought to help good charters replicate their efforts. Twelve charter management organizations made the cut. The lucky dozen: *Achievement First: Will get $1.67 million to create 14 new schools and expand two schools in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island *Aspire: Will get $5.58 million to create 15 new schools in California. *Foundation for a Greater Opportunity: Will get nearly $1.5...


Race to the Top Assessment Programs to Get Extra Funding

The two consortia that won grants from the U.S. Department of Education to create more uniform assessments are getting some extra cash to complete their work, the department announced today. The two winners, which collectively represent 44 states and the District of Columbia, will split $31.7 million. The money is aimed at helping the consortia with the implementation of the new assessment systems. In order to get the extra funding, the consortia will have to sketch out how they plan to transition to the new assessments. Their plans could address professional development needs, and how the two consortia ...


UPDATED: Obama Says GOP Congress Would Cut Education Funding

President Barack Obama told a crowd in New Mexico today that a Republican Congress would seek to cut education spending in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich. Republicans say, not so fast.


Education Department Launches Teacher Recruitment Campaign

The Education Department is particularly interested in recruiting teachers for high-need schools and to fill STEM, special education, and ELL positions.


Poll: How Much Difference Will 'Education Nation' and 'Waiting for Superman Make'?

So, chances are you've probably heard about the new push to put K-12 education front-and-center on the national agenda, through the documentary "Waiting for Superman" (which got airtime on "Oprah", a major public platform if there ever was one) and through NBC's "Education Nation", which features a whole lot of edu-hoopla, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on "Meet the Press", a 30-minute interview with President Barack Obama on education, and a teacher town hall meeting. The NBC effort is funded in part by some of the same foundations that tried to steer the conversation to education in the 2008 ...


President Obama Talks Unions, Race to the Top, and Money

President Barack Obama showcased his education agenda on the "Today Show" this morning, touching on charter schools, union, competitive grants and a new initiative to recruit and prepare new teachers in the STEM fields.


Ed. Dept. Announces Teacher Incentive Fund Grant Winners

The 62 TIF grant winners will get a combined total of $442 million to support performance-pay plans for teachers and principals in high-need schools.


GOP Pledges to Rein in Spending, But Offers No New K-12 Ideas

Republicans say they'll crack down on spending, possibly even taking back unspent stimulus funds, if they're able to take over the U.S House of Representatives after the October midterm elections. That's according to a widely circulated draft of the GOP's Pledge to America, a sort of to-do list for Republican leaders being officially released today. Here are some important graphs: Act Immediately to Reduce Spending:There is no reason to wait to reduce wasteful and unnecessary spending. Congress should move immediately to cancel unspent "stimulus" funds, and block any attempts to extend the timeline for spending "stimulus" funds. Throwing ...


Obama to Give Half-Hour Interview on Education

President Barack Obama is going to sit down for a half-an-hour interview Monday, just on education issues, with NBC's Matt Lauer. Although I'd be surprised if he unveils any brand new policies, the interview itself is a big deal. "It's a real opportunity" for the White House to send a message on the importance of education, Roberto Rodriguez, a White House adviser on education issues, told executives assembled today at the school division of the Association of American Publishers' fall meeting on Capitol Hill. "The president rarely grants half-hour interviews on one issue." The interview, probably not coincidentally, coincides with ...


Duncan Hopeful on ESEA, and Eager for Campaign Trail

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told a room full of Washington reporters today that he's still hoping to move on a bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act early next year. But, when asked if he'd like to change anything in the Obama administration's blueprint for renewal, released last March, he said only that he'd like to beef-up parent involvement, while offering few other specifics. Duncan was also asked about the four school Improvement models outlined as a condition for federal turnaround aid, which folks (including members of Congress) have said are too prescriptive. The models ...


Twenty-one Applicants Win Promise Neighborhood Grants

Twenty-one non-profits and higher education institutions will snag a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help plan for a Promise Neighborhood, the administration announced today. The grants, of up to $500,000, will help the winners create programs that offer a comprehensive range of services to help improve student outcomes, such as health care, pre-kindergarten, and college counseling. The idea grew out of the Harlem Children's Zone, a rock star program of the moment, which is even featured in American Express commercials. The announcement of the winners will be made at a press conference today featuring an ...


Race to the Top: Smaller is Better?

Is smaller better when it comes to Race to the Top? Two of the winners - DC and Hawaii - include just one major school district.


Education Department Panel to Explore Fiscal Fairness

Remember the U.S. Department of Education's blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act? It included a line about seeking greater "fiscal equity" in schools, but few specifics on exactly how to work through that tricky issue. Reauthorization doesn't look like it's moving this year, but the Education Department, at the behest of two congressmen, is establishing a 15-member commission to explore the fiscal-equity question. Nominations for panelists were due last week. The commission, which will be run by the department's Office of Civil Rights, is slated to work for about 15 months. It's unclear whether the panel ...


Race to the Top Winners Hit D.C.

Officials from the lucky dozen winners of the $4 billion Race to the Top competition met in Washington to hammer out their budgets and talk about implementations issues.


Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley Rips Race to the Top

The longtime Democratic mayor of Chicago says the Race to the Top competition should have rewarded Illinois and his city for their work improving schools.


Top House Republican on Education Talks ESEA, Race to Top

What would Republican control of Congress look like for education policy and spending? We asked Rep. John Kline, who would likely become chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee in that scenario.


Castle Loses Senate Primary in Delaware

Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware, a longtime congressman and former governor with expertise in education issues, lost the GOP U.S. Senate nomination tonight to Christine O'Donnell, a tea party-backed marketing and media consultant. Castle's defeat means that Congress is losing a moderate GOP lawmaker with a long record on, and a lot of interest in, K-12 issues. Folks in Washington saw him as someone who could help the GOP and Democrats reach a consensus on thorny education issues. Just a few months ago, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan applauded him for helping to inform some of the ...


UPDATED: Obama's Back-to-School Speech Big on Inspiration, Perspiration

The president's back-to-school speech in Philadelphia makes no mention of the controversy surrounding last year's address to students.


All the i3 Winners Get Private Matches

The folks at the U.S. Department of Education have a good reason to break out the champagne today—all 49 of the highest-rated applicants for the Investing in Innovation grant program were able to secure the required 20 percent private match, the final hurdle to getting their federal i3 grants. It wasn't an easy process, as we wrote in this story. For instance, many of the winners were surprised that they didn't get more help from foundations that had signed up for the i3 registry, which was intended to help put grantees and private funders together. And many said...


Primary to Watch: Delaware Senate

There's a surprisingly hot primary going on in Delaware tomorrow that education policy folks should watch. Rep. Mike Castle, a moderate GOP lawmaker and one of the Big 8 lawmakers the administration is courting in its push to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is facing off against Christine O'Donnell, a marketing and media consultant for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Just a few months ago, Castle was expected to win this race (and the general election) without breaking much of a sweat. After all, Castle has held statewide office for years, first as governor and then ...


NCLB Foe Releases Slew of Bills

Congress may not be making adequately yearly progress towards the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but that doesn't mean it's not on the minds of lawmakers who are locked in tight races for re-election. Case in point? Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who has long been a critic of the current version of the law, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. He introduced a whopping three ESEA-related bills over a two-day period. Feingold is fending off a tough re-election challenge from three GOP opponents, including plastics manufacturer Ron Johnson. (This poll has Feingold just 1 point ...


Education Department Still Lags in Employee Satisfaction

The U.S. Department of Education still ranks near the bottom of the list of big federal agencies when it comes to employee job satisfaction, at least according to a survey released last week by the non-profit Partnership for Public Service. But it seems that the department's employees are a tiny bit happier than they were on the same survey last year. Out of 32 large federal agencies surveyed about issues such as leadership effectiveness, work/life balance, and pay, the Education Department came in 30th. Last year, on the same survey, the department ranked 27th out of 30. Still, ...


Some Charters Could Face Hurdles Tapping Edujobs Funds

Charter school advocates are dismayed that some charters may have a tough time tapping funds from the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund, which is meant to help stave off teacher layoffs. The issue? It's very complicated, but basically, it comes down to the fact that in some districts and states, some charter school teachers are employees of a charter management organization or an educational management organization, not a school district. "There's a lot of head scratching," said Brooks Garber, the vice president for federal advocacy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. He said that over 1,000 charters ...


i3 Winners Still Pounding Pavement for Private Funding

Some big name winners of Investing in Innovation Fund grants are still logging long hours, trying to secure their required 20 percent match before the Sept. 8 deadline.


Send Us Your Race to the Top Questions

Sean Cavanagh of State Ed Watch and I are holding a chat right now, until 3 p.m. on the Race to the Top competition. Ask us anything you ever wanted to know about the program and we'll try to get an answer for you!...


Edumoney Shell Games Again?

Rhode Island's governor has plans to use his state's share of the $10 billion in education jobs funding to help plug budget holes in other areas, not to save education jobs. Sound familiar?


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