As we wait for the official tally of entrants into round two of Race to the Top, join me at edweek.org for an online chat today at 3 p.m. Eastern featuring Steven Brill, who recently penned two pieces on Race to the Top and will take your questions. His main piece, in the New York Times Magazine, examined the overall effect Race to the Top is having on the country's education reform dynamic, particularly on the relationship policymakers have with teachers' unions. He wrote a companion piece for Edweek that delved into the wonkiness of the 500-point grading ...


Even though the $23 billion education jobs bill faltered yesterday in Congress, proponents aren't giving up on a measure which public school advocates say is desperately needed to forestall draconian teacher layoffs nationwide.


In late winter, researchers, wonks, and the general public will get their first look at new finance data collected by the U.S. Department of Education that seeks to account for differences in spending across schools within the same district. This is called comparability (until someone comes up with a catchier name!) and often exposes spending patterns that lead to fewer dollars being spent on low-income students because so much money is tied to teacher salaries—and the less-experienced teachers earning lower salaries tend to teach in schools with a lot of low-income kids. You would think that obtaining school-by-school...


The presidents of both national teachers' unions joined key lawmakers and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan this morning on Capitol Hill to drum up support for the $23 billion edujobs legislation. Supporters of the bill say up to 300,000 jobs may be riding on congressional action. Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he plans to introduce a version of the measure as an amendment to the must-pass emergency spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that his panel is considering tomorrow. The original plan was for the Senate to ...


The wrangling over that $23 billion edujobs bill continues. Originally, the Senate sponsor of the measure, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees education spending, had planned to offer the legislation as an amendment to the war supplemental spending bill that the Senate is expected to consider soon. That strategy made sense because a) the war supplemental is a must-pass bill, and b) it's emergency spending, so the $23 billion wouldn't need to be offset. But Harkin changed his game plan once he realized that he couldn't get the 60 votes needed to pass the provision. ...


Andy Smarick, the Fordham Fellow who perhaps knows as much about the Race to the Top competition as the folks at the U.S. Department of Education, will have to leave his wonky federal analysis, insights, and general blogginess behind when he takes on a new job as deputy education commissioner in New Jersey. He'll work as the lone deputy under Commissioner Bret Schundler, who was a controversial pick for newly elected Republican Gov. Christopher Christie. Smarick officially starts his new role sometime this summer, probably in early August (although if New Jersey were wise, it would tap his expertise ...


First it was Race to the Top. Now the school improvement models are running into trouble on Capitol Hill. Flanked by major players in both the national teachers' unions, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, today announced a framework (not a bill) that would basically ditch the idea of having just four options in favor of a broader array of possible remedies for schools. Chu wants to use the reauthorization of ESEA to prod schools to promote flexibility and collaboration (such as beefing up mentoring and induction programs), remove barriers to student success (such...


Minnesota is out of Race to the Top, round two. Massachusetts is publicly thinking (posturing?) about it. With two states that have traditionally been national leaders in student performance waffling, or down right begging off of the competition, you've got to wonder how strong the field of competition will be for those states that remain. To be sure, some very, very bold plans will come in from the likes of Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, and Georgia, which were strong finalists in round one. But this time, because U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan set a "high, high bar" in round ...


Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Attorney General who filed the law-suit against the No Child Left Behind Act, is running into problems of his own in his bid to claim the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, a Democrat.


Robert Shireman, the deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education, is moving on. (Hat tip to former Bush adviser John Bailey's twitter feed.) Shireman is the Department's loans guru and an architect of the administration's push to get rid of the Federal Family Education Loan Program, which relies on subsidized lenders, in favor of the Direct Lending program. In the new program, students borrow right from the U.S. Treasury, and cost savings are poured back into student aid. UPDATE: Read Inside Higher Ed's lengthy piece on Shireman, which includes a very interesting nugget about how the stock ...


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