A hearing by the Senate education committee is notable for not talking about the administration's proposal to tie Title I aid to states' adoption of college- and career-ready standards.


You may remember that Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, just released a bill aimed at helping states and districts avert a tidal wave of layoffs and programmatic cuts. Education advocates are eager to see passage of the bill, which would include $23 billion in new state stabilization dollars. The U.S. House of Representatives has already approved similar legislation. Rumor has it the Senate bill could hitch a ride on an emergency spending measure aimed at military spending. But folks have some ideas for changes that they say would keep ...


After staying out of the Race to the Top round-two fray for weeks, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is finally starting to take the gloves off and wade into the middle of a big debate over just how important "buy-in" is in a state's application. Today, in a routine conference call with the business community (he does this sort of outreach regularly), he declared: "At the end of the day we're going to [fund] the strongest proposals whether they have tremendous buy-in or not." (The department invited me to listen in on the call, which was to encourage ...


Politics K-12 wants to know, as does Rick "Straight Up" Hess. Race to the Top started out as a new, exciting adventure with the promise of billions of dollars in prize money to help the nation's students. And now, reality is setting in—and the adults are fighting. In the run-up to the first round of the competition, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was a dominating presence, not hesitating to praise the well-behaving and model states (think Louisiana, and all the kudos he gave them for its teacher-education and student data linkage). And he also didn't hesitate to shake...


There's been a lot of talk about how fair the scoring was in the first round of Race to the Top. Did reviewers follow the guidance and always award the correct number of points? Did a few outliers skew the results? Did some states get the luck of the draw and benefit from a bunch of easy graders, or did others draw the short end of stick and get all of the hard graders? The Education Department, as part of its technical assistance seminar in Minneapolis yesterday for state applicants, said it did its own statistical analysis to examine these ...


Education Department officials gave some insight into what Race to the Top peer reviewers liked and didn't in states' applications.


Want to know how much money your state could get from the education jobs legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, last week, or similar legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last year? Check out this chart from the Education Commission of the States. Or this one from the National Education Association, which also compares the potential boost to the size of potential grants made available under Race to the Top competition....


The application deadline for the second round of Race to the Top isn't until June 1, but we've got one good gauge of which states may be applying, and which may be sitting the competition out. Today, in Minneapolis, the U.S. Department of Education is holding an all-day technical assistance seminar for potential round two applicants. (People can also participate via conference call.) Forty-twoForty-three states plus D.C. are attending, or tuning in remotely. The states that, for whatever reason, are not participating, are: Alaska, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming. UPDATE: Michigan is apparently ...


The U.S. Department of Education has posted a spreadsheet listing the more than 2,000 districts, schools, and nonprofits that plan to apply for the $650 million Investing in Innovation grant. If the thought of opening an Excel spreadsheet intimidates you, there's also a convenient summary of the intents-to-apply. This list is a compilation of those who told the department, by April 1, that they plan to apply for these competitive grants. This was more of a courtesy for the department so officials could figure out what kind of workload is in store for them and the peer reviewers. ...


So now that the first round of winners have been announced, powerful members of Congress are starting to question the scoring system for the Race to the Top program. During a hearing of today of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education spending, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., went off on the Race to the Top's 500-point scoring system. (Remember, Louisiana was a finalist and widely viewed as a front-runner, but then came in 11th.) Some folks said that Louisiana's plan was bolder than the two winners, Delaware and Tennessee. But those states had near universal support from districts and unions. ...


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