The education blogsphere has done a good job picking apart the weaknesses in Michael Winerip's New York Times story about a persistently low-performing school in Vermont that had to replace its principal to qualify for federal school-improvement grant money, even though it seems most everyone thought Joyce Irvine was doing a great job. The story highlights the potential weaknesses of a one-size-fits-all federal approach to turning around low-performing schools in states and districts. Replacing a principal, which is required in most cases by federal regulations, is not a sure-fire solution to turning around a school, especially in rural and other ...


You think getting the edujobs bill through the U.S. House of Representatives was hard, what with the whole Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., versus the Whithe House thing, and the veto threat, and the Polis letter? Well, that was a cake-walk compared to what is likely to happen in the Senate. Over at This Week in Education, Alexander Russo has a headline saying that the bill is "dead." I think that's probably premature, although it's true that gaining support for increased domestic spending, controversial offsets or not, in the Senate is and was always gonna be tough sledding. Still, the ...


Financial disclosure forms that top members of the Executive Branch fill out are meant to shed light on, or even prevent, any conflicts of interests by forcing key officials to reveal their assets, gifts, and past jobs. These things rarely yield anything too interesting (although this year we learned that President Obama's dog, Bo, a gift from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, was valued at $1,600). But in the interests of keeping you all informed about the goings on at the Education Department—and so that officials know we do read these forms—I present to you the calendar...


The Obama administration's centerpiece education reform program would get $800 million in fiscal 2011 under a bill approved by a House appropriations subcommittee.


Melody Barnes, who works on K-12 issues at the White House, told reporters today that President Obama really, really wants to see money to help save education jobs. But the president doesn't want it to come at the expense of his education redesign priorities. "We don't have to make a choice between reform and making sure that teachers will stay in the classroom," Barnes said on a media conference call in which the administration worked to get out the message to reporters that Congress should a) pass edujobs, and b) use something other than top White House education initiatives as ...


After getting pushback from local education advocates who have been feeling left out of the school turnaround process, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced today that districts will be required to involve parents and the community as a condition of receiving school improvement grants. In a speech to the NAACP in Kansas City, Mo., Duncan said he would change the administration's ESEA draft to acknowledge the key role that communities play in turning around persistently failing schools. Even members of Congress have been critical of the lack of community involvement in the Education Department's four required models that are attached to $4...


The pros and cons of Congress' proposal to trim $500 million from Race to the Top to fund edujobs have sparked quite the discussion on this blog. Most of the commenters seem to think edujobs is a far better use of taxpayer money than Race to the Top. But here's one interesting argument in favor of cutting Race to the Top, and not for obvious reasons. Mike Petrilli over at Flypaper says that to leave Race to the Top Round 2 at a bloated $3.4 billion forces Education Secretary Arne Duncan to fund some very mediocre proposals. And that's ...


This week, the Senate is back and word is that lawmakers will start trying to figure out how to pay for the edujobs bill. In fact, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spent last Friday in Washington state stumping for the edujobs bill, alongside Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a key member of Congress who hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with the administration on K-12 policy issues. (For instance, last year, she spoke out against a measure that would have increased funding for the Teacher Incentive Fund—a major White House priority—because the boost would come at the expense ...


Depending on which state you live in, the edujobs bill may not be such a good deal—especially if your state might win a Race to the Top grant. Given all of the debate about the Congressional proposal to siphon off $500 million from the Race to the Top program to give every state an additional chunk of money to save teachers' jobs, it seems valuable to look at the trade-offs states would have to make. First, let's be clear about two things: States that have no chance of winning a Race to the Top grant in Round 2 would...


With Congress out and the eduworld left waiting to find out the fate of $800 million in proposed cuts from the Obama administration's signature school reform vehicles, the most political thing going on now seems to be the NEA convention. Check out my colleague Stephen Sawchuk's stellar coverage here, or, more specifically, zero in on: What caused Diane Ravitch to strip off her jacket in front of the union's assembly; Whether the union did, indeed, vote to throw EdSec Arne Duncan completely under the edu-bus; Whether delegates have even one iota of confidence in Race to the Top; How NEA ...


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