The White House is gearing up for Wednesday's big state-of-the-union speech and already a few proposals are dribbling out


Folks are still sorting out the results of the Massachusetts special election, and what it means for the Democrats' congressional agenda. (In case you somehow missed it, Bay State voters selected a Republican, Sen.-elect Scott Brown, to fill the seat of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Democratic stalwart who passed away last year.) Mike Petrilli, over at Flypaper, took the first crack at explaining what all this means for the Obama administration's K-12 plans. And Alexander Russo dug up some great news stories on Brown and education; be sure to click on the one about the school assembly. Now ...


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has pledged to conduct an open, transparent competition for $4 billion in Race to the Top funds. But the Education Department is falling short on one key piece: letting the public know who will judge the competition. The department has vetted and selected 60 peer reviewers, and there will be a training session for them tomorrow. But the department won't say who they are—that will be announced in April when the winners are named. These are the folks who are tasked with reading through thousands of pages of applications from 40 states,...


Bureau of Indian Education schools, which are run by the U.S. Department of the Interior, would automatically get a slice of the highly coveted $4 billion Race to the Top and $650 million Investing in Innovation funds under a bill introduced this week by Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., who sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. McCollum's release on the bill says essentially that it was an oversight on Congress' part to exclude BIE schools from the original funding. And it points out that RttT is supposed to help the neediest kids and that there are a lot of ...


Departing Education Sector co-founder Andy Rotherham, aka Eduwonk, is finally spilling the beans about his next great eduventure: a nonprofit firm that will specialize in improving outcomes for low-income students. He is joining forces with Kim Smith, co-founder and senior adviser of NewSchools Venture Fund, Chicago-based education consultant Monisha G. Lozier, and Mary K. Wells, a management consultant who has done work in Texas on the state's STEM initiative. (UPDATE: Please note that I corrected Kim's title. Thanks to the great reader for pointing this out!) The new firm will be called Bellwether Education, (to answer your question, Russo), and ...


There will be more analysis forthcoming, but let's get right to the news. Forty states plus the District of Columbia made the 4:30 p.m. deadline for applying for the first round of Race to the Top. Here's who did NOT apply: Alaska, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Washington. In a statement, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said: "This exceeded our expectations. We received word from 40 states that they intended to apply, and thought there might be some drop off. There wasn't. Let the race begin." And just to cover the bases, here's who ...


With the deadline less than an hour away for states to get their Race to the Top applications in, many already are putting their exhaustive submissions online. It will be interesting to see if all states follow suit and publicize their applications. The U.S. Department of Education has said it won't make the applications public until the winners are announced in April. But what's already online makes for very interesting reading, especially the opening narratives in which states are encouraged to brag about how great they are in the area of education policy. Florida's 327-page application (not counting the ...


It's interesting to speculate on who would have an edge if Race to the Top were purely, or even partly, political. And, despite the department's best efforts, if certain states get grants, I'm sure some folks out there will wonder whether politics had any sort of role in that decision.


Congress is back this week. And while we've got a ways to go before lawmakers get down to work on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act, or even the fiscal year 2011 budget bills, there's one piece of legislation folks in the K-12 community should watch very closely: the health care bill. While there isn't much in the bill that relates to schools specifically, at least one debate over how to help fund a health care overhaul could have a lasting impact on teacher recruitment and retention. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have approved their ...


Arkansas superintendents greet the challenge of spending millions in extra federal funds.


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