Imagine that you are a state education official who has spent months and months on Race to the Top, coaxing districts to sign memorandums of understanding and negotiating with union officials, tracking down data, and convincing the Gates Foundation to give you some planning money. Would you be irked that some folks in Congress want to make the pot smaller, potentially meaning fewer winners in the grant competition? Of course, the plan puts states in a bind. Many really want to see the $10 billion in funding to prevent teacher layoffs (and, folks could argue, states wouldn't need the money ...


President Obama supports jobs bill but opposes cut to signature initiative.


So, yesterday we wrote about a proposal from Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., to cut $800 million in Obama administration education priorities as part of a wider effort to provide $10 billion to thwart teacher layoffs and nearly $5 billion to fill a major shortfall in the Pell Grant program. The proposed cuts include $500 million from Race to the Top, $200 million from the Teacher Incentive Fund, and $100 million intended for charters. The U.S. Department of Education and some moderate Democrats are urging Obey to find other areas to cut instead. Even the Washington Post editorial board ...


Democrats who have supported education reform efforts are pushing back against a plan to divert funding already appropriated for the Race to the Top, the Teacher Incentive Fund, and charter schools to the education jobs bill. This afternoon, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., a longtime charter school supporter, sent an e-mail out urging his colleagues to sign onto a letter to Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the sponsor of the legislation and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, urging him to reconsider the cuts. Here's a snippet from Polis' letter: "Race to the Top has already led to major progress that will ...


Draft legislation appears to target a pair of high-profile programs in finding money to save education jobs.


Check out District Dossier, where my colleague Dakarai Aarons details his one-on-one interview with Microsoft and Gates Foundation founder Bill Gates. At the end, Dakarai gets to the issue that's been raised many times on this blog: whether Gates is too cozy with EdSec Arne Duncan and crew at the Education Department. Gates dismisses such talk, and says: "Arne's got a lot of different strategies. Some overlap [with the foundation's]. Some are different. I wish the world had one [education] agenda it knew would work and be embraced by teachers." Check out Dakarai's blog for more....


Those American Express commercials on the Harlem Children's Zone must really be inspiring people. A whopping 339 communities applied for relatively small one-year planning grants from the U.S. Department of Education, meant to help communities create their own Promise Neighborhoods. The new federal program, financed at just $10 million this year, is meant to help communities replicate the superstar, New York-based program's success in pairing high-quality academics with a range of support services, such as counseling and prekindergarten, in order to get kids ready for college or a career. These 339 applicants aren't even asking for a grant to ...


House Democratic leaders are circulating a draft of a scaled-down version of the edujobs bill that would include $10 billion to prevent teacher layoffs. For those keeping score at home, the $10 billion would be a significant decrease from the $23 billion that Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, initially sought to stave off staff reductions. Conservative Democrats balked at the $23 billion pricetag and the fact that the bill would add to the deficit. This time around, there's a lot less money, and the spending would be offset by about $12 billion in reductions to ...


Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.V. , who passed away this morning at the age of 92, was famous in the Senate for carrying around a copy of the constitution. And he wanted to make sure that students across America had a thorough understanding of that document. That's why, in 2004, he put language into a federal spending bill directing schools to set aside a specific day, September 17, to teach students about the constitution, as a condition of receiving federal funds. Not every school has complied with the requirement (it doesn't appear to have been strongly enforced) but many have ...


That's a very real question, especially after reading this post from the Association of School Business Officials. During a recent U.S Department of Education webinar geared toward districts, 48 percent of those who participated said they were somewhat concerned about spending their money before the clock strikes midnight on Sept. 30, 2011. That's the deadline for spending $10 billion in Title I and $12 billion in special education dollars. Of that money, districts have $6 billion in Title I funds (not counting school improvement grants) waiting to be spent, according to the latest Education Department data from June 18. ...


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