By yesterday's 4:30 p.m. deadline, 1,669 districts, schools, and nonprofits had turned in their applications for the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund, according to a summary document posted this afternoon on the U.S. Department of Education's website. From a logistical standpoint, that number may be a relief for the department from the nearly 2,500 entities that filed notices of intent indicating they might apply. Such a huge applicant pool would have required a ton of peer reviewers, although more than 1,600 isn't necessarily going to make things easy. In that applicant pool, we ...


Today is the deadline for districts, schools, and nonprofits to apply for Investing in Innovation grants, and when U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit at noon, already 800 had flooded in. More than 2,000 are expected by today's 4:30 p.m. deadline. (A quick side-note: The department has extended the i3 deadline to May 19 for applicants who were affected by the massive flooding in Tennessee earlier this month. (UPDATE: Thanks to the Politics K-12 reader who alerted me that I had included the wrong deadline date for those affected ...


So, it's May and the pink slips are going out. Where exactly is that $23 billion to help stabilize education jobs? Well, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the subcommittee overseeing education spending and the author of the bill, has plans to introduce it as an amendment to a bill making supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Senate aide told me. Lobbyists expect that bill to hit the floor in the next couple weeks. Two issues have the potential to gum up the works or at least spark debate, either on the Senate floor or ...


Michele McLaughlin, who has worked on teacher quality issues at both the American Federation of Teachers and Teach for America, has recently joined the staff of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee where she will work with Bethany Little and others on a variety of K-12 issues, including Title I. While at AFT, McLaughlin worked with John See on a late, great blog on the No Child Left Behind Act. McLaughlin's background might be an ideal fit for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate HELP committee, who would like to move a bill reauthorizing the ...


Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst, the former director of the Institute of Education Sciences, argues in this Education Week commentary that the Obama administration's signature education policy program, the $4 billion Race to the Top competition, was not authorized by Congress. As a reporter who covered the development of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act very closely, I found his commentary thoughtful but, ultimately, I disagree with his conclusion that the program wasn't authorized. In making his argument, Whitehurst takes a look at the actual language in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The bill says, in a nutshell, that the ...


This editorial in yesterday's Los Angeles Times appears to be causing the U.S. Department of Education some Race to the Top trouble. And this may be an instance in which the department hasn't really earned it. The Times writes of a "deal" (presumably brokered between U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) to let the state apply for round two of Race to the Top even though only a few districts would take part. And this deal supposedly allowed the education secretary to save face by ensuring the largest state applied for his signature ...


Education Secretary Arne Duncan continues to have a good day at the office as 37 states plus the District of Columbia say they're going to compete in the second round of Race to the Top, in which $3.4 billion in economic-stimulus prize money is up for grabs. Given all of the squabbles within states over buy-in, and one or two newsworthy state dropouts from the competition, this is a very strong showing for Duncan's signature education reform driver. No doubt, Duncan recognizes the importance of strong state support for Race to the Top—as is evident by the fact...


So a number of outlets are reporting that Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and also the subcommittee on education spending, is not going to run for re-election. Obey is expected to make a "major" announcement later today. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan & Co. are probably greeting the news with (silent) cheers of joy and (discreetly) breaking open the champagne. Obey has been super skeptical of Duncan's reform agenda almost from the get-go, saying, for instance, that the department is setting cash-strapped school districts up for failure by expecting them to make progress ...


Looking to create a version of the Harlem Children's Zone in your own backyard? Well, you're in luck—if your backyard happens to be a rural, urban, or tribal community. The U.S. Department of Education just released the rules for the new Promise Neighborhood program, which is meant to help communities create schools that offer a range of support services, from health assistance for new moms all the way up to college counseling. Some lawmakers are seeking to make sure the newly revamped version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act includes increased support services, but they are scratching...


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.


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