Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican who helped usher in a strong standards-and-accountability system in his state (which included letter grades for schools and vouchers), will not run for the U.S. Senate, he just announced in a statement. This puts to rest speculation that he would seek the seat being vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez. In the statement, Bush says there's no "greater calling than education reform." Since leaving the state's highest office, he's been helping pursue the education reform agenda he started in his state through two foundations he now runs. That includes his continuing pursuit of ...


So a Chicago Tribune blog is reporting that Peter Cunningham has been hired to run the communications operation for Secretary of Education-designate Arne Duncan. Apparently, the strategic consultant who currently works for Duncan in the Chicago school system is quite the musician. The Tribune blog isn't specific about what position at the Department of Education Cunningham will be taking, but with experience as a communications consultant, my guess is he'll be shaping strategy, not fielding e-mails from reporters. If that's the case, that sounds to me like more or less the role that Lauren Maddox, the assistant secretary for communications ...


The Minnesota State canvassing board officially declared comedian Al Franken the winner of the country's most hotly contested Senate race yesterday. Franken defeated Sen. Norm Coleman by just 225 votes. Still, don't expect to see the former Saturday Night Live comedian up on Capitol Hill today, getting sworn in with the rest of the 111th Congress. Coleman is expected to file a lawsuit contesting the decision. So the North Star State might have just one senator for a while. We've written before that Coleman and Franken couldn't be further apart when it comes to education, particularly the No Child Left ...


So he may not have gotten picked for education secretary, but it looks like Denver schools chief Michael Bennet is headed to Washington anyway, at least according to the Rocky Mountain News. Apparently, he's been tapped by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, a Democrat, to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Ken Salazar, who is President-elect Barack Obama's choice for Interior Secretary. Fans of merit-pay programs are probably knocking back champagne flutes to celebrate the news. In Denver, Bennet presided over what is considered a model pay-for-performance program - with teachers' union buy-in. Of course, it's too early to say ...


Education may have been lower than saving the giant African bat on the national political stage during the presidential election, but Alyson and I still managed to cobble together a list of the Top 10 education political moments of 2008: 10. Portfolio-gate -- the shortest lived "-gate" in history. 9. John McCain calls running mate Sarah Palin a national expert on autism, even though her son, Trig, has a different developmental disability. (To be fair, some folks suggested he was referring to her nephew, who does have autism.) 8. The AFT's Randi Weingarten gets "really pissed" at Democrats for Education ...


If appointed to the Senate, Caroline Kennedy has said she would like to be involved in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, which her uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, helped to champion, according to a story that ran this weekend in the New York Times. In case you hadn't heard, Kennedy is hoping to take over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's seat, if, as expected, Clinton becomes President-elect Obama's Secretary of State. In their story, The Times reporters who interviewed her seem to think that she dodged questions about teacher tenure and merit pay, but reading over the ...


Consider this an e-stocking stuffer from those of us at Campaign K-12, who pass along the following good tidbits to tide you over during the holiday season: Much has been made of a split among Democrats on education policy, but is there a schism on the right, too? Ponder this at Flypaper. A member of Obama's agency review team on education tells a higher education publication that Linda Darling-Hammond, if she wants to, will either have a key role in the White House or in the Ed Department. Will Obama's stimulus package mean tidings of good cheer for schools? Maybe, ...


Not to throw cold water on the education secretary naming party, but did anyone else see that yesterday—while Obama was talking up the benefits of a longer school day and teacher quality during the Arne Duncan announcement—the governor of Alabama was taking steps to cut K-12 education funding by 9 percent? NINE PERCENT! That cut ranks as the biggest Alabama's seen in public school funding in half a century, and surely it's the most severe the country has seen this year. Alabama is only the most recent example of a state so deep in deficit that its governor ...


Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan reportedly won't run for re-election in 2010. Apparently, the Republican is mulling a run for governor of the Wolverine State. Hoekstra has long been one of the most vocal opponents on the House Education and Labor Committee—and in Congress—of the No Child Left Behind Act's expansion of federal power over public schools. Last year, he introduced a bill that would have permitted states to opt out of NCLB's accountability requirements and managed to get more than 60 co-sponsors, including the incoming Republican whip, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia. Looks like the scale-back-the-federal-role crowd will...


Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and Rick Kahlenberg, an author and a senior fellow at Education Sector, will be discussing Obama's education secretary pick.


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