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.


Chicago education activists share their thoughts on Arne Duncan. Small schools advocate Michael Klonsky, for one, thinks Duncan's been "liberated" by Obama.


Just a few minutes ago, President-elect Obama officially tapped Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Arne Duncan as the next education secretary. In listening to his remarks, it's clear that Obama wants a no-excuses leader who isn't afraid to make tough choices to increase student achievement. Obama, as part of his announcement today in Chicago, touted Duncan's on-the-ground experience making those tough decisions: When faced with tough decisions, Arne doesn’t blink. He’s not beholden to any one ideology – and he doesn’t hesitate for one minute to do what needs to be done. He’s worked tirelessly to improve teacher ...


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