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.


Earlier this week, Alyson blogged about the tension between states and districts over Race to the Top participation. The more school districts that sign an MOU agreeing to participate in a state's reform plan, the more points a state gets in the competition. And participating school districts, in return, would enjoy a slice of their state's award. But many districts aren't sure exactly what they're committing to do, and even wonder if it's a binding agreement. Well, the U.S. Department of Education weighed in on this during two technical planning seminars last month, when state teams asked whether local ...


Colorado's Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat whose state is engaged in an all-out campaign for a Race to the Top Fund grant, has decided to not run for re-election. It's too soon to say what his decision will mean for the Centennial State's chances in the hot competition for a slice of the $4 billion in economic-stimulus program grants. Maybe nothing. Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien told me the state has worked hard to get broad, bipartisan support so that the plan will be carried through no matter who is in office next year. But some folks had speculated that Colorado ...


Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, a Democrat who has been very active on education issues throughout his decades-long career and came super close to being chairman of the Senate education committee when Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., passed away, plans to announce today that he won't seek re-election. Dodd has struggled with Connecticut voters who haven't liked his leadership on financial issues. (He's the chairman of the Senate banking committee and helped craft the multibillion-dollar Wall Street bailout/rescue package in fall 2008.) Interestingly, Dodd's departure might mean more of a role for education in the Senate race, not ...


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