No, this isn't a merit-pay plan to reward teachers for performance. But, it's along those same lines—and I'm thinking this might be a good idea. John McCain is offering a $300 million prize to someone who develops a car battery that will "leapfrog" the current technology that powers our traditional cars and even newer hybrids. The goal, of course, is to drive down oil prices. In his remarks yesterday, McCain pointed out that many advancements—such as the mapping of the human genome—can be traced back to American inventors, and "often to the foresighted aid of the United ...


There are a lot of freshmen on the House Education and Labor Committee, but only one shows up on The Fix's latest list of most competitive House races: Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H. The No Child Left Behind Act was one of Shea-Porter's favorite targets back in 2006, when she unseated Rep. Jeb Bradley, a Republican. (He wasn't in Congress in 2001, when the law was passed). Shea-Porter equated the law with President Bush and pledged to work to scrap it. She called it an attempt by "right-wing Republicans" to “undermine our confidence in our public schools" to create a ...


Jeb Bush and Margaret Spellings....


One of the most disturbing things I heard today during a press conference about state budget conditions was this: the economic downturn in many states could last three or four years. That's about as long as the next president's first term. Even if the national economy takes an unexpected upward swing, states are always slower to come out of slumps. Ray Scheppach, the executive director of the National Governors Association, explained that it's because states typically don't feel the negative impact from unemployment (which means fewer dollars coming in from income taxes) until months after job losses hit their peak. ...


Sen. Barack Obama visited a community college in Michigan yesterday to talk about college affordability, reiterating his plans for a $4,000-a-year tax credit to help pay tuition. (I posted his speech below.) More affordable, two-year community colleges, which are often overshadowed by their four-year counterparts in higher ed, can be an important part of the solution, the Illinois Democrat and presumptive presidential nominee has said. And his education plan even includes a fair amount about how he would beef up community colleges. While Obama is talking about making it easier for students to go to college, states are making ...


So it looks like David Brooks' commentary on Sen. Barack Obama's education proposals generated quite a bit of debate among New York Times readers. The paper published four letters-to-the-editor today responding to Brooks' question about whether the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee falls into the education "reform" or "status quo" camps in the Democratic Party, as represented by the signers of a statement from the Education Equity Project and the "Broader, Bolder Approach to Education," respectively. (You can read all about those statements, and Obama's decision to essentially endorse both of them, in my colleague David Hoff's Edweek story). Some of ...


Rep. Timothy J. Walz, D-Minn., a freshman and former teacher who won his seat in an upset victory in 2006, is co-sponsoring a bill that would suspend the accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, according to my colleague, David Hoff, over at NCLB Act II. If that sounds like a bold move for someone facing a potentially tough re-election battle ... it actually, well, isn't. At least two of the three Republicans vying to take on Walz in the general election have said they would scrap the NCLB law, according to this news report. Still, it's telling that, ...


Joel Packer isn't the only new face on this blog. Frequent contributing blogger Alyson Klein is now officially a part of Campaign K-12. We will share the duties of blogging about the presidential election, plus Congressional, state and local races. Alyson is a federal beat reporter at EdWeek who manages to add some spice to the world of the federal budget (by, for example, talking about the science of ice skating in an otherwise routine budget story!) She's has already offered valuable insight (and a lot of ellipses...) on this blog—on everything from the West Wing TV show imitating ...


The New York Times' David Brooks sounds very much like John McCain's education adviser Lisa Graham Keegan when he challenges Sen. Barack Obama's plans for education reform in an op-ed piece that appears today. Yesterday, Keegan laid out the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's vision for reporters, and said he shouldn't apologize for not having unveiled his education plan yet. "It's very easy to write a detailed program for an old system," Keegan said in criticizing Obama's plan, which has been on his Web site for months. Brooks makes a similar point: "He proposes dozens of programs to build on top ...


Sen. John McCain's education adviser, Lisa Graham Keegan, sat down today with several reporters for a rapid-fire Q-and-A session hosted by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and she laid out the most details yet about the Arizona Republican's plans for the No Child Left Behind Act. And yes, a more formal education plan is coming, she said, but not until "back-to-school" time in the fall, when people are listening. I'll go into more detail in a bit, but I wanted to highlight two important things I thought Keegan said. First, McCain's plan to freeze discretionary federal spending applies to education ...


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