Tomorrow, the U.S. Department of Education will announce plans to help simplify the process for applying for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It may not sound like a particularly sexy issue, but a lot of experts think the FAFSA has been a major barrier to student access. In fact, 40 percent of college kids never even file the form, even though most of them are eligible for some form of student aid. (The Chronicle of Higher Education has some excellent background here). Duncan's plan has three main elements. It would: 1) Rework the ...


The White House Office of Management and Budget last night released guidance for states on how to calculate the impact of stimulus dollars, including how recovery dollars are being spent and how many jobs have been saved. You can read the guidance for yourself here. One state official I talked to said she finds the guidance confusing, as least as it applies to education. Betsy Carpentier, deputy superintendent of innovation and support in South Carolina, called the reporting requirements confusing and "pie in the sky". One of her chief complaints? The OMB doesn't explain how to calculate jobs saved that ...


The symbol of the Bush administration's signature school reform law has been dismantled, signaling the end of an era.


Steve Barr says he'll be talking with Chancellor Michelle Rhee about bringing his model for small high schools to the District of Columbia.


Education Secretary Arne Duncan challenged charter school operators to play a hands-on role in turning around the nation's 5,000 lowest-performing schools.


Duncan's speech on turning around low-performing schools kicks off the national charter schools conference on Monday.


It's going to be story-hour at 400 Maryland Ave. - all summer long. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is planning to read to kids on the lawn of the U.S. Department of Education on a regular basis throughout the summer. (Suggest your favorite children's classics in the comments section). He may even be joined by other cabinet secretaries from time to time. The program is part of the White House's Summer of Service initiative, "United We Serve" which kicks off on Monday, and runs through Sept. 11. Duncan's cabinet colleagues are getting in on the act too. For instance, ...


The AP's Libby Quaid has an interesting story about how Education Secretary Arne Duncan has put in writing a threat we've heard before: that if states play shell games with the economic-stimulus money intended to help stabilize their budgets, they may be at a competitive disadvantage when it comes time to award the $5 billion in competitive stimulus grants under his control. Pennsylvania is considering cutting K-12 education, using stimulus money to fill in the resulting gap, while leaving its "rainy day" fund largely intact. Read Duncan's letter here. And listen to him talk about the larger issue in this ...


Texas Democrats are fighting what's perhaps a noble, albeit losing, battle over State Fiscal Stabilization Fund money that's designed to help prop up states' K-12 education budgets. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and fellow Republicans have figured out, like a lot of other states, that even if you don't really need to cut education, you can cut K-12 anyway and fill the cuts with federal stimulus money, thereby freeing up money for other government programs that would have been spent on education. In one case, Democrats fought a valiant and creative fight as members of the Texas congressional delegation threatened to ...


Rep. John Kline of Minnesota is the new top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee. Kline wasn't in Congress back in 2001, when lawmakers approved the No Child Left Behind Act, so it's unclear whether he would have supported the legislation. But, unlike Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon of California, who held the ranking member position until he became the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Kline is a co-sponsor of this bill, put forth by Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan. Commonly called the A-plus Act, the legislation would allow states to "opt-out" of NCLB's accountability ...


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