Over at the School Law Blog, my colleague Erik Robelen gives a K-12 once-over on President Obama's nomination of New York federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court. Her personal and professional resume includes a lot of anecdotes that will resonate with the public. Her father, who had only a third-grade education, died young, leaving her mother—a nurse—to raise her and her brother. Sotomayor took comfort in Nancy Drew books, and the fictional amateur detective ended up inspiring the now-Supreme-Court-nominee to read and learn. She excelled in school, got college scholarships to Ivy ...


Secretary of Education Arne Duncan put out the official list of many of the folks who've gotten top positions at the U.S. Department of Education. Most of these aren't new, but the list is a good Who's Who of new political appointees. Another Gates Foundation refugee got a top job. Margot Rogers, formerly the senior counselor to Duncan, will be Arne Duncan's chief of staff. While at Gates, she managed the foundation's five-year education strategy. Juan Sepulveda will be the director of the White House Initiative on the Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. He was the Texas state director ...


Happy Friday and Almost-Memorial-Day! After you're done watching the On-Demand version of our stimulus webinar (register first here) check out these good reads: First, crack education finance researcher Marguerite Roza has a report out on the stimulus and the prospects for school reform. There's a super-helpful chart showing just how much of a difference the money will make to each state's K-12 budget that you'll definitely want to bookmark. Looks like there are a lot of places where it won't make much of a difference. One of the states that will actually be in the black after the stim, according ...


Now that voters have rejected several budget fixes, the $4 billion in state fiscal stabilization fund money headed to California is barely going to make a dent in the state's deficit.


Have a burning question about the stimulus? You're in luck — Michele and I will be doing a webinar today at 1 p.m. We'll do an overview on the different parts of the law, the guidance that's yet to come, and take your questions. You can watch it all right here on edweek.org. And it's free (although registration is required)....


Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the House education chairman urged Arne Duncan to be very picky in determining which states should get money under the Race to the Top fund.


Judy Wurtzel, who was on leave from the Aspen Institute to serve as a consultant to the Education Department, is in line to take a full-time position under Education Secretary Arne Duncan. She would be the deputy assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development. That's according to an email just sent out by the Aspen Institute. UPDATE: And the education department also confirms....


A draft bill details a federal reading effort that would target children of all ages, essentially from birth to high school. The proposal includes many of the tenets of Reading First, but also lists writing and motivation as key components of effective literacy instruction.


Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, the superintendent of the Pomona Unified School District, in California, is being nominated as the new assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, the White House just announced. (UPDATE: Pending Senate confirmation, of course.) This would make Melendez the top K-12 specialist, in charge of Title I programs and other things No-Child-Left-Behind. She'd be the highest-ranking Hispanic in the department. (UPDATE 2: Reading Alexander Russo's post on Melendez reminded me that Gabrielle Gomez, who is also at the assistant secretary level—for legislative affairs—is also Hispanic.) Though she's not a big-name superintendent like Washington's ...


The $4-plus-billion Race to the Top fund has a new master: Joanne S. Weiss, a partner and the chief operating officer at the NewSchools Venture Fund. We’ve heard that Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the announcement today in a speech to the NewSchools Venture Fund via a video link. Weiss will be in charge of the larger, $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund, which gives grants to states. Jim Shelton will be in charge of the smaller, $635 million Invest in What Works Innovation fund, which will give grants to school districts and nonprofits that make progress ...


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