There's something to be said for starting with a blank page. But the Department of Education is taking this to new levels and violating the spirit, or perhaps even the letter, of the federal Freedom of Information Act. This law is supposed to ensure that government business (which is funded by you, the taxpayer) is conducted out in the open. There are exceptions, of course, for things like national security and records on juveniles, for example. For background, read Kathleen Kennedy Manzo's recent story about her fruitless (so far) quest to get public information out of the Ed Department about ...


Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a daring guy who jumped out in support of John McCain when practically everyone else had counted the Senator out, is boosting his education creds. Pawlenty is the new chairman of the Denver-based Education Commission of the States. He follows Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat. Pawlenty, who is also chairman of the National Governors Association, has been suggested as a VP pick for McCain, who could certainly use a running mate who believes education belongs on the national agenda....


....who would it vote for? Turns out, that's not such an absurd question, because ED in '08 chairman Roy Romer is a superdelegate. Although ED in '08 has struggled to raise the level of dialogue about education, it may have some leverage since Romer, a former Democratic national chairman, is a superdelegate who hasn't committed to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. In such a tight race, both candidates are scrambling to boost their delegate tally, and are vying for votes from each state's "superdelegates." Interestingly, ED in '08 makes the point over and over again that it's a nonpartisan ...


The AFL-CIO—a traditional Democratic ally—hasn't decided who to campaign for. Leaders are reportedly torn between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. But, they know exactly who they want to campaign against: presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona. As the Democratic primary battle wages on, the union is helping the Democrats make their general case against McCain by distributing information to their members on a range of issues, from the economy to health-care to yes ... education. And its materials are targeted. For instance, members of the American Federation of Teachers (which has...


It's already starting! Al Franken, who is challenging Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, for his Senate seat in the swing state of Minnesota, showed up on David Letterman on Tuesday night ... and bashed No Child Left Behind! On late night TV! Shockingly, Letterman wasn't nearly as excited as I was .... he seemed only slightly more amused than Jon Stewart did when Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings brought up "growth models" during her appearance on the Daily Show last year. Franken was much wonkier (and not nearly as entertaining) as a senate candidate than as a comedian. I think he's trying ...


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., yesterday released a statement that amounted to a back-handed compliment of the U.S. Department of Education's plan to allow up to 10 states to use "differentiated consequences" in implementing the No Child Left Behind Act. "While a small pilot, this is a long overdue step in the right direction. By allowing states to differentiate between schools that need modest improvements and those that are chronically failing, this pilot will provide some much-needed flexibility," Clinton said in the March 18 statement. "This step, however, should be just the beginning. No Child Left Behind is ...


Education issues - and specifically the achievement gap between low-income and minority children and their more affluent peers - made a cameo appearance in Sen. Barack Obama's highly anticipated speech on race, delivered in Philadelphia today. Obama acknowledged that schools in many parts of the nation remain racially segregated, even 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation ruling. No policy prescriptions (that wasn't the point of the speech) but in his remarks, Obama appears to frame educational quality as a civil rights issue, particularly in this passage, in which Obama urged ...


...like academician, psychometrician, statistician. Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland last week hurled those labels at his state schools chief, Susan T. Zelman. Hired by her board of education in 1999, Zelman is well-liked in her state, and nationally as well. But from Strickland's perspective, she's not "visionary" enough, according to this report of Strickland's visit to the Cincinnati Enquirer's editorial board. (Hat tip to Ohio blogger ohdave.) Strickland, who like a lot of governors wants to have more direct control over education, wants to essentially do away with her office and have his own education czar. And Zelman isn't his ...


If you were as fascinated as I was with the Eliot Spitzer scandal, then you may have missed these noteworthy reads: The Democrats for Education Reform will be among the first to get a sneak-peak of the new governor of New York, David Paterson. (Hat tip to Eduwonk for flagging this story.) Before Spitzer's troubles became public, the DFER had planned a March 20 fundraiser for Paterson in New York City's Harlem neighborhood. And, DFER's Joe Williams told me, Paterson has re-confirmed that he plans to attend. With so few major pieces written about education in the presidential race, it's ...


Hoping to hear a lively - and maybe even substantive - debate between two federal candidates over the future of the No Child Left Behind Act? You might be in luck ... if you live in Minnesota. Mike Ciresi, a laywer who was vying with the comedian Al Franken, at right, for a chance to take on Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, dropped out of the Democratic primary race this week, putting Franken in a strong position to win his party's nomination. That means we might start hearing a real discussion on NCLB in the general election campaign because it seems ...


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