Cross-posted from Eduwonk. The new Early Learning Challenge is being referred to in some quarters as "Race to the Top for early childhood education." That's quite literally true, in the sense that the Early Learning Challenge is being funded out of a pool of funds appropriated this year specifically for Race to the Top (with Congressional language indicating an intention to use some of these funds for early childhood). But folks in the early childhood community were actually analogizing the early learning challenge grant to Race to the Top before that-when the program was initially proposed as a component of ...


Cross-posted from Eduwonk There's a debate about "neoliberalism" going on headin the progressive blogosphere that is sort of tedious and not the kind of thing I'd normally flag [and to be clear, I have no dog in this larger fight, just quoting the various sides below]-Except that it has some pretty striking parallels with debates going on around education reform today. Basically, the argument is that market-oriented and technocratic strategies favored by "neoliberal" policy wonks to address economic and social challenges are inherently inadequate because they fail to adequately "increase the power of labor relative to capital," or in ...


I'm going to be blogging over at Eduwonk this week and early next; check out my posts over there!...


Man, those CRPE people are guest-blogging up a storm at Eduwonk this week. In a smart post, Parker Baxter flags Paul Teske's research showing that transportation can be a significant obstacle to school choice for low- to moderate-income families. Of course it is; transportation is a significant barrier to lots of things for low-income families--things like getting and holding a job, or accessing health care, or buying groceries--as well as accessing a school of their choice. It doesn't make a lot of sense to talk about transportation barriers to school choice without engaging the reality that lots of things about ...


My fellow Ed Week blogger Rick Hess has a great interview this week with KIPP co-founded Mike Feinberg, in which he talks about Feinberg's "KIPP Turbo" plan to grow the Houston KIPP network to more than 40 schools, which would serve 10% of Houston kids. One thing that Rick and Mike don't get into is that KIPP's expansion plans in Houston would also ramp up KIPP network's highly successful early childhood and early elementary programs there, including this planned early childhood and elementary lab school in collaboration with the Children's Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center ...


Suzanne Mettler's current Washington Monthly article about the "submerged welfare state" is getting a lot of attention, particularly for this chart showing that a huge percentage of people who have benefited from government-subsidized social and education programs don't actually realize that they've benefited from government subsidies. It's pretty striking, but even more striking, to me, is that I'm pretty sure that somewhere around 90% of the people who responded to Mettler's survey probably attended public school at some point in their lives--something so taken for granted it didn't even register in Mettler's mind as an example of a government program, ...


Republican legislative and gubernatorial wins in last November's election have led to a surge in voucher-related legislative activity, including the re-launch of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, a new voucher program in Indiana, and proposals to expand Wisconsin's existing voucher programs and create new ones in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But, as Mary Anne Zehr reports in this week's Education Week, the political and policy successes of voucher advocates are showing up one of the biggest practical problems with vouchers: There are real limits on the number of high-quality private school seats available. As long as vouchers remain small, ...


I've already voiced a considerable amount of skepticism and concern this week as regards the new Early Learning Challenge program under Race to the Top, but my biggest concern about this program isn't about the program itself--it's about the peer reviewers. In the wake of Race to the Top and i3, there's been enough [digital] ink spilled on the challenges of ensuring quality, unbiased review in competitive federal grant programs that I don't need to say any more about that now. But if you thought that Race to the Top and i3 posed scoring challenges, you ain't seen nothing yet. ...


If I were a foundation that had invested significant funding in early childhood education over the past decade, I can tell you exactly what I'd be doing right now. I'd be offering grants to states to help them plan for and write their applications for the federal Early Learning Challenge competition under RTT. During the original Race to the Top competition, the Gates Foundation famously made grants of up to $250,000 to states--originally just 15 states, then all of them--to support their work developing RTT plans and writing their applications. These funds, and how states used them, ultimately had ...


DFER's Charlie Barone has written a really phenomenal post on the ESEA waivers issue and broader state of play on NCLB (seriously, if you haven't read it yet, click here and don't return until you have). But in addition to his excellent points on those issues, Charlie's post also helps frame why I have very mixed feelings about the new RTT Early Learning Challenge Program. Charlie writes: Likewise, on Race to the Top, at the beginning of their terms in 2009 President Obama and Secretary Duncan knew and made clear what they wanted states to do: repeal state laws that ...


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