Per the previous post, I'm really curious about who, of the organizations that applied for but did not win i3 grants last year, is going to take another shot this year. Due to the very high number of applicants last year, there were a number of really excellent applications that did not get funded*, and I think a fair amount of surprise and disappointment in some circles that the Department chose to hold a new competition this year, rather than "fund down the slate" of last year's almost-winners. So here's a question for readers: If you/your organization was involved ...


The Department of Education chose to release the new i3 competition notice of applications on Friday, so I'm just getting around to looking at them today. A few big changes from last year worth noting: Smaller maximum awards: Given the smaller overall pot of funds ($150 million this year, compared to $650 million last year), this is not surprising. The maximum award for scale-up grants is $25 million; for validation $15 million; for development $3 million. In addition to the previous limitation that a grantee could not receive more than two awards in a single year, the Department has added ...


Interesting new report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center looks at how families with young children are using and dealing with media. It's a great look at how (and how much) parents use media with their kids, what kinds of technology kids are using and have access to, what parents think about kids and technology, they types of rules and protections they put in place around kids' media use, and parents' concerns. One key issue the report flags is a lack of quality information in the market to help parents gauge the value and quality of the growing proliferation of ...


Big NYT article over the weekend on kindergarten cut-off dates (the age by which children must turn 5 to enter kindergarten). Connecticut (along with New York City) has some of the latest cut-off dates in the country, and is considering moving them up. As my colleague Andy Rotherham notes, this is complicated stuff, and given the difference from other states, in may make sense for Connecticut to do this. But it is worth noting that there's been a trend of states moving up kindergarten cut-off dates over the last few decades, such that, while it was once the norm for ...


Many of the leaders profiled in this series are people who have started their own organizations to address education needs and challenges. But an equally critical challenge is ensuring the next generation of strong leaders working in existing organizations, to sustain these organizations and enable them to grow to scale. As Chief of Staff for Aspire Public Schools, a charter management organization serving more than 10,000 California students, Stephanie Wilson is one of these leaders. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wilson earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia and spent three years in management consulting before making ...


Last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the New Schools Venture Fund Summit, a major conference for education reformers, funders, and social entrepreneurs. And his comments there suggesting a desire to allow younger children to use Facebook have garnered considerable attention and controversy. I actually asked Zuckerberg a follow-up question on this at the Summit (see minute 53:30 here), specifically around what he thinks quality educational technology and social networking experiences for preschool-aged children should/would look like (because his initial comments were framed in terms of the importance of education starting early). I didn't get much of ...


I should have said this earlier, but, given the outlines of the Early Learning Challenge program announced yesterday, ensuring high-quality evaluation/research for this program is really important. There's a big emphasis right now in the early childhood space on systems-building and coordination. That makes sense: The early childhood sector today is a total mishmash of unaligned programs, providers, funding streams, and policies--and that creates gaps in services, tremendous frustration for parents and providers, and inefficiencies. But--there is very little evidence about the various strategies states are currently using, and early childhood advocates are encouraging, to build systems and improve ...


As young teachers in the New York City Public Schools, Evan Stone and Sydney Morris struggled with a feeling that the policies and practices that affected them and their students were being developed with little teacher input or voice. So they decided to work to change that, by created Educators for Excellence to organize teachers and provide an independent voice for them in public and policy debates over education. Today, Educators for Excellence has 2,500 members, a staff of 6 former teachers, and is already putting its imprint on legislation and policy in New York State. Educators for Excellence ...


Big Race to the Top announcement today from Secretaries Duncan and Sebelius: Of the $700 appropriated by Congress, $500 will be used for a new "Race to the Top--Early Learning Challenge" competition, and $200 will be open for competition among the 9 states that were "Runners Up" in RTT round 2. The decision to create a separate early childhood competition, as opposed to folding early childhood into the original Race to the Top program, isn't particularly surprising to anyone who's been following this issue--the FY2011 appropriations legislation clearly contemplates this, and both Congressional early childhood supporters and the early childhood ...


Mickey Muldoon has a knack for going where the action is: Shortly after graduating from Harvard, he did field organizing in Ohio for the Obama campaign. Last fall he joined School of One just as the initiative to transform schooling through radical personalization was gaining national attention. In between, he spent time at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. At only 26, Muldoon has already acquired an eclectic set of experiences that reflect not only his own wide-ranging interests, but also a broader mindset that characterizes this new generation of education leaders: A desire to go where the action and potential ...


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