February 2008 Archives

Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza says that Mark Warner, a Democrat and the former governor of Virginia, is all but assured of capturing the Senate seat made vacant by the retirement of Sen. John Warner, a Republican who is not related to the former gov. According to Cillizza and others, Warner isn't expected to get much of a challenge from former Gov. Jim Gilmore, his likely Republican opponent. That means high school overhaul may be gaining a vocal new champion in the Senate. In 2005, then Gov. Warner made the issue a centerpiece of his tenure as chairman of the Washington-based ...


Good stuff you—or I!—might have missed this week: Sen. Hillary Clinton has a new plan to cut child poverty in half by 2020 by boosting benefit levels for food stamps, making the free school breakfast program universal in all low-income communities, and creating a $1 billion "child opportunity" fund to find innovative solutions. A noble goal, and I say good luck because this is a significant barrier to education. When I was at the just-concluded winter meeting of the National Governors Association, Pedro Noguera, the executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education in New York City, ...


...otherwise known as the National Governors' Association just-concluded winter meeting, which I staffed in hopes of getting a good story about initiatives underway by governors to improve public schools. Instead, I wrote this story for EdWeek: "Education Gets Short Shrift at Governors' Winter Meeting." So, what's on the governors' minds? Other really important things, like health care, the "real ID" federal identification mandate, the federal economic stimulus package and clean, affordable energy. And then, of course, attendees and the governors at this Washington D.C. conference talked about who's endorsing whom for president and whether any of these heads-of-state might ...


During the much-balley-hooed interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about vouchers, Sen. Barack Obama expressed concern that there had been no long-range study of the city's voucher program. Well, now there is, or at least the beginning of one. Though the results are preliminary, there are some interesting tidbits in the University of Arkansas study (the first year of a planned five-year study), which you can check out for yourself. The summary is here, or a complete menu of options here. First, vouchers haven't made a huge difference in student performance, and in fact, results are mixed as to whether ...


Yesterday's Washington Post explored the flip-flopping going on with Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The Post id'd its top five flip flops for each candidate. And what was No. 2 for Clinton? Her position on No Child Left Behind....


Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is now the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential race, both in delegates and in the popular vote. So it's well with taking a look at his team of education advisers ... these folks could well end up staffing the U.S. Department of Education under an Obama administration. We've been able to track down a partial list of campaign advisers and are hoping to add more in coming days and weeks. But a preliminary look at some of the campaign advisers shows a mix of state policymakers, academics, researchers..and luckily, for Campaign K-12 readers, a sizeable ...


If education voters were hoping that last night's Democratic debate on CNN might give Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois a chance to hash out their views on school choice, teacher pay, or any other hot button education issue ... they were sorely disappointed. There wasn't a single question on education in the second-to-last scheduled debate between the two remaining Democratic contenders. Still, Obama did use one question as an opportunity to express his support for bilingual education - an issue that's likely to be important to the sizeable number of Hispanic voters who will ...


Inquiring minds in Ohio want to know: Is Obama open to vouchers, or isn't he? That's the gist of this letter the Ohio Federation of Teachers sent to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign this week after the Illinois Democrat recently told newspaper reporters in Milwaukee that he might reconsider his opposition to vouchers if there's research to back it up, and if vouchers are what's best for kids. The letter, signed by the OFT and the local unions representing teachers in Cleveland, Toledo, and Cincinnati, points out that Sen. Obama didn't seem nearly as open to vouchers in his responses to ...


Barack Obama dared to declare that he might be open to vouchers if there's evidence to back up this controversial education reform effort and, more importantly, if it's what's "best for kids." Imagine that—a presidential hopeful being in favor of a program if there's research to support it, and if it helps kids! Well, now the Obama campaign is in damage-control mode because vouchers are one of the most polarizing issues in education reform, and fiercely opposed by the teachers' unions. After all, the National Education Association's endorsement is still up for grabs. Obama's campaign sent Education Week this ...


My colleague, David Hoff, devotes a fair amount of space in Education Week to unearthing as much as he can about Sen. John McCain's views on education. It's becoming a more difficult task since the campaign office of the Republican frontrunner won't return phone calls. Not to Hoff. Not to me. Not to The Arizona Republic, which wanted to know his specific views on the No Child Left Behind Act. So, I think this quote from Hoff's story says it all: “I don’t think he has a strong track record of putting education at the top of his priorities,” ...


That's the question I started thinking about given the flap over Sen. Barack Obama's "plagiarism" of some lines from a speech of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a big-time Obama supporter. I'm in grad school now, and as a student, plagiarism (or the borrowing of another's work and claiming it as one's own) is strictly prohibited. Even unintentional plagiarism is grounds for course failure or even expulsion from school. Simply put, as a student, you're supposed to cite from where you get your information—even if you get "permission" from the original source, as Obama said he did. I suspect the ...


Got a minute? Take a spin through these campaign-related posts and tidbits from this week: The Hoff digs up some good information on John McCain. Perhaps I will have to change the the "Incomplete" grade I gave the Republican senator from Arizona. Joe Williams offers a thoughtful analysis of Obama's openness to school vouchers. Advocacy group Pre-K Now wants "Sam" to go to school, so they've launched a national campaign dubbed "No School for Sam" urging the presidential candidates to make universal pre-k a national priority. That's a far easier sell to Democrats than to Republicans. An Eduwonk guestblogger wants ...


Yesterday, I asked if Democrat Barack Obama would stand up to teachers' unions and embrace policies that they would oppose. Well, it seems he's doing just that. In an eyebrow-raising statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Illinois senator said he's a skeptic of vouchers, but that he might be open to them if studies show that's "what's best for kids." (UPDATE: Watch the video here.) The entire passage is worth repeating, since even an "openness" toward vouchers is a major departure for a Democratic presidential candidate:Obama said he has been a strong supporter of charter schools "as a ...


If you could grade the presidential candidates on their education platforms, what would you give them? Newsweek magazine did just that after getting the opinions of Education Sector's Thomas Toch and the Center for Education Reform's Jeanne Allen. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, fares the worst, earning a D+ in part because Arkansas' academic benchmarks are "the pits," according to Toch. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, a Democrat, earns a B- despite "currying favor" with the teachers' unions (in Allen's words), although Toch predicts she may embrace the idea of merit pay for teachers if she ...


That's essentially the question The Politico asked of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, in this interview posted last night. The question came about when the interviewer remarked that Republican frontrunner John McCain has often bucked his own party (on issues such as immigration) and has the battle scars to prove it. So, The Politico reporter asked, will Sen. Obama be willing to stand up to his own party? Obama says yes, and he offers education to prove his point. In the interview, the Illinois senator professes his support for charter schools and "looking at how we can reward excellence in the ...


Ex-Bushie and Fordham Foundation VP Michael Petrilli has made me feel a little bit better about Arizona Sen. John McCain's fast-track pace to the Republican nomination. To be sure, I'm not worried about a McCain nomination because of his politics, but from a pure education-blogging perspective. As Petrilli notes in his latest article for the National Review, McCain has "zero interest in education," which will make the jobs of edubloggers (and ED in '08) that much more difficult. However, Petrilli notes that perhaps McCain will delegate the job of education policy to an education secretary who actually has a flair ...


Can't get enough interesting tidbits on the presidential candidates? Then keep reading: The questions blogger Jim Horn would really like to ask in debates, at the Education Policy Blog. Baltimore Sun education reporter Sara Neufeld joins the long, long list of people lamenting the state of education in the campaign. And check out a couple of good posts on specific candidates. Update: Don't miss Mike Antonucci's post on Hillary Clinton's inconsistent stand on No Child Left Behind. On Sen. Barack Obama, Alexander Russo picks apart the Illinois Democrat's work in 1999 as a state senator on legislation regarding Chicago principal ...


Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican who had assembled a who's who list of education advisers and one of the more detailed education agendas of the GOP presidential candidates, is calling it quits. Now who in the presidential race will say nice things about No Child Left Behind?...


Lost in the Super Tuesday hoopla was the fact that California voters agreed to expand tribal gambling in their state by adding 17,000 slot machines to further tempt people. The proceeds will go to help prop up the state budget. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who supported and helped broker the gambling deal with the legislature last year, even appeared in television ads (included below) with state superintendent of public instruction Jack O'Connell. (And those two don't always see eye to eye). The message? More slot machines=more money for schools. This isn't just a California issue. In Illinois, the ...


In the wake of the Super Tuesday results, which showed no clear favorite among Democrats, the 3.2-million member National Education Association wants to remind Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that the union's endorsement is still up for grabs. With that endorsement comes access to hundreds of thousands of NEA volunteers, who could prove crucial in the political ground game. In a press release issued this morning, NEA President Reg Weaver said neither Obama nor Clinton has made the case that would earn them the association’s recommendation. “There have been dozens of debates but less than a handful ...


No matter what you think of the presidential candidates, you have to respect the enthusiasm that the tight Democratic and Republican contests have sparked, which played out in results from the Super Tuesday primaries. The youth vote is proving crucial, particularly in the Democratic primaries, where voters have the opportunity to elect either the first woman or African-American to the White House. Exit polls from the primary states that voted yesterday show just how involved young people are. In Georgia, for example, 11 percent of young people ages 18-29 voted in 2004. This year: 18 percent. In Tennessee, 7 percent ...


Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton is perhaps the only presidential candidate who talks about special education on the campaign trail—and that's probably a wise move, since about 6.8 million children in the United States have disabilities. That represents about 12 percent of students nationwide—a not-to-be-overlooked proportion of American families. Last night, during Clinton's national town hall meeting broadcast on the Hallmark Channel and online, the first question she fielded was on education. She used this as an opportunity to bash the No Child Left Behind Act as an unfunded federal mandate that has resulted in schools full of "little...


Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and longtime state Education Czar Nancy Grasmick look like they're about to sign a peace treaty between two warring countries. Almost. These two arch enemies are now pretending to be friends after the Democratic governor backed down Monday from his demands for legislation that he get to appoint his own education superintendent. If you'll remember, he was all riled up that the state board of education renewed her contract over his opposition....


Unless Mitt Romney can pull off a N.Y. Giants-esque upset on Super Tuesday, Republican John McCain seems destined to claim the Republican presidential nomination. And so I went searching again for more insight into how Sen. McCain might change the No Child Left Behind Act. On his Web site, you can find a little bit about his education ideas, including a video where he extols the benefits of school choice. But I'm still left wanting to know more about what specific changes he'd like to make to President Bush's signature education law. Perhaps most telling, in March 2007, the ...


ED in '08 is back in the news again, and this time, the Washington Post is assessing the group's effectiveness at making education a top-tier presidential campaign issue in a story today. The story calls attention to ED in '08's split from the country's largest teachers' union in endorsing some form of performance pay for teachers. The biggest "ouch" factor is at the end of the story. John I. Wilson, the National Education Association's executive director, says: "They have a nice slogan. They have nice bumper stickers and pins. They try to get their logo in pictures. But it just ...


That's Bill Clinton, not Hillary. In this story, the former president is blaming Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, one of the architects of the No Child Left Behind Act, for the "train wreck" that he says the law has become. Hmmmm. Could this be President Clinton's payback for Sen. Kennedy's endorsement of Hillary Clinton's chief opponent, Barack Obama?...


Did you catch last night's relatively tame debate between Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on CNN? Education got only a passing mention. However, as I listened to the two candidates, it occurred to me that perhaps the single most important thing that the next president can do for schools has little to do with education, at least on its face. And that's reforming health care. I argue this for two reasons. First, there were 8.7 million uninsured children in the U.S. in 2006, according to the latest Census data. That's enough students to fill about ...


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