Congress may not be making adequately yearly progress towards the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but that doesn't mean it's not on the minds of lawmakers who are locked in tight races for re-election. Case in point? Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who has long been a critic of the current version of the law, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. He introduced a whopping three ESEA-related bills over a two-day period. Feingold is fending off a tough re-election challenge from three GOP opponents, including plastics manufacturer Ron Johnson. (This poll has Feingold just 1 point ...

The U.S. Department of Education still ranks near the bottom of the list of big federal agencies when it comes to employee job satisfaction, at least according to a survey released last week by the non-profit Partnership for Public Service. But it seems that the department's employees are a tiny bit happier than they were on the same survey last year. Out of 32 large federal agencies surveyed about issues such as leadership effectiveness, work/life balance, and pay, the Education Department came in 30th. Last year, on the same survey, the department ranked 27th out of 30. Still, ...

Charter school advocates are dismayed that some charters may have a tough time tapping funds from the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund, which is meant to help stave off teacher layoffs. The issue? It's very complicated, but basically, it comes down to the fact that in some districts and states, some charter school teachers are employees of a charter management organization or an educational management organization, not a school district. "There's a lot of head scratching," said Brooks Garber, the vice president for federal advocacy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. He said that over 1,000 charters ...

Some big name winners of Investing in Innovation Fund grants are still logging long hours, trying to secure their required 20 percent match before the Sept. 8 deadline.

Sean Cavanagh of State Ed Watch and I are holding a chat right now, until 3 p.m. on the Race to the Top competition. Ask us anything you ever wanted to know about the program and we'll try to get an answer for you!...

Rhode Island's governor has plans to use his state's share of the $10 billion in education jobs funding to help plug budget holes in other areas, not to save education jobs. Sound familiar?

Back before the Race to the Top Round One winners were announced, I wondered whether the Education Department would select winners from states with influential members of Congress, who might be able to help U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan move his agenda. Of course, the selection process was set up in a way intended to assure that political influence was not a factor in determining who actually won—no state got extra points for being the home of a powerful member of Congress. But politics could be part of the fallout, including the question of whether the Race...

Race to the Top Round 2 may be over, but another high-stakes competition is underway in just about all of the winning states: the 2010 gubernatorial elections. And in some cases, the results of those contests could flip control of the state house from one party to the other. The question that's tough to answer right now: Just how much ownership will a governor's successor have over a plan his or her predecessor helped to create (or at least endorsed)? Of the nine states that won Race to the Top grants last week, a whopping eight have elections underway for ...

Questions emerge about New Jersey Gov. Christie's claim that his administration had taken necessary steps to fix a critical mistake in the state's Race to the Top application.

New Jersey botches its Race to the Top application. The governor is blaming the feds, and U.S. Department of Ed spokesman responds.

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