As part of the Obama administration's larger effort to help communities affected by the near-collapse of the U.S. auto industry, Education Secretary Arne Duncan is doing his part. He announced today in Milwaukee a new competitive grant program to help develop more community college programs to help people, especially those hurt by the auto industry's decline. Don't expect this new program to have a big impact though—the total funding is only $7 million. Grants are likely to range from $300,000 to $700,000. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the some $100 billion in education ...

A key House lawmaker voiced concern about proposed shifts in Title I funding and a big boost to the Teacher Incentive Fund.

A key senator told U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan this morning that he’s not a fan of the Obama administration’s proposal to shift $1 billion out of Title I grants for districts into the separate Title I school improvement program.

The U.S. Secretary of Education is briefing congressional appropriations committees on the Obama administration's spending plan.

Several education advocacy organizations are riled up—as they probably should be—about a gap in the "transparency" of stimulus funds that I pointed out weeks ago. The U.S. Department of Education is refusing to make available the applications states submit for the state stabilization fund part of the stimulus package. The department only makes them public once they're approved. This does not permit the public to see beforehand what a state promised to do with its stimulus money, so that it can be compared with what a state ended up agreeing to do after any negotiations with the ...

From guest blogger Erik Robelen: Apparently, a Democratic lawmaker in Texas didn’t get the talking points from Education Secretary Arne Duncan about expanding the charter schools sector. A bill that would have allowed more charters to open in Texas was killed on the floor of the state's House of Representatives last night by a point of order raised by Democratic Rep. Lon Burnam, of Fort Worth, according to the Quorum Report, an independent newsletter on Texas politics. Some charter critics couch their language diplomatically, but Rep. Burnam didn't mince words. “This is a massive charter school expansion bill,” the ...

All is not well in Stimulus Land: California made a $2.3 billion accounting error, relating to K-12 education spending, on its state stabilization fund application, ProPublica keenly notes. (Although this may be one of those bank errors in your favor, because this error looks like it will help California with its maintenance of effort requirements.) And speaking of the stabilization fund, Pennsylvania's situation illustrates why some states haven't turned in their applications yet. Seems like the U.S. Department of Education is starting to think about a contingency plan in case all states can't—or don't—make the July ...

Forty-six states have signed onto the National Governors Association/Council of Chief State School Officers effort to pursue common academic standards, Michele reports today. Of the four states not on the list, two have Republican governors who are widely rumored to be mulling a 2012 presidential run: Alaska (Gov. Sarah Palin) and South Carolina (Gov. Mark Sanford) aka Gov. Take-This-Stimulus-Check-And-Shove-It. That's interesting because, generally speaking, the state-led common standards movement has largely gained bipartisan support. In fact, South Carolina schools chief, Jim Rex, a Democrat, signed onto the compact. But since Sanford said no, the state can't be counted among ...

"Dramatic" steps are needed to overhaul struggling schools, the Secretary of Education says—but turnaround specialists are few and far between.

In case you missed it, according a survey released earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education was ranked as one of the absolute worst places to work in the federal government. (For a quick summary, check out the The Washington Post's story on the survey). To be fair, 400 Maryland Ave. wasn't dead last. That honor belonged to the Department of Transportation. But it ranked 27th out of the 30 large agencies surveyed. The survey, conducted by the Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit in Washington, used data from the Office of Personnel Management's federal human capital survey, ...

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