Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, the superintendent of the Pomona Unified School District, in California, is being nominated as the new assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, the White House just announced. (UPDATE: Pending Senate confirmation, of course.) This would make Melendez the top K-12 specialist, in charge of Title I programs and other things No-Child-Left-Behind. She'd be the highest-ranking Hispanic in the department. (UPDATE 2: Reading Alexander Russo's post on Melendez reminded me that Gabrielle Gomez, who is also at the assistant secretary level—for legislative affairs—is also Hispanic.) Though she's not a big-name superintendent like Washington's ...

The $4-plus-billion Race to the Top fund has a new master: Joanne S. Weiss, a partner and the chief operating officer at the NewSchools Venture Fund. We’ve heard that Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the announcement today in a speech to the NewSchools Venture Fund via a video link. Weiss will be in charge of the larger, $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund, which gives grants to states. Jim Shelton will be in charge of the smaller, $635 million Invest in What Works Innovation fund, which will give grants to school districts and nonprofits that make progress ...

Of the 52 applications for the first round of state-stabilization money that need to be submitted, no fewer than 29 have yet to come in.

The House approved a school facilities bill today, but the real test for the program is in the Senate.

Michael Johnston, a charter school principal and a former education adviser for the Obama campaign, will fill the Colorado State Senate seat vacated by Peter Groff, who has a new job with the feds.

The goal is for Arne Duncan and President Obama to be able to outline their plans in early fall for overhauling federal education policy.

The U.S. Department of Education is changing its tune on whether state stabilization fund money can—and should—be used to pay for new school construction.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has a new teacher quality adviser ... and he's got a foot in both the merit pay and union camps. Brad Jupp is formerly a senior policy adviser to Denver-schools-superintendent-turned-U.S.-Senator Michael Bennet. In that role, he worked on school and district performance improvement and accountability, teacher effectiveness, and school choice, among other issues. But, before that, Jupp was a teacher and a union activist with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association for 19 years. He helped develop the Professional Compensation System for Teachers (ProComp), Denver's signature alternative pay program. At the department, Jupp will work ...

The U.S. Department of Education has identified four states that can expect stimulus-related audits by its Office of Inspector General: California, Illinois, New York, and Texas.

The $50 million high school initiative in Obama's budget is a "down payment" on future commitments, said a key education voice at OMB.

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