On the night President Barack Obama’s name was formally placed in nomination for re-election, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan used his high-profile Democratic convention speech to tout the president’s work to avert teacher layoffs and revamp student loans.
But the education secretary steered clear of mentioning charter schools expansion, teacher evaluation, and aggressive school turnaround—policies at the heart of the Obama administration’s agenda during Duncan’s tenure as secretary.
via As Obama is Nominated, Duncan Speech Finesses Touchy Issues.
College affordability, global competitiveness, and Republican threats to education spending were consistent themes for governors and other high-profile speakers on Tuesday’s first night of the Democratic National Convention.
“You can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education,” declared San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who gave the keynote speech, in drawing a sharp and critical contrast between President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on support for schools.
via Speakers Spotlight Obama Ed. Initiatives, GOP Spending Threats.
With $400 million up for grabs, 893 school districts or groups of districts have told the U.S. Department of Education that they plan to compete in the latest Race to the Top competition, which is designed to spur improvements at the local level.
This includes nearly 200 large districts that are eligible for the top awards of between $30 million and $40 million. Another 433 small districts plan to compete for $10 million to $20 million, the smallest awards. The rest are somewhere in between.
The nearly 900 districts made yesterday’s deadline of letting the department know that they want to compete. Filing a “notice of intent to apply” wasn’t mandatory, but more of a courtesy so the department can plan things such as how many peer reviewers will be needed to judge the competition. It’s important to note that just because a district filed such a notice doesn’t mean it has to apply; in fact, the final list of applicants is usually quite a bit shorter.
via Nearly 900 Districts Set to Compete for New Race to Top.
T-minus 76 days until applications for the $400 million Race to the Top district competition are due. Will your district be applying?
Odds are, probably not.
Not only is the 116-page application complex and demanding, but the eligibility requirements will make it difficult for a majority of districts to apply.
More than half the nation’s school districts are not eligible to apply on their own for the Race to the Top competition for districts because their enrollments are too small. To apply, districts—or groups of districts—must have at least 2,000 students.
via Will Small Districts Even Bother Competing in New Race to Top?.
By John Fensterwald
A Superior Court judge has given the parents in a Mojave Desert town who pulled the state’s second “parent trigger” a milestone victory.
San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Steve Malone ruled that the Adelanto School District trustees illegally rejected the petition submitted by a majority of parents to turn Desert Trails Elementary into a charter school. Malone has given the school board a month to approve the petition, and the parents a green light to immediately begin the charter conversion.
The shakeup at the low-performing school won’t happen until the fall of 2013. And the president of the Adelanto school board, Carlos Mendoza, told the Los Angeles Times that he would recommend that the district appeal the decision.
But Malone’s 13-page ruling, made available on Monday, has revived the campaign of the Desert Trails Parents Union to transform their school. And it has come down squarely on the side of parent organizers in interpreting a key provision of regulations, involving signature withdrawals, that the State Board of Education adopted two years ago governing the Parent Trigger law.
via Big win in court for ‘parent trigger’ organizers – by John Fensterwald.
by Merrill Vargo
It often seems as if the rest of the nation – and certainly education policymakers in Washington – wants to avert its eyes from California. Many of the large national foundations have stopped or curtailed their investments here, and the federal government seems to have followed suit: California has yet to receive Race to the Top money, there is no word on California’s request for a waiver on NCLB, and when researchers cite “cutting-edge” work, it is usually happening somewhere else. The message we get is that state policy in general and education policy in particular in California is pretty much a mess and until we get our house in order, we shouldn’t expect either any help or any respect. The fact that six million kids go to school here is apparently their tough luck.
via It’s still true: The future tends to happen first in California – by Merrill Vargo.
President Barack Obama’s signature education programs would be scrapped under a bill approved this morning by the House Appropriations Committee panel that oversees education spending.
The measure would cut about $1.1 billion from the U.S. Department of Education’s roughly $68 billion budget, according to an analysis by the Committee for Education Funding, a lobbying coalition. The bill covers fiscal year 2013, which starts on Oct. 1. The Senate Appropriations Committee has already passed a similar measure. More information about both bills here.
The measure approved by the House appropriations subcommittee would get rid of funding for most of the programs that make up the core of the Obama administration’s education redesign agenda, including Race to the Top, the Investing in Innovation grants, and the School Improvement Grant program. It would eliminate a number of smaller, more targeted programs, including Advanced Placement, School Leadership, and Arts in Education, according to CEF.
via House Panel OKs Bill to Scrap Race to the Top, SIG, i3.
The Obama administration’s signature K-12 initiative—the Race to the Top competition—would get axed under a proposal put forward by Republicans on the House panel that oversees K-12 spending.
Two other major Obama priorities—the School Improvement Grant program, which provides $533 million to help turn around low-performing schools, and the nearly $150 million Investing in Innovation grant program—would also be eliminated, according to a press release put out by U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.
The spending bill was introduced today by Republicans on the House subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, Education and Related agencies. It would cover fiscal year 2013, the fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1. The panel is expected to vote on the legislation tomorrow.
But it looks like not all of the administration’s favorite programs would be big losers. The bill appears to renew two new competitive-grant programs. One is Promise Neighborhoods, which helps communities pair wraparound services with education programs. Promise Neighborhoods would get nearly $60 million, the same level as last year. That’s not as much the $100 million President Barack Obama wanted for the program.
via House K-12 Spending Bill Would Scrap Race to the Top.
California school districts will finally be able to seek Race to the Top money without interference and resistance from Gov. Jerry Brown and state officials.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Tuesday announced much anticipated draft criteria for a $400 million competition open to individual districts or groups of districts nationwide. That’s enough money to fund a projected 20 proposals for grants of $15 million to $25 million, Duncan said.
via Race to the Top opens up to districts – by John Fensterwald – Educated Guess.
School districts that want a slice of the latest, nearly $400 million in Race to the Top competitive grants will have to put a major focus on helping schools tailor instruction to the needs of individual students—and agree to evaluate school board members and superintendents—under draft regulations slated to be released by the U.S. Department of Education today.
The department anticipates giving out about 15 to 20 four-year grants, of up to $25 million each. Districts will be able to apply for the funds individually, or as part of consortia with other districts, even those in other states. And charter schools—as well as other organizations that are defined as a “local education agency” by their states—can compete, too.
via Rules on Way for District Race to Top Contest.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave the administration’s general election arguments on education a trial run Monday, in a speech before the “Mom Congress.” He talked-up some of the department’s greatest hits over the past three years, such as No Child Left Behind waivers, Race to the Top, Promise Neighborhoods and the Investing in Innovation grants, as well the president’s push to boost Pell Grants and invest in community colleges.
via Duncan Road Tests General Election Speech to “Mom Congress”.
Andreas Schleicher looks the part of a diplomat. Tall and slim, with thick gray hair, and impeccable English spoken with a European accent. He is also the consummate diplomat when it comes to assessing the United State’s standing in education. In most countries, low results on the Programme for International Student Assessment, known as the PISA exam, led to contemplation and action. In the United States, not so much; at least not initially.
via U.S. in and out of step with top ed systems – by Kathryn Baron.
The clash between the Obama administration, which loves its signature Race to the Top and other grant programs, and folks in Congress who want to see a bigger investment in funding for special education and disadvantaged students, is clearly not going away anytime soon.
via Duncan Defends Waivers, Competitive Grants to Congress.
A new $550 million pot of money for another Race to the Top contest will have to be split between two education-policy worlds: early education and district-level reform. But just how the Education Department will take a relatively small slice of money to leverage big change in both arenas remains to be seen.
via Ed. Dept. to Split Race to Top Money Between Districts, Early Ed..
Education is one of four areas President Obama will focus on during his State of the Union address tonight night, according to this Associated Press story. The big question is: What will he say?
In giving this election-year State of the Union speech, Obama may brag about some of the steps his administration has taken on education, including creating the Race to the Top education redesign competition, and offering states wiggle room under key parts of the No Child Left Behind Act if they agree to take-on the administration’s reform priorities.
via Education Expected to Take Turn in State of the Union Spotlight.
I sat down with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan yesterday for a wide-ranging interview on the hot education topics of the day: waivers, Race to the Top, reauthorization, and the election.
via A Conversation With Arne Duncan.
Flush with $550 million in new Race to the Top money, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he intends to use the vast majority of it to design a new competition just for school districts.
In an interview with Education Week yesterday, Duncan for the first time foreshadowed what the department’s next Race to the Top competition will look like.
via Duncan: It’s Time to Create Race to Top for Districts.
On the heels of last week’s announcement of the winners of the Race to the Top Early Learning challenge, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said he isn’t sure yet whether there would be a second round of funding for early-childhood programs.
via Will Early Education Get a Piece of New Race to Top Funding?.