Arne Duncan

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Around-the-web Wednesdays: Duncan on Colbert, and more

by Amanda on Oct 7th, 2009

Here are some stories worth sharing this week:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Arne Duncan
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Will it take Comedy Central’s coverage for the US to take education reform seriously? Or is everyone just infatuated with the idea of playing basketball with President Obama? If you missed it, click above to watch Arne Duncan on Colbert Nation. [Colbert Report, 10/5/09]

Race to the Top was formally announced this week and Secretary Duncan put the call out for applicants to “show us their best evidence that their programs will boost student learning.” With $650 million to spend, the administration is literally banking on innovation. [NY Times, 10/6/09]

Secretary Duncan’s attention was temporarily diverted back to his old hometown, Chicago, where he and Attorney General Eric Holder appeared in solidarity with a community outraged by the recent death of a high school student by a group of youths outside a community center. [NPR, 10/7/09]

In higher ed news, the Senate is holding hearings on a measure to increase the maximum Pell grant amount - currently $5,350. The House recently passed the measure. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/6/09]

In Washington, D.C., recent layoffs of over 220 teachers — including one ‘exceptional’ teacher from Anacostia, a high school we’ve been covering for the past two years– has the community up in arms and Chancellor Michelle Rhee defending her tough choices. [Washington Post, 10/6/09]

Rhee and the D.C. teachers union have yet to sign a contract after two years of negotiations - a fascinating dance you can listen to here. [LMTV, 9/21/09]

A new U.S. Census Bureau shows how Latina moms are changing the perception of the nation’s stay-at-home mothers. [NPR, 10/6/09]

And in commentary this week, John Merrow asks: How does geography determine one’s digital destiny? Should schools be doing more? [Taking Note, 10/6/09]

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Duncan & Obama Want to Know What Students Think

by Learning Matters on Sep 28th, 2009

Students should be considered among the foremost experts on the state of education today, but it’s rare they are asked directly for their thoughts on improving schools, curriculum or even how education is affecting their lives.

Seems like that might change now that President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have put out a call to action to students nationwide. Students aged 13 and older have been asked to create short videos (2 minutes or less) that describe “the role education will play in achieving their dreams, and the goals they will set for themselves to get there.”

They have until November 2 to get their videos in and the top three videos will be crowned winners and given $1,000. In his video announcement, Duncan suggests that winners spend the money on college, books or “anything they choose.” Who knows how they’ll actually spend the money, but it’s probably good incentive and it will be interesting to see what kinds of videos students submit.

Before the election, we collected people’s advice on education for the next president. We talked with dozens of education experts and policymakers, and we also caught up with quite a few students. The students’ advice for then-President-elect Obama was candid, thoughtful and unique.

Students live out the policies set in place by policymakers and school administrators, and they’re the ones whose lives are most affected by an education system that isn’t working. Isn’t it time they had a chance to speak up? Maybe now’s the time to listen to what they have to say.

I Am What I Learn [Ed.gov]

Ed Advice for President Obama [Multimedia project]

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Around the Web Wednesdays…

by Amanda on Sep 23rd, 2009

Autumn arrived this week, and the schoolyear is in full swing. Here are some stories that we’ve been following:

artsedweekPhoto credit: Charles Rex/ AP

Art schools suffer during recession
[Ed Week]
Harlem Children’s Zone to go national [This Week In Education]
Some evidence in favor of charter schools? Closing the ‘Harlem-Scarsdale’ gap[New York Times]
Arne Duncan to discuss education reform with the Dalai Lama [Mind and Life Institute]
Even though Michelle Rhee and the DC Teachers Union is still without a contract, we’ve got an inside look at the negotiations. Listen in on 2 years of conversations right here. [LMTV]
Extra Credit: Take a look at John Merrow’s reading list. What are you reading?

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Finding Good Principals

by Learning Matters on Sep 15th, 2009

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said recently, “We have no good schools without good principals.”  But finding good principals is a tough job:  they need to empower teachers, please school administrators and ensure that all students in their school are getting a meaningful education.

The Principal Story, a P.O.V. documentary premiering tonight on PBS, tells the story of two principals–one veteran and one newer on the job–in two struggling schools.  It follows their struggles, successes, and illustrates just how critical the job really is.  What does it take to succeed as a principal?  What happens if you fail?

Last year, we profiled a similar story in Washington, DC:  Michelle Rhee was midway through her second year as DC Schools Chancellor and had just replaced 40 school principals when Darrin Slade, Principal of Ron Brown Middle School, had to prove his worth.  We followed him as he aimed to prove his effectiveness as a principal–how was he handling the drastic influx of students and raising test scores?  Would he make it another year or get replaced as so many of his colleagues had?  Watch his story below and catch “The Principal Story” on PBS.

Finding Good Principles in Washington, DC  (8:49min):

“The Principal Story” trailer:

P.O.V. The Principal Story

Related Video: Finding Good Principals [VIDEO]

Related Podcast:  A Principal’s Perspective: Principal L. Nelson Burton must raise test scores at Washington, DC’s troubled Coolidge Senior High School – but he says that half of his teachers are not effective.

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Wednesday: A Weekly Look at Some Big Stories

by Amanda on Aug 5th, 2009
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