Arne Duncan

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Let the Race to the Top Begin

by Learning Matters on Jul 28th, 2009

This month, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the launch of “Race to the Top,” a $4.35 billion fund that will reward eligible states for gains and success in education, and create incentives for future improvement in four areas: adopting rigorous standards and assessments, recruiting and retaining high quality teachers, turning around low-performing schools, and establishing data systems to track student achievement and teacher effectiveness.

Watch President Obama make remarks and then read reactions:

This Week in Education’s Alexander Russo has a roundup of reactions here.

The President on “Race to the Top”
[Official White House Blog]


In L.A., charter schools take on radical proportions

by Ed Beat on May 20th, 2009

A recent New Yorker piece profiles Steve Barr, the maverick leader of Green Dot Public Schools, an organization that, since 2000, has led a more than aggressive campaign to open small charter schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Steve Barr, Green Dot CEOTwo years ago, Green Dot took over its first large public school–Locke High School, which had for years been covered in graffiti and plagued by gang fights.  It will be awhile before there is concrete evidence of improvements in the quality of education in L.A., but Barr’s efforts seem to mark a new era for the charter school movement, not least because he’s been able to negotiate successfully with the California teachers’ union.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has met with Barr several times.  Those meetings have led to a conversation between Barr and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, about a possible “national school-turnaround partnership.”

The Instigator [New Yorker, May 10, 2009]

Related Program: Charter Schools: Experiment or Solution? [Video]


Buzz is Building about National Standards

by Ed Beat on May 10th, 2009

Both President Obama and his Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, are in favor of national standards. Duncan has even said that he wants to devote $5 billion of his special “Race to the Top” stimulus fund to states committed to the creation of common standards.
National Standards

Perhaps in response to this push from the Obama administration, two recent conferences brought together policy-makers and state legislators to get a national discussion going about standards.

On April 20th, representatives from 48 states met in Chicago at a conference sponsored by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. On May 5th, the Fordham Institute hosted a conference (”International Evidence about National Standards”) that examined evidence from abroad about the efficacy of common standards.

NGA, CCSSO Launch Common Standards Drive [Education Week / April 20, 2009]

The Best Defense against National Standards? Hearing about National Standards [Commentary about Fordham conference]

John Merrow’s Commentary on National Standards [San Jose Mercury News / Oct 17, 2007]

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