Department of Education

Obama: Don't Touch Education Reform
July 02, 2010

President Obama has threatened to veto the war funding bill that passed the House on Thursday night. The president's beef is with a provision to prevent teacher layoffs, which Democrats tacked onto the bill along with several other domestic priorities. To pay for the measure, the House agreed to cut money from some of the president's key education reform initiatives. Obama isn't happy about it. Nor should he be. Here's the back story: Thanks to severe cuts in state budgets, between 100,000 and 300,000 teachers could lose their jobs this year.

The Center Wins. Again.
May 19, 2010

True partisans don’t like to hear this—Texas Democrat Jim Hightower used to say, “There is nothing in the middle of the road, but yellow stripes and dead armadillos”—but American elections are most often battles for the political center. Whoever can marginalize their opponent by identifying them with the far left or right is likely to win. By that measure, the Democrats can be pleased with the results of the May 18 elections.

Olympia Snowe, Look Out For 2012
May 10, 2010

Tea Party activists have captured the Maine Republican platform: An overwhelming majority of delegates to the Maine Republican convention tonight voted to scrap the the proposed party platform and replace it with a document created by a group of Tea Party activists. The official platform for the Republican Party of Maine is now a mix of right-wing fringe policies, libertarian buzzwords and outright conspiracy theories. The document calls for the elimination of the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve, demands an investigation of "collusion between government and industry in the glob

Taking An Incomplete
April 13, 2010

By most accounts, the fourth week of March was a triumph for the Obama administration. After months of wrangling, Congress finally passed health care reform, and the president signed it into law. In the same budget reconciliation bill that sealed the health care deal, Democrats also overcame Republican defenders of corporate welfare and improved the nation's main federal student loan program.

Stimulus Creativity: Oversubscribed
March 23, 2010

Recently we noticed that the year-old federal Recovery Act--for all its shortcomings and business-as-usual--actually served as a prolific hatchery for longer-term policy innovation. Along those lines we pointed out how many novel programs--introduced in the Recovery Act and ranging from the Department of Education’s Race to the Top (RTT) and Investing in Innovation (I3) funds to the interagency Sustainable Communities Initiative--are now wending through Congress as bona fide program start-ups in the base FY 2011 budget process.

Is Education on the Wrong Track?
March 18, 2010

From: Ben Wildavsky To: Diane Ravitch, Richard Rothstein, and Kevin Carey Subject: Ravitch misunderstands the roles of charter schools, teacher professionalism, and bipartisanship in education reform. Diane, I appreciate your spirited rebuttal to my essay. I’m not surprised to hear you repeat what you say in your book--that you have no objection to the market economy per se (although you somewhat undermine your case when you toss around silly phrases like “corporate suits”). It is the entry of market principles into public education that bothers you.

Energy Hubs + Regionalism = A New Vision for Innovation
February 16, 2010

Add energy research to the list of arenas in which Team Obama has recognized the power of regional economies to deliver innovation as well as economic growth. On Friday, the Obama administration announced that no less than seven federal agencies were issuing a combined funding opportunity announcement of up to $130 million over five years to turn one of the Department of Energy’s energy innovation hubs into true a regional innovation center. Centered on the second of DOE’s three energy research hubs, the new Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) initiative is noteworthy because it shows t

Budget 2011: Joined-Up Government
February 12, 2010

Last week we noticed the spread into multiple federal agency budgets of FY 2011 program proposals aimed at supporting regional industry clusters--the geographic concentrations of interconnected firms and supporting organizations that play such an important role in enhancing regional economic performance. Yet that is just one spreading governance "meme" on display in the Obama administration's second budget.

Budget 2011: Stimulus Redux at ED?
February 03, 2010

In a FY 2011 budget that freezes non-defense discretionary expenditures, the Department of Education has attracted some attention for being one of the few places in the federal government that would attract an increase in funding if the plan is enacted. But the old stuff in the administration’s proposal is at least as interesting as what’s new. The budget foresees about a $3 billion increase overall for the department, a 6 percent rise over the FY 2010 request. More money for K-12 programs authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), more recently known as No Child Left Beh

Budget 2011: Creating Quality Places
February 03, 2010

For many, what makes a neighborhood or a community a great place to live is a mix of people, activities, and physical forms. Quality places are those neighborhoods and communities that have a range of housing types, so that people who live in small households or on tight budgets aren’t excluded; many transportation options, so that cars are a convenience, but not a necessity; and houses, stores, and offices interspersed and within easy reach of each other, again so that daily life doesn’t require getting behind the wheel.  Public policies, from local decisions about zoning codes to national