Department of Education

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

Money Well Spent
February 03, 2010

Forget the spending freeze. Obama's Department of Education announced on Monday that it is asking Congress for more money in the 2011 budget. The department wants $49.7 billion in discretionary funds, roughly $3.5 billion more than it got in 2010.

Meet the New GOP Centrists
January 13, 2010

The closest thing Congress has to its own Tea Party takes place every Wednesday afternoon, in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office building.

End State
October 26, 2009

California is a mess, but I love it all the same--especially the Bay Area, where I lived for 15 years. I went to Berkeley in 1962--a refugee from Amherst College, which at that time was dominated by frat boys with high SAT scores. I didn't go to Berkeley to go to school, but to be a bus ride away from North Beach and the Jazz Workshop. In a broader sense, I went to California for the same reason that other émigrés had been going since the 1840s. I was knocking on the Golden Door. Immigrants from Europe had come to America seeking happiness and a break with their unhappy pasts.

Sharpen Your Pencils for Education Innovation
October 09, 2009

Pop quiz: You read a draft notice for a federal grant program containing the terms, “internal validity,” “quasi-experimental,” “regression discontinuity,” and “interrupted time series.” The program in question is: a)      A CDC program to fund pre-development of the porcupine flu vaccine b)      An FDA program to spur commercialization of an at-home test for polonium in your food c)      A NASA program to support design of a low-cost module that will allow humans to populate Venus d)      A Department of Education program designed to support and scale innovation in K-12 education Answer: d).

Dusting off No Child Left Behind ... Finally
September 24, 2009

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke this morning at the first in a series of public meetings about the belated reauthorization of No Child Left Behind--although, because it's become a "toxic brand" in many circles, the Department of Education now prefers to call it by its official name, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In his remarks to representatives of roughly 160 education, business, and other stakeholder groups, Duncan praised aspects of the law, which President Bush signed in 2002.

"To Keep the Alligators Away"
September 08, 2009

There are a billion different iterations of the joke, usually inflicted upon children by adults: Child: Daddy, why are you flapping your arms and quacking in the middle of the street? Father: To keep the alligators away. Child: Daddy. There are no alligators around here. Father: See?

Arne Duncan's Seductions--And Why Schools Need Them
August 26, 2009

Education Secretary Arne Duncan proposed today that $3.5 billion in grants dedicated to improving Title I schools--or those with at least 40 percent of students from low-income families--should go to school districts committed to "turnaround" strategies.

Want To Reform Education? Stop Hitting Kids.
August 14, 2009

States will soon be applying for shares of the Race to the Top (RTTT) Fund, a $4.35-billion portion of the stimulus package that the Department of Education will dole out based on states' commitment to education reform. There are 19 criteria for receiving RTTT money.

How Stupid Talking Points Get Started
July 13, 2009

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.  In looking for something else this morning, I ran across a couple of conservative blog posts that almost perfectly illustrated how rapidly routine information can be distorted into talking points used in attacks on the Obama administration, the Democratic Congress, and in this case, state and local governments. The original source of those talking points was a General Accounting Office report on how state and local gove