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The progress in this Hamilton City, Ohio, district led to kudos from President Bush

When Janet Baker was growing up in Hamilton, Ohio, her mother told her the president had sent her a letter stating he wanted little Janet to work hard and do her homework because he might need her help in Washington, D.C., someday. Well, it took about 45 years, but her mother's white lie has come true.


Lessons learned, and unlearned, while trying to stay in tune

I used to tell folks that the reason I sent my kids to school was band. We didn't have a band at home, and the experience of creating something beautiful within a group of other musicians appealed to my aesthetic sense and democratic ideals. Heck, being in the band even raises test scores. School music kept me sane throughout my public school years and enriched my life more than nearly any other experience.

It began in 1994 as a small project that brought together a newly hired deputy superintendent and development officer. Great teamwork, perseverance and the lessons we've learned during the past eight years have resulted in $38 million in competitive grants for our small urban district.

That first project began with a superintendent directive to conduct a brainstorming session for a new grant opportunity. When we asked what the grant was about, participants excitedly responded that it was "about $50,000." It was a very brief meeting.

I'm taking time out to reflect, and I invite you to do the same. No doubt you can remember where you were the morning of September 11. I was in Washington D.C., in my hotel room catching up on e-mail. It was the last day of a conference for education technology executives, and I was anxious to wrap things up and get to the airport for my late morning flight.

Then everything changed. My cell phone rang and my brother-in-law said something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. I pictured a small private plane with engine trouble-an unavoidable accident.


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By now, everyone knows about the new education bill and its testing requirements. Or do you?

Superintendents share the secrets to solving three key pre-K program pitfalls: working with private providers, funding and a shortage of classroom space

Chicago loves its basketball, but that's not why former pro player Arne Duncan got his job.

Nor is the reason his age. Thirty-seven is old for an athlete, but when it comes to running the third-largest school system in the country, it seems young.