With an education budget slashed to help close an enormous state deficit, one would expect California to be first in line when Race to the Top applications are available later this year. At $4.35 million, the fund represents the largest pool of discretionary money ever distributed by the Department of Education.
The next U.S. census is right around the corner, and as part of a national campaign to encourage participation, the 2010 U.S. Census in Schools, a division of the Census Bureau, has created a K12 educational program called It’s About Us. In May, the department sent an introductory letter to every principal in the country describing the vital importance of census participation and in August sent the same principals census instructional kits containing wall maps and lesson guides for their teachers. Additional teaching materials are available free online.
While districts across the country have been working during the summer on their disease prevention and emergency preparedness plans, the Fort Worth (Texas) Independent School District’s updated plans are the result of a real-life test.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino have recently reversed their positions on charter school expansion. In July, Menino introduced state legislation that would allow officials to transform low-performing schools into in-district charter schools. This represents a significant departure for Menino, who during his 16 years as mayor has consistently expressed the view that charter schools drain funds from traditional schools.
Giddings, Texas, is a small town located in the middle of a very large and rural state. “We’re pretty much an agricultural, oil and gas type community,” says Michael S. Kuhrt, superintendent of the 1,900-student school district.
Since its 2004 founding, MyeAcademy has provided college-bound students with instruction to improve their scores on the SAT Reasoning test. With more than 80 percent of its students improving their SAT scores by 200 to 450 points, MyeAcademy leaders knew their teaching methods were working. As a next step, they wanted to make their instruction available to more students, across a wider geographical area, and with even more effectiveness.
In a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell in June, Arne Duncan warned that the state may jeopardize its chances of receiving additional stimulus money, particularly through the Race to the Top fund, if it uses its present stimulus funding only to make up for cuts to education in the state budget. Rendell had sought a statement from Duncan on the matter.
Arne Duncan announced at the 2009 Governors Education Symposium in June that $350 million of the Race to the Top fund will go to states to help them offset the costs involved in creating new assessments based on the national standards being developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.