Duncan promotes education stimulus to reporters

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today used a telephone press conference with reporters from across the country as a platform to promote some of the government’s ideas for using economic stimulus money for education.

Duncan mostly spoke about plans to revamp and expand college loans. But CPS’ former CEO also fielded a few questions about K-12 programs—and got in a plug for mayoral control of schools when he was asked about a similar proposal for Detroit schools.

One reporter asked Duncan if President Obama’s rhetoric on school reform matches the spending plans in the stimulus package. About $13 billion in new K-12 spending, for example, will go to already-established programs under Title 1.

But the reporter’s question gave Duncan a chance to promote some $5 billion in competitive incentive grants that will go out in 2010 to states, consortiums of states and in some cases, directly to schools and districts. Duncan is calling these “race to the top” grants that will reward states that make tests more rigorous; create new data systems to better track students and link their performance directly to individual teachers and to teacher training programs, including colleges of education; and find innovative ways to meet teacher shortages.

 

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today used a telephone press conference with reporters from across the country as a platform to promote some of the government’s ideas for using economic stimulus money for education.

Duncan mostly spoke about plans to revamp and expand college loans. But CPS’ former CEO also fielded a few questions about K-12 programs—and got in a plug for mayoral control of schools when he was asked about a similar proposal for Detroit schools.

One reporter asked Duncan if President Obama’s rhetoric on school reform matches the spending plans in the stimulus package. About $13 billion in new K-12 spending, for example, will go to already-established programs under Title 1.

But the reporter’s question gave Duncan a chance to promote some $5 billion in competitive incentive grants that will go out in 2010 to states, consortiums of states and, in some cases, directly to schools and districts. Duncan is calling these “race to the top” grants that will reward states that make tests more rigorous; create new data systems to better track students and link their performance directly to individual teachers and to teacher training programs, including colleges of education; and find innovative ways to meet teacher shortages.

Similarly, Duncan says he’ll be looking to award grants to colleges that find ways to boost graduation rates for at-risk students.

Duncan also pointed out at least one instance of cost-savings on inefficient programs, which the president vowed to cut. The administration plans to axe a $48 million mentoring program started under No Child Left Behind, following a recent report by the National Center on Education Evaluation that found the program had no substantial impact. The program gives grants primarily to community groups and faith-based organizations, which then pair an adult mentor with 4th- through 8th-graders referred to the program by schools.

Posted by: John Myers