Posts Tagged: Education Department

All dressed up and no place to go

That seems to be the case with the Illinois public schools after the Illinois state legislature passed five education reform measures in 15 months so the state would get federal Race to the Top money — and then the state lost out on the national grant competition. (more…)

For-profit colleges not industry of the future

The stock of Illinois for-profit colleges is falling after a Dept. of Education proposal to cut off these institutions’ federal aid. The Associated Press reports that the stock of DeVry Institute (based in Downers Grove, Illinois) slipped nine percent on Monday and the stock of Career Education Corp (headquartered in Hoffman Estates) dropped six percent. The falling stock is linked to a just-announced Dept. of Education plan that for-profit colleges should not get federal aid if fewer than 35 percent of former students are paying back their loans. The plan also stipulates that graduates from for-profits should not spend more than 12 percent of their income to pay off student debt. The Education Dept. aims to implement these rules by next summer. (more…)

Race to the deadline

The deadline for the 2nd round of “Race to the Top” Education Dept. grants is in five days — and Illinois education officials are persuading once-reluctant school districts and local teacher’s unions to sign on to the state’s grant proposal. (more…)

Teaching to the Test

The Chicago Sun-Times Art Golab has a piece that bolsters the argument to effectively link teacher pay with student test scores. (more…)

On Education, Most States Willing To Be Messed With

The Washington Post’s Michael Birnbaum reports on the Texas Board of Education defying the Obama Education Dept. Texas, however, is quite unusual in going against Obama’s education agenda — and even they’ve accepted a key principle of Obama’s reforms. The Texas Board of Education has made national headlines for writing a curriculum that provides a more conservative interpretation of history. (more…)

A Race Most States Will Lose

If states are going to climb out of fiscal peril, it’s not going to be through the Education Dept.’s “Race to the Top” grant program. (more…)

Making Student Loan Reform a Reality

The Washington Post’s Nick Anderson has an interesting item about colleges and universities scrambling to change their student lending procedures after Congress passed sweeping student loan reforms yesterday. (more…)

Arne Duncan Not A Great Model For Education Accountability

Arne Duncan

The Washington Post’s Nick Anderson reports that when he was head of Chicago Public Schools, Education Sec. Arne Duncan didn’t preside over significant improvement in the math test scores of CPS students. I covered similar ground in a May feature on Duncan, though Anderson provides 2009 test score data.

This is an important story, not just a “gotcha” about Duncan (who is interested in data,  accountability and judging students and teachers via the standardized test)  confronted with evidence that he didn’t do such a hot job in Chicago. The reason is that many reforms Duncan did in Chicago — a proliferation of charter schools, effectively closing down poorly performing schools — will go national this year with the allocation of billions in Ed. Dept. grant money.  The Education Department has a record budget and the Obama administration has made an extraordinary commitment to spending federal money on state school boards and local school districts. However, the specific ways Obama and Duncan demand that this money will be used is currently based more on ideology than evidence.

The Worst Education Policy That Won’t Go Away

Education Sec. Arne Duncan takes to the Wall Street Journal editorial page and tries to explain the absurdity of the Federal Family Education Loan program. Under the status quo, banks issue loans to college students and then collect interest on the loans. But if the students default, that’s not on the bank — it’s on the federal Education Dept., which repays the bank the cost of the loan. The Bill Clinton administration tried to change this heads-I-win-tails-you-lose system and did institute a direct lending program between the Education Dept. and students. But, as Duncan points out, Washington still spends $87 billion a year on FFEL.

So why doesn’t Duncan stop writing editorials and just change the policy? Well, Congress needs to do that and the U.S. Senate has still not got around to debating this issue. Some Senators – like Ben Nelson of Nebraska — may be most concerned about how abolishing the program hurts their local bank.

Illinois Races To The Top…Or At Least Toward Where They Were Before The Recession

The Chicago Current’s Katy Yeiser reports that the Illinois State Board of Education will apply for a $400 million slice of the Education Department’s $4.3 billion, stimulus-funded “Race to the Top” grant program. Illinois could really use the money: the state is borrowing $3.5 billion this year to balance a $26 billion annual state budget. But even with the record-setting borrowing, Illinois is still cutting $180 million in education money, with early childhood education taking the hardest hit.

As I’ve written about before, the genius, as it were, of Race to the Top is that it doesn’t just shore up education funds for states clobbered by the recession. Instead, the Education Dept. forces states to show they are adhering to the education reforms, championed by Education Sec. (and former head of Chicago Public Schools) Arne Duncan. So if Illinois is going to get federal cash, they need to show progress implementing controversial policies like teacher performance pay.