Weekly Update-January 20, 2012

On January 20, 2012, in Weekly Update, by Mary Kingston


President Obama to Deliver the State of the Union Address January 25

President Obama will give his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress next week on Tuesday, January 25 at 9 pm EST. White House staff have indicated that to get a sense of the themes that will likely be in the speech, to look at the speech President Obama recently gave in Osawatomie, Kansas. White House staff has also indicated that this speech will be the policy and message guide for the White House for this year. Read the speech here: Remarks by the President on the Economy in Osawatomie, Kansas.  The word “education” is mentioned 11 times and “school” 6 times.

FY 2012 Budget and Appropriations

The following articles will give you a good sense of the political outlook for this 2nd session of the 112th Congress:

GOP returns with New Year’s hangover,

On the Hill, the worst is yet to come,

House GOP Looks to Regroup After Short Workweek and

2012 Budget Debate: Like “The Hangover, Part II”


Duncan Implies Most of FY 2012 Race to the Top Funding Will Go to Districts

In the final FY 2012 appropriations bill that includes education spending, the competitive grant Race to the Top received $550 million (down from $700 million in FY 2011). U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan indicated that most of this FY 2012 money will award districts this time around, instead of states. Secretary Duncan said in an Education Week interview last week, “You can do different things. You can do early childhood as a piece of that, or STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] as a piece of that…I don’t want to commit, but the bulk of the money will go through districts. … What we’ll be asking of districts is still very much up for consideration.” Read the full article here.

Apple Unveils E-Textbook Strategy for K-12

Apple has created a partnership with three major textbook publishers-McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt-to move into the K-12 space and offer interactive textbooks at its iBooks store priced at $14.99 or less. According to Education Week, “The textbooks feature multimedia elements, including video, three-dimensional graphics, and photo galleries. They also allow students to highlight text to create flashcards and search within a glossary.” Read more about Apple’s move into e-textbooks here.

Secretary Duncan Sits Down For a Comprehensive Interview

This week U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sat down with an Education Week reporter to discuss many issues, including waivers, Race to the Top, reauthorization, and the election. On the topic of waivers, here is one of the questions and Secretary Duncan’s response: “Q. How does the Education Department monitor dozens of different, sophisticated state accountability systems?

A. I think about that a lot. Part of the business we should be in is managing a portfolio of states. And so it’s 50 relationships. It’s not insignificant, but I think it’s really manageable. … And then the other thing, just like Race to the Top, I’m not promising anyone we’re going to bat 1,000. We may grant a waiver to a state that makes its commitments in good faith, but doesn’t keep them. And just to be very clear, and just as in Race to the Top, if we need to revoke the waiver six months from now, a year from now, two years from now, because folks can’t deliver on what they said, we’re more than prepared to do that.” Read the entire interview here.


Editorial Projects in Education (EPE)

“The EPE Research Center is a division of Editorial Projects in Education, the non-profit organization that publishes Education Week.

The Research Center conducts annual policy surveys, collects data, and performs analyses that appear in the Quality Counts and Diplomas Count annual issues of Education Week. The Center also manages the Education Counts database of state policy indicators, releases periodic special reports on a variety of topics, and contributes data and analysis to coverage in Education Week.” Explore their research here: http://www.edweek.org/rc/?intc=thed.


Center on Education Policy Releases Public Education Primer

The Center on Education Policy (CEP) has released the new and updated version of its popular Public Education Primer. The Primer packages national data about students, teachers, school districts, schools, and other areas of elementary and secondary education. It includes easy-to-read facts and figures on the distribution of students, student demographics, funding, student achievement, teachers, and much more.

CEP’s Public Education Primer uses the most recent data available. In many cases, data are compared over the past decade or projected into the future.

Click here to access the full report, which is available for free.

ED Strategic Plan: The Department of Education has posted its draft strategic plan for fiscal years 2011 through 2014 on its website for public comment.  From January 13-27, 2012, the Department is seeking comments on the content of the document.  Any comments can be sent to strategicplancomments@ed.gov before the period closes on Friday, January 27th. The draft plan can be found here: www.ed.gov/about/reports/strat/index.html.

Jobs Council Report: The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness this week “released “Road Map to Renewal,” a year-end report addressing the broader factors influencing American prosperity and competitiveness in a global age.” A large section of this report deals with education and life-long learning issue


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