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May 4, 2018
Free school lunch for all, meant to reduce stigma, may also keep students healthier
In 2015, two Obama cabinet secretaries encouraged schools to try a new way of handling free lunch: give it to everyone, no family paperwork required.
DeVos on offense
January 16, 2018
DeVos criticizes Bush-Obama policies, saying it’s time to overhaul conventional schooling
One era of federal involvement in education is over, Betsy DeVos said Tuesday, in some of her most expansive public remarks since taking over the department last year.
November 28, 2017
As national debate over discipline heats up, new study finds discrimination in student suspensions
Black students in Louisiana are suspended for slightly longer than white students after being involved in the same fight, according to new research that adds to a roiling national debate about school discipline.
November 14, 2017
Common Core tests were supposed to usher in a new era of comparing America’s schools. What happened?
It's difficult to make detailed comparisons across states as a potent mix of technical challenges, privacy concerns and political calculations have kept the data siloed.
Secretary v. secretary
August 1, 2017
Arne Duncan criticizes Betsy DeVos on civil rights, says she hasn’t asked for his advice
When Arne Duncan became Secretary of Education, he asked his predecessors for advice. That’s why he’s disappointed that he hasn’t gotten a similar call from Betsy DeVos.
July 31, 2017
‘I think that’s blood money’: Arne Duncan pushed charters to reject funds from Trump admin if budget cuts approved
Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested that charter leaders refuse to accept federal charter school money if Trump’s cuts to education went through.
February 16, 2017
Betsy DeVos’s first week at the U.S. Education Department: What you need to know
She’s having trouble getting into schools, inspired some people to jump into public service, and is still attracting attention far beyond the usual education audience.
October 30, 2015
Arne Duncan talks turnaround work in the trenches of struggling Memphis schools
The outgoing U.S. education chief makes his fourth trip to Memphis, where schools must overcome poverty and other mitigating factors to provide a culture of learning.
October 29, 2015
When Arne Duncan visits Memphis, he’ll see part of his legacy as U.S. ed chief
The outgoing education secretary will see firsthand one of America's battleground cities in the movement he spearheaded to transform public education.
the arne archives
October 3, 2015
A retrospective of Arne Duncan’s complicated relationship with New York
Arne Duncan's highlights and lowlights during six-plus years of visiting and keeping tabs on New York.
October 2, 2015
Arne Duncan resigns as education secretary, former New York schools chief to take over
Duncan, Obama's only education secretary over his two terms, will head home to Chicago. He has recently had a lot to say about Indiana.
change at the top
October 2, 2015
Meet the former N.Y. education chief who will take over for Arne Duncan as education secretary
Former New York State Education Commissioner John King will take over the federal education department in President Barack Obama’s final year in office, the president…
September 29, 2015
Seven New York City schools earn Blue Ribbon award
This year’s winners included Brooklyn’s P.S. 100, P.S. 277, and P.S. 682; Icahn Charter School 2; and Manhattan’s Harlem Success Academy 3.
September 29, 2015
Six Tennessee schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools
Three Tennessee schools are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for high test scores, and three others for closing achievement gaps.
September 16, 2015
Indiana high school senior to U.S. Secretary of Education: Help me get to college
Ben Davis University High School Senior Rosa Ramos Ochoa was sure she earned a 21st Century scholarship. And she had a Social Security number. But she was still left out.
August 18, 2015
Duncan: Indiana's preschool pilot should be open to all kids
Despite criticism from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that Indiana’s preschool pilot program should not shut out children who are in the country without permission, Gov. Mike Pence’s office said the rule is needed to stay consistent with the way federal preschool programs work.
teaching the teacher
June 9, 2015
Duncan: Soon-to-be educators need more time in classroom
Teacher preparation has become a recent policy initiative of Duncan's.
May 21, 2015
Are teachers unwittingly contributing to testing anxiety?
As the state adopts tougher tests to measure how much students know, parents and education leaders worry the new climate adds to student stress.
April 23, 2015
As opt-out numbers grow, Arne Duncan says feds may have to step in
At an event on Tuesday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the federal government might need to intervene if states don't address the waves of opt outs.
April 21, 2015
As opt-out numbers grow, Arne Duncan says feds may have to step in
The education secretary's comments come as an advocacy group in New York reports that more than 184,000 students statewide opted out.
February 11, 2015
Pence says he and Ritz will cooperate to shorten ISTEP
Shifting away from Monday’s sharp criticism of state Superintendent Glenda Ritz, Gov. Mike Pence today said the two would work with legislative leaders to shorten…
September 11, 2014
U.S. Sec. of Education pushes for Haslam to apply for pre-K money
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Tuesday that Gov. Bill Haslam should apply for federal money available for prekindergarten expansion, the Chattanooga Times…
September 10, 2014
Memphis school improvement efforts in spotlight as Duncan finishes back-to-school tour
"I moved to Memphis thinking I’d change lots of lives every year. But really, my life has been drastically changed," said teacher Brittany Ordue.
September 9, 2014
Rise & Shine: Rocketship expands in Tennessee, despite controversy
September 5, 2014
Memphis is final stop on Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s back-to-school tour
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s fifth annual back-to-school tour will bring him to Tennessee next Tuesday, Sept. 9 and Wednesday, Sept. 10.
August 28, 2014
How'd we get here? Background on Indiana's NCLB waiver process
Indiana today learned it would get a one-year extension of it's No Child Left Behind waiver from U.S. Department of Education. We've rounded up some of our past stories on the issue to help get you up to speed.
August 21, 2014
Duncan announces flexibility in use of tests for evaluations
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has announced his department would consider state requests to delay use of test results in teacher evaluations during the “transition” to new standards and tests in many states. Colorado already is doing what Duncan proposed.
Who Gets the Top Teachers?
July 9, 2014
Feds push New York and other states to close gaps in teacher quality
A new federal initiative will force New York and others states to come up with new plans to make sure that disadvantaged students and students of color are as likely to learn from well-qualified teachers as their peers.
June 24, 2014
National shift in special ed accountability could impact Colorado
Federal officials have announced a major shift in how states will be held accountable for serving students in special education — and Colorado could be…
June 20, 2014
After accord, fault lines on where New York's teacher evaluations go from here
Albany's deal to lower the stakes attached to Common Core tests for teachers on Thursday drew praise from both sides of the negotiating table—but for two very different reasons.
May 20, 2014
Sec. Duncan amplifies King’s comments on segregation in city schools
That’s from a speech U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made to a room full of education journalists this afternoon (including the whole Chalkbeat team) at the…
May 20, 2014
Duncan praises Denver’s teacher evaluation system at national reporting conference
That’s part of what U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told a room full of education reporters and writers this afternoon when he spoke at…
May 13, 2014
Duncan: There is a common-sense middle on testing time
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who stopped to take a selfie with two Falcon High School students Friday, praised the Common Core State Standards…
Visit from the bigwig
May 8, 2014
Denver educators encourage Arne Duncan to cut bureaucracy, keep funding
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan met with teachers in Denver's pilot leadership program and some of the district's principals at Academia Ana Marie Sandoval in a whirlwind tour of some of Colorado's reform hot spots. Up for discussion were relations with teachers' unions, sustaining reforms beyond grants and cuts to government bureaucracy.
May 2, 2014
Feds put Indiana on notice: NCLB waiver in doubt
Indiana could face potentially severe sanctions under the federal No Child Left Behind law if it cannot satisfactorily answer U.S. Department of Education concerns in 60 days about its plans for instituting its new standards. On Thursday, Indiana State Superintendent Glenda Ritz received a letter from Deb Delisle, assistant U.S. secretary of education, spelling out concerns about “significant issues” with Indiana’s adherence to an agreement it made in with the federal government in 2012.
April 10, 2014
Arne Duncan urges New Yorkers to stick with Cuomo on teacher evals
"I challenge you to support your governor as he challenges the status quo and tries to raise standards, raise expectations, and evaluate and support your teachers and principals," the U.S. Secretary of Education said during a speech Wednesday night in New York City.
April 4, 2014
Tony Bennett: Indiana should have renamed Common Core at the start
Indiana's former state superintendent, Tony Bennett, recently sat down with Chalkbeat Colorado Bureau Chief Maura Walz while in Denver for a speaking engagement. Here's what he had to say about Common Core.
January 31, 2014
Duncan cites Indiana’s “deep dysfunction” in interview
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sounds worried about what's going on with education in Indiana. “Indiana has some very, very deep dysfunction right now, some fundamental challenges,” Duncan said, “that I hope for the sake of kids that they can work through.”
November 21, 2013
Duncan launches ad campaign for new teachers catches on after a week of controversy
A week after he grabbed headlines for controversial comments he made about people who opposed Common Core learning standards, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne…
November 18, 2013
Small rally against the Common Core airs big issues in Albany
ALBANY — In New York, supporters of the Common Core are quick to point out that criticism of the new learning standards has focused on implementation. But the people who showed up at the State Education Department's steps in Albany this afternoon made it clear their opposition is to the standards themselves. They echoed critiques that have been leveled across the country, that the standards are a federal overreach and developmentally inappropriate for children. Hoisting signs that likened the Common Core to "child abuse" and Communism and chanting "No more Common Core," about 40 parents and students from around the state attended the rally. The rally took place on a day that critics of the Common Core, led by an upstate mother and Tea Party activist, had designated on Facebook as "National Don't Send Your Child To School Day."
November 7, 2013
Haslam, Huffman praise teachers for increased test scores
Tennessee’s governor Bill Haslam and education commissioner Kevin Huffman praised teachers for their hard work in boosting the National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores.
November 7, 2013
Indiana's big test score gains prompt debate over cause
Indiana fourth graders made big gains on a national test, which released scores today. Indiana fourth graders made big gains on a national test of reading and math known as the "nation's report card," according to data released today. Indiana's 2013 gains were top five among the 50 states on both fourth grade reading and math. Eighth graders posted smaller gains in both reading and math. Hoosier test takers scored above the national average on all four exams administered. "“I am encouraged by the gains that Hoosier students showed on these tests, particularly their gains in the fourth grade," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said in a statement. "This is yet another sign of the hard work and dedication exhibited by our educators, administrators, parents, and most importantly, students every day in our schools.” The state's success instantly renewed debate about reforms pushed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels and ex-state Superintendent Tony Bennett over four years beginning in 2008. Bennett was defeated in the 2012 election in a stunning upset by current state Superintendent Glenda Ritz. Eric A. Hanushek, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, said Bennett's fight for reform may have cost him his job but it appears to have yielded improvements. "I think we're starting to see results," said Eric A. Hanushek, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. "These battles are hard-fought, and if we didn't see any results, then we might wonder if it's worth it." Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, attributed the gains to standards reform in the early 2000s, specifically rejecting Bennett and Daniels' policies as a reason for the improvement.
November 7, 2013
Tennessee students lead the nation in growth on NAEP
Tennessee students made some of the largest gains in the country in this year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the so-called "nation's report card." Tennessee is "one of the few bright spots" in the NAEP data this year, said Erik Hanushek, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. Most states' scores increased by just one point in 4th and 8th grade math and 4th grade reading and by three points on 8th grade reading between 2011 and 2013. But scores for both 4th and 8th grade students in Tennessee jumped between 4 and 7 points in each of the tested subjects. “It's hard to move the needle on all four grades and subjects unless you're really doing something,” said Jack Buckley, the commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers NAEP. In Tennessee, as elected officials planned press conferences today celebrating the increased scores that were released this morning, educators debated what, exactly, may have caused the growth. Both the District of Columbia and Tennessee schools have been home to dramatic reforms in teacher compensation and evaluation in recent years, and were among the early adopters of policies that tie teacher pay and evaluations to student test scores. But similar policies are in place around the country now. National Assessment A national representative sample of 342,000 8th graders and 377,000 4th graders took the reading and math tests early this year. More data from the 2013 tests, including national scores for 12th graders in reading and math, will be released in the coming months. Individual schools' and students' scores on NAEP are not publicized. While each state has its own standardized test, each of which has changed over time, the NAEP remains relatively constant and is designed to allow for comparisons to be made between states and over time. State and education leaders use the data to compare where states fall academically and how different groups of students fare within their states. The data are also frequently used to make claims about national education progress compared to other countries, with some experts saying, for instance, that low NAEP scores are a threat to national security. On the 2013 test, Tennessee students made the largest gains in the country in 4th and 8th grade reading. Tennessee 4th and 8th graders' math test score gains outpaced every state except for the District of Columbia. Tennessee, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools were the only jurisdictions that saw increases in both tested subjects in both tested grades. (See chart below for more detail.) Tennessee leads the nation in growth, but big disparities remain | Infographics Referendum on Reforms?
September 5, 2013
Facing federal funding freeze, Success to nix lottery preference
After becoming one of the state’s first schools to reserve seats for English language learners in its lotteries, Success Academy Charter Schools are now planning to…
August 6, 2013
Arne Duncan steps in to assuage fears about N.Y. test scores
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said New York's new test scores should be a benchmark for growth, not cause for concern. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wants New Yorkers not to worry when they see the latest round of state test scores on Wednesday. The scores are from the first tests to measure students' skills under the Common Core standards, and state officials have said the scores are "significantly lower" than in the past. They have warned that the scores are more in line with assessments that show a statewide college-readiness rate of about a third than with last year's test scores, where more than half of students were deemed proficient in English and two thirds in math. "We should absolutely not be alarmed if these test scores drop," Duncan said today during a phone call with reporters. Duncan has good reason to want to assuage concerns about the lower scores. While the U.S. Department of Education does not impose state learning standards, Duncan made support for shared standards a consideration in the Race to the Top funding competition, and he has defended the Common Core vigorously.
June 7, 2013
Aviation school model earns latest praise from Arne Duncan
Credit: Michael Haberman on Twitter New York City high schools continue to be a favorite launching pad for the Obama Administration to tout its ideas about education policy. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan paid another visit to New York City today, this time at Aviation High School in Queens, a school where students earn a diploma and certified training to become an airplane mechanic in five years. On this visit, Duncan also announced a $300 million competitive grant proposal to replicate Aviation's model to better prepare students for college and career paths across the country. The grants, which Duncan is calling the High School Redesign Competition, would fund districts to create schools with college and corporate partners that integrated their programs into a student's education. One of the partners at Aviation is JetBlue, which has become a career pipeline for hundreds of graduates, said Michael Haberman, president of PENCIL, which brought the two institutions together as part of its work in forging relationships between schools and private organizations. This spring, the company flew a small group of Aviation students to Florida for an aviation expo.
December 13, 2012
Staten Island schools affected by Sandy get high-profile visitors
UFT President Michael Mulgrew (left) and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan toured a storm-swept area of Staten Island between school visits today. After Hurricane Sandy devastated Staten Island, New Dorp High School sprang into action. Under the leadership of Principal Deidre DeAngelis, the school turned into a command center for the area, hosting a school displaced by the storm, drumming up donations from alumni, and distributing food, clothing, and blankets to students and staff members who needed them. On Thanksgiving, New Dorp hosted a dinner for 650 families. "Matt cooked until he couldn't cook anymore," DeAngelis said about the school's culinary arts teacher, Matthew Hays. "We were so appreciative that we got help when no one else was helping us," said Amanda Delapena, the student body vice president whose home was heavily damaged. "I thought the story of what this school has done needs to be told," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said during a visit to the school this morning. At his invitation, U.S. Secretary of Education also visited the school, along with Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Ernest Logan, president of the principals union.
October 23, 2012
At P.S. 111, call for public-private alliance yields translation help
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (middle) visited P.S. 111 in Hell's Kitchen to discuss PENCIL partnerships with Principal Irma Medina (right). As the neighborhood around her school transformed into a cultural melting pot, Principal Irma Medina sensed that the city education department's translation services wouldn't be adequate to break through language barriers for new parents. By 2010, over 40 languages were represented at P.S. 111 in Hell's Kitchen, Medina said. So to improve communication with parents at the school, Medina turned to an increasingly popular option: donated services. Through the help of PENCIL, a nonprofit that forges school-business leader partnerships, Medina's translation needs were matched to VOCES, the Latino Heritage Network of The New York Times Company, headquartered about a half mile down the road near Times Square. The public-private partnership is now one of 395 that PENCIL manages in 377 schools in New York City. With the support from cash-strapped city education officials, PENCIL hopes to nearly double that number in coming years. As part of the P.S. 111 partnership, VOCES has donated resources as well as its professional expertise in translation services to support Medina's growing need for translations, which include information for parent association meetings and weekly school-issued material.
June 20, 2012
City's delays temper Arne Duncan's praise for New York State
Speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan suggested that New York City look upstate for help fulfilling its school reform promises. After early difficulties, the state is now doing an admirable job carrying out the changes it promised when it won Race to the Top funds from the federal Race to the Top program, Duncan said, reiterating praise he extended when the state reached a deal about teacher evaluations with its main union in February. But New York City still has not adopted new evaluations, costing it this year's federal School Improvement Grants. Last week the city became the last of 10 eligible districts across the state to remain cut off from the funds. Duncan said New York City's failure to adopt new evaluations was "obviously the big issue" in the state but that it could be overcome. "If nine out of 10 districts can figure this thing out together, I'll expect that hopefully they'll follow suit," Duncan said about the city.
June 5, 2012
Only division during ed officials' pitch is teacher ratings' release
New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott (left) joined State Education Commissioner John King (center) and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on a Philanthropy New York panel. Speaking to philanthropists and foundation leaders on Monday, the city, state, and national schools chiefs presented a united front — except when it came to the sticky issue of whether to release teachers' ratings to the public. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, State Education Commissioner John King, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan offered up tips on financing school reform at Philanthropy New York's 33rd annual meeting. The meeting drew representatives from major education organizations used to making and receiving philanthropic gifts, including the Harlem Children's Zone and The After-School Corporation. It also attracted education policy neophytes from large private foundations: Many in the audience didn't know how many of New York State's 250,000 ninth graders typically make it to 12th grade without dropping out (Duncan furnished the answer: 188,000). The trio of education policy heavyweights together urged attendees to think about how their contributions could support their priorities, such as implementing new learning standards, known as the Common Core, and overhauling the country's lowest-performing schools. Walcott told the audience that private donations have fueled some of the city's most innovative reform efforts, including the Common Core Library and the technology-infused iZone. “I’m actually not coming here to ask you to give a lot more, although that would be great too, but to be really smarter in what you’re giving,” Duncan said. But they were divided when moderator Beth Fertig, WNYC's education report, asked whether they thought districts and states should make teacher evaluations available to the public, as New York City did in February in response to requests from several news organizations. It's a question that state lawmakers could tackle this month.
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