Education Funding

Inside the State Chiefs’ Confab

March 24, 2010 2 min read

From my notebook:

I’ve got a few leftovers from my day with the state school chiefs’ legislative meeting in Washington that didn’t make my Ed Week story.

First, let me just say how much I appreciate the candor of the chiefs. They don’t speak in scripted sound bites or repeat the same talking points. They talk real world stuff. How refreshing.

Now to the good stuff, most of which comes from the chiefs’ roundtable with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Best hint of the day that Louisiana will be a round one winner in Race to the Top: Sec. Duncan praising the state for its data system. Too bad Paul Pastorek, Louisiana’s chief, wasn’t at the roundtable to gloat as his colleagues looked on in envy.

Best laugh line from the chiefs’ roundtable: Mike Flanagan, the chief in Michigan, told a story about when Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm asked him for advice on what to do, as she prepared to meet with Sec. Duncan at last month’s National Governors Association meeting.

“You sit next to him and you suck up,” Flanagan said he told the governor, to uproarious laughter. Of course, Flanagan quipped, “it didn’t work,” referring to Michigan’s failure to make the list of 16 finalists for round one of Race to the Top.

Best attempt to put Sec. Duncan on the spot: Joseph Morton, Alabama’s state superintendent. I blogged about this yesterday, too, but didn’t fully capture just how astute Mr. Morton was at trying to force the secretary to state—unequivocally—his position on charter schools and, specifically, how important it is for states to have charters to be competitive for Race to the Top. As you may recall, this charter school issue has caused the normally unflappable secretary to be a wee bit prickly.

Best ‘real world’ example to counter Sec. Duncan’s enthusiasm that his required methods for school turnaround will work: Denise Juneau, Montana’s schools chief, outlined the duties of one of her superintendents, who is also the high school principal in his district, the coach, and the guy who cuts the grass.

Best question for Arne Duncan that didn’t get asked: Mark McQuillan, Connecticut’s education commissioner had some not so flattering comments to make about Race to the Top during an earlier session the chiefs had with top Obama administration officials. I wonder if he opted not to ask the secretary about it, or was convinced not to by his colleagues.

Best suck-up of the day: Came from the secretary himself, who was effusive in his praise for CCSSO Executive Director (and former Kentucky chief) Gene Wilhoit. I couldn’t even write down all the superlatives that Duncan was heaping on him about his leadership on the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Best gratuitous basketball reference: From Terry Holliday, Kentucky’s commissioner, who reminded the secretary that Kentucky is in two “Sweet Sixteen” brackets: as a Race to the Top finalist and, of course, as one of the 16 college teams left standing in the NCAA basketball tournament. Holliday told Duncan, probably best known by the non-education public for being a basketball-playing companion of President Obama’s, that he could personally arrange for the secretary and the president to play with John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, two stars of the University of Kentucky team.

Best ‘aha’ moment of the day for a state policy reporter: Spotting former Rhode Island chief Peter McWalters in the crowd and learning that he now works for CCSSO, as an interim strategic initiative director on education workforce issues.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding The Fight Over Charter School Funding in Washington, Explained
Tensions between some Democrats in Congress and charter school backers have reached a new level over proposed restrictions on federal aid.
6 min read
Image of the Capitol.
iStock/Getty
Education Funding What the House Education Spending Bill Would Do for Schools, in One Chart
House lawmakers have advanced a funding bill for next year with big increases for several education programs, but it's far from a done deal.
3 min read
Collage of Capitol dome and school
Getty
Education Funding House Democrats Pitch 'Massive Funding Increase' in Latest Education Spending Bill
The proposal would more than double aid to Title I programs for low-income students and aims to help schools address fallout from COVID-19.
4 min read
Drawing of money dropping into a jar.
iStock/Getty
Education Funding Feds Set Limits on Which Private Schools Can Get COVID-19 Relief
The Education Department's rules deal with $2.75 billion in American Rescue Plan aid set aside for private schools.
3 min read
Image of money.
TARIK KIZILKAYA/iStock/Getty