Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.


Listening in on Transition Team’s Listening Tour

By Alyson Klein — December 10, 2008 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

This morning I attended a meeting organized by the National League of Cities for education policy of staff of big city mayors. The session focused on next steps for the incoming administration and Congress, and was “on background” for reporters, meaning that I can’t give names of the people who spoke.

The mayoral staff heard from a representative of the Obama transition team. The group is tight-lipped about its next steps and in a “listen-only” mode for the most part when it comes to communicating with education organizations. The representative gave little indication of what the Obama administration’s first moves will be once it takes office. But the representative did solicit ideas from the group.

The city folks expressed interest in dropout prevention programs and money for career and technical education, among other programs. And they wanted to know what education programs would be included in the pending economic stimulus package, and how the school facilities program President-elect Obama mentioned this weekend will be structured.

The transition team official wasn’t allowed to answer those questions. But he said their suggestions would be posted on, along with other groups’ proposals. I’m guessing it will go in this section, which seems to be emerging as a clearinghouse of ideas for the new administration on public policy problems, coming from major business, professional associations, and even high school students.

The mayors’ staff also heard from an education advocate who has had several meetings with the transition team. She said they have getting a lot of feedback on the new Title I regulations, particularly on graduation rates. Some organizations would like to see them scrapped, others are hoping they’ll stay in place.

Transition team members are also thinking a lot about the future of Reading First, the advocate said, and don’t want to see the federal government get out of the business of improving literacy. It sounds like there will, eventually, be something to succeed the reading program that Obama strategist David Axelrod referred to as a “boondoggle.” But we don’t know yet what that will be or when it will emerge.

And the advocate guessed that Congress will likely tackle expanding pre-K or higher education before it get to No Child Left Behind reauthorization.

Democratic congressional staff who also attended the event were optimistic that Congress can finish reauthorization during the next two years. One aide said she saw a good deal of bipartisan consensus building on various aspects of NCLB, including the need to expand charter schools. She said charters might be the subject of a hearing in the House early next year on NCLB. I don’t think the committee has looked at charters in depth since Democrats won the majority. So that should be interesting.

And another aide suggested that the federal Department of Education may take a broader role going forward in providing incentives for districts innovate and facilitating discussions. The aide mentioned Obama’s innovation districts bill, introduced when he was in the Senate.

The congressional staffers said it’s still unclear just which education programs will wind up in the stimulus, although they mentioned some of the ideas that Obama has already talked about publicly, including school facilities and expanding schools’ access to broadband.

But it sounded like they are talking with the transition team. And they’re hearing from a number of groups who want to get money for other programs in what’s likely to be a costly, sweeping bill touching on many aspects of the federal government. In addition to school construction, education groups would like to see money for pre-K, Title I, Pell Grants, teacher training, and especially, money for students in special education.

For all you cash-strapped school finance officers out there, it’s worth noting that even if Congress doesn’t provide specific funding for some of those programs, it may provide billions in relief directly to states, which could then pass it to struggling school districts.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


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.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
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.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

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

Federal White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP