Thursday’s News…Rumors…You Can Go Your Own Way?…And, Punchback on Unobligated Funds!

Kaus gives voice (and summons Ron Brownstein) to the increasingly high-decibel rumor floating around about the Kennedy NCLB corrections bill that George Miller wants no part of. The retroactivity bill is a good idea, but — policy merits aside — this next step seems very ill-considered because (a) The Republicans will never let it see the light of day legislatively so it’s going nowhere this year (b) The press seems at least as likely to play it as an effort to gut NCLB than as some sort of grand improvement and (c) It’s going to put Kerry into the accountability box that he’s successfully stayed out of so far (conspiracy theorists can ruminate on that last one…)

Note to Democrats: If the NEA really had the party’s best interests at heart why would they be pushing people to walk this plank during a very close election? Politically this is like the NRA asking Bush to brandish a bazooka at a gun show. Oh, wait, that’s right, they have more pressing priorities…

New census data on high school completion, likely a little inflated, take with a grain of salt.

Yesterday’s news roundup noted that the Department of Education was trying to score a few points on NCLB funding by highlighting unspent federal funds in state accounts. The AP story included some warm quotes from Council of Chief State School Officers staff to the effect that this was no big deal, everything is cool, and this was a courteous heads-up from the feds…Good enough except there is a stark contrast between those warm love-in vibes and quotes from the same CCSSO official in the trade paper Education Daily starting with,

“We are troubled that they are reviving this issue, because it’s one we thought we explained to the Congress and [ED],” said Patricia Sullivan, deputy executive director of

the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). “It’s beginning to wear on my members, because their integrity is being questioned, and that’s very troubling.”

Sullivan added,

[The Department of Education] “can’t report obligated and unobligated funds, because they don’t know,” Sullivan said. “This level of obligation takes place at the district

level, so for the states to [keep track] is hard enough; for the feds, it’s impossible.”

Hmmm…that’s a little different…and it’s a little more like it seeing as Department of Ed is playing crooked pool here.

Another interesting story about District of Columbia schools. There is a raging debate (that keeps a handful of conservative analysts busy and otherwise out of trouble) about how much DCPS spends per-pupil yet it’s hard to know what the right denominator is…more immediate implication is federal dollars.

NYT’s Schemo looks at the ongoing Head Start controversy, if you’re scoring at home the Bush Administration has completely lost the high ground here…Here’s more (via Educationnews.org) from the Head Start advocacy group, they’re understandably piling on.

Also in NYT, more on No Show-Gate. And, what looked like a routine fraud case may have a political angle.

Wash Post reports that Discovery Communications sees a rich vein in schools.

In California, possible movement on the equity suit there. Key quote: Kevin Gordon executive director of the California Association of School Business Officials and general CA ed policy maven, “we don’t want a state rodent monitor…” Via School Wise Press.

More on Florida vouchers from the bulldog Palm Beach Post. Right! Still no voucher problems in Florida…

They’re going to re-run the teachers’ union election in Chicago. This is a must read, a lot of important implications.

NY Daily News likes Klein’s new principal policy. The principals are less enthusiastic.

Boston Herald says do what is necessary to protect charters in MA.

Social Security technical glitches. Don’t blame the teachers (as Heritage Foundation predictably does), modernize the system and offer teachers benefits more in line with the flexibility the private sector affords.

The DC Public Charter School Board is hiring for two positions involving NCLB and Washington charter schools. Please contact them, not Eduwonk, about these.

Finally, not exactly an education issue but there is a lot of concern among anglers and non-anglers alike about the snakehead fish that is infesting the Potomac River. So, as a public service, if you want to learn more about this fish click here.

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