Continued from page 1

Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently announced that the department will pledge up to $350 million of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund to help states create assessments attached to the internationally benchmarked common standards being made for public education from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Mr. Duncan spoke at the Governors Education Symposium in Cary, N.C., commending the 46 states and three territories that already agreed to develop common standards to help American students remain competitive in the global marketplace.

“Perhaps for the first time, we have enough money to really make a difference. We have proven strategies for success in schools all across America. This is where reform will play out. It will filter up from classrooms and schools, districts and localities, but then it will arrive on your desks,” Mr. Duncan told the governors. “And when it does, I urge you to remember that the truest measure of a societys worth is whether it offers all of our children the opportunity to go where they want to go, do what they want to do, and fulfill their dreams. This is the promise of education. This is my promise. This is your promise. This is the American promise.”

Each state currently sets its own academic standards.

The Education Department will hold a national competition among states to improve education quality and results statewide for $4 billion of the fund. The grants will focus on four main reform goals: using data to drive instruction; raising standards; turning around historically low-performing schools; and improving teacher and principal quality, as explained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Grants will be awarded in two rounds. The department also released a timeline for the grant-making process:

• By late July, the department will publish a notice of proposed rule making in the Federal Register, inviting public comment for 30 days on the proposed grant application and the criteria for evaluating them.

• October: A notice inviting applications is to be published in the Federal Register.

• December: Phase 1 applications are due.

• March: Phase 1 grants are awarded and winners are announced.

• June: Phase 2 applications are due.

• September: Phase 2 grants are awarded and winners are announced.

Fourth Estate on campus

The Utah State University Press barely escaped the cutting board. Eastern Washington University Press is being phased out. Revenue was down 8 percent at Yale University Press. State University of New York Press announced layoffs in December. Louisiana State University Press overspent its $500,000 budget by $900,000, and the school’s chancellor has said that kind of subsidy cannot continue.

You get the picture about college presses: “They’re all getting hammered,” Peter Givler, director of the American Association of University Presses, told the Associated Press.

Story Continues →