Race to the Top: Is Maryland in trouble? Maryland won $250 million from the federal government's Race to the Top competition -- but according to the feds, Maryland isn't holding its end of the bargain. According to a December 6 letter from the U.S. Education Department (noted by Politics K12 today), the government is adding new conditions on $37.9 million of the winnings -- a solid chunk! E.D. is concerned about the school districts' ability to implement the state's RTTT promises. The letter also chided the state for an insufficient use of information from students' standardized tests in high school teacher evaluations. More here.
Labor Sec. Solis out -- who's in?The White House announced Wednesday that after four years with the Obama administration, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is stepping down. "I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people," President Barack Obama said in a statement, courtesy of the White House. Obama's education agenda has been rife with union skirmishes. Solis's replacement will no doubt affect the tone, if not the substance, of Obama's second-term education policy.
What's Michelle Rhee up to amid the Frontline buzz? Michelle Rhee has had a busy week. On Monday, StudentsFirst, her national lobbying group, unveiled its controversial report card of education policy. On Tuesday, she was the subject of a PBS Frontline documentary. As the Tennessean tells it, Rhee has also been promoting her agenda in that state: she's pushing limited vouchers, the parent trigger law, and a statewide charter school authorizer.
Administrative exodus in Milwaukee? A whole bunch of well-known Milwaukee school administrators are leaving their jobs, reports the Journal Sentinel. Why? Well, they're getting older. But also, the JS says, "the unusual number of shifts may be tied to controversial state legislation that has changed the power structure in districts, reduced the resources available to superintendents, and created new internal and external political challenges." And there's also this: "Budgets for schools were slashed to stay in line with dramatically reduced state aid under Gov. Scott Walker. Unpopular cuts could produce backlash from teachers as well as the public."
How do teachers feel about guns? HuffPost's Alexander Eichler is working on a crowdsourcing project to answer this question in light of the horrific Newtown, Conn. shooting -- and the resulting swirl of policy proposals. We'd love for you to weigh in by sending a note to email@example.com. "Would you quit your job if your school changed its policies to allow more guns on campus?" Eichler asks.
Want to Teach for America? Education blogger Alexander Russo has a chuckle-worthy post on how to get into the nation's elite teaching corps. TFA alum tweeted a few pointers applicable to all wannabe achievement gap closers. For example, there's this gem: "be good looking. TFA pretends this doesn't matter but it totally does." Uh. Noted!