Sen. Murkowski's Education Newsletter for the week of April 19, 2010

The latest Education News you can use in one place.

Senator Murkowski Questions Witnesses at Senate HELP Hearings on the No Child Left Behind Act

This week, Senator Murkowski participated in two Senate HELP Committee hearings in preparation for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), otherwise known as NCLB. 

You might be interested in watching Senator Murkowski's interaction https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Education with two witnesses at Tuesday's hearing, ESEA Reauthorization - School Turnaround.  Senator Murkowski discussed the serious challenges rural school districts face in recruiting and retaining effective principals, and how the Administration's proposal to require districts to fire principals of low-performing schools as a first resort will affect rural education with Superintendent Timothy Mitchell of Chamberlain, SD.  She also questioned Dr. Robert Balfanz, nationally recognized expert in dropout prevention, about the need to provide support to young children as well as to secondary school students if we are to increase graduation rates.  The full hearing is available for viewing at http://help.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=bad3f6fd-5056-9502-5d47-6e25147c0969.   

On Thursday, Senator Murkowski also participated in a hearing, ESEA Reauthorization: Teachers and Leaders.  At this hearing, the Committee discussed teacher and principal preparation, induction, mentoring, evaluation, and effectiveness.  Senator Murkowski questioned the witnesses on their views regarding teacher and principal mentoring.  You can watch that exchange at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HuzzVXdS6c or watch the entire hearing at http://help.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=ddc7b57c-5056-9502-5d10-0a37ee595d1c.  Following the hearing, she also shared information with the Committee members about the Alaska Statewide Mentor Project and the positive results they've experienced with teacher retention and student achievement. 

The following hearings will be held in the next weeks: 4/22: Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student; 4/28: Standards and Assessments; 4/29: Meeting the Needs of Special Populations; and 5/4: Graduating America.  Additional hearings may be scheduled.  You can track Senate HELP Committee hearings at http://help.senate.gov/hearings/.  

Updated List of U.S. Department of Education Grants - Now Open for Application

All opportunities can be found on the USED website at http://www.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/index.html?src=rt.  Each of the CFDA and Grant Program Titles below is a hyperlink.

Grant Program Title


Education Research and Development Center Program [IES]


Statistical and Research Methodology in Education [IES]


Postdoctoral Education Research Training Program in the Education Sciences [IES]


Ready To Teach Program--General Programming Grants [OELA]


Ready-to-Learn Television Program [OII]


Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE)--Special Focus Competition: The U.S.-Russia Program: Improving Research and Educational Activities in Higher Education [OPE]


Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Program Information [OSERS]


Charter Schools Program (CSP) Grants for National Leadership Activities [OII]


Investing in Innovation Fund [OII]


Charter Schools Program (CSP): State Educational Agencies [OII]


Information Magnet Schools Assistance Program [OII]


Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as Amended--National Activities--National Assistive Technology Public Internet Site [OSERS]


Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as Amended--National Activities--State Training and Technical Assistance for Assistive Technology Programs [OSERS]


Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students; Foreign Language Assistance Program--State Educational Agencies (SEAs) [OELA]


Language Resource Centers Program [OPE]


Native Hawaiian Education Program--Competition for Novice Applicants [OESE]


Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program [OESE]

A list of grant programs whose application deadlines are closed is available at http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/grantapps/2010/closed1.html in case you would like to do a little long-range planning.

 Highlights from This Week's Ed Review from the U.S. Department of Education

The full edition is available at http://www2.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edreview/index.html.


"Now that we have announced the Phase 1 winners of Race to the Top, it is worth stepping back and analyzing why our two winners -- Delaware and Tennessee -- did so well," Secretary Duncan articulated in a blog entry at http://www.ed.gov/blog/2010/04/lessons-from-phase-1-of-race-to-the-top/.  "The bottom line is that we had many strong applications, but every state has room to improve, including the two winners," the Secretary concluded.  Applications for Phase 2 of Race to the Top are due June 1.  Videos of the 16 Phase 1 finalists presenting and responding to questions from peer reviewers are now posted with states' Phase 1 applications, score sheets, and reviewers' comments and scores at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase1-applications/.


Secretary Duncan has set aside up to $350 million of Race to the Top funds to support a consortia of states in developing and implementing a new generation of assessments. 

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/.  (Note: A technical assistance workshop for potential applicants and partners has been scheduled for April 22 in Minneapolis.)


Webinar recordings of the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund's three pre-application workshops are available at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/resources.html

The deadline for all applications is May 11.  Also, with a $1.4 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation, the Rural School and Community Trust is providing customized technical assistance for rural school districts seeking i3 Fund grants.  http://www.wkkf.org/news/articles/2010/04/rural-school-districts-eligible-for-federal-assistance.aspx.



  • Department officials will travel to Alaska (April 16) ... to strengthen government-to-government relations with Indian tribes. Specifically, the meetings will seek feedback from tribal leaders on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). http://www.edtribalconsultations.org/.