School's (Almost) Out For Summer

May 31, 2011 | By Liza Casabona | Post a Comment

It was a busy week for the education space leading up to the holiday weekend. New initiatives, studies and funding opportunities abounded as the current school year winds to a close. Here’s a rundown of who was talking about what last week.

Our colleagues over at Title I-Derland blogged about the Obama administration’s new Race to the Top component here. The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge initiative expands the administration’s effort to include early education and will award $500 million in state grants. The administration’s official announcement is here.

The Department of Education also announced that an additional $200 million of RTT funds will be available for nine states that didn’t compete in the first round of the program, here. Applications for that competition will be available in the fall.

Also last week, ED awarded School Improvement Grants to five states with “persistently lowest achieving schools.”  On tap to receive the money: California, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Montana.

California’s schools made the news in other ways as well. According to a study of the state’s school districts, popular programs are being cut in an effort to balance local budgets. The study examined how local school boards cut adult education, special programs for gifted students, money for textbooks and other programs. See the report here.

And if you’re looking for a rundown on which states spend the most—or the least—on educating their kids the Census Bureau put out an interesting state-by-state tabulation of public elementary and secondary school expenditures in 2009. In total the country spent $604.9 billion in 2009, or $10,499 per student. Top of the list, New York which spent $18,126, followed by Washington D.C., New Jersey, Alaska and Vermont. Bottom of the heap? Utah, which spent $6,356 per public school student. Interesting stuff. Check out the chart here.

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