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How to help Arne Duncan spend his new $5 billion innovation fund

showusthemoney1District superintendents around the country – who will be the first port of call for the education stimulus funds – seem to want more than what is already a pretty substantial influx of money.

They have their eyes set on the Education Secretary’s discretionary fund (his “Race to the Top Fund”), money that is supposed to be about innovation.

A D.C.-area superintendent is quoted in the Washington Post today as saying he might ask for money to boost AP placement among Latino kids. That of course, is a good idea, but one that doesn’t need money – it needs great educators pushing kids to succeed.

We’ll be watching for what qualifies as innovation, but for now, we’d humbly suggest a quick read of at least five big ideas that could transform education – ones that might be worthy of some of Duncan’s prize funds…

Mandate for Changea bold agenda for the incoming government

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Letter to Arne Duncan, Next Secretary of Education

duncanYou’ve been called a “great guy” by democrats who think you will help them grow school reform.  You’ve “made a lot of progress,” say university types.  You’re the “compromise candidate,” because the unions have endorsed you.

Now comes the hard part.

Frankly, you’re one of the few national education leaders I do not know, which gives me some rare objectivity in the matter. That, and the fact that my organization has no horse in the race, no member group to protect, no current ties to you at all.

So, let me offer some fresh advice about what you can expect – and what might take you by surprise.

1) Everyone will want to claim you as his own.  Allowing them to do so will compromise your efforts.

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