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January 29, 2010

State of the Union, Duncan's Secret Jury, and Sundance Film Festival

Education in the news this week:

Obama's State of the Union
On Wednesday night President Obama delivered his first State of the Union speech, turning to education as his administration's next priority. He proposed a $10,000 higher-education tax credit for families and debt forgiveness for graduates who have been repaying their college loans for at least 20 years, stating that "no one should go broke because they chose to go to college." Obama even said, "The best anti-poverty program around is a first-class education." Read more about his plans for higher education by the Quick and the Ed's Ben Miller here.

Duncan's Transparency — or Lack Thereof
"U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has pledged to conduct an open, transparent competition for $4 billion in Race to the Top funds," writes Education Week's Michele McNeil. "But the Education Department is falling short on one key piece: letting the public know who will judge the competition." Mike Petrelli of Flypaper explains that if Duncan releases "everything — the applications themselves, the names of the reviewers, all of the instructions given to the panels, etc. — then the whole policy community will be able to see for ourselves which states most deserve the money."

WAITING FOR SUPERMAN
The Sundance Film Festival is in full-swing this week, and Inconvenient Truth's director is back with a documentary about education. "Despite increased spending and politicians' promises," Sundance describes, "our buckling public-education system, once the best in the world, routinely forsakes the education of millions of children. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education 'statistics' have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR SUPERMAN."

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