More of what’s going on in the dropout nation today:

  1. Kevin Carey reviews the decision by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to skip Race to the Top. His thoughts? “. This is just Rick Perry running for re-election against a legitimate primary opponent in Kay Bailey Hutchinson by pandering to the strain of bizarre and archaic separatism that is apparently still alive and well in the Texas body politic.” Ouch.
  2. Andy Smarick offers more thoughts on Race to the Top, courtesy of his latest Education Next article. Writes he, the reform effort will only work if the district gets tough. His Fordham cohort, Smooth Mike, hopes that the recent Democrat debacle in the Bay State will force federal ed spending to decline. By the way: The Education Writers Association has just launched its new site tracking federal stimulus spending in education. Check it out.
  3. Ed Week reports on U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s first year in office. Predictably, Diane Ravitch, as usual, has few kind words to say. Why? Basically because she shares the same thoughts on Duncan’s focus on charters, standardized testing and teacher quality as Randi Weingarten.
  4. A University of California research coalition releases a report detailing how poor families are struggling — both in school and in the economy — courtesy of the recession. Whether schools can actually solve such issues — or should — is questionable. But interesting report nonetheless. (HT-John Fensterwald)
  5. Speaking of new stuff, educator Kevin Washburn’s new book is out. (HT-Chad Ratliff)
  6. Matthew Ladner goes all off education and writes about the U.S. Supreme Court’s strike down of campaign finance limits on corporate donations. This could become a major factor in education, especially as the NEA and AFT have doubled the number of campaign donations raised from their rank-and-file thusfar. I’ll talk more about this and the impact of Scott Brown’s election on education reform tomorrow in The American Spectator.
  7. In the Beltway ed reform world, Big Ed Reform Andy No. 1 and Kim Smith are teaming up to form a consultancy. Rotherham’s former Education Sector colleague, Sara Mead, is joining.
  8. Outside the Beltway, L.A. Unified’s reform effort continues. Here are the collection of proposals from the charter school operators, teachers union groups and mayoral offices. Enjoy.
  9. And for some thoughts on teacher performance pay, check out Dropout Nation‘s video featuring Jason Kamras of D.C. Public Schools.