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Amy Fagan

I just wanted to give a quick shout-out from the Education Writers Association meeting in New Orleans. It's an annual gathering (ends tomorrow) of education reporters and folks from various education-related groups.?(To follow the ongoing Twitter conversation about it,?check out the hashtag?#ewa2011.)

There are various panel discussions going on, but earlier today Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke at a?lunch session. Aside from praising the common-standards effort and the Race to the Top program, here are?a few of the more interesting tidbits:

*When asked about Cathie Black stepping down from her post as NYC schools chancellor this week, Duncan gave Mayor Bloomberg credit for making a change when he saw it wasn't working: ?That to me is real leadership.?

*Duncan is still hopeful about reauthorizing/fixing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind.

* On the issue of budget cuts in states/school districts, he said some people are being creative and innovative while others are paralyzed by the situation. But he said simply opting for across-the-board cuts ?doesn't make sense to me.? When pushed a few times by Bill Turque of the Washington Post to give examples of where he'd actually make cuts if he was a school leader, Duncan said he'd look outside of the classroom (administrative offices, etc.), invest in technology, look at purchasing options and healthcare, and avoid cutting early childhood education or narrowing the curriculum. (As a sidenote, folks interested in this topic might want to check out Fordham's ideas).

Here's some news coverage?of Duncan's talk today: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Kalamazoo Gazette here and here,? and the Grand Rapids Press, Detroit News.

?Amy Fagan

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