from Renewing America

Morning Brief: New “Race to the Top” Guidelines

Teacher Quin Clemons directs students in her seventh grade class in New Orleans, Louisiana (Lee Celano/Courtesy Reuters).

May 22, 2012

Teacher Quin Clemons directs students in her seventh grade class in New Orleans, Louisiana (Lee Celano/Courtesy Reuters).
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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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The Department of Education is expected to release new draft regulations for grant proposals for the latest round of Race to the Top funds (Education Week). The new guidelines for receiving one of the fifteen to twenty four-year grants from the $400 million program include: instruction tailored to individual students, incorporating student data into district superintendent evaluation, and the proposal’s “vision” for improving performance and narrowing achievement gaps.

The recent report of the CFR Independent Task Force on U.S. Education Reform and National Security highlights the importance of the Common Core State Standards and asserts that fixing the nation’s underperforming K-12 schools is critical to economic competitiveness and national security.

Chipotle’s Hiring Practices Under Investigation

Chipotle Mexican Grill, the quick service food chain that owns and operates over a thousand U.S. stores, is under investigation by the SEC for its hiring practices (WSJ). Chipotle has been the subject of prior investigations; a 2010 case led to the termination of 450 undocumented workers in Minnesota. Since that investigation, Chipotle installed the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system to screen job applicants. That system failed to protect the Pei Wei Asian Diner food chain, which closed eight Arizona locations after employees used stolen identities to bypass the E-Verify protections.

CFR’s 2009 Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, recommended policies with three goals: reform of legal immigration to improve efficiency and U.S. competitiveness; effective enforcement of immigration laws; and a fair, humane, and orderly way to deal with migrants illegally living in the United States.

Education and human capital. Read more from experts discussing ways to improve U.S. education and immigration policies.


SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule Rockets to Orbit

At 3:44am EDT, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched its Dragon capsule into orbit (Wired). Last Saturday’s launch was scrubbed after a computer diagnostic program detected a faulty valve half a second before liftoff. Dragon will conduct maneuvering exercises and on Friday will attempt to dock with the International Space Station, the first non-government entity to make that attempt. If successful, Dragon may carry astronauts within three years (AP) and validate NASA’s plans to rely on private space companies to achieve low earth orbit.

Finger-pointing over Facebook’s Falling Price

Facebook’s share price is down almost 11 percent after two days of trading, leading many to blame lead underwriter Morgan Stanley (Bloomberg). A few days before Friday’s Initial Public Offering (IPO), Morgan Stanley and Facebook decided to raise the share price and the number of shares being offered, which experts believe set the stage for decline. While investors have complained about the underwriters, TechCrunch argues that the IPO was successful for Facebook by maximizing the capital raised for the firm while minimizing costs and dilution for its pre-IPO shareholders.

Innovation. Read more on how the U.S. capacity to innovate could play a chief role in economic growth.

International Trade and Investment

Chinese Firm to Acquire U.S. Movie Theater Chain

China’s Dalian Wanda Group, announced its $2.6 billion proposal to purchase AMC Entertainment Holdings (WSJ). The deal would be a role reversal; typically U.S. media interests are trying to break into the burgeoning Chinese market. Wanda’s CEO said he would let AMC’s management make decisions on what movies to show based upon market demand, though he also added that Chinese-made movies would gradually enter the U.S. market. Talks have been under way for almost two years (NYT); the deal will require regulatory approval.

This CFR Independent Task Force report encourages the Obama administration and Congress to launch a National Investment Initiative to encourage greater foreign investment in the United States.

International trade and investment. Read more from leading analysts on the debate over next steps in U.S. trade policy.

The Morning Brief is compiled by Renewing America contributor Steven J. Markovich.

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