During a video-telecast speech at the 2009 NewSchools Venture Fund Summit, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Joanne S. Weiss has been named to lead the $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Race to the Top monies will be disbursed to help jumpstart student achievement by “supporting states making dramatic progress on…[education] reform goals…and effectively using other ARRA funds” (US Department of Education website).
Alas, this announcement is bittersweet for NewSchools. On the one hand, Joanne’s selection for perhaps the most important and interesting role in education is sure to advance the federal government’s important work on improving outcomes for all students. On the other hand, we at NewSchools are losing a friend and mentor whose brilliance, clarity, and vision have made all of us better than we were, and has served as a turbocharger for the work of America’s passionate education entrepreneurs.