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Gendron Participates in White House Press Conference
Gendron, Secretary Duncan speak to education funding in the recovery package following two hour meeting with state education commissioners that included VP Biden
February 25, 2009
AUGUSTA – Maine Education Commissioner Susan A. Gendron joined U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan at a press conference in the White House Wednesday afternoon to talk about education funds in the federal recovery package.
Earlier in the afternoon, Gendron was among 40-plus state education chiefs who met with Duncan and Vice President Joe Biden to learn more about the federal recovery package and how its education funds can be used by states and local school districts. Duncan and his staff said they wanted to hear more from state education chiefs before issuing detailed guidance next week on the use of the funds.
“There was a strong focus on early childhood education, and talk of after-school programming as well,” Gendron said. “They challenged us to use the money in innovative ways to jumpstart achievement for students, especially for low socio-economic kids.”
Gendron said she and the other chiefs asked for flexibility in applying the funds, especially in areas such as technology and teacher competitive grants.
Biden joined the meeting for 45 minutes. Gendron said he made clear there will need to be accountability for the funds. “He said all eyes in the country are on you,” according to Gendron. “There’s $100 billion for education. His message was we need to deliver, we need to show all kids are achieving.”
Gendron was one of four people asked to join Sec. Duncan for a press conference following the meeting at the White House. Gendron, who is the president-elect of the Council of Chief State School Officers, spoke on how the funding will support the work in Maine and the country on early childhood education.
The other speakers at the press conference were T. Kenneth James, the president of CCSSO and commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education; Gene Wilhoit, executive director of the organization; June Atkinson, superintendent of public instruction in North Carolina; and Gerald L. Zahorchak, secretary of education in Pennsylvania.
Maine Department of Education
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