President Barack Obama and his Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, want to do more than save teachers' jobs or renovate classrooms with the new economic recovery law. They're hoping to reinvent education for the 21st century--while transforming the federal government's role in public education in the process.

Public schools will get an unprecedented amount of money--nearly double the education budget of this past year--from the stimulus bill in the next two years. With those dollars, Obama and Duncan want schools to do better.

From Duncan's perspective, the sheer size of the stimulus bill makes it a once-in-a-lifetime chance to put lasting reforms in...

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