WASHINGTON (CNN) - Those lazy days of summer may become a thing of the past if the new secretary of education has his way.
Arne Duncan, the Cabinet secretary charged with overhauling America's educational system, is studying programs that keep kids in school longer to boost their academic achievements.
"When I go out and talk about that, that doesn't always make me popular with students. They like the long summers," Duncan said in an interview Wednesday with CNN conducted in the Education Department's library.
But Duncan said American students are "at a competitive disadvantage" because the United States has shorter school years than other countries such as India and China.
"It doesn't matter how poor, how tough the family background, socioeconomic challenges," Duncan said. "Where students have longer days, longer weeks, longer years - that's making a difference."
More time in school is one of several ideas under consideration as Duncan settles into his new role.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– President Barack Obama pledged to bring change to Washington.
Now that he's moved to town, local restaurant owners are hoping he'll keep his campaign promise.
After eight years of largely being ignored by a homebody president, Washington restaurateurs are throwing open their doors to the new first family - dreaming of a presidential visit that would undoubtedly spark buzz at a time when some restaurants are struggling.
"I think the Obama family brings back this kind of Kennedy-era style of having a youthful family in the White House," said Sheldon Scott, general manager of Marvin restaurant, in the trendy U-Street corridor. "People actually plan on living in the city, not just necessarily living at the city."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's unlikely President Obama will stop by, but for Hollywood fans the Ibiza nightclub is the hottest ticket in Washington tonight.
A star-studded group strolled the heated red carpet at the Recording Industry Association of America's post-inaugural bash.
Rihanna, who was slated to perform, told CNN's Jessica Yellin that during her travels abroad she'd found tremendous excitement about Obama's election.
"It had such a strong impact all over the world," she said. "The first black president, and being part of that was such a big deal to the rest of the world."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Thousands of pro-Palestinian activists rallied outside the temporary residence of President-elect Barack Obama Saturday, and called on the incoming leader to stop the violence in Gaza.
About 3,000 people carrying signs and chanting "Free Palestine" flooded Lafayette Park, which is sandwiched between the White House and the Hay-Adams Hotel, where the president-elect is living with his family.
Carrying a Palestinian and wearing a keffiyeh, Abdel-Kader Elkabil called on the president-elect to take action.
"Please Mr. Obama, do something. We love you. We voted for you," said Abdel-Kader Elkabil. "I'm expecting you to do something...you're the only one who can do something."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – When President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office next month, the nation's capital will be the site of a massive celebration. But local officials are worried they might get stuck with the check.
Even for a city used to big crowds, Obama's inaugural promises to shatter records for attendance. City officials predict up to 2.5 million people will converge on Washington January 20, and they are taking unprecedented steps to accommodate the masses. Plans are in the works to open up the National Mall, extend hours for public transportation and - perhaps most daunting - provide parking for the influx of revelers.
"Even though we're very practiced at inaugurations and large events, this is one that will rewrite the book on inaugurations," said the Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC, who has requested an additional $15 million from Congress to help the city cover costs. That would double the $15 million Congress has already allocated to pay for all national events and demonstrations in Washington during 2009.
DC Mayor Adrian Fenty agreed costs for increased security and crowd control would dwarf the original allocation. And for a city facing a budget shortfall and the same economic downturn affecting the rest of the country, now is not the time to rack up debt, Fenty told CNN.