Learn from No Child Left Behind’s mistakes, Frederick Hess advises the Obama administration. You can’t force states to “race to the top,” he writes on Education Gadfly.
It appears increasingly likely that President Obama and Secretary Duncan are at risk of doing to charter schooling, merit pay, and school “turnarounds” what the Bush administration did to educational accountability. That’s not meant as a compliment.
The Bush team took the sensible and broadly-supported notion of holding schools accountable for their returns and then pursued a vision that is so prescriptive, so overwrought, and so divorced from a coherent rendering of what the feds can actually do that they managed to largely unravel a solid bipartisan commitment in support of the underlying idea. As a result, most of the country wants to see NCLB overhauled or dumped outright.
Hess predicts states will make promises to get RTT money and then “go through the motions of reforming.”
First, good ideas will be executed poorly, undermining support and engendering skepticism. Second, such an approach will fuel backlash.
It will take longer than four or even eight years to develop “reform-minded political leaders and educators at the state and local levels, and to foster the efforts of entrepreneurs who are solving problems related to teacher quality, assessment, and charter schooling.”
Race to the Top will have only a few winners, predicts Patrick Riccards of Eduflack.
Those in the know seem certain that only a select group of states are going to be bestowed the title of Race to the Top states. The betting odds are 10 to 15 states will earn the RttT seal.