Slow down 'race to the top'

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.
It’s not clear whether the winners will be states with the greatest need or “low-hanging fruit states where a couple of billion dollars in education funding can make the difference,” he writes. Everyone’s talking innovation now, but the RTT losers are likely to lose their motivation once the dollars are allocated.
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  1. tim-10-ber says:

    Let’s see — to take seven years to shut down a failing school is not accountability. So…none due to NCLB. Now with RTT more tax-payer dollars and federal dollars the government is borrowing from China will go to waste…do the American people really understand what is happening in Washington? Do they care? Of course not, the vast majroity of them were educated (not) in government controlled schools. Shame on me…

  2. tim-10-ber says:

    Geez — I need to learn how to spell. Sorry about that. This waste of non-existent dollars that do nothing but increase the burden on our children and their children needs to be stopped. Compulsory education is nothing but smoke and mirrors anyway…

  3. Hess predicts states will make promises to get RTT money and then “go through the motions of reforming.”

    Hess certainly doesn’t like to go out on a limb with his predictions since the same attitude of treating federal money as if it were general revenue was what powered NCLB through both houses of Congress.