Monday, February 01, 2010

Education Reform: Is Your State Racing or Ambling?
With all the talk of deficits, health care reform, and Afghanistan, there has been precious little news on one of the largest and boldest areas of reform the Obama Administration has enacted: the "Race to the Top" education initiative. States seeking significant infusions of federal education money have only to make changes in education policy consistent with administration ideals, submit an application, and hope for the best.

What are those ideals? increased experimentation with charter schools, and test-score-driven teacher evaluation, to name a couple. If your state - like Tennessee - had tight rules limiting charter school creation, you had better change that law (we did) if you want the federal education money. If you won't base teacher evaluations on student performance, or won't spend the resources to implement comprehensive, coordinated data analysis, Secretary Duncan promises he will turn down your application. Some states like Texas have refused to play at all. Others, like apparently New Jersey and New York, might think they are getting money, but look like they may not, if Duncan lives up to his promised standards of review. Which state's application seems to look the best from the Obama Adminstration's point of view? Check out the Washington Post's (pundit contest winner) Kevin Huffman for the answer. Meanwhile, stay tuned. The NYTimes reports that President Obama is poised to unveil sweeping changes to current education law (No Child Left Behind), once Race to the Top funding is established. (via Ezra Klein)

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