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Nowhere To Run To

The White House is very proud of its Race to the Top education program but should remember that pride goeth before a fall in educational standards. “U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that 10 applicants have won grants in the second phase of the Race to the Top competition,” the White House revealed on Tuesday. “Along with Phase 1 winners Delaware and Tennessee, 11 states and the District of Columbia have now been awarded money in the Obama administration’s groundbreaking education reform program that will directly impact 13.6 million students and 980,000 teachers in 25,000 schools.

“The 10 winning Phase 2 applications in alphabetical order are: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.” For his part, Frederick Hess [1], the education specialist at the American Enterprise Institute is somewhat less than impressed.

“Successful bureaucracy-busting measures tend to be cut-and-dry—states either do or don’t enact a specific reform—yet, the core of the Race to the Top program is about promising to do things,” he stated. “It’s good to see states like Rhode Island, Florida, Massachusetts, and DC recognized for their efforts.”

“But I am shocked that Louisiana and Colorado are not included among the winners.” Hess taught high school in Louisiana.

Montgomery County, Maryland, though, may have a golden opportunity to enact tangible education reforms. Their schools superintendent, Jerry Weast, just resigned.

“Residents have witnessed a near doubling of the schools’ budget over Weast’s tenure, to about $2.2 billion today, from just over $1 billion when he came on in 1999,” Leah Fabel [2] reported in The Washington Examiner on August 25, 2010. “The money has gone largely to salaries for a growing teacher force and an expanded central office, as Weast directed a greater share of resources to lower-performing schools.”

“Achievement has not kept pace.” Gee, where have we heard that before?

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia [3].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [4].