December 7th, 2009

Media Monday: Why Texas won't race to the top

If you hear someone worrying about a “federal takeover,” it’s likely they’re talking about the health care debate and the public option — but Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott is pointing in a different direction.

The US Department of Education is “placing its desire for a federal takeover of public education above the interests of the 4.7 million schoolchildren in the state of Texas,” Scott said last week. He was discussing the USDOE’s “Race to the Top” (RTTP), a federal education grant program, the first of its kind, with $4.35 billion in cash for winning states.

To be competitive, states must agree to enact USDOE sanctioned reforms, including participation in the creation of common standards. Only two states have elected not to participate, Texas and Alaska. According to Scott, who says Texas’ standards are already high, the RTTP amounts to coercion.

The “Race to the Top” is the federal government’s latest, and arguably most ambitious, foray into education reform. In a recent piece for the NewsHour, we asked where RTTP fits into the history of federal involvement in public education. Watch it below.

A Race to the Top: The History [, 12/03/09]

Texas Education head warns of federal takeover [Austin American-Statesmen, 12/03/09]

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1 comment

It seems that the nation, as well as individual states, are proposing the same solutions to the same problems over and over again. Students are falling behind and teachers are trying desperately to reach them. Every stride for education reform has seemed to have one goal: fit square student into a circle spot.
Educators recognize that students learn in different manners and at different paces. We know how to differentiate learning. The government, whether state or federal, does not seem to understand this yet. Test scores are not the solution. We have seen that very clearly.
We must find a way to reach students and show success in a personal way. We know that all students cannot fit into that circle spot. Let’s allow them to succeed in their own way and show our success in a new way.

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