December 3rd, 2009

Race to the Top
Race To The Top, Part I: Introduction

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has more power than any other education secretary in the nation’s history. Duncan possesses $4.35 billion dollars in discretionary funds to push the reforms his administration believes will turn around the country’s failing schools, such as more charters and higher standards. What’s more, to get a piece of the money states must compete for it.

The competition is called the “Race to the Top,” and it is unlike any education reform efforts of the past. This program starts at the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and traces the growing involvement of the federal government in public education.

This is Part I of a four-part series produced by Learning Matters on the program.

Download transcript (pdf)

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It seems that no bad idea stays dead. A study of performance pay in Texas,as reported in the Dallas Morning News, found that the $300 million spent on merit pay for teachers over the last three years in Texas did not produce the big boost in student achievement and the program is now defunct. Researchers for Texas A&M University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Missouri stated that there is no systematic evidence that TEEG had an impact on student achievement gains.

In Michigan the state is so desperate for some of that money they are considering changing a statute they put in place a few years ago because everyone wanted it. A few years ago the state said “all schools must wait till after Labor Day to start their school year”. This let kids stay in the work force thru the summer tourist season. It was a boon to summer businesses. Now they may change that rule just to show Washington they are willing to “inovate” They need the cash just to help stay solvent. Cutting a week off the summer will only hurt the second largest industry in our state.

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