Friday, March 05, 2010

Cakewalk to the Top: Did Kentucky (and some other states) deserve to be finalists on education progress?

Andrew Smarik, at the American Enterprise Institute, on the fact that 16 states, including Kentucky, are "Race to the Top" finalists. Race to the Top is the Obama administration's attempt to hold states accountable on education improvement:
I’m very disappointed with the department’s decision to name 16 states RTT finalists (Wall Street Journal coverage here, New York Times here ). A number of these states have glaring deficiencies that would make them unable to get over a medium bar, much less the “very, very high bar” that Secretary Duncan said he would set.

... Take for example New York, which wrangled over reform legislation until the very last day before deciding just hours before the filing deadline that they were going to reject the department’s priorities. That is, the state publicly considered and rejected RTT reforms. Yet New York is a finalist. Kentucky doesn’t even have a charter law, one of the most important reforms of the day, but they too made the finals.

Many good teachers grade tough early in the semester. It sets high expectations and shows students that they must up their effort. I had hoped that Secretary Duncan would follow that line of thinking and reject most if not all applications, telling states that they could and must do better. “We’ll see you in the next round,” I envisioned him saying, “You simply didn’t meet the mark this time.” Instead, he advanced nearly one in three proposals. Not only will this instill an unjustified sense of complacency in those chosen, it shows the rest of the states that the bar wasn’t all that high.

Read the rest here.

No comments: