Race to the Bottom?

Candace de Russy

Education reformers have generally been giving President Obama’s K-12 agenda, with its touted openness to charter schools and teacher assessment based on student performance, the benefit of the doubt.

But now the Wall Street Journal informs us that the final regulations of the Administration’s $4.38 billion “Race to the Top” initiative

allow states to use “multiple measures,” including peer reviews, to evaluate instructors. This means states that prohibit student test data from being used to measure a teacher’s performance may be eligible for the federal funds, even though the President clearly said that they wouldn’t be.

    Nor are states any longer required to embrace charter schools to win a grant … states that prohibit charters can still receive Race to the Top dollars so long as they have other kinds of “innovative public schools.” That’s an invitation for states to game the criteria by relabeling a few traditional public schools as innovative.

Surprise! It looks like the Administration has caved to the teachers unions, which has fought precisely these eligibility requirements. Reformers should jump on this case at once. We can ill afford billions of dollars more in waste of taxpayers’ money and children’s minds.

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