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  • The Danger of the “Race to the Top” Fund in Education

    Today, Education Secretary Arne Duncan unveiled the regulatory guidelines for his so-called “Race to the Top” Fund, the administration’s $4.3 billion incentive fund for state reforms. Like previous federal education reform efforts, including No Child Left Behind, American parents should be skeptical that new federal incentives will really encourage the kind of reforms that American students urgently need.

    For starters, it’s naïve to think that $4 billion in funding will provide a real incentive that will have transformative effect on the $600 billion elementary and secondary education sector.This is particularly true given the fact that the federal government recently doled out roughly $70 billion in new funding for K-12 programs through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It has been a pattern for recent administrations to overreach in the kind of change they think is possible from Washington. It’s likely that this newest effort will also disappoint.

    We should also be concerned about what Secretary Duncan is trying to incentive with the “Race to the Top” funding. Writing in the Washington Post, Sec. Duncan listed “working toward common, internationally benchmarked standards” as his top requirement for states to win “race to the top” funding.

    This move is a first-step toward the federal government creating national standards for the states.

    Given the dramatic changes in American government that we have witnessed over the past year, it may not seem surprising to see Washington aim to take responsibility for setting academic standards for American schools. But parents should we wary of the potential dangers of national standards—including the great risk that common standards will be poorly-executed and overly politicized.

    American education surely needs a “race to the top,” but four decades of experience suggests the federal government is poorly positioned to encourage the types of reforms American students deserve.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to The Danger of the “Race to the Top” Fund in Education

    1. Pingback: » Financial News Update - 07/24/09 NoisyRoom.net: Where liberty dwells, there is my country…

    2. Dawn Reyes, Vista, C says:

      Thank you for posting all the facts. We as parents are very concerned about the education our children are receiving. Recently I was laid off from a private school. I was teaching PE to grades K-8. We are now moving our children to public school and are excited to see the differences. We are however, aware of the cuts in CA and now with the government getting more involved what will it be now. With the current budget problem in CA they passed pulling more money from the schools. Why are we taking away from our children's edj and their future. We as parents don't want any more gov't interference in our edj system. We are so concerned about the way our country is headed and we love USA but we don't want to live in a so called Canada or UK country. We love our freedom and the chance to make great things happen. We want the same for our children and so do all of our family and friends. Thanks for all you do.

    3. Terri from Ok says:

      My four children will not be part of Government education. We were disenchanted even before "no child left behind".

      There are amazing and professional educators in our state, but they are bound into a stagnant bureaucracy. I would love to get the federal Govt. out of education completely.

      For now we have combined home school with private school. We will not give up our kids to the failed Government system.

    4. C. Adli,NV says:

      We have been trying over fifty years to change the Communist regime of Castro but he resisted all of our endeavors.Now it seems to me that we are going to get that regime in the next four and a half years with help of thirty two czars.God please! help us.

    5. Tim AZ says:

      Truth be told this is more likely to be a race to the top of the dung heap. The reason for this race is obvious there are still too many American citizens smart enough not submit themselves to the cruelties of liberalism. Librals must intensify the dumbing down of the populace to reach their goal of total domination.

    6. Jon A Firebaugh NC says:

      Let's be honest……….the Department of Education should be renamed the Department of Indoctrination. Let's coalesce all thought to precious conformity. Let's lower the bar so that all can claim to be educated, after all, documentation of success is more importnat than competancy. Let's not teach critical thinking so as to avoid confrontation.

      For every 100 good teachers there is one foolish administrator with the the power to undo the positives they all can accomplish.

    7. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      It is Imperially impossible to race to the top of a hole! You can race to the bottom, but never to the top! This seems to be the problem with the whole Obama Administration and the current Congress, reverse thinking!


    8. Julia S. - Richmond says:

      I was talking to some mothers with preschool age children who live in an urban area with little options for good public education. The trend with most mothers is not to try to alter the current system but to create new small private schools within the city limits. Federal interference in education also impedes on state and local efforts to improve education, so people are making up their own rules in a vast hodge podge of outdated regulations. Education spending should be decided on the state and local level where individuals can make the most impact. It is evident that our tax dollars are paying for a system that is outdated and inefficient. Citizens should not have to pay money into education programs that don't work, only to spend money to open small private schools in local areas.

    9. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Can anybody point out even a single clause in the Constitution which would give federal government the right to impose a national educational standard? To impose a national health care system of the type now being proposed? This is not the business of the federal government, and I think they know it. I also think that is why they always start with dangling the carrot. Take the money they appropriate and they "got ya".

      It's only later, when they haul out the stick, that most people wise up to the fact that it was their own money in the first place, and often not even that, because it was borrowed from the future, meaning from their own children who will be (mis-)educated and indoctrinated in this ugly system.

      Private schools and private systems for measuring standards and for accreditation have always worked because they have allowed diverse choices on the one hand, and close supervision on the other. They should be kept at all cost and any politician who promises pie-in-the-sky improvement schemes should be sent home without a mandate and impeached or indicted for fraud if he/she later arrogates to himself a mandate not given.

    10. Eric, Round Rock, TX says:

      In the late 1980s the president and governors agreed to make the US number number 1 in Math and number 1 in Science, in the world, by the year 2000. Not only has that not be achieved but we have fallen farther and farther down the list. We are now ranked 21 in one and 24 in the other out of 30 countries tracked. Just a couple of years ago we were 17 in one and 21 in about in the other, I think. Regardless we have slipped into the bottom 1/3 in both, recently. Since the federal government has had its hand in education we have seen education going down the tubes.

      National standards for the states? If world rankings in Math and Science are any indication then the government will fail miserably with this as well.

    11. Margaret says:

      I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



    12. FeFe, Balto says:

      Diversity. Empathy. School systems are focused on graduation rates and illegal immigrants and immigrants are more likely to drop out than native born. We have entire schools that only take one ethnic group and correspond holidays and teaching to their culture not American history. Assimilation is not required of the children nor the parents. American education suffers as well as Americans in low-wage and low-skilled jobs. The poor just get poorer as liberals buy votes with taxpayer money. Sick.

    13. Pingback: Education Reform: California Prepares to Compete for Race to the top Funds –

    14. Pingback: Opposition to Obama’s Push for National Education Standards Keeps Growing | The Foundry

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