The Obama administration realizes that our education system is lagging, but the recently announced ‘Race to the Top’ initiative may not be the solution. The Department of Education’s ‘Race to the Top’ puts up for grabs almost $5 billion of federal dollars to states that devise innovations and demonstrate improvements in K-12 education. This program is a good start in theory, but the fine print promotes broad, sweeping changes that are cause for concern.
First, to be eligible, states are required to link performance with testing. This is similar to the failed No Child Left Behind policy that focused too much on student assessment, and too little on broader factors and gains, when gauging school quality. For those who forgot, NCLB showed little gains in student progress, with schools forced to teach to the test and tests emphasizing low level skills.
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