Thursday, January 14, 2010


As a policy lever, I am very interested in Race to the Top; as a horse race, less so. Still, I am finding it intriguing to watch how many districts are not signing on to state attempts for the funds. I understand their apprehension but don’t get it on a practical level; state education policies and laws are going to change whether or not they formally buy in.

This week, my colleagues on the EWA K-12 listserve have provided each other invaluable information about where their states’s districts stand, context, questions (a great reason to join). I would like to get a better sense of why. Is it simply lack of teacher union support (some districts are going ahead without that anyway), the hurried timeframe for such major reforms, wounds still open from NCLB or something else—a certain sense of Texasness, perhaps?

In states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, where so many districts are opting out, I wonder to what degree their chances will be hurt, and whether it matters that a big district thumbs its nose if there are plenty of other students who might be served in the rest of the state. (Here’s looking at you, San Diego and Broward.)

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