Friday, December 4, 2009

Obama continues to be strong on rhetoric and weak on policy

In my previous post I lamented the watering down of President Obama's "Race to the Top" program. Obama had initially vowed to tie teacher evaluations to student achievement and to require states to remove caps on charter schools in order to receive federal funding. These were meaningful policies that Obama disappointingly abandoned once his rhetoric had faded.

Now, Obama is taking the "top" out of his "Race to the Top."

Joanne Jacobs:
The Department of Education is backing away from its decision to use National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results to measure states’ progress, reports Flypaper, citing Education Daily. Instead of using a single national measure, the department will factor in results from state exams.

“Race to the Top” is a play on the “Race to the Bottom,” Flypaper points out. States “have rushed to set passing scores on their own tests at laughably low levels.”

Now states will be able to claim that they have “narrowed achievement gaps” when all they’ve done is make their tests so easy to pass that virtually all kids — black and white, rich and poor — do so, magically erasing any group differences.

There will be no need to race if each state can set its own finish line.


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