Push-Back on Race to the Top

President Barack Obama is finding resistance to his $4.35 billion grant competition intended to improve school performance. APPresident Barack Obama is finding resistance to his $4.35 billion grant competition intended to improve school performance. APPolitico.com, rapidly becoming the go-to source of breaking news on politics and policy, reported on Friday that a rebellion is brewing in many states against the Race to the Top competition and that members of Congress from both parties are considering pushing back against the Obama administration's strategy for using money to catalyze change in public school systems. Union leaders and state officials object to the content of the RTTT guidelines and criteria for winning the competition. A new EPI report unmasked the arbitrariness of the scoring system. Randi Weingarten objected specifically to the unsound turnaround model being pushed as part of the School Improvement Grants. Many states, such as Indiana and Massachusetts, are deciding not to apply for the next round. The problem is that at a time when states and districts are slashing school budgets and laying off needed teachers some will do anything for the money, even what they know is wrong. "States are so desperate." said Jack Jennings.