Monday, April 5, 2010

Another Obama Program a Big Bust

This time it's the signature school improvement initiative known as"Race to the Top." A dozen or so governors were enthusiastic about competing to improve their state schools, hoping to gain a share of the $4 billion in grant money offered as reward.  For many cash-strapped states the grant money would offer relief to their strained budgets.  Alas, they feel as though they have been had, what a surprise:
But for many of those governors, the contest lost some sizzle last week, when Mr. Duncan awarded money to only two states — Delaware and Tennessee.

Colorado, which had hoped to win $377 million, ended in 14th place. Now Mr. Ritter says the scoring by anonymous judges seemed inscrutable, some Coloradans view the contest as federal intrusion and the governor has not decided whether to reapply for the second round.

“It was like the Olympic Games, and we were an American skater with a Soviet judge from the 1980s,” Mr. Ritter said.

Colorado is not the only state where the initial results of the Obama administration’s signature school improvement initiative, known as Race to the Top, have left a sour taste. Many states are questioning the criteria by which winners were chosen, wondering why there were only two that won and criticizing a last-minute cap on future awards.
Heh, darn those Soviet Obama administration judges for proving themselves untrustworthy.  It seems they preferred their competitors to be on the small side, as states go.  Restrictions on the program made it much more difficult for larger states to meet the ever changing requirements of the program.  Those states were favored that were able to get the support of all their school districts and teacher unions to "expand charter schools, rework teacher evaluation systems and turnaround low-performing schools."  Delaware's 38 school districts were more workable than the 1500 or so in California.  

States that had considered reapplying next year for the program are reevaluating after they were informed the awards would be significantly lower in the future.  Honestly, it is unclear why any state other than Delaware or Tennessee would bother with this program at all.  Nevertheless, Obama administration officials considered the program, "a splendid success."  That must have been Baghdad Bob Gibbs declaring success, he gets plenty of practice spinning failures into phenomenal success stories.  Fewer and fewer seem to believe him and this smoke and mirror administration, however.  Now it appears fewer states and their governors believe them as well.   

Via Memeorandum

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