Race to the Top Kremlinology

The NYTimes’ Sam Dillon took a look at how states are positioning themselves for Race to the Top in yesterday’s paper.  Rick Hess, always good for thoughtful skepticism, says, “States are rushing to stitch together grant proposals that will win points, but many could just turn out to be short-term political plays.”

There’s some truth to that, and we’ve seen our fair share of primping for the beauty pageant.  But some states really are looking at RtTT as a way to accelerate statewide school change strategies.  Moreover, in states that “silo” school improvement work, RtTT has forced a more cross-functional discussion about reform.

Also, on the turnaround front … while turnaround is just one assurance within the broader RtTT context, turning around failing schools will only happen if a state has the other three (standards, teacher effectiveness, and data) in place.

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