Articulating a Reform Agenda: Now With Coherence!

Race to the Top* has forced states to confront some of the most complicated problems with our systems of public education.  Not only are the technical solutions difficult, but the politics of each of the four assurances are, in Andy Rotherham’s words, “brutal.”  Sometimes I wonder if we would be better off if states had been allowed to tackle just one or two at a time.  Others have dealt with elements of this complaint as well.

That said, there’s something elegant that happens when a state is able to articulate how the assurances integrate and mutually reinforce one another.  New York’s state commissioner of education, David Steiner, has taken a shot at this, and the results are public here.  More states should do this … it’s pithy without being trite, and here’s the part I like best:

The pace of reform will undoubtedly depend on available resources, but we must be aggressive in seeking additional federal funds – like the 500-700 million dollars Race to the Top could provide – and figuring out creative ways to better leverage existing resources.

In the best cases, RtTT will accelerate reform in places where change is already happening.

*If I had a nickel for every time someone uttered those four words …

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