Is the “Race to the Top” education stimulus full of nothing but hot air?

Patrick Gibbons

Nevada’s restrictions on creating meaningful teacher evaluations based on student test scores mean that the state can’t get a hold of more than $4 billion in education stimulus funds. Or can it?

Obama’s “Race to the Top” stimulus funds program touted charter schools, merit pay, meaningful teacher evaluations and other reforms that would actually lead to improved student achievement. For once, the party of the status quo in education was going to fund programs that work for students, rather than fund programs for adults.

But according to the Center for Education Reform (CER), this “Race to the Top” rhetoric may be nothing but hot air.

“Throughout the entire evaluation formula proposed by the Department of Education’s application, reform is deemphasized, and while states that are already doing good work will benefit, so might states that aren’t,” said Jeanne Allen, president of CER. “It is disappointing to see bold, exciting rhetoric on education reform from the Obama Administration turn into nothing more than lip service.”

If true, this is sad news indeed.