Is the Race to the Top A Race to the Bottom?
Race to the Top funding has helped create some success stories in Delaware's public school system. But this race has also presented its share of hurdles, including a morale problem among the state's teachers. Now the one-time cash infusion is running out.
(page 15 of 15)
He says the Race is significant because it helped to bring in “outside talent” like Murphy, the Boston Consulting Group and others who brought fresh ideas to Delaware.
“Not that there’s anything wrong with in-house talent,” he says, “but it tends to be parochial. We tend to deal with the same problem in the same old way, and if we keep that up, we’re likely to get the same old solution.”
As to whether the Race will ultimately be successful?
“We aren’t going to know the answer to this for another 10 years,” Budinger says. “When we started our efforts through Rodel, one of the things that we hoped to find, in our naiveté, was a magic bullet that would have an immediate effect on the kids.
“We were looking for quick results because the stakes were so high,” he says. “And we’ve come to recognize that it’s just not possible. Nobody anywhere has succeeded in getting quick results across the system. We’re after long-term, sustainable results that really represent a change in the way our children view education.”
Hosley, of the Caesar Rodney Institute, makes no bones about it. He says the nation’s public education system is broken and it’s up to the local community to step in and help fix it. He says big-money programs like Race to the Top are not the solution.
“I still think it needs to be local school districts supporting strong principals and good teachers and building good parent-teacher relationships is where the real difference is going to be made,” he says.
“My concern is there is going to be another one,” Hosley says, referring to Race to the Top. “It’s going to be called Race to the Top of the Skyscraper, or something like that, four or five years from now, and we’re going to have to spend more money. That’s been the history.”