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.
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More recently, the Capital School District board passed a resolution saying it doesn’t support the new teacher evaluation system. That issue was still playing out at press time.
According to Jim Hosley of the conservative Caesar Rodney Institute, Delaware, through Race to the Top, adopted requirements that had not been developed in exchange for more taxpayer money. He says those involved didn’t understand how the program would work and had little evidence that students would be better prepared.
Hosley likens the Race to the Affordable Care Act, with local school boards signing off on something they didn’t have time to study. “From my perspective, it was like voting for a health care bill,” he says. “You had to pass it before you knew what was in it.”
The Delaware-based Caesar Rodney Institute is a self-described state think tank that examines state policy in economics, energy, healthcare and education. Hosley says CRI works with a network of state policy groups across the country. Retired and living near Lewes, Hosley says he spent 40 years in industry primarily running factories and operations for companies.
Hosley and CRI are among a faction in Delaware that strongly opposes the national, research-based Common Core State Standards.
Some, like Hosley, say the Race was a way to force the Common Core State Standards on states. He says that the Race required a curriculum component that those involved knew would ultimately be filled by Common Core. Murphy and some superintendents say that the Race is in no way tied to the standards. They argue that more than 40 states have adopted the standards, including many states that have not received Race to the Top funds.
A Delaware DOE document dated August 2011 that outlines the Common Core State Standards states that “a critical component of Delaware’s Race to the Top plan is implementing rigorous college and career ready standards and linking them with standardized assessment.”