The Quiet Revolution .pdf
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The success of Obama’s first term education agenda will be sealed with the announcement of phase 1
Race to the Top winners in <a href="https://mcessay.com/research-papers-writing/">writing research
paper</a> in March. All indications are that the Obama administration will hold firm on its landscape
changing competitive grant program. Only a handful of states will receive grants in the first round. The
dozen or so rejected proposals will confirm that the administration is serious about reform—specifically
strong accountability, school choice, and a performance-based employment (the Education Equality
Commentators including David Brooks note that leaders he spoke with are “impressed by how gritty and
effective the Obama administration has been in holding the line and inciting real education reform.”
Pressure to spread funds broadly will undoubtedly grow, but Duncan has a great team leading this
program and very strong legislative language in the stimulus bill to fall back on.
About 20 states have already made important reforms in preparation for application. Here’s a summary
of the flurry of pre-RttT activity including
Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation on October 11th that would tear down the state firewall
between student achievement and teacher evaluations.
Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien, who is leading the RttT effort, has been convening meetings for months
(see CO’s RttT website: here).
Delaware has huge assets compared to other states because of the Rodel funded “Vision 2015”
project, comprised of a broad range of players.
Louisiana is one of the states that lifted its charter school caps in response to RttT in June.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appeared with Secretary Arne Duncan to announce a big
expansion (27,000 new seats) of charter schools.
More than 15 states have benefited from foundation grants to support development of Race to the Top
plans. State teams are scrambling to assemble the capacity to administer giant grant programs and
encouraging local superintendents to sign on to aggressive reforms. Governors, who will be singing off
on the proposals, are weighing the cost of the labor struggles to come.
Race to the Top and related grant programs push for performance-driven evaluation and
compensation—a huge change from the lock step back-loaded tenure-based employment common
nationally. The grant programs also push for aggressive action to improve low performing schools
including ‘turnarounds’ that require replacing half of the staff and ‘restarts’ that involve closing failing
schools and turning them over to an outside operator. Both would require huge dislocation of staff—an
enormous challenge in districts where it is nearly impossible to terminate teachers (see Rubber Room,
The New Yorker).
If the administration holds firm as Brooks suggests, the quiet revolution will continue. When congress
gets around to reauthorizing federal education policy, the landscape will be inexorably changed and the
momentum for reform will be well underway. By the end of the first term, more students have teachers
focused on their success and more families will have access to good schools—a revolution indeed.