This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
The Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative has done Washington a painful favor. It has exposed just how hostile the state’s K-12 establishment has been to genuine education reform.
Race to the Top, administered by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, is designed to recognize and reward states that have demonstrated they are serious about improving their schools. The Obama administration wants school reform measures that that been proven to work, and the Department of Education has offered a very big pot of money – $4.35 billion – to states that are pursuing them.
Last week, Duncan spelled out exactly what it will take to qualify for a share of that money. To no one’s surprise, it turns out that Washington not only isn’t pursuing some of the identified best practices, it is deliberately running away from them. Race to the Top demands:
• Procedures for expedited removal of those teachers and principals who’ve proven they just aren’t up to the job. In this state, mediocre educators can hang on for a very long time; in fact, some retire on the job.
• A way for a state to step in and fix failing schools and school districts – whether the districts like it or not. In Washington, that’s against the law.
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