Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is Race to the Top a bum's rush with no basis in research?

Before U.S. Secretary if Education Arne Duncan and our own Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek wax too enthusiastic about the charter schools and merit pay that comprise too much of the federal Race to the Top plan, they should read this article in Education Week (free registration required).

The main thrust of the article is that, for leaders who pride themselves on basing programs on facts and research, Race to the Top comes up short on both counts:

“What is extraordinary about these regulations is that they have no credible
basis in research. They just happen to be the programs and approaches favored by
the people in power,” writes Diane Ravitch, a research professor of education at New
York University, in her blog, Bridging
, which is hosted by edweek.org.

Ravitch and several other experts quoted in the article all agree that "two priorities at the heart of the program...lack research evidence: evaluating teachers based on students’ standardized test scores and promoting the growth of charter schools."

Before Louisiana's schools get hustled into yet another bureaucratic bum's rush, shouldn't we ask the intelligent questions, and then base policy on real research and data?

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