One last RTT thought for the day: Everyone (in no small part because of the tireless efforts of Rick Hess and Andy Smarick) is now chattering about whether Secretary Duncan is favoring collaboration and consensus too much in the choice of TN and DE as Race to the Top winners. The teachers’ unions in those states are more supportive of the RTT applications than in some other states — but we’ll see how long that lasts…The other big theory, that this is about vote-greasing on ESEA, is too ridiculous to waste time discussing.
But to the “consensus complaint” it doesn’t look like Duncan put his hand on the scale here. The reviewers made the call not the Secretary. And that may be the problem based on a look at the score sheets. So if there is a critique isn’t it that Duncan didn’t get involved enough rather than that he influenced the process too much? Under the law he had a great deal of discretion and it seems not to have come into play. If I were FL, LA, RI, or a few others tonight, that’s what I’d be pissed off about.*
Ockham’s Razor? A review process that isn’t bulletproof isn’t the most sexy explanation for the outcome, but it is the most likely.
*Meaning that between some questionable reviewer calls on some key issues and the prioritizing of LEA buy-in over reform by some reviewers, the Secretary’s call for boldness seems not to have permeated parts of the review process.