I had the craziest dream last night, Louisiana, a state that is a leader on all the things that the administration says are priorities didn’t get Race to the Top funding…oh wait…
Anyway, New York never disappoints, the Patterson presser is one for the ages. ‘Race to the cock?’ What the hell?
Big takeaways beyond the RTT issues below, are that the odds of seeing consistent and deep change across all Race to the Top winners got a lot longer with this round of selections. But the two fundamental questions basically remain the same and can’t be answered yet: How durable will the many RTT-inspired policy changes prove to be and will those changes actually improve student learning?
Over at Fordham Mike Petrilli’s doing the full-Chicken Little again, “disastrous” and “complete lack of political courage” he shrieks! That’s over the top. You are not hearing outrage across the board, we’re talking about a few states. But, he does hit important themes in this blog post and admirably acknowledges that he would have criticized the administration anyway, even if they had made the exact decision he’s now urging. In other words, the administration was damned if they did or didn’t here in this environment. So, even if you’re disappointed about CO and LA and some of the outcomes that ought to be acknowledged – they were in a tight spot. And don’t miss Checker Finn’s very even-handed take on the outcomes.
A second thing worth noting is that some of the leaders in states that didn’t win now have exposure because of problems with this review process. For instance state ed chief Paul Pastorek in LA and his team, Dwight Jones and the CO team, and Audrey Soglin, the state teachers union leader from Illinois. All of them took risks based on the avowed goals and rules of the competition. But if anything their stature should be higher than it was previously and especially relative to some other states. You can find plenty of people who didn’t like parts of the applications from states like IL, LA, or CO but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who follows this closely and is familiar with the applications and doesn’t think those states were superior – based on the avowed goals and rules of the competition – to some winners.
Standing Disc: Bellwether personnel, including me, were involved in advising a number of states, winners and losers, about policy and strategy but had no direct interest in a specific outcome for the states mentioned here.