Rick Hess responds here to this post from the other day. Worth reading because he makes many good points that I agree with relative to the competition. But he clouds a fundamental difference in our views on this. Criticizing public officials for bad decisions or bad judgment either proactively or retroactively relative to their public duties and asking tough questions is completely fair game – and in fact a vital part of the process in our system. Accusing, suggesting, insinuating, or otherwise hinting at bad faith and violations of the trust of a public office is fair game only to the extent it’s coupled with actual evidence rather than suppositions. Otherwise, it crosses a line and I think that line was crossed by some of Race to the Top critics, including Rick, especially because of the extent to which key officials were recusing themselves to avoid even the perception of any conflict of interest. An extent that I’ve argued (and Rick does) actually hurt the competition. More generally, as with Reading First, the public interest is ill-served by this sort of stuff.
This matters because we may be about to see some back and forth with regard to the outcome of the assessment competition today.