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July 16, 2015

7 Lessons From Race to the Top

Five years on, we can draw at least seven lessons from Race to the Top.

July 30, 2014

RHSU Flashback: Racing to the Jargon

Last week's fifth anniversary of Race to the Top left me nostalgic for its glorious early days, when everyone kept telling me what an unprecedented game-changer RTT was. I wasn't sold then (a lonely stance), and am even less convinced now (no longer such a lonely stance). Anyway, I thought it might be fun to revisit the RHSU I penned on March 5, 2010, the day after Secretary Duncan giddily named the Round 1 RTT finalists.

July 24, 2014

Race to the Top, Wasn't

We've just marked the fifth anniversary of Race to the Top, the Obama administration's signature education initiative. When launched, the $4.35 billion competition drew bipartisan cheers and was lauded as an example of getting school reform right. Five years on, I see it more as a monument to paper promises, bureaucratic ineptitude, and federal overreach.

October 26, 2012

Thomas Friedman Loooves 'Race to the Top'... Should You?

The NYT's Thomas Friedman is at it again. Last Sunday, with his customary humility, he opined in "Obama's Best-Kept Secrets," "While I don't know how Obamacare will come out, I'm certain that my two favorite Obama initiatives will be transformative." One of the two was Race to the Top (the other was...

May 29, 2012

RTT for Districts: Four Things I Don't Love

Last week, I kvetched about the problems with RTT-District. I'll just say a bit more today. There are four things that particularly struck me about this $400 million exercise: 1. ED anticipates giving out 15 to 20 grants, with amounts tied to district size. Big districts, serving 10,000 kids or...

May 25, 2012

RTT for Districts: Taking the Hubris Meter to 11

Just this week, ED announced the creation of (yet) another RTT, this time for school districts. My only reaction to reading the info on this new Race to the Top-District was, "You" It's like they read all their admiring press clips from RTT, strenuously tuned out an...

December 21, 2010

When "Digital Natives" Discover the Encyclopedia

I'm sure my friends at the Department of Education were thrilled to read in the Raleigh-based News & Observer that North Carolina school districts are using their Race to the Top funds to advance structural reform by... purchasing iPads. Durham, N.C. is spending $3.5 million in RTT funds to "put Ap...

December 09, 2010

The Double-Edged Politics of RTT

States are wrestling with Race to the Top implementation. In Georgia, a superintendent drew attention by announcing that the district would forego more than a million bucks in RTT cash rather than adopt merit pay. Questions abound as to whether D.C., with a new mayor and no permanent state chief, ...

October 28, 2010

Prof. Manna's Sober, Savvy Analysis of Race to the Top

If the Republicans take the House next week, as many pundits expect, it's unlikely the administration will win its hoped-for rounds of additional RTT funding. At least, that's the signal being sent by John Kline (currently in line to chair the House education committee) and by a slew of GOP House c...

September 02, 2010

Eduwonk Hits Me for Insufficient Deference When Critiquing RTT

My pal Andy "Eduwonk" Rotherham took the time on Tuesday to level a series of charges at me regarding Race to the Top (RTT). Having voiced his own set of concerns about RTT and called for Secretary Duncan to convene a panel to explore what went wrong, Andy would now prefer to discount all prior cri...

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The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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