Let's Reverse the Damage From Race to the Top, EPI Report Says
This from Politics K-12:
A new report by the Economic Policy Institute finds big flaws in the Race to the Top program and questions how much the $4 billion spent to spur education improvements in the states will actually narrow achievement gaps and improve student outcomes.
The report was released today by the American Association of School Administrators and the Broader Bolder Approach to Education, a national campaign launched by the left-leaning EPI. The Race to the Top is the Obama administration's signature education-improvement tool, funded originally with $4 billion in economic-stimulus money provided by Congress in 2009. It led to a fierce competition among states, who provided supposedly ideas to improve data systems, standards and tests, low-performing schools and teacher-evaluation systems. Eleven states and D.C. shared the original $4 billion.
Now, three years later, the report found that states:
• Set goals for improving student achievement that will be nearly impossible to make. (In a story I did for EdWeek two years ago, many other experts agreed the states' Race to the Top goals would be hard to reach.)"President [Barack] Obama would like to leave as part of his legacy substantial improvements in U.S. education," the report states. "Recognizing the flaws inherent in Race to the Top, reversing the damage it has done, and enacting more comprehensive education policies in the administration's second term could make that legacy a proud one."
• Have encountered numerous delays in implementing teacher-evaluation systems.
• Have focused on the tested subjects at the expense of others, particularly when it comes to evaluating educators who work in nontested subjects, such as the arts.
In many ways, the report is a critique of the general direction of education-improvement efforts across the country. It faults states for focusing on developing teacher evaluations and not as much on using those results to improve instruction. It faults Race to the Top and federal officials for setting tight timelines and providing not nearly enough money to help districts with heavy concentrations of poor and minority students. And, it faults states and the feds for providing limited funding and a lack of professional development linked to the common-core standards.
In a more-sweeping sense, the report faults federal and state officials for failing to address through Race to the Top what the groups view as the root causes of achievement gap—societal factors such as poverty.