Criticism of Race to the Top Growing

July 31, 2010

Dear ENSJ friends,

In the past week there have been significant developments in the growth of anti-Race to the Top sentiment around the country.  An impressive coalition of national civil rights groups issued a statement critical of the Obama/Duncan administration's educational policies: Framework for Providing All Students an Opportunity to Learn through Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It's worth the read.

Similarly, a coalition of 24 community groups organized by Communities for Excellent Public Schools issued a stinging critique of the federal government's "turnaround" strategies. "Our Communities Left Behind: An Analysis of the Administration's School Turnaround Policies" is a comprehensive critique that shows why those policies won't work and offers concrete suggestions as to what will turn around struggling schools. For a summary see an article in the Washington Post.

The lead segment on Democracy Now on July 30 was on the Race to the Top and included interviews with Diane Ravitch and Leonie Haimson from Class Size Matters; they respond to President Obama's recent speech at the National Urban League in which he defended the Race to the Top program. It's worth the listen.

These critiques confirm what those of us who are in the classroom have seen for the past several years. Many federal education policies are actually hurting students, making it more difficult for teachers to provide quality education to those who need it most. It's time for a change.

Bob Peterson

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