Dear President Obama,
You will not become the education president of the Twenty-First Century by pursuing education excellence with your <span style=”text-decoration:underline;”>Race To The Top</span> education plan. In Texas, We have had decades of competing in these race to the top type reform programs. Tags, Taas, Teks, etc. offer the same carrot or stick approaches and philosophies of education. Anyone that would use testing and test results as final indicators of success or worth have not fought the battle in our inner-city schools or poor school districts. The developers of these education programs went to Ivy League colleges, Private Schools, or very rich public schools. They see success only in terms of the model schools and education programs they grew up with. Only when one has grown up with these Silver Spoon Schools, as their educational base, would these test based plans become the central focus on student, teacher, administrator, and school success. Growing up with the highest test scores narrows one’s perception of school problems and solutions.
How much input did inner-city communities have in developing or implementing the Race to The Top Program? Are the real problems faced by students, teachers, and administrators being corrected by testing to determine success? Are the safety and discipline in the school issues being corrected, by this race for high test scores? Will the emotional and mental stability of students improve and thrive in this high stakes Race TO The Top Testing?
What will be the results of this Race To The Top Program? First, great successes will be claimed, much like the great successes of No Child Left Behind. Everyone will pat each others Ivy League backs, and proclaim, “We have turned the corner on our education problems.” Next, huge scandals in the areas of cheating on tests or fudging the statistics of test results will occur. Scandals happen when money is tied to high test scores. Finally, there will be winners and losers, but the education system is little changed. When the education system is little changed, Race To The Top has triggers in the plan to accelerate the push to Charter Schools and the privatization of Public Schools. Was this the plan all along?