Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Race to the Top: Is the AFT Losing the Race?

Steven Brill, in a comprehensive article in the New York Times, details the impact that Race to the Top is having on education legislation at the state level.

As states compete for portions of the $4.3 billion dollar Race fund, legislatures are passing new laws eliminating or reducing teacher tenure and mandating inclusion of test score results on teacher compensation, in order to conform with the demands of the Race.

Gradually, the national AFT and the local unions are loosening their long-held demands regarding both issues. If the states have not achieved the Race goals, they must submit memoranda of understanding (MOUs) in their Race proposals regarding agreements to achieve them. At this point some of the states claim to achieve these goals, but the MOUs include clauses such as "as consistent with state laws" that in effect nullify them. Nonetheless, the pressure on the unions is severe.

Brill appears to me to be a cheerleader for the Reformers, a tightly organized group of political and business elites. So the article must be read with some caution.

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