Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, June 04, 2010

Race to the Top -- or to the Takeover!

Barack Obama arranged to have nearly a billion dollars included in his Stimulus law so his Administration can hand out new federal taxpayers' money to the public schools. The money will be spent by the politicians Obama brought with him from the Chicago Democratic political machine, headed by Arne Duncan, now Secretary of Education. One of the projects this money will be used for is called Race To The Top. The plan is for state education departments to submit grant applications to the federal government to compete to get a sizable hunk of this money.

People who have studied this new law think that the project should be renamed Race To The Takeover because its real purpose is for the Federal Government to take over control of the entire public school system, its curriculum and its administration. The plan is based on the premise that students and their parents are not able to make their own education choices, and they need so-called "choice architects" to make their education choices for them.

Race To The Top will require the more "effective" teachers and principals to be transferred to failing classrooms and schools. Curriculum choices and tests will be taken away from local and state control and transferred to a so-called regional service center, where decisions will be made by a consortium of states, not by a state board or local district. Any state that is awarded a Race To The Top grant will be stuck with a big unfunded mandate. For example, a Race To The Top grant of $250 million is projected to really cost $390 million, and the state will have to pony up the difference. Many state officials have complained that these directives are a big interference with state sovereignty and even unconstitutional. It's no wonder that Texas and Alaska have refused to participate in the Race To The Top.

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