Obama Pushes to Replace ‘No Child Left Behind’ with ‘Race to the Top’ This Year

Obama’s weekly address, on education reform, comes on the heels of his commencement address to this year’s graduates of Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee.

Change from the bottom up sounds good. But critics of the reform movement point to a contradiction: Obama talks about giving principals, teachers, and parents control at the local level, but Race to the Top (RTTT) is a top-down strategy.

Need to get up to speed? Some links:

  • Obama’s Weekly Address, May 21, 2011 (link)
  • Race to the Top Program Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
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2 Comments to “Obama Pushes to Replace ‘No Child Left Behind’ with ‘Race to the Top’ This Year”

  1. Interesting insight. But I believe it’s possible for federal and state policy to assist in building local leadership. Race to the Top is wholly different than NCLB in that it pushed outcome priorities, rather than ascribing input metrics for all to follow [i.e. “highly qualified teachers” in NCLB – requiring certain certification requirements for teachers vs. “creating highly effective teacher evaluations” – allowing local districts to develop tools to identify high-performers]. The former in the example is pushing a strategy and methodology on all. The latter is an example of setting a standard and allowing locals to find ways to get to that point should they so choose. Most importantly, NCLB is a federal requirement for federal dollars; Race to the Top was/is a federal grant competition – States could choose not to apply. Enjoyed the post, though.

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