Bridging Differences returns from summer hiatus today. Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch’s blog resumes with a Ravitch post that takes issue with the $5 billion “Race to the Top” fund. “As I predicted on this blog, President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are now the spear carriers for the GOP’s education policies of choice and accountability,” Ravitch writes.
What is extraordinary about these regulations is that they have no credible basis in research. They just happen to be the programs and approaches favored by the people in power. Under normal circumstances, the Department of Education would need congressional hearings and authorization to launch a program so sweeping and so sharply defined. Instead, they are using the “stimulus” money to impose their preferences, with no hearings and no congressional authorization.
Ravitch is also troubled by the administration’s push to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores.
I commend to our readers the response to the RTTT regulations by Professor Helen Ladd, an economist who has studied teacher evaluation for many years, as well as the one by Paul Barton, who has studied education issues for many years. What both of these responses clearly demonstrate is that there is no research basis for the priorities favored by Secretary Duncan.
“This will be an interesting year,” Ravitch concludes. ”But also a very dangerous year for American public education.”
More Diane Ravitch: She weighs in on the NYC school report card controversy in today’s New York Post