Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ohio Race to the Top Challenges

A recent report outlined the problems with implementing Race to the Top goals in Ohio and other states. The Economic Policy Institute put out the report, which essentially concluded that failure of states, including Ohio, to provide funding to support the Race to the Top initiatives will likely mean that its best promises will fall short.

The report's author included an interview with me during her discussion of Ohio's challenges. Despite our ability to include educators in the drafting of a new evaluation system, the fact that Ohio's on its fourth state superintendent of public instruction since 2010 has hindered implementation, according to the report.

Here is what I consider to be the nut graf of my comments:
“Without money, it’s going to be hard to see any of this work. My guess is the state will not fund a meaningful evaluation system, that it will put in so many loopholes that districts that can’t fund support won’t do it. And the districts that can afford to won’t need it much”
My great concern during this whole process on Race to the Top was I didn't trust this state's willingness to follow through on the program's promise. And to be sure, the program is not perfect and is in many ways flawed. However, a state that is unwilling to fix its school funding system despite four Supreme Court rulings to do so, is not exactly trustworthy on educational investment.

I held out hope that the $400 million we won would fund enough good initiatives that the state wouldn't be able to fail to fund them beyond the life of the RttT grant.

However, given that the state has significantly cut its investment in K-12 education the last two budget cycles, while pouring more money into educational efforts that have failed our kids, my fears have been realized.

It's still possible that some of the positives of RttT can be fulfilled, but it's going to require the state to do a 180. How confident am I they will do this? About as confident as I would be to invade Russia in winter.