Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Race to the Top

Remember the Educational Race to the Top adventure from last year? That was the one where the Michigan legislature awoke from its slumber and started to madly legislate with an intensity rarely seen in recent years. And what aroused the sleeping beast? The smell of free money, which means money from Washington that the state desperately needs, but no legislator has the guts to actually vote for in the form of new taxes.

All we needed to get this free money was a massive "school reform", which was cobbled together in a firestorm of activity and then shoved down the collective throat of the school boards and teachers unions. Unfortunately, Lansing was a little late getting started, so when they needed approval from the teachers there was no actual bill yet. Teachers were asked to trust that what they agreed to would actually help the schools. Shockingly, they decided that trusting Lansing hasn't been working for them lately, so they said "no".

No problem, said Lansing. We'll just go ahead without you.

Now that Tennessee and Maryland have won the prize, it comes out that a critical part of their victory was achieving 100% buy-in from the teachers and school districts.

I guess our legislators didn't get to that part of the instructions. Or maybe the thought of easy money caused their eyes to glaze over and they couldn't read the fine print.

So now we have costly "reforms" and no money to pay for them. Nice work boys.

1 comment:

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