WASHINGTON, D.C.—Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Education released their final guidelines for awarding states competitive funding under the Race to the Top (RTT) program. The release follows draft guidance issued this summer outlining the key reforms states must agree to undertake in order to receive funding.
In responding to the release, Arthur J. Rothkopf, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated, “We are very pleased the administration has made it clear that funds will be limited to those few states that are able to demonstrate a true commitment to taking the challenging steps necessary to reform education.” He added, “We are particularly pleased the guidelines focus on reforms long championed by the Chamber, including adopting rigorous academic standards and assessments; implementing teacher performance systems based on improved student achievement; taking meaningful steps to intervene in low-achieving schools; and embracing innovations such as charter schools.”
Rothkopf pointed to the new Leaders and Laggards report unveiled this week by the Chamber’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce, the Center for American Progress, and Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, grading state efforts tied to education innovation. “This report shows that some states are doing some very exciting and successful work to ensure their education systems are able to prepare students to enter and succeed in a 21st century workforce. However, the report also demonstrates that much more needs to be done and that the RTT program provides an excellent opportunity to leverage this much-needed change at the state and local levels.”
While applauding the RTT guidance, Rothkopf noted that the success of the program will hinge on its implementation. “There’s tremendous opportunity here to drive real reform, but if this ends up being a windfall for any state that can produce a good application but no measurable results, it will be a setback for our nation’s children.”
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