Who's got the power?
In a word: Oops. A committee of the Maryland legislature voted Monday to reject a new state board of education regulation requiring half of teacher evaluations to be based on student learning—a regulation that was key to the Old Line State winning a chunk of Race to the Top moolah. Now the state education department and the Obama Administration both find themselves in a bit of a pickle. If Maryland lawmakers do not relent, the state will renege on one of its key promises to Uncle Sam. (And a change doesn’t seem likely, considering that Senator Paul G. Pinsky, chairman of the legislative committee that voted down the regulation, is a teacher-union organizer.) If MD is out of compliance, however, the feds will be forced to consider taking back the money. (New Jersey was next in line in the RTTT competition and Governor Chris Christie is more than ready to put the cash to good use.) For now, ED is mum on how it will handle the issue, stating that “significant” changes to RTTT proposals will be handled on a case-by-case basis. The chances that Duncan will take back Maryland’s grant are about the same as Nancy Pelosi keeping her job as Speaker of the House. But what a message that would send.
“Race to Top grant may be jeopardized,” by Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, November 9, 2010.
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