Learning to say “No”
Forget swearing off sweets or hitting the gym; the New Year’s resolution trending among education policymakers seems to be “getting tough on implementation.” First, Arne Duncan ruined Hawaii’s holidays with a stern Christmas card: The state is now on “high-risk status,” with access to its remaining Race to the Top grant money severely limited until it stops dawdling and starts implementing promised reforms. This from a federal education department that has so far accommodated slow-moving states and approved dozens of RTTT-application amendments. Perhaps energized (or concerned) by Duncan’s newfound nerve, New York’s state commissioner of education, John King, is also hopping on the “hard on implementation” wagon. This week, the Empire State’s commish announced that he’s withholding $60 million from Gotham’s SIG funding after negotiations broke down between the district and the union over—what else?—teacher evaluations. (He’s cutting off the SIG spigot for nine other districts around the state, too.) While the Big Apple edu-leaders seem unconcerned (what’s $60 million to a district with a $24 billion operating budget?), Gadfly is still enthusiastic that officials are holding people’s feet to the fire for promises they’ve made. Here’s hoping this is one resolution that sticks.
“Ed. Dept. Takes Action Against Hawaii for Race to the Top Stumbles,” by Michele McNeil, Education Week, December 22, 2011.
“NY Suspends Funding for 10 School Districts,” by Staff, The Associated Press, January 3, 2011.
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