The Salt Lake Tribune reports that 5 Utah school districts are applying for Race to the Top money under the Federal Department of Education program that lets districts completely bypass their state office of education and seek federal money. From the Federal announcement:
‘Race to the Top helped bring about groundbreaking education reforms in states across the country. Building off that success, we’re now going to help support reform at the local level with the new district competition,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We want to help schools become engines of innovation through personalized learning so that every child in America can receive the world-class public education they deserve. The Race to the Top-District competition will help us meet that goal.’”
This is a colossally bad idea for these districts as they will certainly come under direct strings from the Federal government and lose what limited protection the state office of education can provide to them where those strings apply. From the article:
The Granite, Ogden and Provo school districts plan to seek $20 million to $30 million each; the Morgan County School District will likely apply for $5 million to $10 million; and the Washington County School District plans to apply for $30 million to $40 million, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
If you live in one of these school districts I would encourage you to speak with your school board members and help them change their minds.
It should not be up to the Federal Government to dole out large awards of money which come from the entire nation (or increase national debt) to fund a few select winners. Money that funds education should be as local as possible so the people paying for the education take an interest in the actual results of education.