New Report Examines Realities of Race to the Top Implementation

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In Mismatches in Race to the Top Limit Educational Improvement: Lack of Time, Resources, and Tools to Address Opportunity Gaps Puts Lofty State Goals Out of Reach, Weiss takes a comprehensive look at the Obama administration’s signature education initiative, and finds a few notable successes but many more shortcomings.

Race to the Top has done little to help most states close achievement gaps, and may have exacerbated them, according to a new report by Elaine Weiss, National Coordinator of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education. In the report, Weiss takes a comprehensive look at the Obama administration’s signature education initiative, and finds a few notable successes but many more shortcomings.

Race to the Top offered federal funding to states that committed to meeting a series of goals—including developing new teacher evaluation systems that rely substantially on student achievement, identifying alternative teacher certification systems, turning around low-performing schools, and substantially boosting student achievement and closing achievement gaps. In her report, Weiss examines how much progress states have made over the first three years of the grant period. With a year to go before funding is scheduled to end, states are largely behind schedule in meeting goals for improving instruction and educational outcomes.

"This report should be a wake-up call, not only to states and districts implementing Race to the Top, but to states implementing No Child Left Behind waivers and those beginning to roll out the Common Core State Standards," said Weiss. "Real, sustained change requires time and substantial, well-targeted resources. Raising standards in schools cannot work without accompanying supports that make attaining them possible for all students, not just the most advantaged."

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