An Avalanche of Reform?

James Hall /

Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the 19 finalists for the final phase of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTTT) competition on Tuesday. The finalists are Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

In his speech, Duncan called the reform movement a “quiet revolution” and said the program “has unleashed an avalanche of pent-up education-reform activity.” Duncan is absolutely right that this is a “quiet revolution,” because it has been a completely opaque process. Many Members of Congress, as well as local school boards and parents, have been shut out of the national standards push. The Administration is using a carrot-and-stick approach to get states to adopt its reforms, circumventing Congress and preventing real debate and discussion from reaching the American people. (more…)