Tennessee politics behind the scenes
McCluskey, who is associate director ofthe Cato Institute’s Center for EducationalFreedom, is no fan of Race to the Top, forgood reason. As he noted of this supposedincentive, “The money is a one-shot deal— once paper promises are accepted andthe money delivered, it’s over.” He went on:Mostly this plan, while not requiringany real reform, pushes an unprecedentedcentralization of educationpower. It calls for state data systems totrack students from pre-kindergartento college graduation. It calls for statesto sign onto “common” — meaningfederal — standards. It tries to dictatestate budgets. In other words, it doesexactly what’s been wrong with Americaneducation for decades: centralizepower in the hands of ever more distant,unaccountable bureaucrats ratherthan leaving it with the communities,and especially parents, the schools aresupposed to serve.There is little that is new about this “race”being pushed by the Department of Educationand White House except the numberof tax dollars that will be scattered fromWashington. The spendthrift politiciansand all-too-amenable federal bureaucratsare just trying to keep the greenbacks flowingeffortlessly into the pockets of theirallies while they disguise the truth: Trueeducation is not received, it is achieved.
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