Let’s be clear, Delaware was Number 1 in line for Race To The Top (RTTT) for money - not performance.
A recent television commercial would have us believe Delaware is Number 1 in education. Delaware achieves a C+ and ranks about 22nd in the country.
Proficiency of Delaware pupils in fourth grade English is 35% and math 31%, eighth grade English is 36% and Math 32%, and an average SAT score that is 44th among states - - plus a very poor showing as a country that ranks17th among 30 nations rated for education performance.
More disturbing is the lack of conversation about education by both parties in the 2012 Election. At least this particular commercial acknowledges education even though its misguided emphasis is on spending rather than effectiveness.
The lack of conversation is beyond disturbing for the over promised Black, Hispanic and a low income communities who consistently underperform by two to three grade levels in all categories. This low performance leads to high dropout rates, unemployment, crime, teen pregnancy, dependency and public assistance.
The lack of transparency with how RTTT money will be spent makes it difficult to determine effectiveness just as it has been with any of the others in a long list of spending programs that have not improved performance but have increased the cost of education. What is clear is that RTTT funds run out in 2014.
States that are making progress have strong political leaders willing to confront special interest groups like the union that resist the change from the industrial model to a choice model that gives parents in all income levels the freedom to choose the best education and secure a bright future for their child.
The political conversation in Delaware must include transparency and accountability.
This fall, you have an opportunity to influence politicians when they not only want but need your support.
- How much of RTTT money will make it to the classroom?
- How will this round of spending improve the performance of my child?
- How will we know what isn’t working and how will we know the dollars have stopped flowing to these programs?
- How much will RTTT cost taxpayers of Delaware after 2014?
It is important to inform yourself and ask questions.
It’s your child. If you don’t, ask who will?
James E. Hosley
Director, Center for Education Excellence
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