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Racing to the Top at $87 Per Student?

The countdown has begun. Specifically, the number of days (deadline: January 19) that states can apply for coveted Race to the Top funds. Last...


The countdown has begun. Specifically, the number of days (deadline: January 19) that states can apply for coveted Race to the Top funds.Last spring, the White House announced its $4.35 billion competition to spur innovation and reform, as part of the more than $100 billion allocated to states from the stimulus package specifically earmarked for education.While the Obama administration likes evaluating teachers based on how their students perform on standardized tests and easing restrictions that limit the number of charters schools that states will allow, teachers' unions are fighting back.But no matter how steep the political gauntlet, Michigan has been out in front in terms of approving legislation that will hopefully make the state more competitive come decision time.Yesterday's Op-Ed page in The New York Times featured another perspective in terms of how the money might be used to alter the landscape of American high schools."No longer is it enough just to graduate students, or even prepare them for college. Schools must now show how they increase both college enrollment and the number of students who complete at least a year of college. In other words, high schools must now focus on grade 13," wrote J. B. Schramm and E. Kinney Zalesne. They run College Summit, a nonprofit that helps increase the number of high school graduates that succeed in college.At the end of all of this, Race to the Top funds will amount to a comparatively tiny carrot-about $87 per student.How would you spend it?Graphic via
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