Of the $100 billion reserved for education under the Economy Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $5 billion is reserved for a grant that will be issued to schools based on a competition.
The so-called “Race to the Top” fund aims to, “help states drive substantial gains in student achievement by supporting states making dramatic progress on the four reform goals” the Obama administration has been working with states to agree upon. They call for:
- Adopting universal testing standards
- Recruiting and retaining teachers and principals
- Building data systems to track teacher performance
- Improving the worst schools
However, Texas has roguishly refused to comply with universal testing standards. It was one of only four states that did not adopt the Common Core Standards Initiative voted on in June, along with Alaska, Missouri and South Carolina.
The universal standards Texas did not agree to have not even been completed yet and won’t be until December. A spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency has said that once the standards are unveiled, Texas plans to compare its own standards to them, so it will have its own parallel-yet-independent benchmarks.
Whether the Obama administration will consider this “reform” enough to deem Texas schools as worthy of a cash infusion is yet to be seen.
Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.