In order for a state to apply for its share of President Obama’s Race to the Top stimulus funds, it will have to explain how it will use those federal dollars on a list of suggested education reforms. This week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said “thanks but no thanks.”
This was the proper decision for Texas, and here’s why:
- Education has historically been a state issue, with power in Texas delegated to the Texas Legislature and the State Board of Education. Texas lawmakers control funding and school requirements, and the State Board makes decisions about curriculum. All of these are elected positions directly accountable to the voters at least once every four years.
- States such as Texas may have to spend state funds to access the federal dollars. The Texas Education Agency estimates that Texas will have to spend $3 billion just to have the chance to access, at most, $750 million.
- The federal funding will dry up. As we are seeing with other stimulus funds, states and local school districts would need to find funding for the reforms after the federal money goes away.
- What if the “reform” could be a step backwards for quality of a state’s education system?
It seems that if Texas continues to hold out on moving towards a national curriculum, Texas will lose points on its application for Race to the Top funds. Why should a state that has steadily improved the rigor of its own K-12 curriculum be forced to adopt national curriculum standards that have not been developed and could wind up being weaker than what we already have in place?
Since adding more math and science course requirements and college-readiness components, Texas is in the process of updating its textbooks and designing state end-of-course exams that align to the new curriculum. Yet if Texas were to scrap its own curriculum in favor a national curriculum, Texas would have to spend an estimated $3 billion – $2 billion to purchase new textbooks and $1 billion to redesign our state tests.
Education is a state issue, and the federal government has no business dictating academic standards or curriculum to states. Washington, please leave Texas alone.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Rick getting national props for turning down federal education money...
Rick is getting props on BigGovernment.com for his decision to defy liberals and turn down the federal "race to the top" money due to the strings attached (link). Excerpt follows...
The odd thing is that the teachers unions joined with the conservative think tanks to support Rick's decision... seems like everyone thought this was the right decision... except the Burnt Orange Report peeps...