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I watched President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech and liked his appeal to the nation to encourage innovation, creativity, and imagination. But I was disappointed by his misleading description of Race to the Top. He said it is not a “top-down” program and is not prescriptive. He thinks that it somehow emerged as a result of the good ideas of teachers, principals, local school boards, and communities. But nothing could be further from the truth. It was designed and written within the confines of the U.S. Department of Education by Secretary Arne Duncan and a flock of advisers from the Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation.

Contrary to what President Obama now believes, Petrilli pointed out that the administration did not ask states for their best ideas; instead it “published a list of 19 of its best ideas, few of which are truly ‘evidence-based,’ regardless of what President Obama says, and told states to adopt as many of them as possible if they want to get the money. It’s as if a bunch of the do-gooders sat together at the NewSchools Venture Fund summit and brainstormed a list of popular reform ideas, and are now going to force them on the states. (Wait, I think this is how this list got developed.)” Go to the original…



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