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Race to the Top Schools of Ed Say, Just Send Us the Money

by Susan Ohanian

January 21, 2010--So the Race to the Top Fund application deadline has passed, and forty states and the District of Columbia applied for the first round of $4 billion. But a key to the real outrage may just lie in the massive appendix Florida sent in.

Question: Does Florida get extra points for turning in a 606-page multi-colored Appendix to their Race to the Top application? I wanted to report the number of colors in this Appendix, but when I realized there are at least five shades of green alone, I gave up.

Their goal is to offer:

an accountability system that measures student
progress toward the following goals:

  • Highest student achievement

  • Seamless articulation and maximum access

  • Skilled workforce and economic development

  • Quality efficient services

  • That chill running down your spine is caused by the Business Roundtable shouting their huzzahs, the corporate version of running your fingernail down a chalkboard, only magnified. Since 1989 they've been screaming for schools to train a skilled workforce. See Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools? Why should corporate America train their workers when they can get the schools to do the job? And when you train workers for the Global Economy, there isn't likely to be time left over for developing good citizens, teaching kids about democracy, and all those other irritating concepts that might lead to citizen unrest.

    Start in PreK: Train kids to feel inadequate and scared; train them to be obedient, to follow orders. Actually, Hooked on Phonics is ready for the partner of Race to the Top, the LEARN (sic) Act which promises to start all this at birth. Take a look at their Baby Edition Deluxe.

    The Floridians promise to Utilize assessment to direct instruction and effect student outcome preK-20. They talk about tying kids' kindergarten readiness to their performance on the 3rd grade test. And so on.

    This isn't just Florida. America, this is your future. . . It's just coming a bit later than 1984.

    And you'll find the kicker on pages 50-54. If you've wondered why the vast majority of professors of education across remain so silent on all this, you'll find the answer here. Where I've left a blank, fill in the name of a Florida university.

  • The University of_____, School of Education is pleased to offer its support, not only to the FDOE, but to our LEA as well, the _____Public Schools (fill in name of district). The university of______ School of Education is proud to ally itself with the state and the LEA to assist in the realization of this important and vital vision.

  • The University ______enthusiastically supports Florida's RTTT proposal. Educators,
    policy makers, community leaders and philanthropic organizations have come together in support of educational reforms that will restore America̢۪s rightful place as the world leader in educational attainment rates. Please know that our words of support are backed by a sincere offer of assistance.

    _______ College supports Florida's RTTT program funding request. In Florida, education sectors at all levels are partnering with each other and the business community.

    The University _______ enthusiastically supports Florida's RTTT proposal.

    On and on: five pages of bootlicking. They've sold out any pretense of principle to get the money. How can there be any hope of educating teachers who are willing and able to defy the government and speak out for children and for their own professionalism?

    I'm 100% sure Florida isn't alone. Read the RttT proposals in your states and see which university schools of education have prostrated themselves in loving worship of money.

    For shame.

    — Susan Ohanian
    Florida’s Next Generation PreK-20 Education Strategic Plan





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