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[Susan notes: Education advocates of all stripes object to the lack of transparency in Obama/Duncan policy making.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re: In School Aid Race, Many States Are Left Behind” (front page, April 5):

No wonder a Race to the Top that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hyped as education's "moon shot" is beginning to look like a wet firecracker. The Obama administration said the competition would be transparent, yet anonymous judges evaluated 40 states' applications behind closed doors. The administration said it would reward innovation, yet gaining assent from change-averse teacher unions gave the two winning states the edge, not bold new options for students and parents.

In the final analysis, the race may have a good effect if it finally convinces education patrons and stewards that "Waiting for Superman" (to borrow from Davis Guggenheim's brilliant documentary about deeply flawed public education) is an exercise in futility. The only way to reform education is from the bottom up.

Sweden has the right idea in letting public money follow children to the independent or public schools of their choice, thus sparking a competition that actually enhances quality for all.

Robert Holland is Senior Fellow for Education Policy, The Heartland Institute

Robert Holland

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