Rejecting Federal School Bribery
The editorial boards of the city’s daily newspapers and the education “reformers” are up in arms because, they say, the state is blowing $700 million in federal money in “Race to the Top” funds. They blame UFT President Mike Mulgrew and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for the lack of a new teacher evaluation system based largely on the high-stakes standardized test scores. “The UFT and Silver are more interested in protecting jobs than in guaranteeing a solid education for kids,” said a recent Daily News editorial. What the Daily News and the other editorialists don’t know (but should) is that the Race to the Top money is simply a bribe on the part of federal education officials to get states to follow the over-the-top education theories of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama that favor standardized testing over real education and charter schools over public schools. What Obama, Duncan and Mayor Mike Bloomberg want to do is break the teachers union and turn education over to private interests, who will then use the “educational marketplace” to favor profit over education. We wonder how the state can evaluate teachers on the scores achieved by their students when the tests themselves have proven suspect over the past ten years. For a time, New York City test scores rose precipitously. Three years ago, those scores reached such a level of absurdity that even the state had to take notice. Every teacher, every administrator, every parent knew that the fact that more than 85 percent of the schools in the city rated eitheranAoraBwassimplyunbelievable. When the state brought the testing program under control, the bubble burst and the city was back to reality. Yet, the mayor, the governor and the feds continue to argue that teachers should be rated based on those scores and that schools should be closed based largely on those scores as well. New York State should reject the bribery money coming from Duncan and his minions. Education is too important for it to be taken over by bureaucrats and money managers.