Arnold Dodge, who lives on Long Island, has been a teacher, principal, and superintendent and is now a professor of education. In this post, he exited the metaphor of Race to the Top.”

What were they thinking?

“Race to the Top? C’mon.

“The phenomena of racing and reaching the top couldn’t possibly have been the goals set for children’s education. Anyone who knows anything about the fragile, unpredictable, erratic, self-conscious development of a youngster couldn’t possibly have come up with such a name.

“But, let’s pause to reconsider the possibilities. Maybe critics of the feds should take a minute to do a close read of the name and give the planners a break. Maybe they had something else in mind. Let’s try a thought experiment.

“What if the federal education bureaucrats were dog whistling to the rich folks to get them on board with the initiative?

“Maybe it’s Chase to the Top for the bankers and billionaires who are in thrall with destroying public schools and privatizing education. The unrelenting attacks on teacher unions, the proliferation of charter schools, the imposition of frustrating and impossibly difficult tests (then selling products to help with testing) may seem entirely appropriate to those who reap the rewards from the market approach to schooling. Teachers bashed, children anxious, parents confused. Sounds like a plan.

“Maybe it’s White Race to the Top. Sounds plausible since the RTTT mandates and the NCLB policies have done little to change the intractable achievement gaps, and even less to address segregated school systems, perhaps the greatest obstacle to school success. At a recent New York State legislative meeting, a meeting to coronate Governor Cuomo as the king of the New York State educational system, a courageous legislator got it right: “High need/low wealth districts get shafted every time.” (1) This includes impoverished white communities as well.

“Poor people please understand. There’s just so much room at the top; privileged white communities occupy the space, and there’s no sign they will sub-divide. The notion that the federal and state education plans’ foremost objective is to help the inner city schools and the disenfranchised is a convenient lie. Politicians are fond of citing miraculous stories of schools in poor communities improving. But these are outliers, examples of schools with unique circumstances and/or infusions of grant money. These are outliers. The politicians are just plain liars.”

Read the rest. It is funny and it has links.