U.S. Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” program, is a $5 billion competitive fund that awards grants to states to improve education quality. The program was created as part of the economic stimulus and is part of Democratic President Barack Obama’s efforts to overhaul the nation’s educational system.
“Texas won’t compete for up to $700 million in federal stimulus money for education because the program “smacks of a federal takeover of our public schools,” Republican Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday.
Gov. Perry, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott and representatives of teachers’ unions said taking the money would “force the state to adopt national education and testing standards and result in Texas losing its autonomy in educating children.”
“Here in Texas, we don’t have broad consensus on every issue facing our school system,” Perry said. “We do agree we’d rather work those differences out in Texas with solutions that work for Texans instead of accepting a top down mandate from some distant bureaucrats.”
The Texas Department of Education is performing well. It has improved standardized test scores and reduced the dropout rate. Texas has also been recognized as one of four states that has significantly improved math scores. While “Race to the Top” doesn’t give the federal government control of the education system it does give it leverage as it pushes for education reform.
“Texas is on the right path toward improved education, and we would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education,” Gov. Perry said. “If Washington were truly concerned about funding education with solutions that match local challenges, they would make the money available to states with no strings attached.”
“I wholeheartedly support the governor’s decision,” Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott said. “This one-time grant program would result in mandates for districts that would last for decades.”
“Texas has been working to implement research-based education reforms for years, culminating with great solutions for Texas children, and we should qualify for Race to the Top funding based on what we have already accomplished,” Rep. Rob Eissler, Public Education Committee chairman, said. “Instead, Texas will be penalized in its Race to the Top application for not complying with the federal government’s concepts about what is best for the children of Texas. In short, the two things I worry about in education are fads and feds, and this combines both.”
From the Governor’s website:
“Developing Texas’ workforce is imperative to maintaining our position as a national leader in job creation and our future prosperity. Texas was recently praised in Education Week magazine for its adoption of college- and career-ready standards, and for holding schools accountable for ensuring students are college-ready. Additionally, the governor recently announced a $160 million initiative to expand the number and scope of Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (T-STEM) academies, an initiative he established in 2005, as well as fund STEM scholarships. Building on successful initiatives like T-STEM academies helps ensure future generations of Texans have the educational foundation necessary to compete and excel in the increasingly competitive global economy.”
America, this how all states should be run – with local consensus, with local resources and by the its’ citizens. Hooray for Gov. Perry and his team. This is an example of real leadership by a governor and independence by its’ citizens. This is the reason that Texas remains a solvent and independent state. This is despite the fact that overall taxes are reasonable and there is no individual state income tax. How many Governor’s are turning down federal money these days regardless of the length of the strings? Maybe instead of trying to have America emulate California and New York, we would choose to model ourselves after Texas!
Wake up America, socialistic nanny states don’t work! History is littered with them. Stand up for America, Stand up for freedom, Stand up for your state!
Restore the Republic, Reject Socialism!
“Education should be left to the states and should not be a top-down but a bottom-up process. Texas has an open, collaborative process including public hearings and input. The Lone Star State has invested considerable time and millions of dollars into curriculum development and has set some rigorous standards to which we are committed. This is another federal government bait and switch, and states that buy in will end up footing the bill.”
-Peggy Venable, Texas director, Americans for Prosperity
“While TAB believes that maintaining a strong and competitive workforce through education is a high priority for the state, we support the governor’s decision to keep decisions about our public education system at the state level. Gov. Perry is right to be concerned about mandates coming from the federal government that are tied to this relatively small amount of funding, which will commit the state to increased costs in the future.”
-Bill Hammond, president and CEO, Texas Association of Businesshttp://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/14146/
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