New York State Legislature Torpedoes Obama’s “Race for the Top” Funding

Written By: Robert Cox

New York State was never eligible for President Obama’s “Race for the Top” Funding but today’s move by the teacher’s union has killed any chance that changes could be made to meet Department of Education requirements to get New York’s $700 mm share of the $4.35 billion dollar Race to the Top program.

Just last week over 800 New York school districts and charter schools committed to participate in the state’s application for the federal grant. The Board of Regents said on Sunday that 94 percent of the eligible districts and schools had signed memorandum of understanding supporting the application for the Race to the Top funding. Now we can all see that this was a charade designed to allow the districts to say they “tried” to get the money as they prepare to raise school taxes yet again.

The key criterion for getting the money was a willingness to embrace the sort of changes the President has been advocating since he came into office:

What is the administration going to be looking for in the Race to the Top competition? We are going to be scrutinizing state applications for a coordinated and deep-seated commitment to reform. And we are going to be awarding grants on a competitive basis in two rounds, allowing first-round losers to make necessary changes and reapply.

Of course, our teacher’s union only “deep-seated commitment” is to extracting as much money from the public purse as possible and demagoguing anyone who would stand in their way as “anti-children”. Meanwhile, as our state goes broke, and our taxes rise, our teachers have now made sure that the opportunity for significant federal relief has passed us by.

The New Rochelle Board of Education discussed Race for the Top at the most recent board meeting: