Chalkbeat has the story of Nashville school board member Will Pinkston’s essay on Tennessee’s Race to the Top experience and his role in the application process.
I’ll dig into the essay and provide thoughts and analysis soon, but here’s a key part of the introduction Chalkbeat highlighted:
I see in retrospect the mistake that I made while working on Race to the Top. I feel equal parts guilty and sad about it. In my view, the problem isn’t that Race to the Top’s fundamentals were flawed. No one can argue with the need for rigorous K-12 academic standards and aligned tests, effective school turnaround strategies and a focus on great teachers and school leaders. But Race to the Top jumped the rails when a cast of radical reformers hijacked the agenda during political transitions. Bad actors began working overtime to dismantle public schools. Here in Tennessee, our largest school systems — in Memphis and Nashville — became part of ground zero in the country’s civil war over public education, joining embattled school systems in cities like Los Angeles, Milwaukee and New Orleans.
Pinkston is highly critical of the Haslam Administration and failed education commissioners Kevin Huffman (who couldn’t resist attacking teachers) and Candice McQueen (who couldn’t get a handle on the state’s testing system).
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