I've just finished up a report for Education Next on New York's successful bid for Race to the Top funds. And though I interviewed dozens of people and learned a great deal, one question I was unable to answer with any certainty was who had actually coined the term.
I'm no branding genius, but Race to the Top has the je ne sais quoi of brilliance.? (I also thought No Child Left Behind was?pretty good.) But why is everyone so shy about fingering its creator??Institutional humility?
Most of the people I interviewed pointed to Jon Schnur, co-founder of New Leaders for New Schools and a ?close advisor to the Obama presidential campaign (see Alexander Russo).? According to Education Week's Alyson Klein, Schnur ?led the development of the $4 billion Race to the Top initiative.? (Schnur, according to Klein, is leaving New Leaders to advise Michael Bloomberg on education issues.)
Schnur would be the obvious choice and the fact that he wouldn't talk to me surely lends support to the theory that the term was his baby. But I also know that there's a bill-naming cottage industry on and around Capitol Hill and plenty of smart folks over at DOE.?Anyone could have blurted it out at some late-night meeting or scribbled on a bar napkin (Blackberry?) in a K Street bistro. ? marathon race to nowhere the top! But who?
Inquiring minds want to know.?Discretion promised. Reward offered.
?Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow