In a word: Oops. A committee of the Maryland legislature voted Monday
to reject a new state board of education regulation requiring half of
teacher evaluations to be based on student learning—a regulation that
was key to the Old Line State winning a chunk of Race to the Top moolah.
Now the state education department and the Obama Administration both
find themselves in a bit of a pickle. If Maryland lawmakers do not
relent, the state will renege on one of its key promises to Uncle Sam.
(And a change doesn’t seem likely, considering that Senator Paul G.
Pinsky, chairman of the legislative committee that voted down the
regulation, is a teacher-union organizer.) If MD is out of compliance,
however, the feds will be forced to consider taking back the money. (New
Jersey was next in line in the RTTT competition and Governor Chris
Christie is more than ready to put the cash to good use.) For now, ED is
mum on how it will handle the issue, stating that “significant” changes
to RTTT proposals will be handled on a case-by-case basis. The chances
that Duncan will take back Maryland’s grant are about the same as Nancy
Pelosi keeping her job as Speaker of the House. But what a message that
“Race to Top grant may be jeopardized,” by Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, November 9, 2010.