Learning to say “No”



chocolate-covered face photo

Couldn't swear off chocolate--but maybe
this implementation thing will stick.
Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

Forget swearing off sweets or hitting the gym; the New
Year’s resolution trending among education policymakers seems to be “getting
tough on implementation.” First, Arne Duncan ruined Hawaii’s holidays with a
stern Christmas card: The state is now on “high-risk status,” with access to
its remaining Race to the Top grant money severely limited until it stops dawdling
and starts implementing promised reforms. This from a federal education
department that has so far accommodated slow-moving states and approved dozens
of RTTT-application amendments. Perhaps energized (or concerned) by Duncan’s
newfound nerve, New York’s state commissioner of education, John King, is also
hopping on the “hard on implementation” wagon. This week, the Empire State’s commish announced that he’s withholding $60 million from Gotham’s SIG funding
after negotiations
broke down between the district and the union
over—what else?—teacher evaluations. (He’s cutting off the SIG spigot for nine other districts around
the state, too.) While the Big Apple edu-leaders seem
unconcerned
(what’s $60 million to a district with a $24 billion operating
budget?), Gadfly is still enthusiastic that officials are holding people’s feet
to the fire for promises they’ve made. Here’s hoping this is one resolution
that sticks.

“Ed.
Dept. Takes Action Against Hawaii for Race to the Top Stumbles,” by Michele
McNeil, Education Week, December 22,
2011.

NY
Suspends Funding for 10 School Districts
,” by Staff, The Associated Press, January 3, 2011.

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