Board's Eye View

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...


The New Jersey teacher whose public confrontation with the Garden State's Governor in September has become ?a YouTube classic? (over 840,000 views as of today), according to the NY Times, is now front page of the Times ?and a poster child for the growing anti-union ?outrage? over public employee wages and benefits. The teacher, Marie Corfield, tells the Times:

People I don't even know are calling me horrible names ? The mantra is that the problem is the unions, the unions, the unions.

After reading the story, you might agree with poor Ms. Corfield's detractors. While New Jersey's average local government pensioner is earning less than $20,000 a year, the Times reports, its retired teachers are earning $46,000.? (Truth be told: Some police and firefighter retirees are pulling down six figure pensions.)

The clock on the pension bomb continues to tick, faster and faster?especially in the public sector. In California, says the Times,

[P]ension costs now crowd out spending for parks, public schools and state universities; in Illinois, spiraling pension costs threaten the state with insolvency.

The ?incestuous alliance? between public employee unions and their employers, as the Times characterizes it,...


?Monday is Cathleen P. Black's first day of school??so begins a provocative story by Elissa Gootman in the NY Times.?The Times asked some of New York City's ?most respected principals? to give the new Gotham schools Chancellor ?some advice.?

They do.

It's a terrific roundup of opinion?educated opinion. Let's hope Black is listening.

?Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow