Correction on Ed Dept and charters
The Education Department’s press secretary e-mailed me to say that I was wrong when I wrote in a recent post that states wishing to win federal money in Duncan’s Race to the Top contest “had to pledge” to open more charter schools.
The spokesman, Justin Hamilton, said that the department did not require states to make such a pledge.
Hamilton is right. My mistake.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan did not ask states to “pledge” -- which is literally “a solemn promise or agreement to do” -- to open more charter schools.
Duncan has, of course, said that states that did not agree to open more charters would be at a disadvantage in the $4 billion competition. He wrote the following last year in an article published by The Washington Post, entited "Education Reform's Moon Shot:"
“The Race to the Top program marks a new federal partnership in education reform with states, districts and unions to accelerate change and boost achievement. Yet the program is also a competition through which states can increase or decrease their odds of winning federal support. For example, states that limit alternative routes to certification for teachers and principals, or cap the number of charter schools, will be at a competitive disadvantage.”
It Was Coercion, Not A Pledge
Arne Duncan didn't make states pledge to open more charter schools in order to get RTTT funds, he just coerced them, as pointed out by Valerie Strauss: