Race to the Top Debate
Statement by John D. Podesta
SOURCE: AP/Charles Dharapak
A recent column by CAP Senior Fellow Scott Lilly seems to have caused quite a stir in the education reform community. The column defends a decision by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) to fund $10 billion to prevent teacher layoffs, in part by cutting funds for critical education reform programs. Those cuts were significant—$500 million from the Race to the Top program, $200 million from Teacher Incentive Fund, and $100 million from the Charter Schools Program.
Since CAP has been a strong supporter of Race to the Top, the Teacher Incentive Fund, and the Charter Schools Program, education reformers are asking: “What’s up with that?”
Well, the answer to that question is that the Center for American Progress is dedicated to fostering thoughtful debate on important policy issues.
Indeed, we believe that discourse is central to the development of new ideas, and the Center supports respectful dialogue both in and outside of our organization. CAP does not apply the American Enterprise Institute/David Frum rule that if you stray from official orthodoxy you get the boot—even when you disagree with the boss. I found Scott’s column smart and well reasoned and his defense of Rep. Obey’s integrity, which had been questioned, compelling.
Nevertheless, I and the education team at CAP strongly disagree with Scott’s conclusion that the tradeoff between cutting critical education reform dollars to fund equally critical dollars to avoid teacher layoffs is a worthy one. Progressives would be wise to avoid the circular firing squad and find ways to fund these high-priority programs. For the reasons explained in a new column by Cindy Brown and Robin Chait, CAP will be urging senators to reject the cuts in Race to the Top, the Teacher Incentive Fund, and the Charter Schools Program and find other lower priority offsets.
John D. Podesta is President and CEO of the Center for American Progress.
Education Reforms Will Miss the ‘Top’ Without Broader Consensus, by Scott Lilly
Don’t Put Education Reform at Risk, by Robin Chait and Cindy Brown
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or email@example.com
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or email@example.com
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or email@example.com
Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or email@example.com
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or email@example.com