Governor Back Out of 'Race To The Top'

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

Posted by Janet Brice email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Governor Bob McDonnell is no longer pursuing millions in federal money for education.

He's campaigned about it repeatedly and even took the initial steps to apply for a chunk of president Obama's $4-billion in education reform. 'The Race To The Top' program was a big part of Governor McDonnell's campaign.

"I think that's great, and I look forward to working with the administration to improve education opportunities," said McDonnell during his Campaign.

McDonnell thought with a few tweaks in Virginia's high standard of learning, they were going to pass the application process with flying colors. But the program actually requires a full adoption of a 'common core' federal education standard, word for word.

"The Governor did not have that information when he was on the campaign trail," said Patricia Wright, Ed.D., Superintendent of Instruction.

The change would mean new curriculum, new tests, and different teaching methods that may not prove better than its current success rate.

"None of those data elements indicate that we are so broken in Virginia that we need a substitute we need to throw out what we have," said Wright.

Without pursuing the second round of the application process, $250-million is lost, money that could have went to charter schools and other public education reform. But our experts agree, it was a practical move on the governor's part to back out now.

"Virginia might have to lower its expectations and I don't think under any circumstances, the governor or communities would permit that," said Bill Bosher, Ed.D., NBC12 Education Specialist

"I'm not selling out Virginia," said Wright.

The "Reach to the Top" program required a concrete plan for the entire curriculum change by August of this year.

A task, educators say is too big, and disruptive, and not as affective for Virginia.

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