Report: Race to Top winners chosen arbitrarily

A new report by a non-partisan research institute alleges that Tennessee and Delaware, the first two states to win education funding through President Obama’s $4 billion Race to the Top competition, were chosen through “arbitrary criteria” rather than through a scientific process, reports the Washington Post. The report called, “Let’s Do the Numbers,” from the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute, says the 500-point system created to decide the “best” proposals for education reform is based on false precision. Points were awarded by a panel for the applicants’ level of compliance with school-reform policies favored by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Obama, such as expanding the number of charter schools and linking teacher evaluation to standardized test scores. The Education Department said the winners were selected on the precise numbers and were objective; the report says otherwise. The 500-point system has six major categories, seven general categories, and various subcategories. By assigning numbers to each one, “the Department implies it has a testable theory or empirical data to back up its quantitative method.” But it doesn’t have either, and therefore assigned the numbers subjectively, the report said…

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