So the winners of the first round of competition for the Race to the Top grants have been announced, and Tennessee and Delaware have come out ahead.
While a number of people had fretted that a dozen or more states would win awards, thus watering down the impact, the selection of only two is promising. It makes this a real competition, and hopefully will empower reformers. As someone with vaguely libertarian leanings, it does bother me that the federal government compels people in all the states to send in tax money, and then doles it back out. But given that our government is definitely not moving in a libertarian direction, I'm glad to see that some federal dollars are being used in a way that could improve educational outcomes. Plus, with only two state winners, we'll be able to track if things do change.
The Race to the Top announcement has gotten me thinking what would be on my educational wish list. Next up? A Race to the Top for raising the performance of America's top 5% of students against the top 5% of students in other countries, as measured by international benchmarks... I have been pondering what that would look like. Flexible but frequent "readiness" grouping (aka ability grouping). Lots of acceleration, so kids would be challenged. And a focus on identifying and nurturing the talent of the best and brightest, much as we have coaches for nurturing athletic talent. What is noticed and measured and rewarded gets done, and gifted education could definitely use a race to the top.
On a personal and self-promotional note: Gifted education is one of my favorite topics, but I also write about many other things. One of my other favorite things to write about is time use, and I have a book coming out May 27 called 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. Why 168 hours? It's the number of hours in a week! I'm keeping a blog at My168hours.com in advance of the book coming out, and would be very flattered if any GE readers wished to spend a few minutes of their 168 hours checking it out. I'm hoping to build up a readership and get people talking.
Ok, now back to gifted education. :)