Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009

Gwen Moore: Race to the Top Funds Don't Require Mayoral Control of MPS

By Lisa Kaiser
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Advocates for a mayoral takeover of MPS claim that it would help Wisconsin nab some of the billions of dollars being distributed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan to districts that are serious about education reform.

But they’re wrong.

A discussion between Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Secretary Duncan reveals that mayoral control would not help Wisconsin earn a share of the Race to the Top funds.

“Unequivocally.”

Moore and Duncan met on July 9 to discuss the proposed changes at MPS.

Moore’s Sept. 2 letter to Duncan, rehashing that discussion, has just been released by the congresswoman’s office.

Here’s an excerpt:

“During our discussion on July 9, you discussed your goals for Race to the Top, as well as the qualifications and standards that states need to follow in order to qualify for funding. I commend you for your transparency during this process, as well as for your willingness to clarify points of particular concern for my constituents at our meeting. Responding to my query regarding requirements for governance of school boards, you unequivocally stated that mayoral control of the school board is not a prerequisite to compete for Race to the Top funds – a position made clearer by the fact that the proposed rule does not mention the type of local school board control required to qualify for dollars.” [emphasis mine]

So much for that.

I know the mayor has been backing away from the direct link between mayoral control and Race to the Top funds. But he’s still saying it’s important for getting more federal dollars in the future:

Maximize federal resources necessary to drive reform. President Obama has made it clear that federal education dollars will be tied to bold reforms linked to academic outcomes. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has stated clearly that he believes mayoral governance is essential to reform. This is not only true for the $4 billion in Race to the Top funds but likely will continue to be true for future federal education dollars.


How will Doyle and Barrett spin Moore’s communications with Duncan? Should be interesting….

UPDATE:Here's a link to Moore's letter to Duncan.

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