Will Competition Save Head Start? Your Thoughts Needed!

Listening to my NPR podcasts while driving my 7-month-old son to a check-up, I stumbled across the latest in a series of ideas that uses competition as a model to save our education system.  Most prominently, this competition  model shows up as the Race to the Top program and, in some ways, as charter school systems.  The latest manifestation of this is the newest idea coming from Washington about how to regulate, strengthen, and fund Head Start programs.

If early childhood education is important to you (and it should be as so much of a child’s base is formed even before the age of 3), please read about Obama’s new plan for Head Start Programs.  Here’s on article on why some think this plan isn’t enough.

The question is, do you think that competition for funding is what Head Start (and schools in general) need in order to improve?

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Is “Race to the Top” Effective?

In my class at Portland State University, we are studying the No Child Left Behind Act (in its many iterations) and the Race to the Top Program.  We’ve discussed everything from the timing of Race to the Top to the recent(ish) changes in who can apply.  We’ve also discussed the fact that Oregon plans to reapply.    If you’re following this program and are curious about the way that a competitive grant does or doesn’t improve education in the way it intends, check out “Tennessee Teachers Find It Hard to Make the Grade.”  Let me know your thoughts on this competition model.  Can the  path to educational equity and student success be paved by winners in a race for survival of the fittest?