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Race to the Money

An education conference hosted by the Wallace Foundation in Washington last month attracted school leaders from across the country, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Wendy Robinson was among the speakers featured at the event. She made remarks during a panel that included the governor of Delaware.

In response to a question from a Wallace Foundation official regarding federal education priorities, Robinson said she hoped the current discussion would maintain a balance between priorities and politics. She said the billions promised in Race to the Top funds has brought a deluge of offers from vendors who have no knowledge of child growth and development or what is needed to create the right culture and environment for learning.

"As a lifelong educator, I worry that we are going to miss the crisis by spending even more dollars on the wrong things," she said.

Robinson's remarks drew applause from the crowd and praise from the moderator, who said she was glad the superintendent had the courage to say it.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at