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Putting the brakes on Race to the Top

Indiana is not the only state struggling with discord between its teachers unions and state government over the federal Race to the Top competition. This article from Education Week's Michele McNeil, a former Indianapolis Star reporter, details disagreements elsewhere.

This observation from a Colorado Education Association official seems to sum up the views of union officials everywhere:

"We understand the financial constraints the districts are under, and $175 million is still a huge boost for us," said Linda Barker, the director of teaching and learning for the CEA, referring to the potential award money if Colorado wins a grant. "The money is important, but at what cost?"

Colorado was considered a frontrunner for the first round of RttT funds, so it's telling that its teachers are having second thoughts.

More, here, on Imagine Schools and growing scrutiny of the charter education management organization. This is the first reference I've seen to salaries collected by "philantropists" Dennis and Eileen Bakke. Together, they are collecting $300,000 a year.

Not bad at all, when you consider that they appear to be doing very little to operate the charter schools:

"It was rather baffling, but as a management company, they weren't providing any management services," according to someone at a New York charter school that has cut its ties with Imagine. "With the exception of payroll processing and some accounting support, it wasn't really clear what they were doing for the school."

My guess is that we will begin to see more and more Imagine "divorces" in the months and years ahead. You can only fool taxpayers for so long before they begin to catch on to a bad deal.

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 kfrancisco@jg.net.

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