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From the Dothan Eagle

Alabama has failed so far in its attempts to get federal Race To The Top program funds, and that’s a good thing, according to Alabama State Board of Education member Betty Peters.

The state recently learned that it won’t be among states receiving $4.2 billion in federal aid. Reasons given for the state missing out on being among Race to the Top funds winners were a lack of charter schools, missing a deadline to agree to common standards and a reluctance by the Alabama Education Association to agree to evaluating educators based on their students’ test scores.

Peters said the Race to the Top program was a power grab by the federal government that would infringe upon states’ rights guaranteed by the 10th Amendment.

Peters said adopting common standards would take away too much local power to determine what children are taught.

“Education has always been a state, local and family matter,” she said.

Peters said that by standardizing curriculum, the nation’s schools run the risk of reducing competition among textbook publishers, potentially creating lucrative monopolies for some who secure large government contracts.

Peters also said standardization would likely eventually lead to state leaders being handcuffed with regard to what steps they could take to improve education in their state.

Peters said Race to the Top also asked board members to approve vague policies and standards that weren’t fully explained to board members or the public. Peters pointed to the program’s aim of evaluating teachers based on student test scores as an example.

“I am not going to hang this around teachers’ necks and award tenure based on assessment when I don’t know what the assessment is going to be,” she said.