Except one day suddenly there were people in decision-making roles in Massachusetts who weren’t the “smartest” in the group. They traded in our “smartest” state standards for RTTT and CCSS, knowing it was a weaker system. Over time, NAEP data evolved into something that would ultimately remove the “smartest” title from Massachusetts students. This year’s data shows Massachusetts having dropped to #2, after Vermont, in terms of “smartest” adults based on education attainment demographics.Scrolling back through the history, it's worth noting this speech from Governor Patrick, expressing reluctance to adopt the standards "if it means compromising our values." That was after we'd lost in round one, but before we'd won in round two: just when the decision was being made to cave on the Common Core. I'd also note some of this interchange with both Chester and Ingram after Massachusetts had been announced as a winner.
Clearly there’s a pattern, and it’s not a positive one. We are losing status as “smartest”, and it wouldn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to determine why. So why do we, as a state, allow the pattern to continue? Why can’t we do what we know works – what’s proven to work? And really, why did we sign on to this in the first place?
Beyond the push about needing the money (which was questionable at best, particularly when you consider how strictly spending it was structured), there was definitely a lot of political pushing going on around Race to the Top. For our bluest state to refuse the much-touted educational policy initiative of a Democratic president would have looked bad. It would have been smart, but it would have looked bad.
And it sure does look as though political expediency was put over educational attainment.
And should you need a revamp on my take of why Race to the Top was a bad idea, here you are.