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Kline Asks GAO to Examine Race to Top States’ Progress on Teachers

By Alyson Klein — May 21, 2012 1 min read

I’m sure you all remember that earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education let Hawaii hang on to its Race to the Top grant, even though the state has yet to get union approval for its ambitious teacher evaluation system.

Now Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee is asking the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm, to look into state’s progress in putting in place the teacher and principal portions of their Race to Top applications. Here’s the letter he sent to Gene Dodaro, the U.S. comptroller general, today.

Specifically, Kline wants to know what challenges the dozen winning states have had in putting their teacher evaluation systems in place, and whether they’re still on track to implement the overall plan they pitched to the department, among other questions.

Hawaii isn’t the only state that has faced delays in putting its Race to the Top plan in place. Almost every state that won a slice of the $4 billion is behind on their promises.

It’s important to note here that Kline isn’t a huge fan of Race to the Top—he chose not to continue the program in a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act passed by his committee earlier this year. But he is a fan of tying teacher evaluation to student outcomes, something that Race to the Top states have to do to put their plans in place.

The GAO may not have to spend a long time digging into this. The U.S. Department of Education posts amendments to state Race to the Top plans right here.