As states that submitted Early Learning Challenge applications await word of their success or failure later this month, I’m increasingly skeptical that this program is likely to deliver much in the way of lasting results. The reasons, which I lay out in a new piece for The New Republic, will be familiar to folks who’ve been reading this blog. Timing issues prevented the program from spurring the kind of state legislative changes seen with the original Race to the Top. Lack of media coverage or effective promotion by the administration means ELC hasn’t sparked the kind of national debate we saw with RTT. The QRIS systems that are the linchpin of the program are largely unproven--and existing research doesn’t necessarily inspire confidence they’ll work. All these issues--combined with the increasing evidence of state implementation challenges in the original RTT--raise serious questions about ELC’s ability to deliver much in the way of long-term impact. Read the whole thing here.
The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.