Newest Race to the Top Stresses Early Ed. Rating Systems

Newest Race to the Top Stresses Early Ed. Rating Systems
Michele McNeil on August 23, 2011   Education Week

The U.S. Department of Education, which is waving the green flag in its $500 million Race to the Top early learning competition, is telegraphing what it deems to be the most important part of improving early childhood in states: developing a public rating system for those programs.

Although the final rules clearly state that the kindergarten readiness tests cannot be used to deny children access to kindergarten, the rules don’t seem to say anything about whether assessments can be used to make high-stakes decisions (such as on job protection, or salaries) about early-childhood educators.

However, said Jacqueline Jones, a senior adviser to Duncan on early learning, “we want to be clear [the assessments are] designed to understand how children are learning,”

What’s more, Duncan said: “We will never ask 3-year-olds to take bubble tests.”