Civil rights groups hit Race to the Top

by: Tim Wheeler
WASHINGTON - President Obama defended his "Race to the Top" education reform program in a July 29 speech to the National Urban League just days after they and five other civil rights organizations criticized his plan in a hard-hitting report .
Race to the Top offers $4.35 billion in competitive grants to states that commit to the Obama education reform program. The president said charges that Race to the Top is not "targeted at those young people most in need" are "absolutely false" and he vowed to veto cuts in the program.

His reaction suggested that he had not read the civil rights groups' 17-page report. It is a balanced critique. It praises measures in the president's program that promote public education, but also provides a list of recommendations including a call for "universal, high quality, early childhood education" and "universal access to highly effective teachers" paid higher wages and with better working conditions.

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