Wisconsin risks stumbling in ‘Race to Top’

University of Wisconsin School of Education Dean Julie Underwood:

President Barack Obama spoke at Wright Middle School in Madison last month and urged our nation to make improving K-12 education a national priority.
The president underscored the critical link between improving education and our nation’s future economy. He called for our schools to push all students to achieve at higher levels.
The president also spoke about our need to raise the bar for student achievement and to close existing achievement gaps. He is offering the states $4.35 billion in competitive “Race to the Top” grants to try to spur improvement.
His call for reform comes at a critical time for our schools. Our graduates face an increasingly competitive world. The future of our state rests on our ability to prepare our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed.
In recent years, however, the real struggle in Wisconsin has been in maintaining the quality public school system created by previous generations. Our public schools operate under a financial system that chokes reform and chips away at quality.

Underwood’s School of Education has a close relationship with the Madison School District via grants and other interactions. Former Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater now works for the School along with former Administrator Jack Jorgenson. Underwood attended the 2008 Madison Superintendent candidate public appearances.