President Obama's huge success in education reform has been overlooked amid all the carping about his failure to deliver as much change as expected, writes David Brooks. The $4.3 billion Race to the Top fund Obama and Arne Duncan established has helped accelerate real reform in education and has won the president praise from everybody "from Newt Gingrich to Al Sharpton," Brooks writes in the New York Times.
Obama has held the line and refused to water down the program in the face of pressure from state governments and teachers' unions, who'd like to use the money to subsidize the status quo, Brooks writes. States are now changing their laws to win awards from the fund, leading to more—and better—charter schools, and initiatives to link teacher pay to student performance. "President Obama understood from the start that this would only work if the awards remain fiercely competitive," Brooks writes. "He has not wavered."