I hope we can be honest about what “Race to the Top” actually represents: blackmail. It forces states to change their education laws to fit particular notions about how to manage public education in America. And it does so at a time of crippling state budgets, when the Race to the Top funds mean the difference between thousands of teachers laid off or kept on the job, between class sizes expanding or shrinking. Basically, Arne Duncan and the White House are leveraging crisis to make preferred changes in education policy.