The U.S. Department Of Education just released a report titled “Impact in Place: A Progress Report on the Department of Education’s Place-Based Strategy.”

Except for an incomprehensible and fairly useless section on the use of data, it’s actually a fairly decent report on how schools can connect with local neighborhoods and community groups to better serve students.

Unfortunately, apart from the Adminstration’s laudable, though limited, effort to replicate Harlem Children Zones (I hope, though, without some of its shortcomings), it seems that its primary vehicle to push this place-based agenda is the new District Race To The Top applications. Districts will receive some kind of preferences in their applications if they include a plan to incorporate a great community connection.

That’s what I call putting lipstick on a pig.

The rules still require creating a teacher evaluation process that includes standardized test scores.

At least it still seems to place weight on getting a teacher local endorsement and, from what I can see, no Race To The Top application has been funded that has not received one.

I wouldn’t hold your breath about many Districts, if any, from California getting one of those…