03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Teachers Unions Give 'Race To The Top' Failing Grade

Politico reports that teachers' unions are growing increasingly uneasy with the Obama administration's $5 billion education spending plan.

Many educators fear that the president's Race to the Top program is merely a re-authorization of his predecessor's No Child Left Behind Act,

And the reform efforts seen in Race to the Top are what some education observers expect Obama to seek in reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind law, which administration officials said will be developed in the coming months.

Race to the Top is a nationwide competition that offers states a chance to receive extra funding after meeting certain eligibility criteria. Among the requirements are implementing common statewide standards and increasing the availability of charter schools.

Many educators find the similarities between No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top troublesome.

The 3.2-million-member National Education Association said in a 26-page letter to the Department of Education that they found the "top-down approach disturbing."

"We have been down that road before with the failures of the No Child Left Behind, and we cannot support yet another layer of federal mandates that have little or no research base of success, and that usurp state and local governments' responsibilities for public education," the group's letter said.

The New York Times reported earlier this year that teacher's unions have also been upset by the president's remarks on grading teachers through the test scores of their students.

NEA President Dannis Van Roekel told the Times, "When he equates teachers with test scores, that's when we part company."

The NEA has spent $322,650 in contributions for the 2010 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, 86 percent of which went to Democrats. The American Federation of Teachers, the country's second-largest education union, has spent $283,500 in contributions for the next election cycle, all of which went to Democrats.