There are numerous silver linings in Colorado's not having made the final cut in Barack Obama's Dash for the Cash, the administration's crude attempt to spur school reform by bribing states with borrowed money.
The most obvious of these, as any 6th grader can tell you, is that federal money comes with federal strings attached, and, heaven knows, we don't need any more of those. Some extra cash would sure come in handy, but we in the states might have more extra cash, to spend on the things we think are important, like education, if it wasn't being hauled off by the truckload to Washington, to pay for the things Washington thinks are important.
There's something tawdry about the spectacle of Washington bribing states to do what is right for school kids. Shouldn't we be doing these things, irrespective of whether someone places a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Reform is its own reward, if it produces better results for young Coloradans.
We can still aspire to win the school improvement race, and do it for the right reasons, without the need for a silly competition -- or a handout we'll ultimately be paying for.