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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

More Race to the Top Finalists Announced (from edweek)

More Race to the Top Finalists Announced (from edweek)

14 Replies 330 Views
Posted by edweek's guest blogger Sean Cavanagh

UPDATE: Here's the final, confirmed list of winners. The department has also released the dollar amount each state is slated to receive, and their point score:

District of Columbia: $75 million. Score: 450.0
Florida: $700 million. Score: 452.4
Georgia: $400 million. Score: 446.4
Hawaii: $75 million. Score: 462.4
Maryland: $250 million. Score: 450.0
Massachusetts: $250 million. Score: 471.0
New York: $700 million. Score: 464.8
North Carolina: $400 million. Score: 441.6
Ohio: $400 million. Score: 440.8
Rhode Island: $75 million. Score: 451.2

The U.S. Department of Education confirmed the 10 winners of the second round of the Race to the Top competition late this morning as the news trickled out state by state from members of Congress, who were notified first.

Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, had been finalists for the remaining $3.4 billion in federal funds in the Race to the Top program—money that the administration hopes will transform education across the country.

The 10 awards are expected to each be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Just two states, Delaware and Tennessee, won money in the first round of the competition earlier this year.

We'll have more on the winners—and on the states the didn't make the cut—shortly at Politics K-12.

From Edweek

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Joe Nathan, Director, Center for School Change, Macalester College's picture

Dave, you and I agree that the label "charter" does not guarantee success. No charter is free of federal regulations - did someone tell you that? Factually incorrect. Charters, like district schools vary widely - Chinese immersion, Core Knowledge, Project Based, Classical, etc. etc. - there are all examples of charters.

Charter is nothing more than an opportunity. Some public schools receive twice as much as others - I don't think the key issue is money, although well spent, money can be useful.

You and I also agree that administrators are critical/school leaders. We're trying to help strengthen district and charter school leadership. We've also helped develop charters that do not have principals. The majority of members on their governing board are teachers who work in the schools. This is another way to do public education.

Dave Wheeler's picture

Mr. Nathan,

I like your use of the word "opportunity". Please note that I did not state Charter schools were free of all Federal regulation, or any other kind of regulation. Isn't that the trade off? Autonomy in exchange for the charter that defines the performance outcomes the school will be accountable for attaining? Why shouldn't any and every school have that same autonomy? I would also agree that charter and district schools do in fact vary widely, which on many levels makes the public/charter comparison an apples and oranges situation.

I would repectfully disagree however on funding not being a key issue. I live in the Little Rock Arkansas area, intersting enough the home of three eStem PCS's. It is also the home of three public school districts that have been under and are currently under varying degrees of court supervision a desegragation lawuit filed in 1983. I see the many challenges our schools have in improving student achievement and know that many are a result of a variety of socio-economic issues that schools don't control but are expected to overcome. I see millions of additional federal and state dollars being spent annually on elaborate monitoring and data collection systems while teachers are going into their own pockets at the building level for paper and other basic supplies. Millions spent on "online" systems that let parents see and monitor their childs homework and progress...a great thing when one has a home PC, internet service or the electricity to power it. There is a very large body of research that shows top performing schools share many common charecteristics like open communication and collaborative problem solving, continuous assessment of teaching and learning, personal and professional opportunities for growth and development, a building level "culture" based on trust, teamwork, and continuous improvement. Those are things a "leader" can bring into a building. The resources however...time, tools, training,funding, are usually controlled and allocated outside of their span of control.

I guess you could say I think every school should have "site based" control and the resources to meet the performance expectations they are being held accountable to achieve. It's more about "execution" than concept!

Joe Nathan, Director, Center for School Change, Macalester College's picture

Thanks for your note, Mr. Wheeler. We agree that any public school, open to all, should have the same opportunities as a school established as a charter. In fact, I helped write into Minnesota law the opportunity for district public schools to convert to charters. As you may know, former Arkansas governor, then President Bill Clinton advocated exactly that - giving district public schools the opportunity to convert to chartered public schools.

We also agree that retraining takes funds. As I wrote, money, well-spent can be useful.

Dave Wheeler's picture

Enabling districts to operate charters is most definitely fair and equitable. I believe we have 12 such schools operating now but I do know of one district run charter in our state that recently had their charter revoked by the State Board earlier this month due to continuing issues with teacher licensure.

The charter "concept" is indeed one that has a great deal of potential to improve school performance and student achievement. The challenge however is in the planning and execution. I too would agree that "money well spent" can be useful, particularly money spent on increasing the capacity of building level administrators and teachers to meet the needs on of the students, parents, and communities they serve.

Thank you Joe...our exchange has given me things to consider and much to learn!

denise brock's picture
denise brock
Teacher U.S. and international: AP, IB, A-levels

[quote]Posted by edweek's guest blogger Sean Cavanagh

UPDATE: Here's the final, confirmed list of winners. The department has also released the dollar amount each state is slated to receive, and their point score:

District of Columbia: $75 million. Score: 450.0

Florida: $700 million. Score: 452.4

Georgia: $400 million. Score: 446.4

Hawaii: $75 million. Score: 462.4

Maryland: $250 million. Score: 450.0

Massachusetts: $250 million. Score: 471.0

New York: $700 million. Score: 464.8

North Carolina: $400 million. Score: 441.6

Ohio: $400 million. Score: 440.8

Rhode Island: $75 million. Score: 451.2The U.S. Department of Education confirmed the 10 winners of the second round of the Race to the Top competition late this morning as the news trickled out state by state from members of Congress, who were notified first.

Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, had been finalists for the remaining $3.4 billion in federal funds in the Race to the Top program--money that the administration hopes will transform education across the country.

The 10 awards are expected to each be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Just two states, Delaware and Tennessee, won money in the first round of the competition earlier this year.

We'll have more on the winners--and on the states the didn't make the cut--shortly at Politics K-12.

From Edweek[/quote]

denise brock's picture
denise brock
Teacher U.S. and international: AP, IB, A-levels

As a teacher of many years, I think you need to step back and realize what you are asking teachers to do when they are evaluated based on student scores. In what other careers is this done? You can't compare managers--they are evaluated, yes, but they also get to choose their workers, and they can fire the workers who don't work hard enough to warrant them getting a good evaluation. The only profession that can be compared is one where you have to serve the public, and have no choice in who is served: ie: police, fire, or nurses/doctors. Can you imaging holding a nurse accountable for the "failure" of someone's health because that patient chose not to take their meds? Even if that nurse was with the patient around the clock, if that patient doesn't want to get well, or doesn't want to be told what to do (and we all know people like this) the nurse can't force meds down their throat, or force them to eat right or exercise right. This is the predicament that teachers are in. We can't choose our students or force them to do their homework. I have had students that simply don't like school (especially at the high school level) and no matter how much extra time and tutoring I've given them they don't want to be there, and sometimes even use their poor grades to get back at parents who are pushing them too hard. In addition, in many states, a student can drop out of high school and enroll in the community college at age 16, so what "buy in" is the community providing for this student to do well in their high school courses? What about the student for whom C's are just fine, and they don't see any advantage in raising their scores because a 4-year university is not their choice?

If this 'race to the top' continues, I can assure you there will be a Pandora's box opened: for example, are you going to ensure that each teacher gets the same amount of students in their class who have mothers that went to college? This as we know is a major factor in ensuring student success, but there are so many more. If not, then how can you fairly and equitably assess teachers? This will cause even more nepotism and "dealing" behind the scenes between teachers and administrators, thus causing more bad morale than what many public schools see for the same reason. I'm not one to think the teacher's unions are always right, and I think accountability needs to be there, but let's evaluate the whole school community (including parent involvement and good administration practices) in student scores, not just the teacher.

Imagine yourself, just for a minute, being in this position, no matter what career field you are in. You wouldn't stand for it.

Bill Powell's picture
Bill Powell
Retired Supt; 33 years in public ed; lives in Colorado mountains w/ family

Denise,

A well stated position from a mature, experienced teacher who evidently knows students very well! Bravo to you!!

Bill Powell

Joe Nathan, Director, Center for School Change, Macalester College's picture

Denise, our children have take AP and IB tests. Done well on some, not so well on others. You mention involvement with AP and IB.

Does it bother you that the amount of credit that they earn (for college purposes) for a year's worth of work comes down to how well they do on one day, on one test?
Seems pretty questionable to me. Yet the entire decision about whether they earn college credit is how well they do on that test.
The Obama administration has suggested that test scores be used as part of the assessment for teachers.

That makes far more sense than what AP and IB do with our kids.

Joe Nathan, former inner city public school teacher and administrator, PTA president now director, Center for School Change, Macalester College, St. Paul, Mn.

denise brock's picture
denise brock
Teacher U.S. and international: AP, IB, A-levels

Joe,
you make a good point, however you also support my point: these kids taking AP/IB tests WANT to do well, put their best effort into the test, and are evaluated. Teachers, however, as mentioned in my post, are evaluated by their students' efforts, and many of these students might not care to put their best effort into the test, or are not able to. This is the part that is very unfair, even if it is just a PART of the teacher's evaluation.

Joe Nathan, Director, Center for School Change, Macalester College's picture

Over more than 40 years as an inner city public school teacher and administrator, researcher PTA president and advocate, I have learned that one of the most important roles of teachers is to motivate their students. That means among other things, to convince some students they can do far more than they think possible. So Denise (and others) who have complained about the idea of using value added to help assess a teacher's performance, I'd say that motivating students is part of your job. Those who do it well should be seen as better teachers than those who do not produce much progress with youngsters.

For what it's worth, I've seen dramatic differences among AP and IB teachers working with virtually identical groups of students. I just had a conversation with a local district supt last week who made the same point.

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