Race to the Top? Will it work?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MsMongoose, May 19, 2010.

  1. MsMongoose

    MsMongoose Companion

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    May 19, 2010

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  3. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    May 19, 2010

    We got it in the first round. Someone from the state dept of ed is coming tomorrow to give us the details. I'll let you know what I think when I have heard what he/she has to say.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm all for excellence in teaching, but not at the expense of quality teachers who will lose their jobs because they teach in a situation that does not produce the necessary standardized test scores.
     
  5. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I'm in one of the states that won in the first round. The biggest problem that I see is that the funds are only there for 4 years and we have no plan as to what to do when they go away.

    We also are using the funds to address teacher recruitment shortages in math n science. However, the reviewers noted that our efforts are unlikely to fill the gaps that are coming and that we have done nothing to address the gap in SPED.

    There was also a LOT of talk about evaluating administrators and holding them accountable, but not indication of how they are going to do that.

    One of my BIGGEST gripes, is the approach taken to evaluating test scores. Tennessee has a great system for tracking individual student performance as the move through the grades and evaluate teachers based on predictions of student performance. The screwed up part is the honors classes as all the students are 98% or higher expectation to score advanced. The performance of honors teachers based on improving student test scores is below average while teachers with low performing kids who score low can still be seen as exceptional. In short, we are emphasizing our low performers so much that we are cutting short our top performers. One school in my area has gone so far as to totally eliminate their AP classes.
     
  6. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 19, 2010

    I believe it is an awful plan--- we should not be competing for money, especially money that will not always be there. As educators we should be working together to collaborate in order to better our students. This is so much more worse than NCLB. :(
     
  7. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Federal money always comes with conditions. If you want money for an innerstate, you have to design it to Federal Highway standards or you don't get the money.

    This is no different. If you can't accept the Federal conditions, don't accept the Federal money (as a few states have chosen to do.) It's not an entitlement.

    On the subject of competing, it's not what you think. Our low performing schools will get the majority of the money in Tennessee, but that also comes with strings attached.

    The biggest string in Tennessee is an "exemplary educator" who is assigned to underperforming schools. This is a very senior teacher (25+ years) who is hired to do nothing but observe and coach other teachers in your school full time. No one wants to be watched and scrutinized that closely, but there is no higher level of mentorship and such teachers have a lot to learn from.
     
  8. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    May 19, 2010

    It is a foolish, short sighted, ill advised plan. There are almost no words to explain how stupid this is. Education is not business, and trying to force us into this mold to get dwindling funds is an unfortunate indictment of how poorly the current administration (which I voted for, I admit) understands educational issues, and how to actually improve the situation.
     
  9. mrduck12

    mrduck12 Companion

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    What a very good assessment. This program is sheer madness. I am so glad our state has dropped out.
     
  10. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Thank you PowerTeacher, well said.
     
  11. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I actually am in extreme agreement with you. Education and health care are socialist systems in a capitalist economy. That just doesn't work.


    Now how do we fix this situation? Griping about how bad it is doesn't fix anything. How do you suggest we fix it? Give me details on how we improve education.
     
  12. mrduck12

    mrduck12 Companion

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    Quit accepting federal money altogether. Clean up the waste in the districts, and get people to want to teach because its the right thing to do. Then leave them alone to teach.

    Sound easy? It won't be. It will be draconian.
     
  13. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    May 19, 2010

    I couldn't have said it better.
    -------------------
    I agree with everyone here. Someone mentioned don't accept federal funds, but if only teachers had the choice. We don't have the choice.

    I vote for a teacher revolution and national strike. :) Re: Colorado

    Powerteacher, I'm with you. I love Obama, but his ed policies have been a catalyst to what we see now. The nation-wide epic teacher-bashing is even worse now than it was with Bush.
     
  14. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    I agree with what others have said. My state dropped out of the race and our governor continues to bash the teacher's union for it.
     
  15. Samothrace

    Samothrace Cohort

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    My biggest issue is my pay would be based on what someone else is doing. I'm an art teacher, I teach the whole child..not information for a test.

    I still say anyone in governmental control who wants to trash teachers and education should walk a year in a teachers shoes. See the challenges, struggles, lack of support, needs of our students etc. A week they would give a blink, but a year would really show them from beginning to end that we do what we do b/c we love the kids, but accept a lot of other things along with teaching.

    It's the same in any situation. The big wigs never listen to the people in the trenches, the teachers themselves. Teachers know what our kids need.
     
  16. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    This is really exemplified by Tennessee politics Samothrace.


    The governor (a realy sharp dude) keeps backing us in his rhetoric and saying that we should hold parents/kids responsible for the test scores as well as teachers. However, there is no real consequences for them. If your kid fails a class, you don't loose your job over it or get much of anything. If kids in my class fail, it comes down on my job performance.

    I like what he says, but when will parents and kids be truely held responsible for grades? At this point in time, the teacher is the only one who is truely held responsible. If Lil Johnny doesn't do his work and fails, he has to repeat the class at worse. Meanwhile, the teacher is at risk of loosing their job and the parents have nothing more than an embarassment (if that.)

    I have a student this year who belongs in honors, the dude has an incredible mind. We can't even get his parents to show up for an IEP meeting and he's been absent more days than he's been present. He's failing a class that he could easily make a 98+ in. I'm not held responsible for him because of his absences, but I want to know when the parents will be held responsible.
     
  17. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    May 20, 2010

    The student's responsibility is inherent. If they chose not to do well in school they are probably not going to college.
     
  18. MsMongoose

    MsMongoose Companion

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    May 21, 2010

    Firing a bad teacher

    As a teacher, and especially as a parent, I believe there are a few teachers who need to be fired. Just a few--in my experience, about one per building, which works out to 1 in 30 or 40. Not only was the teacher ineffective, she was also petty and vindictive to the kds. Everyone knew who the teacher was, and parents who knew about her struggled to keep their child out of that class.

    It shouldn't cost $200,000 to fire a teacher (this is the amount quoted in CA). Passing the teacher along to another district doesn't help either. It isn't as if there were no eager young teachers to take that place.

    The teachers on this board tend to be the consciencious ones-- sometimes the inexperienced teachers, but they come to this board because they are trying to become better teachers (and also to get/keep a job, but that's natural.) Somehow I doubt that the teachers deemed "ineffective" several years in a row care to spend a lot of time on a teacher's forum. ones-- sometimes the inexperienced teachers, but they come to this board because they are trying to become better teachers (and also to get/keep a job, but that's natural.) Somehow I doubt that the teachers deemed "ineffective" several years in a row care to spend a lot of time on a teacher's forum.
    So how does a school district fire the few bad apples without hurting other teachers?
     
  19. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    While I completely agree with you, the problem is that we are held accountable for their irresponsibility and it will be years before they suffer ANY consequences.

    10 years down the road, the do nothing students will be agreeing with us. However, teens learn very little from being told. They must experience to really learn it and many don't experience the consequences until after high school.

    Tennessee talks about student/parent repsonsibility, but it is only the teacher and the school who is cracked down upon in a manner that is prompt enough to make the difference.

    Heck, I've got a parent right now that we can't even get to show up to an IEP meeting for her son and his truency rate is sky high. The only reprocution is that he won't get a high school diploma 3 years from now and will struggle to find work 3-4 years from now.

    First rule of effective discipline, consequences must me prompt. In the example I discuss, he is getting rewarded in the short term by not having to work and getting to go to school only when he feels like it.
     
  20. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    True enough. The problem with Federal mandates isn't just the many strings attached to the funds (Golden rule= who has the gold, makes the rules), but almost always, they never actually provide all the funds promised. That's been the case with SPED - IDEA funds all along.

    IMO "Race to the Top" is NCLB in a different wrapping, old wine in new bottles, if you must, with nearly all of the previous programs shortcomings.
     
  21. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    umm.....Please don't take this as me doubting you as I don't on your example. However, Federal funding is almost always paid in full if you jump through the hoops and meet the deadlines.

    I am relatively new in teaching and know nothing of SPED funding so I can't speak to your example. However, I consulted to the military for 15 years and know quite well how Federal funding works.

    The money is allocated and set asside before the proposals are even submitted. In the Federal system, you can't ask for a proposal unless you have the funds already in place.


    What often happens is that the individuals trying to get the funds fail to read the fine print and don't meet the deadlines. If the funds aren't allocated by the end of the fiscal year they were supposed to be allocated in, they are likely to be deobligated and go back into the Federal pot. Projects that were underfunded in the same fiscal year watch for these monies and pounce on them as soon as they are deobligated.

    Meeting the deadlines is part of meeting the Federal requirements for the funding. I suspect that the frustration you have expressed is a failure at the State level instead of the Federal level.
     
  22. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    May 21, 2010

    Thank you for your perspective, no offense taken.
    And you are probably right about failure at the State level. I live in California, where for the last several years, our state government has rarely put together a budget on time. This is because it takes a 2/3 majority of the legislature to pass a state budget, which is difficult in good times and even more difficult in hard times.
     

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