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A Primer on Race to the Top

A Primer on Race to the Top

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  • 1. What is Race to the Top?0 From the Department of Education: What is RTTT?Everything you ever wanted to know (sort of)0 Watch this0 Has Obama’s vision for education and RTTT beenfollowed through, or has policy differed from theproposed vision?
  • 2. Think about this:0 Watch Secretary Arne Duncan on “Our World withBlack Enterprise” on RTTT… are you convinced?0 Does RTTT promote success in depth and breadth ofknowledge and teaching, or does it promote “teachingto the test”? Can these two things be the same thing?0 In your experience, has RTTT improved the teachingand learning happening in the schools you’reconnected with? If so, how? If not, why do you think?
  • 3. The Common Core0 Developed federally to tie student achievement to asingle set of standards- common standards andcommon measurement across state lines.0 Adopted on a case-by-case basis by states; notfederally mandated for consideration in RTTT.0 States may choose the pace at which they implementthe standards (New York is moving faster than otherstates, with the goal of full implementation P-12 in the2013-2014 academic year).
  • 4. Read This:Race to the Bottom?Check out Jay Greene’s article (especially paragraphsthree and four). Are we in a race to the bottom? CanCommon Core standards help us?As New York implements its first Common Core-alignedtests, are we being fair to our students? Read this andthis and see what you think.
  • 5. As some see it: The Pros:0 Encourages states to raise standards and educate allstudents.0 Provides funds to states and districts doing innovativework in education reform and teaching.0 Gives points for the creation of data-tracking systemsto support instruction.0 Federal funds are directed by the federal government;states have limited say in how the funds can bedirected.
  • 6. As some see it: The Cons:0 States and districts are winning awards even when theyhave not shown improvement; states and districts that areheralded as paving the way are not receiving the awards(Hess, 2010).0 Many education researchers and experts believe that Raceto the Top is not what is needed in our schools because::0 Not based on research or best practices0 Encourages “teaching to the test” rather than the developmentof higher-order critical thinking skills0 Ties teacher evaluations to student test scores rather thanstudent improvement (i.e. growth over previous years)
  • 7. Scandal!Have you heard about all of the cheating going on? It’snot as far removed as you may think.In addition to the Texas superintendent who has been injail for over a year now, and the 35 administrators inAtlanta who have just been indicted, read this!
  • 8. How do You Want to beEvaluated?0 Florida Teachers Sue Over Evaluation System0 As a current or future teacher, what are the things thatyou would want to count in your evaluation?0 As a parent (or at least, put yourself in the shoes of aparent) of a child, how would you want to evaluateyour child’s teachers?
  • 9. G&T/SPED/ELL0 What’s happening to these students under RTTT?0 RTTT fails to properly account for gifted children bylimiting access to G&T programs and reducing the numberof gifted-only programs (C. Finn, personalcommunication, April 4, 2013)0Overlooked!0 Encourages schools to discount students with specialneeds by moving them to other schools or restricting theiraccess to tests
  • 10. Think About This:0 Is Race to the Top furthering our “adult-centered”education system, or working to move it towards amore “child-centered” system?0 What needs to happen for policy to be based onresearch? Why would the Secretary of Education notheed the concerns of experts?0 Watch this (“Voices from the States” after one year ofRace to the Top)
  • 11. Questions forRecommendations0 What should we be focusing on in our efforts toimprove educational outcomes?0 In what ways does Race to the Top further innovationand in what ways does it stifle creativity?0 Is the charter school phenomenon a result of Race tothe Top? If you think so, why? Is this a good thing or abad thing?
  • 12. References0 Baker, A. (2013, April 15). Long Island inquiry includes claim of altered high school exam score. The New York Times.Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/education/new-glen-cove-allegation-on-handling-of-state-test.html?ref=education0 Baker, A. (2013, April 19). More in New York City qualify as gifted after error is fixed. The New York Times. Retrievedfrom http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/education/score-corrections-qualify-nearly-2700-more-pupils-for-gifted-programs.html?ref=education&_r=00 Baker, A., and Hernandez, J. C. (2013, April 19). A tough new test spurs protest and tears. The New York Times.Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/education/common-core-testing-spurs-outrage-and-protest-among-parents.html?ref=education0 Barton, P. E. (2009, August 13). Comments on proposed regulations for education stimulus funds. Education Week.Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/media/bartoncomments.pdf0 Greene, J. P. (2012, July 17). Do we need national standards to prevent a race to the bottom? EducationNext. Retrievedfrom http://educationnext.org/do-we-need-national-standards-to-prevent-a-race-to-the-bottom/0 Harris, D. N. (2010, March 31). The evidence on race to the top: Are the naysayers right? Education Week. Retrievedfrom http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/03/31/27harris.h29.html?r=6417911980 Hess, F. M. (2010, August 31). National review: Race to the top limps to a finish. NPR. Retrieved fromhttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1295484520 Ladd, H. F. (2009, August 20). Comments on proposed regulations for education stimulus funds. Education Week.Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/media/laddcomments.pdf
  • 13. References (Con’t)0 Ravitch, D. (Multiple Dates). Various blog posts tagged “Race to the top.” Diane Ravitch’s blog.Retrieved from http://dianeravitch.net/category/race-to-the-top/0 Ravitch, D. (2010, August 1). Obamas race to the top will not improve education. Huffington PostPolitics. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/obamas-race-to-the-top-wi_b_666598.html0 Ravitch, D. (2009, September 9). The Start of an interesting and dangerous school year. EducationWeek’s Blogs: Bridging Differences. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2009/09/editors_note_bridging_differen.html0 Rich, M. (2013, April 17). Florida: Teachers Sue Over Evaluation System. The New York Times.Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/education/florida-teachers-sue-over-evaluation-system.html?ref=education0 Spencer, K. (2013, April 14). Students face tougher tests that outpace lesson plans. The New YorkTimes. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/nyregion/with-tougher-standardized-tests-a-reminder-to-breathe.html?ref=education0 U.S. Department of Education, (2009). Race to the top executive summary. Retrieved from website:http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/executive-summary.pdf0 U.S. Department of Education, (2012). Race to the top executive summary. Retrieved from website:http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/2012-executive-summary.pdf