Amoss 1Paige AmossLesterAdvanced Grammar and Composition5 October 2011 Race to the Top Issue For a teacher, his or her salary is based on his or her degree level and how many years heor she has taught; however, in 2014, this is all going to change. According to the new “Race tothe Top” program, teachers’ salaries are now going to be based on students’ performance onstandardized testing. The issue of “Race to the Top” is starting to become nationwide, as moreand more states take part in this program. “Race to the Top” is a new fund program that is goingto majorly affect teachers and students across the country. The major questions that “Race to theTop” are stirring up are what exactly is “Race to the Top”, in what ways will it impact thestudents and teachers, is the outlook a negative or positive one, and are there any currentsolutions to the issue. One major question that “Race to the Top” brings up is what exactly is “Race to theTop.” Race to the Top is a $4 billion, four year grant opportunity provided in the AmericanRecovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Cardoza). In order to receive this funding, states hadto apply for the grant opportunity. Georgia applied in the first round, but did not get the grantopportunity until Georgia reapplied in the second round (Georgia Racing to the Top). The fundis expected to help students prepare for their life after college, whether the student attendscollege or goes straight into the work force (Georgia Racing to the Top). Race to the Top willhave rigorous standards and high-quality assessments by encouraging states to work towards asystem of common academic standards that focuses on college and career readiness. Race to the
Amoss 2Top wants to raise student achievement and close achievement gaps between the students. It alsowants to provide more math and science education. The fund has also prepared money to helpthe school system itself (Georgia Racing to the Top). The goal of Race to the Top is to attractand keep the best teachers and leaders in Americas classrooms by expanding support theteachers and principals. It will reform and improve teacher preparation. It will revise teacherevaluation, compensation, and retention policies to encourage effectiveness. Also, to place theteachers were they are most needed. States need to put low-performance schools first on theirlists so that the education department can help create a better learning system for that school.“Race to the Top” is another new fund that hopes to help the students achieve. The second major question that “Race to the Top” raises is how it will affect the teachers,and how the impact on teachers will affect the students. If one is not suited to teach, then theyshould not be a teacher. Race to the Top will help figure out who is qualified and who is not(Crowe). According to Race to the Top, "effective teachers" are defined as those "whosestudents achieve acceptable rates (at least one grade level in an academic year) of studentgrowth” (Crowe). "Student growth" is defined as "the changed in student achievement for anindividual student between two or more points in time." "Student achievement" is "a studentsscores on the States assessments under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act” (Crowe).Teachers salaries are going to be based on students test performance (Condon). Standardizetests do not consider different factors. The impact of previous teachers, both negatively andpositively are two major factors. Also, achievement in writing and critical thinking is notmeasured by these tests. Other subjects, nonacademic subjects like art and music, are also notmeasured through standardized tests. People believe that teachers deserve most of the blame forbad school performance. However, people do not take in account of factors that affect a students
Amoss 3learning: language problems, hunger, stress, mass media exposure, cultural differences, etc. Thewhole idea of Race to the Top is more into helping the students achieve in school; however,others disagree (Obama’s Race to the Top). Representatives of “Race to the Top” say that Raceto the Top is going to help students get ready for college and the work force. Teachers andparents are criticizing Race to the Top because the say it requires states to follow specificeducational reforms, which consists of standardize testing, rather than letting the educationdepartment set their own agenda (Condon). There are so many effects that “Race to the Top” isgoing to inflict on teachers and students that they need to adjust to as soon as possible. The third major question that the population is asking about “Race to the Top” is what theexpected outlook for the fund is. For the students, the Obama Administration is working hard sothat Race to the Top will be a positive outlook for every child (Promoting Innovation, Reform,and Excellence in America’s Public Schools). The Obama Administration’s goal is to make surethat every student succeeds in the future, whether it is in college or the work force. TheAdministration believes that if the “Race to the Top” fund is well spent, the school systemshould see excellent results. However, the Obama Administration is focusing on the studentsand their futures, not the teachers. The teachers realize that there is more to “Race to the Top”that meets the eye, and these affects can be bad. Many students do not benefit from standardizedtesting or basic curriculum. Many students need to be challenged or watched over more.Teachers have been around students longer than the Administration so the teachers understandhow to teach the different kinds of students. Just like “No Child Left Behind,” the outlook of“Race to the Top” is a negative one due to false assumptions (Brady). These false assumptionsare not excuses. Teachers cannot pick their students, their textbooks, or their workingconditions. Unfortunately, all these factors play a major part in standardized test scores. If the
Amoss 4Administration does not realize this soon, they are going to be in shocked with the outcome of“Race to the Top,” in a bad way. The fourth major question of “Race to the Top” is what solutions are available. As ofright now, there are not really any solutions for “Race to the Top.” Basically, “Race to the Top”is just another program that was put together in order to try and benefit the students. "Its nosecret the U.S. education system is failing," Bill Gates says in this report. "Were doing all kindsof experiments that are different. The Race to the Top is going to do many different ones. Theresno group-think” (Silva). Only time will tell how “Race to the Top” turns out. Many teachers arenot happy with the new standards of “Race to the Top.” Unfortunately, there is not muchteachers can do to change the standards. The best thing for teachers to do right now it to justaccept the fact that there are new standards, and do the best he or she can do to teach his or herstudents. More than likely there is going to be a new program of learning coming soon, soteachers need to do their best now to impress. After researching “Race to the Top” and seeing how the teachers are taking the newprogram, my advice to others who are looking into the field of teaching is to stick with it. “Raceto the Top” is just a “here-now” program, and it seems like something will change eventually.For me, “Race to the Top” doesn’t really affect me. I have wanted to be a high school teacherfor as long as I can remember. I would use to play “school” down in the basement with my sisterand grandmother every second I could. I would even play “school” by myself. I’m not going tolet “Race to the Top” get in the way of becoming want I have inspired to be all my life. I’m notgoing to change careers because of one program that is likely to change in the next four or soyears. Change happens everywhere, in every job. I want to be the best teacher out there. I feellike “Race to the Top” shouldn’t really matter to teachers because if the teachers really love to
Amoss 5teach, they wouldn’t worry about trying to do a good job because they would already be doing agood job. Teaching is a great and rewarding career. I could not think of any better career paththat I would rather choose.
Amoss 6 Works CitedCardoza, Matt. “Georgia Wins Race to the Top.” Georgia Department of Education. N.p., 24 Aug. 2010. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ pea_communications.aspx?ViewMode=1&obj=1969>.Condon, Stephanie. “Nathan Deal: Georgia Shouldn’t Take ‘Race to the Top’ Money.” CSB News. N.p., 2010. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162- 20012504-503544.html>.Crowe, Edward. “Race to the Top and Teacher Preparation.” Center for American Progress. N.p., 1 Mar. 2011. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/ 03/teacher_preparation.html>.“Georgia Racing to the Top.” Georgia. N.p., 20 Jan. 2010. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.georgia.gov/00/press/detail/ 0,2668,78006749_154885747_155733684,00.html>.“Promoting Innovation, Reform, and Excellence in America’s Public Schools.” The White House. N.p., 2009. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/ fact-sheet-race-top>.“Race to the Top Fund.” U.S Department of Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/index.html>.Silva, Mark. “Race to the Top: Teachers Left Behind?” The Swamp. N.p., 25 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2009/10/ race_to_the_top_teachers_left.html>.