Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Do The Race To The Top - District Competition And Arizona Senator Steve Gallardo Have In Common?

In September we brought to your attention a new federal grant called the "Race to the Top District" competition.  This is an expansion of the 2010 State Race to the Top grant.  Grant awards range between $4M and $30M per district or consortia.

The school district who applies for this grant must meet some of the following requirements:

- Have at least 40% of participating students be from low-income families, based on eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch subsidies.

-  Include a "Competitive Preference Priority" and propose to extend reforms beyond the classroom and partner with public or private entities in order to address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students.

-  At a minimum, design and commit to implement no later than the 2014-15 school year a

1.  Teacher evaluation system
2.  Principal evaluation system
3.  Superintendent evaluation system

Additional requirements include:

"The LEA or consortium will submit a report to the Secretary?"

That sounds an awful lot like the federal government is directing the education of a local school district.  We didn't think that was legal even on a State level, let alone, a district level.

Finalists for the grant competition were recently announced.  On the list was the Arizona Cartwright School District.    The Cartwright District is eligible to win up to $25M.  To put this number in perspective, the 2014 budget submitted by the district was $95M. 

And who is the district's Governing School Board President?

And fellow board member is Arizona Representative, Lydia Hernandez.

From their district website homepage:

Awards will be announced in December 2013.

Let us be the first to be on record to say that if the Cartwright School District "wins" their $30M taxpayer funded grant, Senator Gallardo and Representative Hernandez will still whine and complain about any State education budget cuts in the spring.