Thursday, September 12, 2013

Race To The Top DISTRICT Competition

From the makers of the Race To The Top "State-level Competition,"  we now have a DISTRICT competition called RTT-D.

Must be nice to be able to print money...

"The Race to the Top District competition will build on the lessons learned from the State-level competitions and support bold, locally directed improvements in teaching and learning that will directly improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness.  More specifically, Race to the Top District will reward those LEAs that have the leadership and vision to implement the strategies, structures and systems of support to move beyond one-size-fits-all models of schooling, which have struggled to produce excellence and equity for all children, to personalized, student-focused approaches to teaching and learning that will use collaborative, data-based strategies and 21st century tools to deliver instruction and supports tailored to the needs and goals of each student, with the goal of enabling all students to graduate college- and career- ready."

Familiar eligibilty criteria include:

LEAs may join a consortium that includes LEAs across one or more states.

At least 40% of participating students across all participating schools must be students from low-income families, based on eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch subsidies.

The LEA has, at a minimum, designed and committed to implement no later than the 2014-15 school year:

- A teacher evaluation system
- A principal evaluation system
- A LEA superintendent evaluation
- A LEA school board evaluation


One has to wonder how ELECTED school board members and those who elected them might feel about this? 

But, then again, we allowed the federal government to give individual states RTTT money and therefore, authority to mandate a national standard and curriculum.

Why WOULDN'T the federal government go after local districts next?  

Applicants must be willing to subject themselves to increased "transparency" which includes reporting to the federal government the actual salaries at the school level for personnel, as well as instructional and support staff.

Wonder why that information is necessary? 

The LEA has a robust data system that has, at a minimum-

- An individual teacher identifier with a teacher-student match
- The ability to match student level P-12 and higher education data

"The LEA has policy and regulatory protections in place that ensure Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliant privacy and information protection while enabling access and use by stakeholders."

It's a good thing Arne Duncan already changed the FERPA laws to allow our children's personal data to be shared with outside organizations and corporations  stakeholders.

Signatures by the LEA Superintendent, local school board and union/association president will be required.  Also, look for letters of support from "key" stakeholders such as parent and student organizations, early learning programs, the business community, civil rights organizations, advocacy groups, local civic and community-based organizations, etc.

It's the bully  community organizing way.

Three districts in Arizona have their hands out for upwards of $30MILLION including Cartwright Elementary, Peoria Unified and Tucson Unified School Districts.

Following closely behind are districts applying for a mere $20-$25Million such as the Glendale Elementary and High School District, Humbolt, and Sunnyside Unified Districts.

Even a newly formed charter school in Phoenix called Empower College Prep has their hand in the cookie jar begging for $4-$10Million.  That's a far cry from their FY 2013 budget of around $1M.

If all of the applicants win the highest award available, the 14 districts will receive a whopping $290M!

Other people's money.

Good-bye local control.

Wonder what Arizona Superintendent, John Huppenthal, thinks now?