Sunday, November 18, 2012

Race to the Top District Competition Received 371 Applications

This from District Dossier:

The U.S. Department of Education received 371 applications for the latest round of the Race to the Top competition, which focused on individual school districts or consortia of smaller districts rather than states. As Politics K-12 reported, the 371 applications represented 1,189 schoo districts. Close to 900 districts and consortia had expressed an intent to apply back in August when the final rules for the competition were announced.

A number of districts had trouble getting their unions to sign off on the Race to the Top proposals, which I wrote about for this week's issue of Education Week. (You can find more details about those squabbles here.) Two California districts, Glendale and Los Angeles, submitted applications anyway. The requirement for union sign-off was new to this iteration of the competition, and may have been a lesson learned from previous federal grant programs, including Race to the Top: When unions don't agree to grant requirements beforehand, programs sometimes don't get implemented as intended.

In an interesting twist, in the Central Unified school district in California, the union's president Gaye Lewis signed off on the district's application—and then stepped down because the union's members were upset with the decision.

Of course, some districts also didn't apply for reasons unrelated to unions. Burlington, Vt., superintendent Jeanne Collins said that her district had simply decided that "jumping through the hoops" and spending time and money on the complicated application was not worth it. And some districts where there's been notable district-union contention—Chicago, for example—did submit applications with union sign-off...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again, why is the federal government creating competative grants which only a small number of schools will receive when we are obliged to use those funds to educate all children.

Additionally, if these proposed innovations are held in such high regard by the districts of origination, why haven't they been pursued prior to this RTT process? Could it be that schools are not recieving the tax dollars they need in the first place?

Is this the process we are going to use for other domestically funded responsibilities the government seems to have sought further influence? Medicare/Medicaid? Social Security? Transportation?

What I see is big districts with lots of folks who have the time to write and administer these grants can play the game but small, poor districts aren't going to be able to apply due to lack of time and resources to play the game. Darn teaching kids is getting in the way of playing federal money grab game for these folks.

We shouldn't be using the way we educate kids as a means of pumping up our coffers.