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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Seattle Racing for the Top

Seattle Public Schools is joining with six other local school districts in an application for a federal Race To The Top grant.

This year, the competition for federal education grants has been expanded from just states to include school districts. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Seattle, has teamed up with the school districts in Auburn, Tukwila, Highline, Renton, Federal Way and Kent, to submit a shared application.

Details are available in a press release here.

10 comments:

seattle citizen said...

And the "losers" don't get federal grants. That's great.

Anonymous said...

SC, should they just spread the money around equally so that each school gets 25 cents?

-reader

seattle citizen said...

reader, they "should" fund students according to individual student need. They SHOULDN'T use MY tax dollars to engineer a bizarre federal plan designed by Arne Duncan and his fellow "reformers" to privatize public education.

Anonymous said...

SC, they already DO and always have funded schools according to individual student needs. Schools don't spend their monies as intended. Maybe somebody else will.

-reader

seattle citizen said...

Yes, I'm sure that Blackwater/Xe, for instance, would spend my tax dollars intended for educating students wisely. They could start an investment-themed charter school, like Duncan's Ariel in Chicago, to teach children how they, too, can profit off the public dollar.

Charlie Mas said...

I think Race To The Top is just the public version of venture philanthropy. This is what happens when the public sector takes a lesson from the private sector.

Unknown said...

Maybe I missed it, but I haven't heard any discussion of the new rules for district applications. I don't like RttT in principle, but I understand why it's hard to say No to the money. Nevertheless it's important to understand the cost--no such thing as free money. I've scanned the new rules for district (LEA) applications, and will read through them more carefully before deciding what I think about this particular application by this consortium of districts.

In the meanwhile, I'd be interested to hear what anyone who has read these rules thinks will likely to be those costs (strings), and whether the cost is worth it. I have no opinion at the moment. Here's the link to the rules: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/2012-executive-summary.pdf

mirmac1 said...

Excellent Ed Week column

The Dialogue with the Gates Foundation: What happens when Profits drive Reform?

Jan said...

Charlie said: "I think Race To The Top is just the public version of venture philanthropy. This is what happens when the public sector takes a lesson from the private sector." I think that this statement MAY be true -- but isn't necessarily so. Just as not all competition is good, it is also the case that not all competition is bad. The Federal government has, for years, "bid" contracts out. Some of that process has been successful; some potentially has not been (because there are problems in the bidding bureaucracy. Of course, if the government handed out big contracts on a "non-bid" basis, we can't know for sure if the costs would have been higher, or the "product we received" better or worse.

In my opinion, if there are problems with RttT, they are not with the concept of having Districts/States compete for awards. Instead, they are -- as Jack points out -- problems at the District/State level, in not thoughtfully considering the "cost" of participating. Are the Feds goals aligned with ours? What is the dollar cost of participating (and where would those dollars/hours be going if we passed? Are there "hidden" costs in terms of using less than best practices (i.e., does participation require that you reform your evaluation system to use expensive high stakes tests that are inaccurate, incomplete, lead to cheating scandals, etc. -- when, left to your own devices, you might develop and implement a much saner system?) We need to grow up and take ourselves (as a District/State) seriously enough to decide when to play, and when to take our cards, go home, and pay for (and run) our OWN darn education systems.

Frankly, I would love to see the Dept. of Ed budget reduced to the point where there is no RttT, because there is no funding for it. I don't want to abolish the entire Department, because I want to see things like student loan subsidies, Pell grants, etc. survive, along with federal support of SPED and gifted ed. But I have much more faith in local communities to "figure out" education than I do in the feds to do so. Congregating all that money and influence does little more than give the Wall Street ed reform crowd a bigger jackpot to aim for, with less work required to win it. Instead of convincing a bunch of parents all over America to let them experiment on their kids -- all they have to do is convince a much smaller bunch of lawmakers, few of whose kids are in public schools, and all of whom need campaign financing, to let them experiment on "other people's" kids.

We need to learn to analyze the bait more carefully, and to have enough spine to pass on it, if it is a bad deal. By the same token, if it aligns with what we want to accomplish, and the cost is reasonable -- we should play.

Jan said...

Charlie said: "I think Race To The Top is just the public version of venture philanthropy. This is what happens when the public sector takes a lesson from the private sector." I think that this statement MAY be true -- but isn't necessarily so. Just as not all competition is good, it is also the case that not all competition is bad. The Federal government has, for years, "bid" contracts out. Some of that process has been successful; some potentially has not been (because there are problems in the bidding bureaucracy. Of course, if the government handed out big contracts on a "non-bid" basis, we can't know for sure if the costs would have been higher, or the "product we received" better or worse.

In my opinion, if there are problems with RttT, they are not with the concept of having Districts/States compete for awards. Instead, they are -- as Jack points out -- problems at the District/State level, in not thoughtfully considering the "cost" of participating. Are the Feds goals aligned with ours? What is the dollar cost of participating (and where would those dollars/hours be going if we passed? Are there "hidden" costs in terms of using less than best practices (i.e., does participation require that you reform your evaluation system to use expensive high stakes tests that are inaccurate, incomplete, lead to cheating scandals, etc. -- when, left to your own devices, you might develop and implement a much saner system?) We need to grow up and take ourselves (as a District/State) seriously enough to decide when to play, and when to take our cards, go home, and pay for (and run) our OWN darn education systems.

Frankly, I would love to see the Dept. of Ed budget reduced to the point where there is no RttT, because there is no funding for it. I don't want to abolish the entire Department, because I want to see things like student loan subsidies, Pell grants, etc. survive, along with federal support of SPED and gifted ed. But I have much more faith in local communities to "figure out" education than I do in the feds to do so. Congregating all that money and influence does little more than give the Wall Street ed reform crowd a bigger jackpot to aim for, with less work required to win it. Instead of convincing a bunch of parents all over America to let them experiment on their kids -- all they have to do is convince a much smaller bunch of lawmakers, few of whose kids are in public schools, and all of whom need campaign financing, to let them experiment on "other people's" kids.

We need to learn to analyze the bait more carefully, and to have enough spine to pass on it, if it is a bad deal. By the same token, if it aligns with what we want to accomplish, and the cost is reasonable -- we should play.