Friday, March 12, 2010

Is "Race to the Top" actually a federalization of education?

Disclaimer: To my followers...I promise to get off this education reform tirade I have been on recently and get back to humorous stories about my little friends soon! It just pisses me off that people in Washington want to tell me how to run my classroom. If they are so interested in what I am doing, I invite them to join me this Monday afternoon at 2:30pm as I break every school rule (and probably my own neck) to get on a chair, climb on shelves and such and cover the walls of my classroom and rearrange all the desks in preparation for state testing Tuesday and Wednesday. Until then.....

Lately, I have been spending way to much time reading articles and blogs talking about education reform. Why you ask..because I am a geek like that. When I was in the corporate world, I bought and read books by the dozen on organizational management, change management, organization effectiveness, and the like.

These days it seems the media has made teachers the scapegoats for a failing education system. In addition, I am reading up on proposed budget cuts in our state and attending meetings where it is discussed that we (South Carolina) are viewed as having a low-performing education system all because of the way we report our standardized test scores. At this aforementioned meeting it was announced that we (again, South Carolina) are one of 16 states (well DC is not a state but they are one of the finalists) in the running for "Race to the Top" grants. I ignorantly applauded like the rest of the lemmings at the meeting and dashed back to my classroom when the meeting was over and googled "Race to the Top." I was appalled to read article after article outlining how acceptance of these grants requires stated to adopt a federally drafted national standard for curriculum. Among other things.....Uh..Shut The Front Door~~~! WHY would anyone agreed to this?

This is opens the door even wider to let the federal government come in and take over. States like Texas opted not to apply for these grants after they found out that these national standards would undo all the reform in state curriculum standards they had been working hard to improve.

And guess how many teachers were on these panels who wrote the grant requirements (and the draft for the national curriculum standards)....ummmm...NONE!! Big shocker there!

This article from the Washington Post lists 10 False Assumption about Race to the Top. It's worth the read.

In addition to the requirement to adopt national standards, many states have been basically selling their souls to lifting the cap on charter schools and agreeing to tie test scores to teacher evaluations and pay. This is wrong on so many levels that I want to scream "ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? How is this going to help them? 100% of these funds apparently have to go to reform of standards and curriculum, and can't be used to make up the millions of dollars many of these states need to close the gap in their education budgets. No teacher salaries (saving teacher layoffs) no supplies, computers and other technology, textbooks, etc.

This p_sses me off so much!!! What's next? Fire all the teachers and replace them with robots..I mean if we totally remove the human component in the equation....we're bound to get the result we are seeking, RIGHT?!?! Morons!!


Kelly Mine said...

Hey Patti,
I've been enjoying lurking on your blog, and couldn't help commenting this time. I'm really glad to see you reacting this way...I've wondered how the p.s. teachers were reacting to this, and actually what SHOULD their reaction be? I know this scares the dickens out of me, because if they're going to start demanding that you do XY and Z for a certain outcome in your classroom, how much farther behind is the knock on the door saying, "Ma'am, we'd like to see your test scores and curriculum that you're using for your kids." How will this affect homeschoolers? I don't know...but nothing about this makes sense. Check out my friend's blog at She hashes through a lot of this stuff with a very cheeky attitude.

Mrs. B. said...

Thanks for lurking Kelly and commenting as well. I have so much respect for your opinion because a)we have shared values b) you do what I don't think I could do- in homeschoolong M & M. It is definitely a calling and one I was not called to do (ironic since I educate other people's kids) and c) just cuz I like you!!!

Education is one of my passions and I have been VERY PASSIONATE about it keep checking in, I am sure there is much more to come!!!
PS- I will chek out the blog you suggested..thanks!