ERIC Number: EJ872387
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan-6
Reference Count: N/A
States Change Policies with Eye to Winning Federal Grants
Robelen, Erik W.
Education Week, v29 n16 p1, 21 Jan 2010
As governors and state legislators gear up for a new year of budget action and policymaking, the federal Race to the Top competition is helping drive a flurry of measures nationwide aimed, at least in part, at making states stronger candidates for a slice of the $4 billion in education grants. Those efforts emerge as a priority in the 2010 legislative season, even as many cash-strapped states face the prospect of tough spending decisions--including school budget cuts--on top of the midyear cuts they enacted in recent months. Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee in December called on the legislature to hold a special session this month to consider a package of education measures, including a requirement that student-achievement data be used in teacher evaluations, and a proposal he said would strengthen provisions allowing the state to intervene in chronically low-performing schools. Other states are also taking steps with an eye toward the Race to the Top grants. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, a Republican, is calling for action this year to allow charter schools to operate in his state for the first time. In Maine, Democratic Gov. John Baldacci is proposing a new set of measures, including allowing student-achievement data to be used in evaluating educators, and letting districts create "innovative" schools that would have substantial autonomy. Some states have already made policy changes likely to strengthen their applications. Last year, for instance, Illinois and Tennessee raised their charter school caps, Louisiana eliminated its ceiling altogether, and Delaware allowed a moratorium on new charters to lapse. In October, the California legislature, at the urging of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, eliminated a so-called data firewall seen as prohibiting the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers--a barrier that would have put the state out of the running for the Race to the Top. Legislators were wrestling with still other proposed changes as of late last month. And in Michigan, lawmakers passed an ambitious school package last month that would establish new state interventions in low-performing schools, help expand the charter sector, and raise the age at which students may drop out of school without parental permission, among other provisions.
Descriptors: Grants, Statewide Planning, State Standards, Change Strategies, Educational Improvement, Federal Aid, Competition, Academic Achievement, Barriers, Politics of Education, Educational Policy, Educational Change
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama; California; Delaware; Illinois; Louisiana; Maine; Michigan; Tennessee