ERIC Number: EJ872396
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan-27
Reference Count: 0
Race to Top Applications Scrutinized
Sawchuk, Stephen; Maxwell, Lesli A.
Education Week, v29 n19 p1, 16-17 Jan 2010
As peer reviewers for the U.S. Department of Education begin to comb through the thousands of pages of applications for $4 billion in federal Race to the Top Fund grants, they'll be under pressure to determine which are most worthy of funding: those that promise the most, or those with the best chance of delivering. In a competition whose criteria were tightly outlined, applications from 40 states and the District of Columbia contained many common themes. But the plans differ markedly on the details, and in interviews with "Education Week," state officials highlighted reform proposals they believed might set them apart in the scoring process. Among other areas, those officials noted factors such as how heavily they plan to weight student-achievement data in teacher and principal evaluations, highlighted the percentage of local school boards and unions that signed on to the plans, and promised to be even tougher than the federal guidelines in seeking to improve poorly performing schools. But there is little telling what the peer reviewers will value most in rating the applications. Some plans placed more flexibility in the hands of local officials, thus winning more statewide support; others took a more prescriptive approach to teacher effectiveness and school turnarounds, but faced resistance at the district level. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been coy about revealing what might give states a leg up over others in the competition intended to spur state-level education improvements. The states' applications will be weighed on more than 30 criteria reflecting the Obama administration's education priorities. High among them are improving teacher and principal effectiveness, turning around low-performing schools, and using data systems effectively. Points also are awarded for states that secure signatures from school district leaders assuring that they are on board with the state's plans. Revamping evaluation systems so that teachers are judged, at least in part, on how well students perform is a top priority of the Obama administration, and one area of the competition in which many states are seeking to make a strong case.
Descriptors: Teacher Effectiveness, Academic Achievement, Competition, Educational Change, Grants, Federal Aid, Educational Finance, Grantsmanship, Program Proposals, Evaluation Criteria, State Programs
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.edweek.org/info/about/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A