Friday, December 23, 2011

Race to the Top Money

On another post Anonymous wrote:


Pennsylvania just received 41.3 million of Race to the Top money. Hmmm? PPS received more than that from Gates. It seems as thought the intent for the money is teacher evaluation. How much would you bet that they use the "Pittsburgh model."

Too bad those who know a little about education are not in a position or do not have the time to go beyond the P.R. when making decisions about effective programs."


Mark Rauterkus said...

Isn't RACE TO THE TOP money really WAM (Walking Around Money) for the President?


And, it is with POLITICAL roots.

Even if the evaluation process is very objective, and I'm not sure if it is objective or not, what it strives to accomplish and its presence in the marketplace of ideas is already significant.

If that's the view, then what to do?

Some say, eliminate the FED's department of education. Then all that distraction, or central planning, or political wrangling, or smoke, or XYZ ends in DC. Then educational raz-ma-taz becomes a battleground for states to decide upon or not.

More than ONE presidential candidate in 2012 have pledged to eliminate the FED's Dept of Education.

Year's ago, many teachers cried a river about the NCLB mandates.

What do you wish for.

Time will tell what happens next.

Anonymous said...


Please repost this here. I think it will be lost in the other unread thread.

Thank you.

Not only are PPS teachers doomed, but so are all teachers in PA. The State of Pennsylvania is receiving 'Race To The Top' money. Pennsylvania is second to Illinois in the amount received.

Taxpayers, you need to wake up and realize the waste of money involved in this ridiculous educational scam being perpetrated.

Shame on Corbett for allowing this to happen. Corbett, you are nothing but a RINO. A true conservative would not allow this to happen to the hard working middle class taxpayers. The race money is simply to grow government not shrink it.

Taxpayers, you are allowing the government to pick your pockets, and you will get nothing in return.

What a sham!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Rauterkus said...

Background article on R2TTop from Ed Week


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the race money will go to more consultants and curriculum writers and publishers. None of it will reach the classrooms where it is needed the most.

As a science teacher straddled with a new technology based curriculum and class sizes of 32, I haved been supplied with a class set of textbooks, eight curriculum based science kits, 4 curriculum DVDs, a digital projector with a $500 blown bulb (with zero hope of buying a new bulb), and a new complicated method of printing/copying classroom materials.

Now you do the math. How effective can a teacher of 32 students be in a science class with eight kits (2 students per kit), no student textbooks for homework, and all lessons and ancillary materials are provided on DVDs that are to be projected onto a screen and copies handed to students.

We make it work regardless of any lack of support from administration and a thankless central office. We continue to smile and teach our students the best as we can under the most stressful conditions. It is not easy to be your best when everything is working against you, especially the money that is being spent to pressure you into resigning.

So, for the federal government to throw STEM money at school districts and expect vast improvements in science and math scores is laughable, but it does explain why half of the science teachers are on IEP's.

Throw out all incumbents at the federal, state, and local offices. Corruption breeds corruption.

Angry Taxpayer said...

If the race is won by the school district that exhausts itself issuing the most press releases per student, surely Pittsburgh will be a model for others to follow.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:33, I have heard rumor of similiar circumstances and wonder why parents are not heading to PSCC meetings to get answers. Kids in middle school having a novel read to them because books can't be purchased for all because of money issues seems to be a minor problem, but what will come next? How can a teacher doing a job with less than what is needed be evaluated?

Grumpy said...

I haven't read details yet but I know that RTTT money requires some part of a teacher's evaluation being tied to test scores. The district and union are now rolling things out -- VAM, student surveys -- that are all tied to this new way of evaluating teachers. My bet is that the PA application has a lot of these elements written into it.

Smart teachers have spoken up about the invalidity of Value Added Measurements, of student surveys that are administered too many times and thus rendered ineffective (according to the survey authors who say themselves that twice is the max they should be administered to any one student). None of it makes a difference. Those making the important decisions on Belleifeld are so disconnected to what really works.

Frankly, maybe Pittsburgh's ruling body should be comprised of twenty teachers, five decent principals, all of whom are STILL IN THE CLASSROOM OR SCHOOL, and bring in a union rep and a school board member (Holley or Brentley would work just fine for me). Oh, and maybe bring in a superintendent now and then as well.

I'm rambling. Back to my coffee.

Anonymous said...

One of the saddest things about the lacks in this city- basics like paper, equipment, books is that the element of fear now reigns-so if you complain "we will look at your "problem of practice" yup-- no bulb is my problem---and now with RISE, admin will say things like you should have used an elmo for that lesson-- Yes, I can easily beg and borrow one-since admin decided someone else needed it more or pull it out of my posterior. Perhaps we should be discussing the book rights to this trainwreck-- "fear and loathing on the Mon"

Anonymous said...

Keeping a journal was once a suggestion but now seems like something that should be done on a very strict basis with very specific details. Nobody reviewing a teacher's performance in moving kids ahead will ever know how much time was spent finding working equipment.

More PR please said...

Looks like teachers are really enjoying Mark Campbell's technology leadership.

Aren't you glad your supply budgets are being cut while his Xerox contract cost 2-3x its predecessor?

A Word from Bellefield said...

New York and Pittsburgh are becoming so much alike. 1,000s of press releases later, when any senior manager that can walk and chew gum at the same time has been pushed aside for a broad/gates/teach for America novice, the meat and potatoes of running the school district is a disaster:

New York Schools Struggle To Collect Medicaid Payments For Special-Needs Students.
The New York Times (12/29, Santos, Subscription Publication) reports that as the New York City Education Department "has struggled to adapt to new rules imposed after a devastating federal audit forced the city to return money it received for claims it could not properly document," it has missed collecting "tens of millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements for services it provided to special-needs students in recent years." State figures show a 60% drop in the city's education-related Medicaid claims, the Times reports, noting that "virtually all of the $302 million in Medicaid reimbursements the city did receive during that period were for administrative claims that, under the rules that took effect in September 2009, are no longer eligible for reimbursement." The Times notes that some two thirds of New York City's 168,000 special needs students qualify for Medicaid, and that the city "has lagged far behind the state's other large school districts in filing claims."

Veteran Teacher said...

I'm surprised New York isn't flying John and Nina in for lessons on selling the union out:

New York State Education Chief Warns Districts SIG's In Jeopardy.
WNYC-FM New York (12/29) reports on its website, "New York State is threatening to withhold millions in federal grants to struggling schools without new evaluation systems for teacher and principals. The New York City Department of Education and the union representing teachers have until December 31 to reach an agreement regarding the evaluation process." The piece describes the issues dividing the two sides as they seek consensus, and quotes New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott stressing his awareness of the deadline. "If there is no agreement, the city could lose $60 million in federal grants - part of the Race to the Top Program - that are slated for 33 struggling schools in New York City."