“Race To The Top” Prediction

Prediction: Obama’s and Arne Duncan’s “Race To The Top” $4.5 billion funding race with it’s focus on testing and charter schools (which is supposed to be innovative, but is just NCLB reborn and repackaged – the same thing that hasn’t worked for the last decade plus), will result in states and schools and school boards focusing on how to get the money for our schools and our area and lose focus on REAL innovation and what is best for our children. Let the race begin!

BTW … if to “be innovative” you are restricted to plans that require testing and charters … doesn’t that totally stifle real innovation? Or innovation that might not rely on testing to prove success at least?

I hope I’m wrong … really I do.

Learning is messy!

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6 Responses to “Race To The Top” Prediction

  1. I am a young educator who still has much to learn.

    But, when I read this I wondered, “Why can’t we have ‘innovation’ and testing at the same time?”

    From my perspective testing isn’t a negative and actually does a great deal of good. It keeps a focus on the essential basics.

    Sure, it is often overly emphasized. But, we can’t just give up being innovative because accountability comes along with it. Right?

    Can both happen?

  2. Brian says:

    Hi Jonathon – It is possible, although the type of assessment being done matters, NCLB has mostly stressed the wrong kind (standardized) which are inherently biased and provide information that is of dubious value. Assessing only some subjects narrows the curriculum, especially for our most at risk students that require and deserve as broad and engaging a curriculum as everyone else.

    Example, at my “at risk” school we have narrowed the curriculum to the tested subjects “literacy” and math which means that our students miss out on science and art and social studies and other subjects which tend to connect to students that literacy and math do not – as well as build the schema that make reading and math make sense. My wife teaches at a high income public school. They teach all subjects, have a special art program for their students and a PE program. There’s plenty of research showing how the arts and physical health tie to learning.

    How about an innovative program that stresses portfolio and peer assessment? Could that be done well and connect for certain kids or maybe a lot of kids? I think so … and there are plenty of other possible “innovations” that could be tried. Why limit ourselves to “innovative” schools that only stress testing and charter schools? Let’s REALLY see some innovation. That’s my point.
    Brian

  3. Ric Murry says:

    Brian,

    You will not be wrong on this one, unless it is worse than you predict.

    Those in education, not teaching, have become either unrealistic dreamers (which I don’t always mind) or politically-motivated, self-serving autocrats. We appear to be coming under an extortion type of funding for public education as I read how California was chastised for not using test scores to evaluate teachers, and therefore may not receive federal funds for innovation.

    Why do we vote for these people? It’s been too long since I remember a president who had a clue about public education-mainly because they are private school educated.

    I’ll stop now.

  4. Ric –

    I’m at a point where I will not be giving President Obama any money in the next election cycle, and I may make a protest vote in the primary. I’m sure I’ll vote for him in the general, because I can’t imagine that I’d have a better alternative, but yeah… his track record on education so far is pretty terrible.

  5. Karen says:

    I agree…..Just providing (health) services does NOT guarantee a rise in test scores! When are we going to get a clue (as a nation) that other countries are way ahead of us in using technology in education? Why cut funding for this type of thing in education? Using technology to increase higher level thinking can raise test score, maybe better, than using pencil/paper tasks! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR on “our” willingness to do this.

  6. Karen says:

    By the way….I really like reading your blog posts.

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