District-Level Race to The Top, Another Bad Idea on Top of a Pile of Bad Ideas

Filed in Race to the Top by on May 29, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education announced it’s $400 Million District-Level Race to the Top program last week.  Now they are totally bypassing the states and going straight to the school districts.  There are over 14,000 school districts in the country, but only those districts with a minimum of 2500 students and 40% of students who meet the poverty guidelines (those who qualify for free or reduced lunch) are eligible to apply for the grants. Smaller school districts may join with other districts to apply, even districts in other states. The DOE is encouraging districts within states to craft reform plans that incorporate the “four cornerstones” of improving teacher quality, school turnaround plans, student data collection, and standards and assessments.

Plans must have the signatures of the district superintendent, school board officials, and local union presidents (if there are any).  Ignoring federalism, state education chiefs have no power to veto the plans and are given just five days to comment on them.

They also want schools to stretch beyond focusing on academics:

The proposal offers competitive preference to applicants that form partnerships with public and private organizations to sustain their work and offer services that help meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs, and enhance their ability to succeed.

So we’re officially adopting the schools = social services agencies model.  Public comment lasts until June 8th and you can do that here.  And here we see yet another horrible, unconstitutional idea come out of the Obama Administration.

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About the Author ()

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm, along with serving as the communications director for American Principles Project’s Preserve Innocence Initiative.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife home school their three teenage children and have done so since the beginning.   He has recently been recognized by Campaigns & Elections Magazine as one of the top political influencers in Iowa. Shane and his family reside near Des Moines, IA.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Google +.

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