Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Breaking news: LA is in for federal education millions

The stars seem to be aligning for Louisiana to bring in the lion's share of federal education dollars under President Obama's "Race to the Top" program. As WAFB-TV's Keitha Nelson reports here, our state could net $25 million to $50 million per year for up to three years.

There is a catch, of course. As Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek tells the reporter, "aggressive steps" will be expected by the feds, and that could include a greater emphasis on charter schools. It could even mean reconstitution of schools, which Pastorek describes as firing the entire faculty and allowing them to reapply for their jobs.

With just a bit of understatement, Pastorek says, "Not every district is going to want to do this."

The New York Times has a succinct headline over reporter Sam Dillon's story describing Race to the Top: "Dangling Money, Obama Pushes Education Shift."

Dillon reinforces reports that Louisiana might get big bucks from Race to the Top, but also looks beneath the rock at the creepy crawlies that may come with the largess.

The article notes that members of the education community who supported Obama are disappointed, or at least puzzled, by his embrace of what they believe to be the worst aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act. "Much of the grumbling," he writes, " is from educators who say they supported Mr. Obama’s candidacy."
The administration’s stance has caught by surprise educators and officials who
had hoped that Mr. Obama’s calls during the campaign for an overhaul of the No
Child law would mean a reduced federal role and less reliance on standardized

Indeed, Race to the Top could wind up increasing reliance on high-stakes tests, and on judging teachers and principals by the results of those tests.

No comments: