Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Race to the top: Consultant employment project ?

On Wed. Dec.2,2009, the California Assembly held  a hearing on Race to the Top, chaired by Julia Brownley, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.
In her testimony,  Jennifer Kuhn of the Legislative Analyst Office testified that

Because California has a severe budget crisis in k-12 education, we recommend that th RTTP funds  be used to
develop plans and strategies for RTTT.  We should not commit funds for  direct service efforts that the state can not sustain.

(Not quite a quote.  I encourage readers to look for the video on line on the California Channel. It was as I could catch it.)

In other words, the LAO  encourages   funding advisors and consultants to talk about what should be done. She argued that money  should not be allocated to program that serve children. Rather, it will be used to plan and build strategies.

This seems like a make work projects for consultants, advisors and charlatans.   One of the consistent problems of schools in the U.S. and California is that too much money is taken from the school budgets to fund other things, such as consultants , program designers and hucksters.  Consultants and some academics spend their time and public resources convincing each other of how important they are- not in using the resources to improve educational opportunities.

 The new regulations in RTT Top require that the local unions are required to sign off on their participation.  I argue that unions should not sign off unless the majority of the money go into the classroom not to consultants and planners.

Based upon the requirements of RTTT, it  is not about teaching, it is about building infrastructure and implementing policies that in theory will help teaching and learning.  We have been here before. This is “drive by school reform.”

Realistically school improvement in California has stopped given the budget crisis and the cut of $6.1 billion from school budgets.  Competing for $700 million will not change that. Meanwhile the legislature and the administration pretend that they are doing something by giving speeches about what teachers should do - but not funding the changes.

See the excellent responses to Race to The Top by Monty Neill of Fair Test.
He says it well here.
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