Tuesday, December 15, 2009

California and Race to the Top

Note: The Romero bill is to implement Race to the Top. SB X5-1.  See post below.

California Council on Teacher Education
CCTE’s disappointment ( with NCLB)  has now been further heightened as the initial educational policies
of the Obama Presidency, in the form of the Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative, are leaning
ever more in directions counter to effective and constructive educational policy. RTTT
increases reliance on high stakes testing, moves to unfairly and invalidly tie such test
results to evaluation of teachers and schools, builds even further a policy structure that
rewards those who are already doing well with no attention to those schools and students
in the greatest need, and offers yet further incentives to privatize educational activities.
The primary rhetoric of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, referring to RTTT as a
“competition,” clearly reinforces the focus on rewarding those states that can show already
strong programs while ignoring those in the greatest need.
More specifically, the concerns of CCTE about RTTT stem from the fact that student
achievement, currently measured in California through the California Standards Test and
the California Achievement Test, is on its own an insufficient measure of any teacher’s
abilities, skills, or knowledge because of multiple variables among students in California
classrooms. The RTTT requirement that at least 95% of students be tested would result
in a range of scores including English learners and children with disabilities, further
confounded by the widely varying school demographics across the state. Graduates from
any single university find employment in many different schools and school districts
representing communities with widely differing resources. A teacher employed in South
Los Angeles, whose students are primarily Latino, low-SES, and English learners, will
experience very different student test outcomes than a teacher employed in nearby Pacific
Palisades, where students are mostly White, middle to upper class, and native English
speakers. To quantify the success of these teachers using their students’ test scores is statistically unfounded, personally unfair, and educationally unwise. To then seek to link that data back to the institution where the teachers were prepared is a further illogical step.

Read the full report at : http://www.ccte.org/policy_resources/Statement_on_RTTT.pdf
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