Weekend reading: The 200-page Race to the Top application

The race is on for Race to the Top grants and Georgia is in the running.

The race is on for Race to the Top grants and Georgia is in the running.

Here is the link to the entire 200-page Race to the Top application.

I am just reading it. We all ought to read and discuss Monday. (What? Homework on weekends?)

Here is an excerpt that will interest teachers outside of core areas on the issue of performance pay:

Value-added score, which measures the effect of a teacher or a school on student learning. Value-added scores will be calculated on the basis of standardized tests currently available in Georgia (CRCTs in Reading, Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science and End-of-Course Tests in High School). This means that only teachers in tested subject areas (approximately 30% of teachers) will have value-added scores, a constraint that all VAMs have in common. Georgia does not plan to create new summative tests in non-core areas. Because such tests must be developed across multiple courses and subject areas, they are not cost-effective. Instead, Georgia plans to invest in the development, testing and evaluation of alternative quantitative measures to assess student engagement and student achievement – see (4) below. The quantitative value-added component will constitute at least 50% of the overall TEM for teachers in ―core‖ areas (tested subjects) and at least 50% of the overall LEM for all building leaders.

(3) Reduction of the student achievement gap at the classroom/student roster level (for teachers) and the school level (for principals). Georgia is defining the student achievement gap as the difference in achievement between any student subgroup (n ≥ 15) in a given teacher’s classroom (or overall roster of that teacher’s students) and the highest performing subgroup in the State (based on aggregated performance, by student subgroup, at the State level). For principals, student achievement will be aggregated, by subgroup, at the school level and the differences in achievement between the school’s subgroups and the highest performing subgroup will be used as a basis for determining size of gap reduction. GOSA will work closely with the TAC to identify a) the specific method for calculating the reduction and b) the level of gap reduction needed to be deemed significant.
(4) Other quantitative measures, to be developed, tested and evaluated by the State in collaboration with participating LEAs. Georgia anticipates that it will, at a minimum, contract with a provider to develop a number of teacher-focused surveys (e.g., student surveys starting in grade 4—based on research pointing to student surveys being reliable instruments starting at this grade level14; parent surveys in grades pre-K through 3; as well as peer surveys) and principal/school-focused surveys. GOSA and participating LEAs and a potential external provider will look at best practices of climate surveys targeted at students, staff and parents, with the goal of measuring a principal’s effectiveness in creating a favorable school environment and working conditions.

44 comments Add your comment


January 22nd, 2010
7:24 pm

This thing really has the potential to push the obstinate red states deep into the educational basement. Nothing could be worse than turning our prideful, pig noses up at this, but it’s exactly what we’ll do. Those states that sign on will end up making us look even worse than we do now – if that’s possible.

POh well, maybe the Fed will have mercy on us and create NSLB – No STATE Left Behind?


January 22nd, 2010
7:25 pm

” Reduction of the student achievement gap at the classroom/student roster level (for teachers) and the school level (for principals).”

Here we go again. Good luck with that.

IF, as the politically correct will argue, there is no difference in IQ, then this should be easy. Right? If we are all equal, then if the teachers teach each child in the same manner, they should learn at the same pace. Right?

But then how do you explain that the achievement gap has maintained fairly constant ever since they started tracking this stuff. Could it be the IQ tables that say blacks measure about 15 points below whites is correct?

Inquiring minds is a terrible thing to waste, and all that.


January 22nd, 2010
7:29 pm

What the ????


January 22nd, 2010
7:32 pm

WHAT ABOUT “CLASS KEYS”, the new state designed evaluation tool for teachers?!? The expense just for paper to justify instructional decisions will bankrupt the system. Do we want teacher to teach, or do we want them to spend hours writing things down, making copies as evidence, etc? ASK me why I do this or that, if you visit my classroom and are so inept, inexperienced, and unknowledgeable (as my “supervisor”) as to not immediately see why. But don’t waste any more of my time communing with the copier!


January 22nd, 2010
7:59 pm

catlady – when the fed stimulus disappears after next year, you’ll wish you had it so good.

I’ve always liked what you have to say. Go teach in Tenn – where they care. No use even trying to educate the sheep down here anymore.

sped teacher bibb

January 22nd, 2010
8:11 pm

From what I just read Ga is going to develope a test to evaluate THE TEST-CRCT- WHEN IN THE HE DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS are we going to learn that school is not all about that @#$%%#$ test?- We waste immeasurale time and money on a test that does nothing to prepare our students to succeed in the real world. If you can take one of my middle school students whose grade level reading score is 1.6 and get him or her to pass THE TEST, please contact me.

From what I understand this is a one time injection of money. What do we do when those funds are cut off? More layoffs,more cuts,even larger classrooms, more paperwork, and last but not least, fewer dedicated teachers.

Cliff notes

January 22nd, 2010
8:32 pm

You really don’t even need to read a Cliff Notes version to know this is a fraud.

Anything that claims to be a reform, that doesn’t address increasing the teacher’s authority to hold students accountable for behavior and academics is on it’s face a fraud.

Did these people really think that replacing one inane educational slogan with another was going to fool anybody?


January 22nd, 2010
9:10 pm

Cliff notes, “Did these people really think that replacing one inane educational slogan with another was going to fool anybody?”

Why not? It’s been working for years.


January 22nd, 2010
9:14 pm

Lee, do you really believe that certain groups are inferior (in terms of IQ) than another group? Do you also believe that certain groups are superior athletically than others?


January 22nd, 2010
9:38 pm


I believe there are differences between the races. Period. You’re the one who used the “superior” and “inferior” adjectives.

high school teacher

January 22nd, 2010
9:40 pm

So… how can the state move to a performance based pay-scale for all teachers if all teachers won’t have the opportunity to show student performance? Sounds like a ruse to lower all teacher salaries and then offer incentives to the core area teachers.


January 22nd, 2010
9:51 pm

I have read that many states are refusing to fall for this scheme by the Obama administration to take over schools. Even Florida of all places, the anus of education is refusing to go for it, and yet here we are ready to allow the government to dictate educational terms. will our state leaders ever learn?


January 22nd, 2010
10:53 pm

Well TN is doing the same thing….oh well And it means

yeah right

January 22nd, 2010
10:54 pm

Lee, sometimes what you are really thinking doesn’t have to be explicitly stated….

teaching is my passion

January 22nd, 2010
11:01 pm

So, I am taking more furlough days and our government continues to spend money on dead-end ideas. Come visit my classroom (or any teacher’s classroom) and see for yourself what is really wrong with education. Since our wonderful lawmakers are always trying to come up ways to help education, why don’t they try letting the teachers teach and quit treating us like we don’t know what we’re doing…..maybe, just maybe we are professionals and can actually do it! We’re always being told, “no money for this…no money in the budget for that, but there is always money for new “band-aids” for education. Give it a break and see what happens if they leave us alone and let us teach our students. Also, give us back some authority to deal with the disruptive students.


January 23rd, 2010
12:01 am

Lots of references to test scores but not much to actually improving teaching and learning. Page 107 scares the heck out of me because I see a lot of teachers fleeing high needs schools if their certification is tied to test scores. I wonder how bringing in non-educators to be principals is a good idea — and they only have to have a bachelor’s degree on top of that. Not knowing anything about education and coming in as an educational leader? That is indeed scary. The RT3 Rubric is looking for “high quality assessments.” Certainly, they’re not talking about CRCT, GHSGT, or EOCT. I also noticed a component for making education funding a priority. Does this governor seriously think he’d get those points? We already lost points too because part of the rubric requires the signature of the leader of the state teacher’s union or association. The governor already said he didn’t talk to either GAE or PAGE, so there go those points.

Sorry for the choppiness of this, I’m just so frustrated by the whole process right now my thoughts are all over the place.

Passion doesn't get it

January 23rd, 2010
6:22 am

Also, give us back some authority to deal with the disruptive students.

Teaching with a passion, have no not learned anything that Ms. Downey has tried to teach you since this blog began. You don’t need ANY authority to deal with the disruptive students. The ONLY reason you have a disruptive student is that you are an INEFFECTIVE teacher who doesn’t engage the students is learning.

The disruptive students actions don’t need to be addressed, yours do. Yes, even though they are HIS actions, yes even though the other students in the room are engaged in learning, the primary cause, the ONLY cause that should be addressed is your teaching.

Haven’t you learned anything from reading this blog?

You clearly need to defer to Ms. Downey’s expertise when it comes to disruptive students, and stop counting on your own actual experience, and those of your colleagues.


January 23rd, 2010
6:31 am

Lee- lest you forget that IQ is formulated from a eurocentric perspective- culture matters- you tend to forget that – it appears you do so on purpose furthermore.


January 23rd, 2010
7:33 am

Ok, let me type r-e-a-l s-l-o-w so y’all can understand.

I believe there are differences in IQ between the races. Decades of empirical and anecdoctal evidence bears this out. The IQ hierarchy is as follows: Asian / White / Hispanic / Black.

Decades of testing other measures also follow this same pattern – whether it is the SAT, ACT, NCLB, graduation tests, employment tests, etc, etc.

No one will argue that a Kentucky Thoroughbred is faster than a Clydesdale. It would be folly to race the two just as would be folly to expect the thoroughbred to pull as heavy a wagon as the clydesdale.

But yet, we put a child with an 85 IQ in the same classroom as the child with a 110 IQ and expect them to learn in the same manner and at the same pace. How’s that working out for you? Yeah, I thought so.

So, go ahead and call me names if you wish. It merely confirms that you have no other basis for debate and what I am saying is correct.


January 23rd, 2010
8:14 am

I am completely convinced that the only thing that will help the schools is when (IF) parents are inconvenienced and impacted by the budget cuts to the schools. For example, make the furlough days instructional days, cut bus service to pickup from central sites, cut out clubs and sports, dismiss unruly students from school–those sorts of things. At that point “solutions” will be found. And they won’t be the play money that is “stimulus”.


January 23rd, 2010
8:19 am

Ray, we have several teachers who commute from TN, so I think they are in deep also. What do you know about NC schools’ situation.

Passion doesn't get it

January 23rd, 2010
8:19 am

Hasn’t this blog taught you anything teaching is my passion?

If you have a disruptive student, it’s not HIS actions that should be held accountable, it’s YOUR teaching.

In the future, please refer to the blog moderator’s expertise in these matters, and not your experience. The blog moderator reads a lot of Blue Ribbon Panel reports, and thus is infinitely more qualified compared to your actual classroom experience.

Hey Lee

January 23rd, 2010
8:22 am

Is Asian one single race? What about Hispanic? Where would Native Americans fit in? Eskimos? What exactly is a “race”?


January 23rd, 2010
8:49 am

Please get out the plunger and unclog the spam filter (at about 8:15 this morning).


January 23rd, 2010
8:50 am

“Value-added scores will be calculated on the basis of standardized tests”

Interesting. Is the CRCT a standardized test? Can you track growth with a criterion referenced test when it is given at the end of every year? Statistically, administrators should not be tracking growth using the CRCT because each grade level has different criteria they are measuring with varying cut scores. Second grade criteria is easier to master than third and so forth. So how will the state track growth?

It sounds like more money allotted for testing- taking away money and time for classroom instruction.


January 23rd, 2010
8:59 am

Yea…TN is in deep. And the evelauation process is unbelievable. The pay and benefits are no where neaar as good. But in the situation I was in for a while the kids were much more well behaved.

Maureen Downey

January 23rd, 2010
9:08 am

catlady, You’re unclogged. Maureen

just wondering

January 23rd, 2010
9:36 am

@ Justbrowsing – I don’t mean this to race-bait but I’ve never understood the euro-centric defense for IQ scores. The (mostly Korean) kids just out of ESOL are able to achieve very high scores on the test while coming from poor families who speak little English. The black students in general are not even close to their scores and they seem like bright kids. 1/3 of the test is non-verbal and the gaps appear there too. I’ve wondered if we’re really testing skills like self-discipline and why this is valued so little in schools if it can be such a test-score booster. (Sounds like that Providence Effect movie focuses on this type of skill – haven’t seen it.)
As for the value-added question. I fear the govt. will use this info to cut programs whose value is difficult to measure, especially programs for gifted.
Some “research-based” (to use the daily buzzword) evidence shows that students who have hope of a future where they will have gainful employment, safe living conditions, etc. motivate students to succeed in school more than anything else. Isn’t that rather large and important part of the equation up to community leaders/politicians? Seems like they are further from doing their jobs than teachers. Oh, maybe that’s why they are looking so hard to blame someone else…

Veteran teacher, 2

January 23rd, 2010
10:41 am

Time for a new state government. Contact legislators. Campaign and vote in 2010!!

Yes, but

January 23rd, 2010
11:07 am

Veteran teacher, 2

Absolutely. Unfortunately, the current bozos are still in charge for this budget…


January 23rd, 2010
11:11 am

Questions: yeah, you are right. In addition, the second grade test (except the reading section) is read to the kids but in the 3rd grade, they are on their own! Then we get (fussed) out because not so many pass–aren’t we doing our jobs?! After all, their scores have gone down!

Here is another Catch 22: I teach ESOL students (at least in theory) via push-in. In reality, I am IN THE ROOM WITH ESOL students. Some I never get to work with. I am told exactly what to work on (all reading-related). I have been told I am evaluated on how the ESOL kids do on their ESOL test (end of the year test given in January-February–how’s that?) but I don’t get to work with many of the kids AND I DON’T GET TO FOCUS ON ANY OF THE SKILLS ON THE TEST EXCEPT FOR READING (There are 4 skill sets evaluated)!

Anyone know anything about the teaching situation in southwest NC??

To Lee Again

January 23rd, 2010
4:52 pm

I agree with Hey Lee. Broad divisions between ‘white’ or ‘Caucasian’ and ‘black’ or ‘Asian’, the groups generally discussed in the context of the IQ debate, especially in the United States, hide genetically important subpopulation differences within these groups. In practice, claims that there are differences in intelligence between blacks and whites, or men and women, have always been used to justify a social hierarchy in which white males continue to occupy the premier positions.


January 23rd, 2010
7:41 pm

Lee enjoys spewing his hate on this blog. This blog has become his platform to post (at every opportunity) his woefully ignorant IQ theory. He apparently feels so much better about himself when he claims that Blacks have the lowest IQ (funny how that ’s always the point regardless of the topic) even at the expense of Whites because he ranks Asians with a higher IQ. I also find it amusing that he distances himself from the words superior or inferior, although that is clearly what he implies, after all he is not a racist.
The truth is “race” is not a factor of a person’s IQ. It is virtually impossible to say that anyone is “purely” any one “race”, everyone has some other “race” in there heritage (after all peole have been on Earth for hundreds of years and have migrated across the world, thus, the races have a extremely high probability of being “mixed”). We can only “guess” our actual lineage. Furthermore, all human beings have decended from a African female, based on DNA research. How ironic! Do your research or Google it.
It is a fact. The real most influential factor is socio-economic status. (which a blogger has told you before). All children in poverty will score lower regardless of “race”. Standardized test scores, CRCT, SAT, etc does not test IQ. It does not even accurately measure college success, which is suppose to be it’s purpose (again, research it). But the truth does not support your racist ideas and the truth would prevent that wonderful feeling you get when discredit Blacks.


January 23rd, 2010
9:07 pm

Student motivation, home background and SES are much more important factors for student achievement than IQ. Among those, SES is the single-most important predictor of student performance. Some people have a very hard time understanding this. However, (and I hate to offer defense for his position but facts are facts) there are differences in performance between the races just as has been stated. These differences are still present when you account for poverty, too. That is, there is still a significant difference between poor white students and poor black students. The SAT used to publish this information but discontinued the practice many years ago. In the meantime, researchers like John Ogbu have documented the phenomenon.

IQ tests are not good tests to use to group students, though. As I stated at the beginning, there are other factors that are more important. Multiple factors should be used when selecting student groups for learning and students should NEVER be grouped permanently based on performance.

The CRCT is not designed to offer a value-added measure. It is a criterion referenced test and is only valid to give a rough estimate of a student’s performance on the expected curriculum for a specific grade level. Even then, the measure is sketch at best.

The pay for performance scheme is simply a smoke and mirrors tactic that pays lip service to the current leader in Washington who is touting the miraculous effects of merit pay. It is amazing that not a single piece of research can be produced that verifies a positive effect on teaching quality once merit pay is introduced. In fact, merit pay studies conducted throughout the world show quite an ugly picture. Negative effects on performance are reported just about every time. Why? because of human greed and selfishness.

Teamwork is vital to the success of businesses and the same is true for education. Once merit pay is introduced, it becomes more of an “every man for himself” approach where competition between workers brings down the overall quality of output. Is this what we really want for education?

So far, I have only read a few of the highlights of this document but it reads just like anything else from the Georgia governors office regarding education. I hope they had the windows open in the conference room when they were working on this. I’m certain they had their boots on.

To Lee Again

January 23rd, 2010
11:02 pm

Educator2< I applaud your post. Quite informative and research based. I often wondered why Lee continued to divide people by race. Perhaps if he would look into his own lineage, he would understand that divisions are virtually impossible. Below are some interesting facts that I would like to share with Lee:

1. Race is a modern idea. Ancient societies, like the Greeks, did not divide people according to physical distinctions, but according to religion, status, class, even language. The English language didn't even have the word 'race' until it turns up in 1508 in a poem by William Dunbar referring to a line of kings.

2. Race has no genetic basis. Not one characteristic, trait or even gene distinguishes all the members of one so-called race from all the members of another so-called race.

3. Human subspecies don't exist. Unlike many animals, modern humans simply haven't been around long enough or isolated enough to evolve into separate subspecies or races. Despite surface appearances, we are one of the most similar of all species.

4. Skin color really is only skin deep. Most traits are inherited independently from one another. The genes influencing skin color have nothing to do with the genes influencing hair form, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, athletic ability or forms of intelligence. Knowing someone's skin color doesn't necessarily tell you anything else about him or her.

5. Most variation is within, not between, "races." Of the small amount of total human variation, 85% exists within any local population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans or Cherokees. About 94% can be found within any continent. That means two random Koreans may be as genetically different as a Korean and an Italian.

6. Slavery predates race. Throughout much of human history, societies have enslaved others, often as a result of conquest or war, even debt, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural inferiority. Due to a unique set of historical circumstances, ours was the first slave system where all the slaves shared similar physical characteristics.

7. Race and freedom evolved together. The U.S. was founded on the radical new principle that "All men are created equal." But our early economy was based largely on slavery. How could this anomaly be rationalized? The new idea of race helped explain why some people could be denied the rights and freedoms that others took for granted.

8. Race justified social inequalities as natural. As the race idea evolved, white superiority became "common sense" in America. It justified not only slavery but also the extermination of Indians, exclusion of Asian immigrants, and the taking of Mexican lands by a nation that professed a belief in democracy. Racial practices were institutionalized within American government, laws, and society.

9. Race isn't biological, but racism is still real. Race is a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and social institutions have created advantages that disproportionately channel wealth, power, and resources to white people. This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.

10. Colorblindness will not end racism. Pretending race doesn't exist is not the same as creating equality. Race is more than stereotypes and individual prejudice. To combat racism, we need to identify and remedy social policies and institutional practices that advantage some groups at the expense of others

To Lee Again

January 23rd, 2010
11:10 pm

Lee, most human variation falls within, not between populations. About 85% of all genetic variation can, on average, be found within any local population, be they Swedes, Kikuyu, or Hmong. About 94% can be found within any continental population, consistent with what the Rosenberg Science study found. In fact, there are no characteristics, no traits, not even one gene that turns up in all members of one so-called race yet is absent from others.The factors that lead to differential outcomes between races live not in any “racial” genes but in our social institutions and practices. It’s easy to confuse the two.

teaching is my passion

January 24th, 2010
12:09 am

This craziness reminds me of the day that the in-school coordinator took my place for an hour (so I could attend a mandatory special-ed data collection meeting). At the time, I had 3 boys in my resource math class who were very disruptive, and they displayed their ’sweet’ behavior for her that day too. After being in my room for that one hour, she couldn’t believe how difficult they were and was amazed that I was able to put up with their behavior. She went to her office and ‘tweaked’ their schedules that day! That is why I challenge our government ‘Ensteins’ to visit a classroom to see for themselves. They are so out of touch!

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January 24th, 2010
11:00 am

To Lee Again, Thank you for your post. You are absolutely correct with each point. The word race is an invalid description of people, instead of using race the word should be ethnic/ethnicity. Ethnicity accurately describes people because it includes a shared culture, language, etc. Your post confirms that if people would actually research information without racism, bias or political agendas using research sources that refrain from doing the same, people would learn the truth.

To Tony, you are using standardized test as your basis in a difference of test scores, an example is your reference to SAT. These test do not measure IQ. Any teacher will tell you that standardized test do not accurately measure student achievement. (The student may be sleeping, distracted, or they may simply make mistakes while bubbling in on the scantron form but know the correct answer). Poor Whites and Poor Blacks have no significant differences in test scores, they are both lower than “average”. When
national data is researched the lowest scoring region is the Appalachian Mountains. Poverty affects all children regardless of their ethnicity. Poverty does not discrimate. Homebackground is a componnent of poverty. Student motivation is a variable that is too unpredictable to assess. Student motivation can be influenced by the SES, home, culture, school environment, teachers, and curriculums. Most teachers are completely oblivious to the fact that the curriculum has a large effect on student motivation. Virtually all the curriculums and teachers do not embrace culture. Most teachers do even know the definition of culture. I would argue that students (especially the students of color) are unmotivated because the school/teacher has not made a connection from their culture to the curriculum, in other words, school simply does not interest them. For example, the “classic” reading list for most schools contains, The Iliad or Shakespeare (which have there place) but are complete void of any African-American, Hispanic, etc. experiences or writers. Student can become motivated by meaningful connections, which requires teachers to come out of their comfort zone, discover “other” authors, infuse the curriculum with multicultural images, books and historical figures. Finally, many of the effects of poverty can be counterbalanced by an effective school, teacher and curriculum. Hooray for teachers!


January 24th, 2010
3:19 pm

Run, run as fast as we can from anything the feds want to control. Why are we selling our souls to the devil (federal government)? Why would we allow the federal government to dictate what we do in our state? Rise up Georgians and speak out.

but rosie...

January 24th, 2010
6:11 pm

are you saying our state government is any better? Are you suggesting Mr. Perdue or Ms. Cox would do much better if they didn’t have the Federal interferences? The best we can hope is to get the government out of education, but to do so will require the total privatization of education. Are we ready to go down that route?


January 25th, 2010
7:30 pm

Although both are federal programs, the major difference between NCLB and RTT is that with RTT a state may opt-in. Texas had decided to opt-in, but Governor Perry stated recently that TX was withdrawing its application. Therefore, mandatory inclusion in the program is not required.


January 28th, 2010
9:12 pm

Look up Roger HInes….he is going to run against Kathy Cox. He is against race to the top and NCLB. Choose carefully when you vote this year.

[...] to find a video by US Education Secretary Arne Duncan and see Georgia listed as a finalist. (This earlier blog has the state’s 200-page [...]