Gov. Sonny Perdue: Race to the Top is not federal intrusion. Georgia poised to win this time.

The governor’s office issued this celebratory statement today in response to Georgia being named a Race to the Top finalist:

Gov. Perdue is thrilled that Georgia is a finalist yet again for Race to the Top grants.

Gov. Perdue is thrilled that Georgia is a finalist yet again for Race to the Top grants.

Gov. Sonny Perdue today announced that Georgia has been selected as one of 19 finalists by the U.S. Department of Education for the second round of federal “Race to the Top” grants. Georgia stands to receive up to $400 million over four years to implement its plan if selected.

“While like the Oscars it is an honor to be nominated, we look forward to celebrating a win in this race,” said Gov. Perdue. “This grant is an opportunity to further align funding and state education policies with our desired outcome of improved student achievement.  Georgia has again demonstrated our credentials to win a Race to the Top winner and we are ready to begin implementing these reforms with our partnering school districts.”

The Race to the Top fund is a $4 billion grant opportunity provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to support new approaches to improve schools. The fund is available in the form of competitive grants to encourage and reward states that are creating conditions for education innovation and reform, specifically implementing ambitious plans in four education reform areas:

-Adopting common standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;

-Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;

-Recruiting, preparing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most;

-Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.

Only two states, Delaware and Tennessee, were awarded in Round 1 out of 40 states and the District of Columbia that submitted applications.  Georgia finished third in Round 1. Georgia received the highest score by a single judge of any state in the competition and was the only state to receive at least 80 percent of available points in each scoring section. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that phase two winners will be announced in late August or early September 2010.

“While some have called this federal intrusion into state education policy, the goals of Race to the Top are well aligned to the direction Georgia is moving,” Gov. Perdue added. “As the third place finisher in Phase One, I believe Georgia is in an incredibly strong position to win this phase of the competition. We look forward to the interview process where I am confident the review team will find that Georgia has a clear and compelling plan for improving student achievement.”

Georgia’s application was prepared through strong partnership between the Governor’s Office, the Georgia Department of Education, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, and education stakeholders. More than 20,000 educators responded to a survey on a variety of topics which shaped the proposals in Georgia’s application. Four working groups and a fifth critical feedback team consisting of teachers, principals, superintendents, higher education faculty, non-profit and informal education organizations, state policy makers, and members of the business and philanthropic communities also worked on aspects of the proposal.

Recommendations focus on strengthening traditional and alternative preparation programs for teachers and leaders, supporting teachers more effectively in the classroom, evaluating teachers and leaders with consistent and objective criteria that inform instruction, and rewarding great teachers and leaders with performance-based monetary bonuses.

Georgia has already achieved a major part of the application. The State Board of Education has approved the Common Core State Standards, a curriculum developed by the states that is internationally-benchmarked to ensure our students are graduating with the ability to compete within a globally-connected economy.  Governor Perdue co-chaired the state-led initiative for common-core state standards through the National Governors Association.

“I am pleased that Georgia has been named a finalist again for Race to the Top funding,” said State Superintendent of Schools Brad Bryant. “Our selection validates the great work Georgia has been engaged in for many years. These funds will enable us to continue implementing the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, providing more focused school improvement strategies and developing a Longitudinal Data System to ensure that our students will be globally competitive.”

Twenty-six local school districts have signed on to partner with the state in implementing Georgia’s Race to the Top plan. These districts, which make up more than 41 percent of public school students in Georgia, include: Atlanta, Ben Hill, Bibb, Burke, Carrollton, Chatham, Cherokee, Clayton, Dade, DeKalb, Dougherty, Gainesville, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Jones, Meriwether, Muscogee, Peach, Pulaski, Rabun, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Valdosta and White.

The participating districts include 46 percent of Georgia’s students in poverty, 53 percent of Georgia’s African American students, 48 percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of the state’s lowest achieving schools. As part of its Phase II application Georgia added Dade, Peach and Pulaski to the 23 districts that applied in the first round.  The three new districts were chosen to align federal School Improvement Grants with Race to the Top.

The state will work closely with these systems to implement the ideas contained in the application. Fifty percent of the funds awarded to Georgia will be distributed to the local partners to meaningfully enact the Race to the Top reforms. The state will study the effectiveness of these practices to identify and scale up those that prove to be effective.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation selected 15 states, including Georgia, to benefit from technical assistance for RT3 application development. The states were selected based on how well poised they are to win Race to the Top based on progress in education policy and reform. Georgia partnered with The Parthenon Group, a consulting firm based in Boston, which specializes in part in education reform.

Georgia’s application, along with all the states that applied in Round 2, can be found here.

71 comments Add your comment

Proud Black Man

July 27th, 2010
2:02 pm

Someone tell this clown to go fish!

Teacher/Learner

July 27th, 2010
2:06 pm

One of the parts of Georgia’s participation in this process is how “student achievement” will be defined through assessments. Will students be required to show evidence of being able to read an article and construct main ideas or will they simply be required to read passages on a test and choose the best answer…big chasm of “achievement” exists between those two ideas.

It is what it is….we go back to the real world of teaching and learning tomorrow. Onwards….

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

irisheyes

July 27th, 2010
2:34 pm

Good Lord, AGAIN with the 20,000 teachers who responded to the survey. I thought we debunked the myth of “teachers want their pay tied to student test scores” during the last round.

Attentive Parent

July 27th, 2010
2:53 pm

So much empty rhetoric.

Anyone else learn the phrase ’saying it doesn’t make it so” when they were a kid?

catlady

July 27th, 2010
2:53 pm

“And, on the six o’clock news tonight….’The governor’s office issued this celebratory statement today in response to Georgia being named a Race to the Top finalist: Nah nah nah nah boo boo! Pbfffttt!’
The Race to the Top fund is a $4 billion…sinkhole meant to reward states who are willing to play along with what Bill Gates thinks will fix education.”

” These funds will enable us to continue implementing the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. They used to be called the Georgia Performance Standards, but it sounds more hip and we show our buy-in by linking that with ‘Common Core,’”said Brad Bryant, who couldn’t rustle up a few measly tens of thousands of signatures to get on the ballot in November.

Dear God! There is so much so wrong about this perfidy.

Angela

July 27th, 2010
2:53 pm

I cannot believe that EDUCATION is now reduced to a Federal Lotto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Based upon I like or dislike what you have to say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obama you need to rethink your choice for Education Leader and perhaps redefine your thoughts that include FACTS about teachers, schools, parents, students, etc. You in the White House seem not to recognize that we don’t all have the luxuries that all of your children have and will continue to have.

As, for you Sonny suck a lemon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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You Asked

July 27th, 2010
3:02 pm

Why do teachers fear being graded? Everyone else who has a job or is in school has to be rated and graded at some point against a standard. Those standards aren’t always fair and their situations are often unique but that does not excuse them.

I don’t get the fear and loathing over apples to apples standards. Of course they aren’t a panacea but you have to start somewhere to get actionable measures. How else will you improve?

The $400 million is icing on the cake.

schlmarm

July 27th, 2010
3:04 pm

Sonny is some hypocrite.

Attentive Parent

July 27th, 2010
3:04 pm

For those of us who think this chase for the federal money has led to many two-faced statements, don’t miss this story:

http://jaypgreene.com/2010/07/26/checker-finn-comes-out-against-national-standards-and-assessments/

And you are thinking you heard Fordham was for it? Ah but that was after they were against it for many of the same reasons that concern us now.

Right now if you actually want someone to teach math with examples and practice, you can move, for example, from Atlanta to Fulton or leave Georgia altogether.

In 5 years with Sonny’s national vision, we may have to emigrate with our families.

“internationally benchmarked” indeed. Not to Singapore, Japan, or Korea but to UNESCO.

You Asked

July 27th, 2010
3:09 pm

Student achievement is certainly tied to teacher performance.

phd1

July 27th, 2010
3:09 pm

Remember this win fall of cash doesn’t really exist. It will expand the deficit. Tom Graves the Congressman from the 9th district has already spoken out against it and has co-sponsored a bill to order the re-payment of all unspent stimulus funds.

You Asked

July 27th, 2010
3:10 pm

The filter must not like words like accountablility and performance.

Attentive Parent

July 27th, 2010
3:13 pm

I hope Maureen got that IPhone and took it with her on vacation. That filter certainly interrupts the flow.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Angela

July 27th, 2010
3:54 pm

@You Asked

July 27th, 2010
3:09 pm
Student achievement is certainly tied to teacher performance.

*******************************************************************************************************************

Student achievement is starts at home (PARENTS) not at school or with any teacher. 99% of us try very hard to do our jobs and do them well however, if education is not valued at home there is NOT a whole lot a teacher or anyone else can do. Sure, there will be that one but not the majority. It is always that don’t have all of the facts that make SWEET comments such as yours.

Perhaps you should visit a school were little Johnny or Bessie did not have any food before he/she went to bed last night and heard mom or/and dad fighting and did not get any sleep or even better mom did not come home last night. Then little Johnny or Bessie come to school MAD (I don’t mean angry) with the world and makes the class pay for what happened the night before. So, you then tell me what does the teacher have to do with student acheivement.

This is a much larger reality that you can even rap your sweet little comments and head around.

But, Thanks for your brain child! – YOU ASKED!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Ros Dalton

July 27th, 2010
4:00 pm

@Attentive Parent, every politician needs to hear those words (Saying doesn’t make it so) every day of their lives.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Sam

July 27th, 2010
4:19 pm

Wouldn’t this fall under “keep big government out of our lives” republican rhetoric? I am so ready for this liar to get out of our government. Why doesn’t he just pray for money for education? You know, like he did with the drought.

Maureen Downey

July 27th, 2010
4:20 pm

@You Asked, It doesn’t like RTTT for certain. It keeps blocking those posts.
Maureen

irisheyes

July 27th, 2010
4:27 pm

@You Asked, student achievement is tied to student performance. It’s also tied to parental support, the level of education in the home, the poverty level of the home, whether there is abuse or not in the home, whether children were read to or not, shall I go on? Yet, somehow, the powers that be think that there is a one to one correlation between student achievement and teacher performance. Sorry, just not true.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Sunraynews | Top US news

July 27th, 2010
4:35 pm

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

New Blood Needed

July 27th, 2010
4:56 pm

HS Teacher

July 27th, 2010
5:19 pm

My main concern is….. how much will this tie our hands in GA going forward with a new Gov and DOE person (I hope for anyone that isn’t a republican)?

HS Teacher

July 27th, 2010
5:21 pm

@Sam – Haven’t you figured it out by now? Repubilcans only CLAIM to want big government out of our lives – yet they continue to push even more than Democrats. Republicans only CLAIM to want lower taxes – yet they only push to lower taxes on corporations and the most wealthy while ignoring the middle class.

Get a clue! Vote for anyone but a republican!

Attentive Parent

July 27th, 2010
5:32 pm

HST-

The timing of RTT and the application and announcement dates were all expressly designed so that lame duck governors could bind the next admin, the next state school officer, and even changes in local school boards.

If you vote out every member of the school board of a participating district, they remain a participating district.

Also let’s all remember it’s a 4 year payout with 50% going to participating districts each year.

Max the state gets in any given year is $50 million.

The 23 districts split up the other $50 annually with Gwinnett getting the most. Anyone know what GCSS’s annual budget is?

How much will $6 or $7 million help there? How much will implementation cost?

It’s not absurd for school districts or candidates to be weighing risk vs rewards in analyzing RT3.

In fact such analysis should be the norm.

Teacher Reader

July 27th, 2010
5:32 pm

Until the government gets out of the education system, the majority of our children will receive an inferior education. Our public schools are not producing students who can compete with the citizens of developing countries, as these people have a strong desire to make it and take care of themselves. The American people want our government to take care of them more and more. I for one do not want the government in my child’s education and I do not want my child taught to a test that is meaningless and pointless anywhere else, so that a teacher can earn a bonus.

For those that say it’s a democrat/republican issue-it’s not. Both parties are at fault. I truly believe that those in power, want to keep the public uneducated and down, so that they can build the government up. Few of those making decisions for our children send their children to public school, and that should give everyone a loud and clear message.

SSTeacher

July 27th, 2010
5:42 pm

This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. They are both in bed with Gates, who refuses to use data to inform his diatribe. His earlier plans failed. Read the article linked below.

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/open-letter-to-bill-gates-about-education-from-a-public-schools-parent/

Gates is out to make his next billions on public education. How? Well with a national test, and testing companies competing for federal grant moneys too, a big push is to computerize the tests (upgrading from bubble sheets). Here’s a paragraph from the article linked below:

“In one key difference between the two proposals, the SMARTER Balanced group plans to employ computer-adaptive technology in some of its measures rather than a traditional fixed-form test. A number of states have experimented with adaptive-test technology, but only Oregon now uses it to meet the NCLB law’s annual testing requirements.”

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/06/23/36assessment.h29.html?tkn=PVPFjRXbVqeo2BSmw1NUtmgXaNMr2ut50v%2FI&cmp=clp-edweek

Hmmm, I wonder who could have the adaptive software to create these tests?

GA Teacher

July 27th, 2010
5:45 pm

What 23 districts are in the rttt application?

Maureen Downey

July 27th, 2010
5:46 pm

@GA Teacher, There are 26 and they are listed right here in Perdue’s statement.
Maureen

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Proud/Concerned Educator

July 27th, 2010
6:11 pm

I’m sad to think that Sonny Perdue will have, yet, another opportunity to head to Washington and make people think that all Georgia citizens are buffoons. If you don’t believe me, go watch the last Race to the Top presentation that is posted on YouTube. Kathy Cox is the only one who could speak to any issues and she, has since, resigned her post and moved out of state. As much as the RTTT money is needed, I hope and pray that the Feds DO NOT award Georgia with money to waste…let’s wait for new leadership!

teachertoo

July 27th, 2010
6:25 pm

just give me a couple of computers that work please, that is all I need, really. I am afraid the money will pay for more administrators, more paperwork, more crapola. I just want a couple of working computers in my class. I have the rest covered,

Angela

July 27th, 2010
6:35 pm

@teachertoo,

LOL! I can agree however, I still want my money back. I won’t even ask for a raise, just what my pay was for my credentials and step. Good Luck, on the computers. If they are coming from DELL I am not sure they will last for long as student computers. We got all new computers in our lab and library and now only a hand full work. Did, the students cause the problem – perhaps – but…………. That might be why we need a full time teacher in our lab.

justbrowsing

July 27th, 2010
6:36 pm

Well what happens when students outright refuse to work and do poorly and it correlates with their work habits in the class? Does RTTT account for any of these human factors- or is it test scores only? Where in the h*** are the checks and balances in this policy? @You asked- you can be fired in private industry and replaced for not completing a task which in most cases you are fully equipped to handle. Humans are anything but predictable, and holding one accountable for well over 100 human actions on a test is absurd. thinking.

Really amazed

July 27th, 2010
7:13 pm

Well, I wonder if Obama is now willing to send his children to a local public school. I mean, since the new common core curc. and race to the top is such a great thing!!!!!!!!!! I doubt it. I also believe he wouldn’t even if he weren’t the pres. his children went to private even before he was president of our great nation! So, even he doesn’t drink his own kool-aid people!

Wounded Warrior

July 27th, 2010
7:52 pm

Sounds likw Sonny had too much cuban cigars in Cuba. He must also think that he can catch a salt water fish in his $23 million FRESH water pond.

Wounded Warrior

July 27th, 2010
7:53 pm

sorry…should be like.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Lynn43

July 27th, 2010
9:48 pm

If Georgia gets any of this money, it will NOT directly go to help students. Ways will be found to hire people like Beverly Hall to supervise WHATEVER. Jobs will be invented to hire friends and relatives, but teachers will be expected to produce results (higher test scores) without additional help in order to hide the fact that students are not benefiting from the funds.

Ray

July 27th, 2010
10:22 pm

Real leadership wouldn’t have to go graveling to Washington for help.

GoodforKids

July 27th, 2010
10:33 pm

@ Teacher Too and Angela,
Made me laugh too. The amount of money spent on such ridiculous bloat at the top is lots. Yet, elementary teachers (can’t speak for middle and high) SERIOUSLY need more computers in their classrooms AND a full time person to work the lab. I wonder how many schools have that? I know my kids don’t. I am sure some principals have managed it with flexible funds in the past but now…

Attentive Parent

July 27th, 2010
10:38 pm

Just read this as an example of how little this money will actually help school districts even if it were free to put in place.

“Second, when districts are looking at their balance sheets, the buzz is really over peanuts. Take Cincinnati and Dayton Schools, for example. Cincinnati stands to win $12.9 million (over four years) from Race to the Top, which is less than one percent (0.7%) of district spending over that same time period. Dayton Public Schools stands to win $6.4 million (over four years), less than one percent (0.8%) of district spending over the four years.”

From todays Flypaper.

Why can’t more politicians do the math?

HStchr

July 27th, 2010
11:05 pm

Attentive: I said after round one that GA would go after this, no matter how little it. The total payout won’t be enough to help any district much, but in these lean times they’d stand on their heads and dance if it made money. My only concern is how we’re going to set up evaluations for teachers with a non-existent student information system in the state. It is going to be, as my granny would call it, “a hot mess!”

Concerned 1

July 28th, 2010
7:54 am

I wish that they would just put us teachers on a television reality show where you can dial up and give feedback and ratings. Then everyone can have their input. Bill Gates’ program destroyed my school. The money was used for Consultants from other states. Our once thriving school is on the verge of shutting down. One size does not fit all. Race on Georgia. Glad to be retiring.

Just A Teacher

July 28th, 2010
8:00 am

Am I reading this right? 26 districts stand to get some money from the federal government. That’s good, but what about the rest of the state?

Mikey D

July 28th, 2010
9:09 am

sonny continues to stubbornly press forward with this disaster. I guess he figures he’ll be gone before the mess of all of this really hits the fan, so it’s no skin off his back. Just fits right in with his educational “leadership” over the past 8 years. Thanks for nothing, sonny.