How will Race to the Top benefit all Georgia districts, not just the 26 that signed onto the application?

I asked Erin Hames, who last week left her job as the governor’s policy director to join the state Department of Education, to outline how Race to the Top will help the entire state.  Hames played a lead role in winning the grant for the state.

(Half the $400 million goes to the 26 partner school districts, and the rest goes to statewide efforts.)

Here is her response to what those efforts will be:

Basically, everything within the Standards and Assessments and Data Systems sections of the application will benefit every district in the state and many of the reforms included in the Great Teachers and Leaders section.

Georgia’s proposed Race to the Top work includes many reforms that are not limited to partnering LEAs but instead are lasting reforms that will have statewide impact during and beyond the scope of the grant, including but not limited to:

–Effectiveness measures, including value added measures for all teachers, principals, schools districts and teacher/leader preparation programs.

–Teacher induction certificate (Georgia will revise certification rules to create a 3-year non-renewable certificate for those who have completed an initial preparation program or who have been accepted into a GATAPP program–one of our alternative certification programs; if the educator does not reach a threshold Teacher Effectiveness Measure (TEM) by the end of his or her third year, the educator will not be able to advance to a career teacher certificate).

–Alternative leadership pathways.

–Common Core Standards and assessments resources (instructional frameworks, benchmark assessments, formative assessment toolkit, common core standards training for teachers at every school).

–Instructional improvement reports and dashboards for all teachers.

–Proficiency-based pathways to course credit.

–Using science as a second indicator for AYP.

–We will also identify and disseminate best Race to the Top practices to all districts through:

–Annual Race to the Top summits.

–Summer Leadership Academies organized by the Georgia Department of Education for district and school leaders.

–Online publication of Race to the Top annual reports and case studies related to specific Race to the Top reforms.

46 comments Add your comment

Dr. John Trotter

August 30th, 2010
1:27 am

More gobbledeegook. Educational gobbledeegook. After five years, we will look back and see that this gobbledeegook just hurt public education even more in Georgia. You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions. Just a fact, Jack.

d

August 30th, 2010
5:11 am

So I wonder now that the research is showing that VAM isn’t a good thing and the fact that AYP is likely going the way of the dodo if Congress ever gets off their behinds and fixes ESEA – how will this affect our efforts.

stevie

August 30th, 2010
5:36 am

I wonder if the data system will allow us to look at the colleges/universities that teachers receive their degrees from. I think some colleges/universities do better job than others.

d

August 30th, 2010
5:39 am

Oh – Alternative Leadership Pathway = Sure you have a bachelor’s degree and you have management experience, come on you can be a principal….. I’m sorry, managing in the private sector does not prepare you to be a principal. Education is a whole different beast.

d

August 30th, 2010
5:42 am

“For a variety of reasons, analyses of VAM results have led researchers to doubt whether the methodology can accurately identify more and less effective teachers. VAM estimates have proven to be unstable across statistical models, years, and classes that teachers teach.”

ScienceTeacher671

August 30th, 2010
6:04 am

d, I wondered the same thing about VAM, especially given the study Maureen posted yesterday.

Maureen, have you asked a follow-up question about that?

In reading the rest of the list, I’m fairly sure there will be statewide impact; I’m less convinced that there will statewide benefits.

Teacher/Learner

August 30th, 2010
6:20 am

@Maureen, Please ask Erin Hames to read and respond to the EPI report…perhaps if you do this via the AJC, she will have to publicly adknowledge VAM will be challenged by teachers AND solid research. Maybe.

Cindy Lutenbacher

August 30th, 2010
6:41 am

I’m convinced that RttT will be devastating for Georgia’s students, teachers, and schools. I look at the list Maureen just posted and see nothing that has been shown to be anything beneficial to our kids. Nothing. The only ones who profit are the corporations and monumentally wealthy people who are connected to Common Core, standardized testing, and other malevolent creatures. We fool ourselves if we think that “winning” the 400 million will mean anything but loss of tax dollars for our state coffers and massive torment for our children.

Fericita

August 30th, 2010
6:49 am

One thing will definitely be good – using science as another AYP indicator. Sadly, that is the only way to guarantee that something gets taught. Right now, a lot of elementary teachers are told to “integrate” science into our reading block and it’s a struggle to cover all of the standards. Our adminstrators want the “extra” time spent on teaching math for 2 hours. Maybe now we’ll actually get to teach science! We have great resources already. ScienceTeacher671, this will be good for you! Imagine if your kids came in with background knowledge!

catlady

August 30th, 2010
7:10 am

Yada yada yada. Most of these things are either 1) things we are already working on, or 2)things we have already done that have serious flaws, 3) things that are not backed up by REPUTABLE, UNBIASED research, or 4) a goldmine for “consultants.”

Not at all impressed.

However, Ms.Hames, with her vast 3 years of teaching experience AND her law degree, can use the jargon like a pro!

How about the followup, Ms. Downey? Are you going to let her get by with this claptrap?

catlady

August 30th, 2010
7:12 am

Lost post at 7:08.

Further comment: As one of the systems that did not sign on, let me speak for us and say, “No, thank you, sir. Ya’ll don’t need to “help” us.”

Awful, Awful, Awful

August 30th, 2010
7:31 am

Maureen, I’m afraid you have this idealistic view of things going on around you. None of that money will ever reach the school children of Georgia, or very little of it will. All the Money starts at the top of the Pyramid and by the time it gets to the base, all the top dogs (and I do mean dogs) will have gotten their share and spread it around to their friends or relatives businesses and then “Poof” it all gone…….a pencil here, a ruled notebook there, maybe even a book thrown in; but there will be no improvement in the instruction where all the money should go.

oldtimer

August 30th, 2010
7:41 am

blah blah blah

LLL

August 30th, 2010
7:41 am

@ d,

Although it might be true that managing in the private sector will not prepare anyone to be a principal completely, too many of our current principals do not have the management experiences, either. A school principal has to play (at least) two major roles: instructional leader, and CEO of the school building. Right now, neither of these aspects is addressed sufficiently – if you have only a few years of teaching, and there is no guarantee that you are even a mediocre teacher, how can a principla be an instructional leader? How can a classroom teacher obtain sufficient experiences to be a manager – not of children but adults with egos and different visions of schooling? I’m not so sure why a principal with a strong private sector experiences who is aware of his/her weaknesses as an instructional leader won’t be any better than many of the current principals.

LLL

August 30th, 2010
7:45 am

@ CL,

I don’t think any policy move by the government (Federal or State) will ever be “devastating.” In a way, that is a part of the problems we face in education – schooling is such a huge endeavor, it’s VERY difficult to change it – as a system.

I also agree with Stevie that we need to address teacher education programs somehow.

catlady

August 30th, 2010
8:06 am

Like some Jewish folk have said (in jest): If we are God’s chosen people, then I wish He’d choose someone else! That applies here.

Dr. John Trotter

August 30th, 2010
8:09 am

Folks: I won’t even waste my time giving an detailed response to more educational gobbledeegook. All of this educational gobbledegook is coming from educrats who could not survive one weeking attempting to teach at a place like Atlanta’s Sylvan Middle School if they went in as an unknown new teacher. Maureen, I like you, but I doubt very seriously if you, Ms. Tucker, Mr. Bookman, or Ms. Wallace could survive either. It is a Vietnam experience. Only after experiencing the utter chaos can you appreciate how utterly studid this educational gobbledeegook is.

Dr. John Trotter

August 30th, 2010
8:09 am

Catlady: Well said.

Freedom Education

August 30th, 2010
10:12 am

If you look at the list of things that will be implemented, they are all non-teaching positions. GA will have to hire people to push the paperwork and implement the programs. It creates high paying jobs that don’t help teaching. It will give teachers more paperwork, meetings, professional development, and hoops to jump into.

Teach2Learn

August 30th, 2010
10:25 am

Teacher Induction Certificate for 3 years … This program MUST come with genuine support and guidance that seeks to nurture those with a “natural” teaching ability through the maze of non-teaching responsibilities. I liken this to paid internships in other fields and see great value in a well-designed program post-undergrad completion. Anything designed with a negative “weed them out” attitude and/or fearful environment will not be beneficial to the longevity of education and all impacted.

Only The Strong Survive

August 30th, 2010
10:25 am

@ Dr. John Trotter

Well said. I worked as a substitute teacher in a downtown APS school during Christmas and spring breaks, in order to earn extra money for college (many years ago). I was in an elementary school in the middle of the projects, and it was a “Vietnam” experience. I worked as a manager for a Fortune 100 Company after college. Teaching is one of the toughest professions there is. It was the hardest job that I have ever had. You must have specialized training in order to be a successful teacher or principal. In order for a principal to be effective, he or she needs to know what it is actually like to be a teacher. It is
indescribable as to what teachers face in the classroom on a consistent basis. Teachers are grossly underpaid and under appreciated. Business professionals would not last a week as an educator, in my opinion.

What's best for kids?

August 30th, 2010
11:09 am

Total waste of 400 million.

catlady

August 30th, 2010
12:07 pm

Great with me to have business professionals be principals AFTER they have 15 years in the classroom!

LLL

August 30th, 2010
12:31 pm

@ catlady,

Given it is impractical to expect a principal who is a good teacher (not just teaching for X years) AND a good manager (not just managing in a private sector for X years), maybe we should consider seriously about splitting the roles of a principal into 2 separate positions. We need a instructional leader to lead the teaching faculty, and we need a business manager who can oversee the financial aspect of running a school. I would say that the business manager is under the instructional leader, but give the principals the opportunity to focus more on the first role.

Been there done that...for 33 years

August 30th, 2010
12:39 pm

@LLL, If you have a good principal and assistant principal team, that is what usually happens. Generally the principal handles the “business” aspect of the job, while the assistant principal handles discipline and teacher “training”.

LLL

August 30th, 2010
12:49 pm

@ Been there,

But the way to the principalship is through AP, isn’t it? Teaching or AP experiences don’t necessarily help you become a better financial manager. It might be helpful to keep those tracks separated with different set of requirements.

I also think the person in charge of “business” aspect should come under the instructional leader since privinding quality instruction is the primary mission of schools – not making profits.

catlady

August 30th, 2010
1:40 pm

We have PLENTY of people in the CO to do the financial caretaking! When I started–1973–our system had 3000 students and 1 person as a bookkeeper. Now we have 4200 students and NINE people to do the financial legwork. (Yes, I know more is required vis a vis the government’s tracking of money).

Janice

August 30th, 2010
2:33 pm

How and why are these teachers posting on blogs during the school day? Shouldn’t they be TEACHING?

Frank

August 30th, 2010
3:33 pm

d-

you are wrong.

Managers from the private sector would do a far better more efficient job of managing our assets (children and money) than ineffective teachers who have fled the classroom and are only in administration because they have the time and money to earn a degree. As someone who has spend time in both sectors, the state needs to reform educational leadership immediately.

The old adage of “Bad administrators never die, they just go to Central Office” needs to be replaced with: Manage the assets of the school or you need to go back to being a teacher.

Mikey D

August 30th, 2010
6:09 pm

@Maureen-
Do you plan on asking Erin Hames to state the administration’s position on the value-added model now that the research has come in? If so, will you please post her response. I’m curious how they will handle the ideology when the research doesn’t back it up. Especially since everything we do in education now is supposed to be “research-based”.
Thanks in advance.

catlady

August 30th, 2010
7:50 pm

Mikey D: You ready to watch some great tap-dancing/obfustication and much much more yada yada yada?

SSTeacher

August 30th, 2010
8:33 pm

There will not be statewide “benefits,” there will be statewide restrictions and regulations. When people have to use words that can be interpreted many different ways, it is nothing more than political wrangling meant to intentionally keep people in the dark, by using words that sound like improvements. Pure BS (and I don’t mean the degree).

Ask this question of each bullet item: What do you mean by that precisely? The answer should be taped and sent to Lie To Me for evaluation.

The phrases used are intentionally muddy so they do not have to speak the truth in what they are about to do to education.

Bruce Kendall

August 30th, 2010
8:34 pm

The last thing education needs, at all levels and spectrums is Managers.

Managers are not successful as Principals.

The process requires Leadership levels we are not ready to commit too.

Leadership has to start in the classroom, and permeate all the way through the system. Any school or system that can meet the leadership challenge will become a rising star.

Anyone who thinks management or managers has already failed.

8th grade teacher

August 30th, 2010
8:44 pm

Things that worry me:

–Effectiveness measures, including value added measures for all teachers, principals, schools districts and teacher/leader preparation programs ***(especially after the report released this weekend!!! I do like that principals are included as well as prep programs though)***

–Teacher induction certificate ***(as another said, this means we need to provide EXCELLENT support to our new teachers – something more than handing them the infamous Harry Wong book and wishing them the best of luck. This would scare me to death if I were a college student seriously considering teaching as a career – I probably wouldn’t do it, and I would council anyone else to rethink the career choice as well)***

Things I think could be good if implemented right:

–Alternative leadership pathways. ***(I actually like this one, to a degree – I have a problem w/the diploma mill leadership degrees running the show – I would think that dept heads would have a greater role as mentors and instructional leaders – it could provide a well-needed restructuring of school organization)***

Things I think are goobley-gook edubabble:

–Common Core Standards and assessments resources
–Instructional improvement reports and dashboards for all teachers.
–We will also identify and disseminate best Race to the Top practices to all districts through:
–Annual Race to the Top summits.
–Summer Leadership Academies organized by the Georgia Department of Education for district and school leaders.
–Online publication of Race to the Top annual reports and case studies related to specific Race to the Top reforms.

Things I like:

–Proficiency-based pathways to course credit.***(Let the kids progress at a faster pace if they are up to it!! Test out and work at the next level – I love it).***

–Using science as a second indicator for AYP. **(I’m a science teacher – enough said – plus it’s WAY better than to use something we can’t control, attendance).***

I was not really a fan of this from the beginning, and I was happy that my county chose not to participate. I think education suffers way to much from “cure du jour” syndrome, and I’m not sure that this isn’t more of the same. I’m also sure that a lot of that money will go to consultants, coaches, or some kind of admin-type position to “implement” stuff. That being said, I try to be an optimist, and I do hope that this ultimately ends up being beneficial somehow.

Hmmm....

August 30th, 2010
9:12 pm

Bottom line, I want to know what is expected of me as a teacher for the RTTT money? I was not a co-signer in this endeavor and yet the perception of how it plays out/turns out will be on my and other teacher’s backs. What do I need to be aware of?

Hmmm....

August 30th, 2010
9:16 pm

Oh, and Dr. John Trotter or anyone else who can maybe answer this……should a 187 day contract employee be required to give up 3 1/2-4 hours of a Saturday to go to a speech and break out session that is not part of the GDTRI requirement nor part of our contracted days? I’m afraid if I/we don’t go, there will be severe repercussions….Is this something that can be forced on the teachers at our school?

GA Teach

August 30th, 2010
9:54 pm

@Janice-Teachers get a lunch break……..

justbrowsing

August 30th, 2010
9:55 pm

@Hmmmm- absolutely not

Janice

August 30th, 2010
10:01 pm

@ Ga Teach- I realize that and as a former teacher I would never have had time to post on blogs even during my lunch break.

Veteran teacher, 2

August 30th, 2010
10:19 pm

We can, and should, get rid of all of this stuff. It is called voting. It is called contact your representatives. Follow through. Talk to other people who vote. If only a few are dis-elected in the Legislature or Congress in the next election on November 2, what will be next? Talk action now!

Concerned 1

August 30th, 2010
10:28 pm

@Hmmm…I did everything they told me and I still got transferred. Fear no one.

Ros Dalton

August 30th, 2010
10:31 pm

I see lots of jobs being created for nephews, cousins, and in laws combined with nothing at all about buying students what they need. Change comes from the bottom up, from the caring, concerned, invested communities at the local level, or it doesn’t come at all. Money from Washington has to pass so many fingers, hands, and open mouths that even the trickle of dregs can’t reach the classroom.

ScienceTeacher671

August 31st, 2010
6:08 am

@Hmmmm….our district includes that sort of thing under “and other duties as required”….don’t know how yours does it.

Really? Seriously?

August 31st, 2010
3:14 pm

@Janice ~ Why are you so concerned with how teachers have time to blog during the school day. If a teacher wants to take an actual lunch break and read up on news that affects him or her, why do you take offense with that? Furthermore, why shouldn’t a teacher be able to voice an opinion on a public forum? How long do you think it takes the teacher to read the blog and post a response? God forbid they take 5 minutes away from their job and think about something else ~ oh, wait ~ their job! How do you know that the teacher didn’t come in early to prepare for the day or stay late the day before. Not a little early or late ~ very ~ just so he or she can have an actual lunch “break” to be refreshed for the students in the afternoon. Of course that can only happen on the days that the teacher doesn’t have lunch duty. Just wondering why you are so concerned.

Booklover

August 31st, 2010
4:39 pm

@Janice–
With the schedule I have, I teach straight through from 8:15 to 2 pm with only a 25 min lunch break. So at 2 pm, my 30-something brain needs a bit of a break. Sometimes I pop over here to AJC and check out the news in my field.

I’ve worked in the corporate world, too, Janice, so I know that this sort of activity is called “research” and “keeping abreast of advances in the field.”

If you can’t understand the value of teachers taking the initative upon themselves to get educated about current events in their own field, you are an idiot and frankly I’m glad that you are no longer a part of the teaching profession.

Really? Seriously?

September 1st, 2010
9:35 am

@Booklover

Well said!