Race to the Top, and ESEA, and Teacher Quality…oh my

Race to the Top

The Department of Education released state reports profiling first-year progress under Race to the Top. The 12 state-specific reports provide summaries of Race to the Top accomplishments and setbacks in the four assurance areas, 1. Raising academic standards, 2. Building robust data systems to improve instruction, 3. Supporting great teachers and school leaders, and 4. Turning around persistently low-performing schools. Read the DoEd press release.

Which States won Race to the Top money, but may have it taken away and why?

States face delays in implementing Race to the Top: Meeting U.S. Department of Education standards, several States won a chunk of Race to the Top dollars (total 4.3 million) to implement ambitious reforms. Word on the street is that three of the 12 winners are actually on schedule, six States are delayed, and three (New York, Florida, and Hawaii) have major issues and could lose their money.

Learn what the U.S. Department of Education is saying about New York, Florida, and Hawaii.

What happens to NY because they haven’t implemented the teacher evaluation system yet?

NY could lose $60 million in Federal Funding over the missed deadline.

The “Good” States

Which State is doing a good job with $75 million they won from Race to the Top?

In other Race to the Top news, education seems to be taking a back burner in GOP talks lately, but the presidential candidates do have some things to say on the Race to the Top and NCLB. Read this teaser article.


The 10th anniversary of NCLB generated some great debate last week, and I wanted to include one more fantastic NCLB wrap-up article. With the help of education experts in DC, the National Journal: Report Card, Grading NCLB reveals seven objectives and laws that experts feel spotlight student achievement, and grades its success rate. *Spoiler, “Some experts told NJ that the more frequent use of data has made a big difference in helping schools understand student progress. Others said that the data don’t add up to a coherent picture of student achievement.”


As you may recall, the House put out two draft bills with the final components of ESEA. Needless to say, there has been a lot of chatter and reporting about ESEA this past week.

Penn Hill prepared a spreadsheet detailing the ESEA proposal comparison of select provisions – current law, Senate Help Bill, Senate Republican Bills, Administration Waiver Packages, and House Republican Draft Bills.

Rick Hess considers the Harkin-Enzi bill passed by the Senate Education Committee a “modest improvement”, but feels the new House bills provide valuable transparency and gets rid of unrealistic regulations and policing requirements.

In other ESEA news, reporters are surprised that the House proposal appears to align more closely with the Obama administration than the Senate. Interesting! Read about it in the article ESEA Reauthorization Update- Good, Bad and the Bizarre.

In addition, some reporters insist that education reform is a mindset and not a set of particular policies.

US rankings

I can’t tell you how I know, but you should look out for a very important person *cough, the President* who may or may not discuss US rankings in education on a worldwide spectrum. Education Week announced the release of Quality Counts 2012: a report detailing the nation’s placement and rank among other world public education systems. The report provides lessons learned, and the risks and strategies U.S. policymakers have to make to meet the grade. Read the Executive Summary.

Are we feeling pressure yet? Some reporters seem to think so, as stated in article U.S. Education Pressured by International Comparisons.


The report: The Long-term impacts of teachers, teacher value-added and student outcomes in adulthood, was released in December this year, using a value-added approach to evaluate teachers based on their impacts on individual students’ test scores instead of using the average test-score gain.

Children have a lot to gain from a good teacher, why not fork out the cash, right?

Columnist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, states in the article The Value of Teachers, that the aforementioned report delivers one good answer to mitigate some education issues: “more good teachers. Or, to put it another way, fewer bad teachers. The obvious policy solution is more pay for good teachers, more dismissals for weak teachers.”

Here is another perspective on the report: What to Think about Big New Teacher Value-Added Study

I don’t know if you have the same twitter account “follows” as I do, but Ed Week posted the question, “Overpaid? Underpaid? Let’s get specific. How much do you think a starting H.S. math teacher should make? Respond using #TeacherSalary.”

Be on the look out for more articles and research highlighting expectations, merit pay, how to measure effective teacher quality, etc.

Dear Media, you have poor timing. Other researchers are, for lack of a better term, peeved that this report went out on the wire prior to peer review publication and public discussion. The Politicization of Research demonstrates the battle of one common denominator that contributes to misconception and faulty take-away’s from the research community –  the media.