--Spokesman for U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, discussing Race to the Top (Jan. 11) to the Albany Times Union (here).
Will the state legislature blow it for Race to the Top funding?
If the legislature heeds the anti-charter school advocates, the answer is yes. The teacher unions, and their collection of union-funded allies (each with their own letterhead) are intent on rationalizing not raising the charter cap, or doing so with heavy baggage that dilutes the effectiveness of charter schools, thus making a joke of any cap lift. This was on full display by the United Federation of Teachers' proposals unveiled earlier this month, and it continues.
Teacher Unions & Letterhead Allies Risk Losing Their Own $$
The teacher unions and their allies, minimizing the need for 40 points on the federal scoring rubric, risk losing points, and losing their own money. The $700 million lost to New York will result in deeper education spending cuts and higher taxes without the new federal Race to the Top award.
A New York Post editorial today also warns the state not water down Race to the Top legislation with "poison pills" especially given the fact that other states have taken bold actions already to compete for a federal award.
More and more I'm thinking this is not an irony, but deliberate on the unions' part to forgo new education dollars if it means more charters and broader public education accountability measures replete in the Regents' Race to the Top proposals. Buffalo teachers union head, Phil Rumore, made clear his views (e.g., here) are exactly that: no reform; keep your RttT money (though he'll gladly spend it if it shows up). His New York City and state union brethren are far more subtle, but less so as the federal Jan. 19th deadline approaches. To be clear, I want to be wrong on this, and hope I'm misjudging these other union leaders.
Finals Week in Albany for RttT
This is "finals week" for the Governor and legislature to get it right. Cramming at the end before a final can sometimes work, or more likely it can expose how unprepared they are to pass the test. Maximizing points on the federal scoring rubric means not being distracted by issues that are not on the exam, and will result in a lower grade.
for The Chalkboard
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