02/10 - Educational Race to Reform

How will proposals in the state’s “Race To The Top” grant application alter education in Louisiana?

Louisiana is hoping for a share of the $4.35 billion federal “Race to the Top” grant designed to encourage education reform. How would proposals in the state’s grant application alter education in Louisiana? Investigate the changes and challenges for teachers and students in “Educational Race to Reform” on Louisiana Public Square, February 24 at 7 p.m. on LPB.

Backgrounder

As part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $110 billion in federal stimulus money was allocated for education. Of this amount, $4.35 billion is being allotted to encourage public education reform through a competitive grant program entitled Race to the Top (R2T). The goal of R2T is to encourage and reward states that are implementing significant reforms in the four education areas described in the ARRA:
  1-Enhancing standards and assessments to help students succeed in college and work;
  2-Improving the collection and use of data to inform educators to advance instruction;
  3-Enhancing strategies which recruit, develop, reward and retain effective personnel;
  4-Turning around struggling schools.
On January 19th, Louisiana submitted its application, “Louisiana Education Reform Plan”, asking for a $314 million share of the R2T money. Even though the state is competing against 40 states and the District of Columbia for R2T funds, Louisiana has been identified as a strong contender due to reforms already underway.

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Our Panelists:

This program was also funded in part by the Louisiana Forestry Association

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.


I have heard so much about the impact on students, but have anyone considered the impact on our special needs students and how much this will impact them. “How can you give merit pay to a special ed teacher on her students performance, when you have a classroom of students with different disabilities.?
Will funding be cut for IDEA? What about the para-educators in the classroom that work with the teacher and studnts will they
still have their jobs or be replaced?
I really want education to go back when they thought of the children and not about the money and themselves. All this testing of our students are not good, we not teaching the basics any more just testing and more testing instead of getting them prepare for the future it is hurting our kids. Stop and Think !
give our kids back their lives and their future.

Posted by Ruthie Wright  on  02/20  at  09:57 AM

The students that teachers receive in their classrooms each year are not the students that we had our classrooms in the 70’s or 80’s. Merit pay based on student achievement of benchmark testing or other performance tests is not an appropriate way to judge student performance today. Other assessments must be considered as part of each student’s profile of achievement-not just benchmark testing or end of year testing.
  How can teachers of inclusion classrooms be fairly assessed when their class scores may be lower due to special education students’ scores? It is already near to impossible to recruit good teachers who will teach an inclusion classroom. All this program will do is put more pressure on all teachers to teach to the tests and place stress on our students. Research-based practices are necessary to adhere to and response to interventions grouping is helping many of our students. However, we are losing our students’ interest in learning and the stimulating language lessons are pushed aside to the dry material we are required to teach.
  This R2T program may cause many good teachers to leave the profession. As a special ed teacher, I am concerned about how my student’s performance scores will effect my teacher pay.

Posted by Jennie  on  02/20  at  11:48 PM

i don’t see why teachers of special education students can’t be evaluated on their merits as well.  that seems like a different situation than a regular student and the evaluation should be changed accordingly.  i don’t see why this makes R2T a bad thing.

employees of companies are rewarded for good performance and fired if they don’t do what they are hired to do.  why shouldn’t teachers be required to perform their job, at their school?  if they can’t actually teach the students in front of them, shouldn’t they consider a change?  we absolutely have to look at how students perform and hold teachers accountable.  R2T is not bad for Louisiana no matter how I look at it.  let the results speak for themselves.  we are already spending $8,000 or $9,000 per student, surely this doesn’t look like a good use of funds for what we are producing? 

as a former teacher and a parent and a former student of both public and private schools, it seems to me that the only people who don’t like merit-based pay increases are the people who don’t want to show their own merit.

Posted by tricia  on  02/24  at  10:34 AM

Why should Teach for America and new/existing charter schools get money to do things that public school teachers have been begging for?
Posted via email
Tara Hebert

Posted by Tara Hebert  on  02/25  at  11:51 AM

I only got to watch part of the show tonight on Race to the Top. I am not sure I understand how some of the people representing school districts and teachers can say ‘they are doing a great job’ or something similar. If all these people are doing a great job, then why is it LA and more specifically EBR ranked close to the bottom? Throwing more money into a bad deal is not a good deal. I think pay for performance based on the delta of where student start a school year and the level they are at when school ends should be how they get paid. Give them a small base salary and then they earn some additional pay for performing! I spent many years volunteering time to help develop programs in the Baton Rouge schools. The School Board and administrators were a mill stone around our necks rather than be helpers to make something good happen. Anything different than what they were accustomed to was resisted a lot. At that time there were about as many people in administrative jobs as there were teachers. There was no easy way to get rid of a poor teacher due to tenure. Do away with tenure and pay on performance. Performance should be compared to the National benchmarks, but not necessarily totally committed to meeting those benchmarks. We are in a global business world and our graduates need to compete globally, not just nationally or within Louisiana.
Posted via email
M.M. “Mickey” Christensen

Posted by M.M. "Mickey" Christensen  on  02/25  at  11:52 AM

For me it has always been the need to teach our youth all about the inside and outside tracks of higher education and the need to excel at the dreams hoped for and believed on by our foreparents. My wife and I think that we must continue education for all levels of employment and to commit to the cause without waver! I have been on a panel held here in the neighboring town of Alexandria on economics in Louisiana and it was the greatest contribution that I have given. And to find that it was viewed in Afganistan by one of my cousins who approved of it greatly.We also need to educate people on abuse of Louisiana worker in the federal hospital systems when a man can lose 30 yrs of service due to an accident on his job and never recieve Workers Comp and the possible loss of his home due to surgeries he and his family must pay in hopes of regaining some health values.
Have a Blessed Day

Posted by Shadric Williams  on  02/25  at  12:23 PM

I just finished watching the last 20 minutes of the program, and I may have missed this topic. With all of the talk about “Accountability” did anyone mention student & parental responsibility and/or accountability? Is anyone asking the parents to make sure their child has help with homework? Is anyone asking the parents to make sure their “guests” don’t keep children up partying until 4 a.m.? Is anyone asking the parents if they’re providing their children a decent meal? Is anyone asking the parents if they are home so the 5th grade kids don’t have to take care of younger brothers & sisters? No, no one cares about that because “I might offend someone.” So, the blame and responsibility is thrown on over-worked and underpaid teachers, who are required to do more, which by the way, we all do gladly. Only teachers are held accountable which is unfair. Is there any mention of student responsibility in Race to the Top? I doubt it because it’s not the students responsibility to learn. How dare we demand that they really try. What are we thinking? Aren’t teachers expected to pour the knowledge in their brains? I guess that education is in the same boat with politics which is named “No Common Sense, and unfortunately that boat is sinking.
I teach six grade in a rural part of Louisiana, east of Alexandria, and while I do have some remarkably well-prepared students, the overwhelming majority are far below grade level and came to our school like this from the 4th grade. One of the first things that must change is standardized testing, which give the better performing schools and teachers more money that the under-performing schools. This practice “encourages” teachers to actually teach only the skills to pass the LEAP test, and I have proof that this occurs, at least in this area. One of the math teachers at my school was giving a test on multiplication (2439 x 69)for example. As the teacher was monitoring student work, she saw one of her students trying to add 2439 sixty-nine times. She later found out that the 4 grade teachers at the local elementary school don’t teach those skills because only two or three simple multiplication problems are on the 4th grade LEAP test. We need a complete overhaul of the Louisiana’s public school system because it is riddled with incompetency from the top down.

Posted by Bridget Bordelon  on  02/28  at  04:10 PM
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