PSEA calls for changes to federal "Race To The Top" regulations
Update: The final Race to the Top regulations were released the week of November 9. PSEA is currently reviewing these regulations to determine how they have changed. PSEA's analysis will be posted as soon as it is available.
Following the release of the initial guidelines in summer '09, PSEA submitted a formal response to the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed guidelines for the “Race to the Top” competitive incentive grant program to states, recommending changes that encourage states to adopt research-based reforms in public education.
PSEA President Jim Testerman commended the focus of the program, but said the proposed guidelines prioritize a small number of practices at the expense of research-based comprehensive systems to improve teaching and learning.
“We applaud the Obama Administration’s commitment to education as evidenced, in part, by the significant resources directed toward our schools,” said Testerman. “PSEA supports efforts to drive school reforms and further improve the quality of our public schools, because, as every educator knows, there is always room for improvement. However, we recommend the administration include the many other policy initiatives that would have a greater impact on student learning.”
President Barack Obama announced the $4.35 billion initiative several months ago, describing it as a means to encourage states to adopt specific reforms. PSEA’s response was submitted on Aug. 28 during the public comment period to the draft regulations.
PSEA’s comments are available at www.psea.org/racetothetop.
PSEA is disappointed with a proposed mandate that would force states to evaluate and compensate teachers on the basis of student test scores. The comments demonstrate, with a thorough basis in research and literature, that merit pay is misguided and ineffective.
PSEA’s comments also:
- Call for specific changes to the grant criteria to improve teaching and learning, including effective teacher preparation and recruitment programs
- Recommend the inclusion of evidence-based components for teacher evaluation
- Urge flexibility to states in the use of RTTT funds.