Vermont will not seek Race To The Top funds, saying required policy and legislative changes are not the best course in that state
The Associated Press reports in the Boston Globe that Vermont will not be seeking Race To The Top (RTTT) funds in the second round. The state’s education commissioner Armando Vilaseca pointed out that the competitive grant requires states to link teacher pay to student performance and invest in charter schools, which would require policy and legislative changes in Vermont. “When we look at it realistically with limited resources[,] we have to make sure we put our energies and our efforts into places that we know we can be successful in and that fit what the direction of Vermont education is moving in," he said. "Vermont has a highly successful educational system, when you look at our NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) results when you look at how our students do across the board, graduation rates, we are one of the leaders in the country. We have still room to improve but this program doesn't move us in the direction where we feel we should be going in." The Vermont chapter of the National Education Association teachers' union, which last week criticized the department saying teachers were excluded from seeking the grant, says it agrees with the decision of the commissioner and state Board of Education.
Vilaseca said the program is better suited to urban, underperforming schools, but the U.S. Department of Education disagreed. "Race to the Top gives all states, both urban and rural, a chance to dramatically improve the lives of children. We hope every state applies and puts its best foot forward," press secretary Justin Hamilton said. John Nelson of the Vermont School Boards’ Association said that "Race to the Top" is another example of how federal education policy does not fit rural states like Vermont, with high performing schools.
Source: Boston Globe, 4/26/10, By Lisa Rathke (Associated Press)