Two Deadlines – One Met, another Anyone’s Guess
June 1 – also known as the first day of June.
Today was the deadline for the state’s Race to the Top application and with the typical fanfare that accompanies any sort of education announcement – the usual suspects gathered at an elementary school in the Long Beach Unified School District to congratulate themselves for a job well done. And if you consider how much the details of the application pissed off many in the Sacramento education establishment, there was something to congratulate them for. Remarkable how well we Californians can do when we turn an education effort over to educators and education thinkers instead of a bunch of former legislative staffers and Ed Coalition lobbyists. If we don’t come in better than 27th this time, I will be shocked. In fact, in an upcoming post I’ll be releasing my odds and lines on where we will land.
The second deadline was for turning in the SIG application and in typical fashion that was delayed because the state’s application for the funds was found wanting. According to the CDE, the DOE has come back with questions and requests for revisions – e.g., the state has been asked to make some changes to its scoring procedures and to make its rubric more clear. For those applications that have already been received, districts will have the opportunity to make revisions once a final set of guidelines becomes available.
So far the big concern is a lack of transparency in the process. I think its vital that the scoring process is transparent and that external reviewers are used in the assessing the quality of the applications. An external review process can be used to good effect just as we’ve seen with Race to the Top and the applications for school take-over candidates in LAUSD. Extra time is also a benefit but only if the feds are careful to ensure that schools also have the time to plan for implementation. School improvement dollars are dear in these difficult budget times and the students in our lowest performing schools shouldn’t be subjected to more of the same. I haven’t gotten the sense over the last few years that our CDE is capable of exerting serious oversight or ensuring accountability for implementation. But hope does spring eternal. Especially on the first day of summer.
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