According to the Salt Lake Tribune article linked above, five Utah school districts are applying for Race To The Top funds. Granite, Ogden, Provo, Morgan and Washington County school districts are applying for tens of millions of dollars each, to be accepted directly from the U.S. Department of Education in exchange for making certain federally-determined “reforms.”
Nationwide, the Tribune states, 893 districts are applying, but only 15 to 25 will win the grants.
If the rules of the district Race to the Top grant game are the same as the rules were for the states’ Race to the Top grants, then even those applicants who do not win the grant money will still have been “reformed” in ways pleasing to the Federal Department of Education. (For example, when Utah applied for, but did not win, its original Race to the Top grant, it made policy changes to enhance its eligibility toward winning. It adopted Common Core standards. It joined a testing consortium. Today, Utah has dropped its consortium membership but it still hasn’t dropped Common Core, and students are paying the price for the mediocre standards that slow down math learning, eliminate cursive, dramatically diminish classic literature, homogenize what college and career readiness standards used to be, yet go by the self-appointed title of “rigorous” college prep.)
Contrary to popular belief, grants are not “free money.” They come with rules, mandates, requirements, and legally binding chains created by the grantor.
The Dept. of Education’s decision, to dangle the carrot of Race to the Top for districts, is particularly alarming to many Texans. Texas was one of the few states independent-minded enough to reject joining the Common Core movement. But today, 64 Texas school districts are applying for the Race to the Top for districts, effectively creating the federal dependence for many districts which Texas had worked hard to avoid as a state.
Donna Garner, Texas educator, explains:” On Jan. 13, 2010, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the former Commissioner of Education Robert Scott announced their decision that Texas should not enter the statewide Race to the Top competition for $700 Million because they knew the federal strings attached to the money would require school districts to follow theCommon Core Standards Initiative.Not to be deterred, the Obama administration and Sect. of Ed. Arne Duncan came up with a “work around” so that the RTTT funds (requiring schools to follow theCommon Core Standards Initiative) could be sent directly to the local school districts in spite of being blocked by the state agencies.Unfortunately, local Texas school administrators are ignoring the dangers of the federalstrings and are salivating over the federal funding. Nationwide, there are 893school districts (and other eligible entities) that have indicated their intent to apply for the RTTT’s $400 Million “workaround.” The deadline for these entities to file their formalapplications is Oct. 30, 2012.
This is what happens: Even though most of these local entities do not have a chanceto receive the RTTT federal funds, the applications themselves end up driving school district decisions.
School administrators know their schools’ grant applications will not have a chance ofbeing accepted unless the districts can prove the federally desired changes are already in place (or well on their way to being implemented) in their districts; therefore, the administrators, acting like little robots, configure their districts to match the USDOE’s agenda. They swear to do such things as implement the Common Core Standards, base teacher evaluations upon student improvement on the CCS assessments, and collect the personally intrusive information on students, parents, and educators that is required for the national database.
Thus, the USDOE ends up nationalizing the public schools without ever giving the districts the RTTT grant funding. Entire states such as California applied for the statewide RTTT funds in 2011 andreconfigured their school district policies to match the USDOE’s application requirements; but in the end, California found out that their state was notselected to receive the RTTT grants. The same outcomes will occur with the RTTT’s direct-to-school funding. Many locals will implement the USDOE’s changes but will not receive the RTTT funds.
The“carrot and stick” used by the USDOE – RTTT federal funds:
[The arrows mean “lead to.”]
National standards → national assessments → national curriculum → national teacher evaluations with teachers’ salaries tied to students’ test scores → teachers teaching to thetest each and every day → national indoctrination of our publicschool children → national database of students and teachers
Please go to the following links to read more about the Common Core Standards Initiative:
3.26.12 — “Two Education Philosophies with Two Different Goals” — http://libertylinked.com/posts/9703/2-education-philosophies-with/View.aspx
9.14.12 – “Nationalized Public Schools Almost Here in America” — http://educationviews.org/nationalized-public-schools-almost-here-in-america/
ACTION STEP: Parents and taxpayers, please take the time to go to administrators and school board members in your district and demand that they not apply for these RTTT grants nor make any of the changes that the USDOE applications require schools to make to get the funds.”