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Vermont chooses NOT to apply for federal education grant

first_imgThe State of Vermont will not be applying for the second round of the federal Race to the Top grant, the Vermont Department of Education announced today.The highly competitive grant program, financed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), requires states to agree to very specific strategies, such as linking teacher pay to student performance, investing in charter schools and implementing turnaround models that could require the removal of principals in a data-driven school-ranking process.Only two states, Delaware and Tennessee, received funds in the first round of grants (totaling over $600 million). Vermont did not apply in the first round.“We do not make this decision lightly,” said Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca. “Vermont continues to struggle with the financial impacts of the recession, and our school districts have carried a heavy share of that impact. We believe that by focusing on this grant we would have to alter the course we have set for education, with absolutely no guarantee that we would be successful. We don’t think that makes sense for our schools, our teachers or for Vermont students.”“The strategies required in Race to the Top may be entirely appropriate for some states,” said Vilaseca. “But Vermont’s strengths and challenges require different strategies. Our approach to improvement involves the entire system, PreK through 12 and beyond, and a statewide system of support for all schools. The focus of Race to the Top is not aligned with our statewide approach, and it would require significant policy and legislative changes that are not consistent with the good work happening across the state.”Because Race to the Top is based on a point system that favors states with extensive data gathering systems, established teacher pay-for-performance agreements, existing state legislation for charter schools and broad indications of support from school boards, superintendents and education associations, it is unlikely that Vermont would be seriously considered for these specific grant funds, Vilaseca said.Vermont currently does not have a statewide evaluation system of teachers and principals nor is there an existing system of tying teacher compensation to student achievement. In addition, Vermont does not have any charter school legislation nor any charter schools currently operating. The Vermont Department of Education recently conducted an informal, non-binding survey asking its 280 school districts if they were “likely” or “not likely” to support the application. Based on the sample of returns, it did not appear there was widespread support for the initiative.“We will continue to work with education leaders in moving Vermont’s public education system forward,” said Deputy Commissioner Rae Ann Knopf. “We plan to pursue several initiatives that are already underway in Vermont, such as national common core standards, the statewide system of school support, longitudinal data systems and alternate pathways to licensure. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners on advancing the tenets of the Transformation Policy Commission’s Opportunities to Learn and the department’s Roots of Success documents. This is a time of thoughtful and collaborative change in Vermont education, and it is important now – more than ever – that we focus on what is truly working for Vermont students.”Ken Page, Executive Director of the Vermont Principals Association, released the following statement: “It is clear to us that the Commissioner of Education, and indeed the entire Vermont Education community, has weighed this decision carefully and well. The Vermont Principals’ Association supports the decision not to pursue this one-size-fits-all approach to school improvement. We are proud that Vermont schools are considered some of the best in the nation. Our schools will improve, not by simply throwing money at the problem, not by blaming and shaming school leaders and their communities, but by a concerted and deliberate effort by school personnel to work together to systematically address areas of need. The 21st century demands that we have a curriculum that is wider than just math and reading: our students must be highly skilled, highly motivated and well-rounded in all curricular areas. The Race to the Top competition is a distraction from the real work that must be done by Vermont’s fine teachers and leaders.”Vermont education officials noted that other states are also considering passing on the opportunity of applying for these particular funds. The Kansas State Board of Education voted last week 9-0 not to apply for the funds.Source: Vermont DOE. 4.26.2010###last_img read more

Beer Blog: On a Quest

first_imgMan, take a look at that can. There’s a lot of stuff going on with that can. There’s like, a bird hanging out in a monkey’s bouffant, all of which is tangled up in the hair of a Native American smoking…a turkey leg? His own hand? I’m not sure. There’s some celestial stuff going on in the fringes, and a hop bud, some hieroglyphic-like dudes standing on rock buttes…it’s complex. Much like the beer inside—the Smoking Mirror, a smoked porter made by Quest Brewing out of Greenville.I know what you’re thinking. Greenville probably isn’t the first town you think of when you think of “craft beer.” Asheville, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Richmond, Atlanta…most of us would rattle off a pretty extensive list of beer towns before we got to Greenville. But if this smoked porter is any indication, good things are brewing in this progressive city at the base of the long Blue Wall.The beer pours dark, with a faint tint of red around the tan head, and smells like cherries. You get that yin/yang from dark fruit when you take a sip—a balance of sweet and tart notes—but it’s washed away by the incredible roasted malt character. There is some smokiness here, which comes from the peated malt in the mash bill, and a spiciness that’s more akin to tobacco than any pepper. It’s sophisticated, dark, tasty.Quest Brewing itself is only a couple of years old, and named after its home city’s adventurous spirit. It’s a small brewery (25 barrels), but they’ve already managed to start distributing beyond Greenville and into North Carolina. Smoking Mirror is one of only four core beers, but Quest also has a robust limited release series available in their taproom. They’re even aging some of their stuff in barrels. Word on the street is there’s a bourbon barrel-aged version of Smoking Mirror. I’m thinking it’s worth a quest across the border to sample that particular brew in person.last_img read more

Around 100 busted in raid on West Jakarta discotheque

first_imgAuthorities busted around 100 people during a raid on Top One Discotheque in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, in the early hours of Friday morning.Ivan, the head of entertainment and recreation monitoring at Jakarta Tourism and Creative Economy Agency, said the people found on the premises included patrons, hostesses and sex workers. He said the raid was conducted following a report from locals. Authorities followed up the report and found that the discotheque was operating from 12 p.m to 1 a.m despite the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) imposed in the capital.Read also: New normal: Why people act as if the pandemic is over“We had been monitoring the premises since last night and went inside to check,” Ivan said,a s quoted by kompas.com.As punishment, the discotheque patrons will have to serve community service, as stipulated in Jakarta Gubernatorial Regulation No. 53/2020 on PSBB violations.On Wednesday, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced that the capital was extending the transitional COVID-19 restrictions for 14 days, as well as tightening supervision of traditional markets and train services. (dpk)Topics :last_img read more