The 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###
Health experts add that the risks are very low that COVID-19 will remain on envelopes or packages long enough to infect anyone who handles them.Officials reiterate that it remains a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, and to also avoid touching your face, after handling deliveries.As many other businesses across the nation, the U.S. Postal Service has been limiting visitors to its facilities, and is practicing social distancing guidelines. Is it safe to open mail and packages during the pandemic?According to the the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the answer is “yes.”They say there is no evidence that the virus is spreading through mail or parcels.Instead, it is mostly spread as droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes are then inhaled by people nearby.
Image Courtesy: TwitterAdvertisement Sachin Tendulkar, the icon of Indian cricket has turned 47 today. Regarded as one of the greatest artists of the Gentleman’s Game, the legendary Team India batsman’s birthday is a grand occasion for all cricket fans across the country, and the master Blaster had no shortage of wishes, as netizens poured greetings and felicitations all over social media. Along with millions of fans, many revered sportsperson and celebrities from the country wish Sachin a happy birthday.Advertisement Image Courtesy: TwitterA number of current and former stars of the Indian cricket team tweeted their best wishes to Sachin. Below are some of the wishes.Happy birthday to the man whose passion for the game of cricket has inspired many. Wishing you an amazing year ahead paaji. 😊🎂 @sachin_rt pic.twitter.com/Mj7tE9evHgAdvertisement — Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) April 24, 2020Advertisement Wish @sachin_rt a very happy birthday ..have a healthy and happy life …— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) April 24, 2020Wishing @sachin_rt a very happy birthday ! A man who not only has inspired generations to take up the sport but is also a wonderful human being and a thorough gentlemen ! #SachinSachin #SirSachin #GodOfCricket pic.twitter.com/4LNeNCxj0y— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) April 24, 2020To the legend with an eternal sweet spot on the bat & in our hearts, here’s wishing MasterBlaster @sachin_rt a very happy bday. May ur life continue to shine like ur records & may u continue to inspire billions thru ur noble deeds. Loads of love & best wishes #HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/l52w5dahA3— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) April 24, 2020Happy birthday @sachin_rt paji! Wishing you lots of health & happiness always. I have been so fortunate to share many memorable innings with you, specially my debut 100 & when you completed your 100th century.🇮🇳🏏🎂☝️ pic.twitter.com/a5fANuieXl— Suresh Raina🇮🇳 (@ImRaina) April 23, 2020True that the great man could stop time in India when batting. But the biggest inspiration @sachin_rt Paaji’s career is summed up is in these two pictures. Much needed to remember especially in these difficult times that after every adversity comes victory #HappyBirthdaySachin 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/UODlDjbCEL— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) April 24, 2020Fondly remember that time during your last test match when you walked up to me to share words of encouragement. The moment was yours, but you still thought of me! I cherish that moment even today. Happiest birthday @sachin_rt Paaji!#HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/GKEfb8CgQL— Ajinkya Rahane (@ajinkyarahane88) April 24, 2020Many happy returns of the day to the great man.Hope you have a great day paaji. My two best moments with him were:1)Sharing the match winning partnership at Sydney against Australia in the first final.2)Receiving my test cap at Eden gardens #HappyBirthdaySachin @sachin_rt pic.twitter.com/J9KRMAnNGX— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) April 24, 2020 You have been a constant source of inspiration for us, a very happy birthday Sachin paaji! May god bless you with good health and happiness. @sachin_rt— Bhuvneshwar Kumar (@BhuviOfficial) April 24, 2020Happy birthday @sachin_rt paaji, wish you lots of happiness and good health in the years ahead 🤗 pic.twitter.com/HXrlZHdYSx— Shikhar Dhawan (@SDhawan25) April 24, 2020Birthday Greetings to dear @sachin_rt . You were and continue to remain an inspiration. Wish you ever more joy and success in all that you do. #HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/jX7wfyVE7I— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) April 24, 2020To a true inspiration, on the cricket field and off it, happy birthday Sachin sir, I hope you have a great day. 🎂 @sachin_rt pic.twitter.com/0iRdZX0FDk— Jasprit Bumrah (@Jaspritbumrah93) April 24, 2020Happy Birthday sir thank you for inspiring many and making people believe that dreams do come true. May god bless you with great health and you continue to inspire and guide us always. 🎂🎂 pic.twitter.com/EdewWhjKZI— Yuzvendra Chahal (@yuzi_chahal) April 24, 2020Wishing the great @sachin_rt a very happy birthday. So many wonderful memories of watching you play, and so many great cricket lessons you’ve shared with all of us. Thank you and hope you have a great day.— K L Rahul (@klrahul11) April 24, 2020I have seen Magic from the non striker’s end… STRAIGHT DRIVE from the master @sachin_rt paji’s bat.hope you are having a magical time with family on your birthday #HappyBirthdaySachin paji pic.twitter.com/VcuHq3Qk5s— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) April 24, 2020@sachin_rt have a great birthday Sachin Paaji ..love and respect to u alwys..May God bless u nd shower blessings on u and famiky nd dear ones…#HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/bdeJlQZeVB— Sreesanth (@sreesanth36) April 24, 2020Here’s my tribute to the #legend on his big day! Hope you are healthy and safe @sachin_rt#SachinBirthdaySpecial #HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/8JYuR6xa7M— Reema Malhotra (@ReemaMalhotra8) April 24, 2020Happy birthday Paaji @sachin_rt , May you continue to inspire many..many.. more generations to take up this glorious game #happybirthdaysachin pic.twitter.com/yuZIM2X4U2— subramani badrinath (@s_badrinath) April 24, 2020To, someone who changed the dynamics of the game and made generations fall in love with the sport. A legend and one of the nicest human beings, happy birthday @sachin_rt paji! 🎂 There won’t be another 🙌🏼#HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/PFreyi7ixx— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) April 24, 2020Happy birthday God of Cricket 😊 Thank you for always being an inspiration Sachin Sir. #HappyBirthdaySachin @sachin_rt pic.twitter.com/IotgsGXSP6— Krunal Pandya (@krunalpandya24) April 24, 2020Dear @sachin_rt sir. Wish you a very happy birthday. 🙏🙏— Shafali Verma (@TheShafaliVerma) April 24, 2020Happy Birthday, Bossman. Legacy you’ve left behind in the sport is immortal. God bless Champ 🤗 @sachin_rt #HappyBirthdaySachin #SachinTendulkar pic.twitter.com/aqSCso4in2— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) April 24, 2020He converted every stone thrown at him into milestones, turned out to be an inspiration for millions across the globe. Happy 47th birthday @sachin_rt paaji. Thank you for giving many nostalgic moments to us fans. #HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/QMtP13zH6d— Yusuf Pathan (@iamyusufpathan) April 24, 2020Many happy returns of the day paaji! Wishing good health and happiness always. #happybirthdaysachin @sachin_rt pic.twitter.com/OyHn5DYvb1— Pragyan Ojha (@pragyanojha) April 24, 2020Many many happy returns of the day sir .. god bless you @sachin_rt #HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/mO2uGXJ2z3— IQBAL ABDULLAH STAY HOME (@iqqiabdullah) April 24, 2020Happy birthday sachin paji !Always a inspiration on and off the field to billions of people including me across the world ! Thanku so much for wonderful memories for many years ! @sachin_rt #happybirthdaysachin pic.twitter.com/GzqIKphDML— IamKedar (@JadhavKedar) April 24, 2020#HappyBirthdaySachin Thank you for inspiring us. Wishing you good health and happiness throughout the year @sachin_rt pic.twitter.com/tagOsil5op— Lakshmi Narayanan (@lakshuakku) April 24, 2020Birthday greetings to one of the biggest legend of cricket @sachin_rt . Have a blast at home Paaji. Lots of love 🎂 #HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/WwxVJjVXfi— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) April 24, 2020Many more happy returns of the day @sachin_rt paijee. The memories of your 100s at Chepauk are still so fresh in my memory and feels like it happened yesterday. May you have great day and beyond. #SachinSachin— lets stay indoors India 🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) April 24, 2020Seems like this picture was taken in a different universe altogether!! Happy Birthday buddy …. have a good one! #SachinTendulkar #StaySafe pic.twitter.com/IdUFLiVhUI— Ajit Agarkar (@imAagarkar) April 24, 2020GreatGreatestLegendsAnd then comes the one and only, @sachin_rt! 🙏🏻A man that made cricket famous! Happy birthday Sachin Paaji! 🎂#HappyBirthdaySachin— Surya Kumar Yadav (@surya_14kumar) April 24, 2020Foreign cricketers didn’t forget to wish the legend of the game.A very happy birthday to @sachin_rt . Arguably the best batsman in the history of the game. Its a pleasure to have known you, playing with you & against you. The battles against you on the ground are a treasure of my playing days. #HappyBirthdaySachin #SachinTendulkar pic.twitter.com/oJSN9vWCHd— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) April 24, 2020 Wishes also poured in from outside the cricket fraternity.Dear sir wish u a very happy birthday 🥳 🙏🙏 @sachin_rt pic.twitter.com/8fLCbtOqDm— Saina Nehwal (@NSaina) April 24, 2020प्रिय @sachin_rt आप हमेशा एक प्रेरणा बने रहेंगे। सचिन एक भावना है ।Wishing you a very happy birthday! #HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/hjDqHUie2n— Sanjeev Rajput OLY (@sanjeevrajput1) April 24, 2020Happy birthday to Master blaster #SachinTendulkar 🎂👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/BJIXXlTiZV— Vijender Singh (@boxervijender) April 24, 2020If inspiration and legendary had synonyms, it would be @sachin_rt. Happiest Birthday to you Sachin Sir. May you keep inspiring like always!#HappyBirthdaySachin pic.twitter.com/NmLUfAItPk— Kidambi Srikanth (@srikidambi) April 24, 2020Sachin also received wishes from many renowned Bollywood celebrities.A very happy birthday to you @sachin_rt I wish you the best of health and happiness . Stay amazing 🤗— Hrithik Roshan (@iHrithik) April 24, 2020Happy birthday @sachin_rt. You’re always inspiring people, both on and off the field! Sending you good wishes on your special day. वाढदिवसाच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा— Madhuri Dixit Nene (@MadhuriDixit) April 24, 2020Wishing you many happy returns of this very special day Sachin! May good health, happiness and joy always be with you. Love.a.— Aamir Khan (@aamir_khan) April 24, 2020Dear Sir SRT. I’ve always prayed for you whenever you walked out to bat. Have witnessed every 100 of yours. LIVE. May you also live a hundred years. Happy bday! 🇮🇳 🏏 @sachin_rt pic.twitter.com/lGOsD4exMz— Ayushmann Khurrana (@ayushmannk) April 24, 2020After a stellar carrer with Men in Blue spanning 24 years, Sachin bid goodbye to cricket in 2013 at the age of 40, after making 200 Tests and 463 ODI appearances.If you like reading about MMA, make sure you check out MMAIndia.com Also follow India’s biggest arm wrestling tournament at ProPanja.comAlso read-What Sachin Tendulkar is doing during the Covid-19 lockdownCheckmate Covid: Online chess tournament fundraiser to fight against the pandemic Advertisement