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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

Powder Dreams

first_imgIs it too early start waxing the skis for ski season? I’m not sure why, but I’m seriously itching for winter to be here. Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer. I love the fall. I’m looking forward to that transitional season too. But for some reason, I’ve had this recurring dream that I’m hip deep in backcountry powder eating a frozen granola bar and giggling. It’s almost enough for me to find a set of rollerblades and trekking poles and find the steepest hill in a desperate attempt to simulate the ski “stoke.” We’re a good four months out from seeing any snow in our region, so it’s probably too early to start checking the various weather channels and webcams for incoming snow storms. But here’s a little vid that might get you psyched for what winter could hold. last_img read more

Ozil enjoying his career under Arteta’s rebuilding mission

first_imgMesut Ozil’s resurgence under Mikel Arteta means the German playmaker is almost certain to see out his Arsenal contract up to 2021. Want away Arsenal ace Mesut Ozil The 31-year-old’s £350,000 -a-week wages have not deterred interest from outside Europe, with MLS side DC United reportedly keen. But Ozil is enjoying life again since Arteta replaced Unai Emery as boss last month.Advertisement Loading… Promoted Content2020 Tattoo Trends: Here’s What You’ll See This Year11 Most Immersive Game To Play On Your Table Top5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks6 Natural History Museums That Are Really, Really Good15 Photos Of Amazingly Beautiful Mutations7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The UniverseThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read MoreWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?Which Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?8 Things That Will Happen If An Asteroid Hits Earth8 Weird Facts About Coffee That Will Surprise YouA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic Bombscenter_img And it is thought the ex-Real Madrid midfielder is keen to continue at the top in Europe. Read Also:Ozil has been unlucky – Arteta The Washington Post’s Steven Goff reported that DC United were in London this week but the USA club now think Ozil is out of reach until at least January next year. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more