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###
“I don’t go to humid places, use tents, sweat suits, heart rate monitors, GPS systems etc. I love the purity and simplicity of training hard on the trails and roads of home. As soon as this is compromised, I am compromising my reasons for staying in this sport for so long. It is not to say that these alternative preparations don’t work, they just wouldn’t work for me.”I love this quote from Deena Kastor, 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist. For me, it captures the essence of running, and the point that so many self-described “gear junkies” miss. Part of what draws so many of us to the sport is the simplicity of lacing up the sneaks and heading out the door. No need to drive to the slopes, reserve a court, or make sure the tires are pumped up. Running is just about the only sport in which one can be completely spontaneous and self-sufficient.Sure, it’s entertaining to download a profile of your latest epic run onto Facebook for all of your friends to see. And interesting, I guess, to compare the stats on your GPS to a race director’s promise of a certain mileage or amount of climbing in an event. Yes, I’ve been beaten by competitors who sleep in altitude tents. And I’ve heard of people training for Badwater by running in saunas or dragging tires up mountainous terrain. I know there’s some merit to paying attention to your heart rate monitor, but I’d rather just listen to my body.Like Deena points out, these training tools do work for a lot of athletes. And were I a professional, attempting to make a living and to support my family on race earnings, I would probably experiment with anything (legal) that might give me an edge. But I’m not, and for this reason, I choose to keep my running as pure and simple as possible. For me, there is no gadget or supplement that can replace good, hard work. There are no shortcuts, just the basic principles of training hard, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough rest. Period.Now ditch the gadgets and just get out there and run.
Red Sox ace Chris Sale avoids Tommy John surgery He has struggled on the mound this season, posting a horrendous 22.74 ERA in 12 appearances with the Nats and a 7.00 ERA in 10 games for the Tigers. Over those 15 1/3 innings, Rosenthal walked 26 of 85 batters faced and threw nine wild pitches. Related News Carlos Carrasco pitches strong inning in first rehab appearance since leukemia diagnosis Surely Trevor Rosenthal is hoping his third team this season will be his last for a while.The Yankees have signed the free-agent reliever to a minor-league contract, Andersen Pickard first reported and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman and other outlets subsequently confirmed Tuesday. Still, the Yankees seem comfortable taking a risk on the former All-Star closer, whose fastball continues to average 98 miles an hour despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2017. Carlos Correa injury update: Astros star (back) pulled from game vs. Tigers, sent home to rest Rosenthal was released by the Nationals in June and quickly signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers, though he elected free agency earlier this month after being designated for assignment by Detroit.