Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Monday, December 7, 2009

Race to the Top or race to more problems?

In the world outside the Ridgewood referendum...
As reported in the Bergen Record, various state lawmakers are upset with Education Commissioner Lucille Davy for not getting New Jersey's application in for Federal Race to the Top education funds. It seems her office decided to leave it for the new governor's staff to handle. I'm not going to comment on the politics of all that (and you can bet it's about politics), but I'm thinking it may not be such a bad thing to drag our feet in the race to the Race. Sure, it would be great to get $200 million to $400 million from the the Federal government for NJ schools, but at what cost? The Obama administration's education policy is something our students will live with for years, and parts of it concern me:
• There's a big focus on charter schools, even though research shows that student achievement in charter schools is as mixed as it is in traditional public schools;
• I have yet to see practical, real-world description of how student test scores can be linked with teacher evaluations;
• Why would NJ want to adopt national common core standards, if many of those standards are lower than New Jersey's existing academic standards?

All I'm saying is, these things are giving me pause and hoping we can get more info/explanations/assurances. The rush to this Race to the Top reminds me of the early days of No Child Left Behind, and we know how well that turned out.

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