August 28, 2009

I'm commenting on Race to the Top, and I want a pony, too!

Impressions of a quick skim of 20 or so comments on the draft Race to the Top regs:

  • I couldn't find the national AFT comments anywhere.
  • Thus far, the two sets of technical comments by the Learning Disabilities Association of America and the group of academics with Kane, Staiger, and several others (uploaded by Thomas Kane), respectively, earn my "okay, you guys read the regulations and targeted your comments" award. Whether you agree with them or not, the comments were shrewd and focused. (I happen to like most of the comments, which are practical and sensible on the whole.)
  • The New Teacher Project signed onto the multi-organization letter that was essentially a vague "okay, we agree with this" note (with the advice for the USDOE to be selective in the first round), and then submitted comments that were, ahem, not nearly as far in the opposite direction as NEA but bewildering in its unbridled confidence in the suggestions made. TNTP staff, please read the comments written by Kane et al. You're smart, and they're smart, and they're much closer to the mark than you were this week. At least you don't come close to winning the second "I'm commenting on Race to the Top, and I want a pony, too!" award (first was to the NEA). 
  • I think that the California Teachers Association (the NEA affiliate in California) avoided the factual blunder in the NEA comments of asserting that Race to the Top is a mandate. Instead, they asked what states would have to give up in return for the money. In this case, they were deeply, deeply concerned with the threat to federalism embedded in asking that a state be able to link teacher and student records. That would be more plausible if TNTP's comments were enacted, but either the draft regs or the Kane et al.'s suggestions are reasonable in an imperfect world.
  • One state department of education accidentally sent the USDOE its cover letter to a national organization telling the national organization it was sharing its reg comments, in the place where it was supposed to upload comments. No signs of actual comments on the regs (thus far today). Ouch! I suspect there are similar technical glitches in other places.

I didn't comment. This is the first week of classes, and I'm a firm believer in the biggest bang for my buck (or hour).

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Posted in Accountability Frankenstein on August 28, 2009 8:13 PM |