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"Race to the Top" proposal still has skeptics

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Posted: Dec 21, 2009 5:11 PM by Dana Hackett
Updated: Dec 21, 2009 5:45 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Race to the Top, grant, federal, education, competition

A plan to win millions of dollars in grant money for Louisiana is not fully supported by educators statewide.

Louisiana is competing in the "Race to the Top," a national competition for a chunk of $4.35 billion in federal money.

The application process includes coming up with detailed plans on how school districts would use the money to improve student achievement. State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek said this grant is about training teachers to be more effective and holding them accountable for how well students are learning.

"Let's look at what the outcomes are," said Pastorek. "Let's look at how effective the teachers are in actually improving the children's academic achievement."

But new rules to govern teacher pay, promotions, and performance evaluation are triggering some skepticism.

"It already sets them up for failure," said Joyce Haynes, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators.

Haynes is concerned good teachers will be pushed aside because half of their performance evaluation would be based on how students perform on LEAP tests.

"One test score does not tell you everything about our children, educators, or schools," said Haynes.

Pastorek said the evaluation formula was set in an effort to keep Louisiana competitive with other states.

Both sides are still working through details in hopes of finalizing the "Race to the Top" application. State leaders will know by April if they have been awarded the grant.

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