Texans: Stop Race to the Top in Our State

Oct 29, 2013 by

race-to-the-top-education-inby Donna Garner

10.29.13

 

In 2012, only two Texas education entities (i.e., public schools, charter schools, education service centers) were awarded funds under the federal government’s Race to the Top – District grant (RTT-D1).  These were the Harmony and Idea Charter Schools. (8.15.13 – “Dilemma for Turkish Gulen Harmony Charter Schools…” – by Donna Garner — http://educationviews.org/dilemma-for-gulen-harmony-charters-under-sb-2-hb-462/

This year (FY 2013), however, 81 Texas education entities have applied for the RTT-D2 grants.  Finalists will be announced by Dec. 31, 2013.

These 81 Texas education entities that have applied for the RTT-D2 grant have decided that for a few “pieces of silver,” they will be willing to “sell their soul” (and our children’s minds) to the federal government!

To get any Race to the Top funds, the applicants have to swear they will follow the Common Core Standards Initiative (CCSI).  In actuality, this means:  national standards, national assessments, national curriculum, teachers’ salaries tied to their students’ test scores, teachers teaching to the test each and every day, national indoctrination of our public school children, national database of students and teachers.

What makes this particularly disturbing is that during the 83rd Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature passed HB HB 462 which expressly prohibits Texas public schools (both regular public schools and charters) from following the Common Core Standards Initiative:  http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB462).

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1.  Section 28.002, Education Code, is amended by adding Subsections (b-1), (b-2), (b-3), and (b-4) to read as follows:

(b-1)  In this section, “common core state standards” means the national curriculum standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

(b-2)  The State Board of Education may not adopt common core state standards to comply with a duty imposed under this chapter.

(b-3)  A school district may not use common core state standards to comply with the requirement to provide instruction in the essential knowledge and skills at appropriate grade levels under Subsection (c).

(b-4)  Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, a school district or open-enrollment charter school may not be required to offer any aspect of a common core state standards curriculum.

ACTION STEPS BY CONCERNED TEXANS

First, the public needs to see if their Texas education entity is on the list (posted at the bottom of this page).

Second, even though we may or may not support the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) itself, we can still come alongside their members who have voiced their concerns over the RTT-D 2 grant application  (excerpts taken from http://texasaftblog.com/hotline/?p=3289 ):

As we have previously reported, the RTT-D2 grant competition is for both local school districts and charter schools.  It allows the U.S. Department of Education to bypass state governments like the one here in Texas that have refused to participate in the Race to the Top program because of federal regulatory strings attached [Common Core Standards Initiative – CCSI]

…it carries with it a heavy load of federal requirements, some of which imply an end run around state law…

One safeguard for teachers in the grant process is a requirement of “meaningful stakeholder engagement.” Under this requirement, districts can improve their chances of securing a grant by, among other things, demonstrating support for their grant proposal from at least 70 percent or more of the teachers at campuses that would be affected.

If you see your district listed below among those that have applied for a Race to the Top grant, and you think your campus would be affected by the program, please let us know via a short survey  — https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/racetothetop2

Therefore, if we see our Texas school districts on the following list, we need to spread the word among the teachers in those districts because for the U. S. Dept. of Ed. to award the RTT-D2, at least 70% of the teachers in the district must have been surveyed and must have indicated their support for the RTT-D2 grant.  AFT is rightfully questioning whether the teachers in these districts have indeed had a voice in this decision.

Let’s encourage teachers (whose districts are on this list) to go to this link where they can indicate whether or not they have been asked by their administrators about the RTT-D2 grant application: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/racetothetop2

If the AFT can get enough survey responses to indicate the “meaningful stakeholder engagement” provision was not followed and that indeed at least 70% of teachers in a school district were either not asked or did not support the RTT-D2 grant, then the AFT can file formal complaints, asking the districts to withdraw their applications.

From what I understand, if the AFT gets enough feedback, they also plan to file a formal complaint with the U. S. Department of Education.  If the USDOE were to find out that the RTT-D2 applications were filed with inaccurate information in them, it would take points away from the scores and perhaps even make those applications ineligible for the grants.

By building a strong coalition of parents, taxpayers, moms, pops, and grandparents working together with local school district teachers, these RTT-D2 grants can be sidelined.  We must take action right now. Remember that the scoring by the USDOE is going on right now with the final decisions to be announced by the end of Dec. 2013.

LIST OF TEXAS EDUCATION ENTITIES THAT HAVE APPLIED FOR THE 2013 RTT-D2 GRANTS

10.2.13 – http://texasaftblog.com/hotline/?p=3289

Abilene Independent School District Texas
Aubrey Independent School District Texas
Argyle ISD Texas
Calallen ISD Texas
Celina ISD Texas
Everman ISD Texas
Grand Prairie ISD Texas
Krum ISD Texas
Lake Dallas ISD Texas
Marble Falls ISD Texas
Mart ISD Texas
Odem-Edroy ISD Texas
Pilot Point ISD Texas
Stamford ISD Texas
Taft ISD Texas
Bryan ISD Texas
Crockett ISD Texas
Goodrich ISD Texas
Clear Creek Independent School District Texas
Dallas Independent School District Texas
DeSoto ISD Texas
Edgewood Independent School District of San Antonio Texas
Carrizo Springs CSID Texas
Cotulla ISD Texas
Devine ISD Texas
Eagle Pass ISD Texas
La Pryor ISD Texas
Natalia ISD Texas
Pearsall ISD Texas
Poth ISD Texas
Edinburg Consolidated Ind. School District Texas
Education Services Center Region 12 Texas
Connally ISD Texas
La Vega ISD Texas
Waco Independent School District Texas
Galveston ISD Texas
Harlingen CISD Texas
Houston Independent School District Texas
La Joya Independent School District Texas
Lubbock-Cooper ISD Texas
Bovina ISD (BoISD) Texas
Brownfield ISD (BrISD) Texas
Dimmitt ISD (DISD) Texas
Farwell ISD (FaISD) Texas
Floydada ISD (FlISD) Texas
Hale Center ISD (HCISD) Texas
La Feria ISD (LFISD) Texas
Levelland ISD (LeISD) Texas
Littlefield ISD (LiISD) Texas
Meridian ISD (MISD) Texas
O’Donnell ISD (OISD) Texas
Petersburg ISD (PISD) Texas
Seagraves ISD (SeISD) Texas
Slaton ISD (SlISD) Texas
Smyer ISD (SmISD) Texas
South Plains Academy (SPA) Texas
Mabank Independent School District Texas
Monte Alto Independent School District Texas
Lasara ISD Texas
Santa Maria ISD Texas
Pasadena Independent School District Texas
Region 5 Education Service Center Texas
Burkeville ISD Texas
High Island ISD Texas
Newton ISD Texas
West Hardin ISD Texas
Region One Education Service Center (ESC1) Texas
Brownsville ISD Texas
Donna ISD Texas
Freer ISD Texas
Lyford CISD Texas
San Isidro ISD Texas

McAllen Independent ISD           Texas

Sharyland ISD Texas
Weslaco ISD Texas
Rio Grande City C.I.S.D. Texas
San Benito Consolidated Independent School District Texas
Santa Rosa ISD Texas
Rio Hondo ISD Texas
United Independent School District Texas
Uplift Education – Peak Preparatory Texas

 

Donna Garner

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

 

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