Our teachers’ union local has just decided to not support our Superintendent’s plan to apply for District Race To The Top funds. A diverse committee, including Alice Mercer, Lori Jablonski and myself (I’m just including our three names and links because of our social media activity) met to develop a report and recommendations to our Executive Board, which has issued this statement:

Sacramento City Teachers Association declines to participate in Race to the Top

SCTA appreciates the Superintendent’s desire to raise more funds and agree that having sufficient resources is critical to our students’ education. And, as we have done in the past, we will continue to also offer our own ideas on how to funnel more monies directly to the classroom.
However, we feel that putting time and effort into crafting a proposal for the District Race to the Top program would be unwise and we cannot support it for several reasons:

One, all of our efforts should be devoted to supporting Governor Brown’s Prop 30 initiative, which will provide long-term, not a temporary, support to our schools. We only have a few weeks left to organize for its passage.

Two, Race to the Top requires a teacher evaluation program in place. Though we may not agree with everything said by the Sacramento Bee and School Board member Jeff Cuneo, we do agree with their position that the development of a teacher evaluation system should not be rushed. A few weeks certainly would fit the definition of “rushed.”

Three, with 900 School Districts from around the country applying for $400 million in RTTT funds, and with the expectation that only 15-25 districts will actually receive a grant, the odds are long that our District even stands a chance of getting the funds. In addition to putting our efforts into securing passage of Prop. 30, we think collaborating on a plan for a local tax initiative to support our Sacramento schools would be a better use of district and teacher time.

Recommendations on September 10th, from the Educator Excellence Task Force appointed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson were based on the input of educators, who worked for months on the findings. This shows the effort that is needed, and this could be the basis for an evaluation program that educators believe in – one that de-emphasis high-stakes testing and supports teacher development.

We would like future discussions to be given the time needed to be fruitful, and look forward to entering into amicable discussions with the district on this topic in the future.

You can learn about the Educator Excellence Task Force recommendations at The Best Resources On The Newly-Released California Educator Excellence Task Force Report.

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources On “Race To The Top” (& On “Personalized Learning”).