D. Transition Plan and Continuous Improvement

The extent to which the applicant has a—

  1. Clear and thoughtful transition plan, including:
    1. A complete analysis of its current status in supporting learners by personalizing the learning environment(s), including identification of existing needs and gaps which are addressed by the project plan; and
    2. A high-quality plan, including timeline, deliverables, and most substantial risks and appropriate mitigation of those risks, for phasing in elements of the plan over the grant period.
  2. Plan for increasing the number of students who receive instruction from effective and highly effective teachers and principals, including in hard-to-staff schools, subjects, and specialty areas, such as mathematics, science, and special education;
  3. High-quality plan for communication with both internal and external stakeholders; and
  4. Strategy for implementing a rigorous continuous improvement process that provides timely and regular feedback on progress towards project goals and opportunities for ongoing corrections during and after the term of the grant. This must include how the applicant will monitor, measure, and publicly share the quality of its Race to the Top District funded investments, such as professional development, technology and staff.

Comments

In order to strengthen RTT to be more inclusive especially those students that are over-age and undercredited, in foster care, juvenile justice or other marginalized students:

In item 2: insert “alternative and disciplinary schools”. In item 2.ii, add "over-age and undercredit students that may be in or out of school."

Wow. 17 (or more) negative votes for a suggestion that reviewers be fluent in the "Education Criteria for Performance Excellence." (I appreciate the favorable votes that bring the total up to -16 at this writing.)
Secretary Duncan needs to have a credible story for Attorney General Holder and Secretary Clinton regarding how Ed has addressed the Koh memos on CERD. Getting teachers the resources they need for success in high-minority classrooms would be a good first step. I'm not sure how Secretary Clinton justifies spending $100B (before the PD necessary for Common Core became available) helped address United Nations' concerns with human rights abuses in US public schools. The administration appears vulnerable to charges (from left and right) that money flowed without a credible treatment plan in place. As Steven Brill asks, will taxpayers (let alone schoolchildren) be getting a refund?

Garrison Keillor (2008): Democrats who are trashing it should take another look at the Reading First program. It is morally disgusting if Democrats throw out Republican programs that are good for children. ... Grown-ups who stick with dogma even though it condemns children to second-class lives should be put on buses and sent to North Dakota to hoe wheat for a year.

Steven Brill, Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools (page 310): "Pastorek of Louisiana told me the day after his state was declared a finalist on March 4 that he welcomed the chance to prepare for the vetters this way, but the only 'wild card in this, as far as I am concerned, is who the vetters are. None of them seem to have real experience.' The murder boards might know their stuff, he thought. Would the vetters?"

Steven Brill, Aspen Institute video: "The worst way to have a competitive grant program is probably to have disinterested outside vetters--except for every other way, which is probably worse ... Watch ... whether he [Secretary Duncan] sues to get the ... [Race to the Top] money back" (10/04/2011 www.aspeninstitute.org/video/steven-brill-discusses-his-new-book-class-w... @14 minutes.)

Randi Weingarten (2012): We know what works to strengthen teaching and learning. We should scale up effective programs used in the top-performing U.S. school districts and nations, not ignore them.

While there is language suggesting a plan to share the best practices developed under the program, it seems a stronger sustainable dissemination component should be required in order to share the knowledge, results, and improvement strategies with other school districts across the nation. Creating professional development around the proven improvement strategies is essential to train existing and next generation educators the successful tactics discovered/modeled under this grant. Such professional development should be broadly available over existing technologies in order for teachers, no matter when or where, to access the training.

"Strategy for implementing a rigorous continuous improvement process"

Will Ed.gov reviewers be fluent in the "Education Criteria for Performance Excellence?" The capacity for executing "rigorous continuous improvement" is essential, but rare--as evidenced by RttT states.

Why not insist upon this expertise in both reviewers and awardees? Or insist awardees benefit from expertise with the Education Criteria for Performance Excellence?

Or is the RTT-D framework intended to promote rapid adoption of pre-selected "silver bullets" rather than the thinking and learning necessary for continuous improvement? How does RTT-D leverage lessons learned from Montgomery County Public Schools, recognized by both Ed (for union collaboration) and Commerce (for continuous improvement)?

include parent and community; again tax payers dollars