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'Firewall' States Argue They Qualify for RTTT

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The blogosphere is absolutely buzzing about the data-firewall issue in the Race to the Top Fund.

The administration's position seems pretty clear, and certainly Duncan has been vocal about it over the last few days. But we're seeing stakeholders in the three states that this seems to apply to—New York, California and Wisconsin—offer arguments for why their laws aren't really firewalls and why they should be able to compete for the funds anyway.

I fully realize not all of you may be as fascinated by the complete geekiness of this topic, so I'll give you the Cliffs' Notes version of these states' arguments:

New York: "OK, our law says you can't use test data in teacher-tenure decisions, but teachers have to demonstrate how they'll use data to get tenure. Besides, the law only refers to tenure, not all those other teacher things."
California: "OK, just because there's a state prohibition on the use of this data doesn't mean local districts can't choose to include it on their own. Like, six whole districts already do!"
Wisconsin: "OK, we can't use our NCLB tests for these teacher-related purposes, but we have all kinds of other tests we could use!"

Over at Swift & Change Able, Charlie Barone thinks the real push will come in the form of stealth campaigns to weaken the language in the proposed regulations. No doubt he's remembering all that midnight horse-trading that went down during the writing of No Child Left Behind.

We live in interesting times...

2 Comments

It's about time! The unions should not fight this. It is not a teachers right to teach poorly or inneffectively and get job security. What I see happening in the classrooms of my peers should be illegal. I use data and it works! I don't like the hours it takes from me grading or planning, but I do it because I have reaped the rewards. I can and do move my students up in proficiency in math and ELA, there is no reason it can't be done by others, especially by a math or ELA teacher. Now, to be fair, I do not achieve this success in my content area. I achieve it with my advisory students and AVID students, where I have time to dedicate to talking with them, developing relationships, mentor, tutor, etc. Does this mean its not possible in my regular class time? No, it will simply take more time and work. With RTTT, I am more motivated to do so because I will no longer be ostracized by the older, grumpy, jaded teachers who throw their salary amount in my face every time they walk by my room as they go home and I stay advising a club or tutoring past contractual hours. Now they will have to be in the better teaching boat right along with me. I forsee a lot of early retirements.

Now, to be fair, I do not achieve this success in my content area. I achieve it with my advisory students and AVID students, where I have time to dedicate to talking with them, developing relationships, mentor, tutor, etc.

So you're excited about the success that the kids have in the content area classes taught by the other grumpy teachers, but you're more than happy to take credit for that success because of advisory period, and you wonder why the other teachers don't like you?

Oy.

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