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Education officials around the country are now waiting for the final guidelines for the Race to the Top district level competition, which will award between $15 million and $25 million to as many as 20 school districts across the country. Like previous rounds of Race to the Top, the U.S. Department of Education plans to award schools that promise to make reforms to their standards and assessments, improve teacher effectiveness by revamping teacher-evaluation systems, collect and use better data, and turn around low-performing schools. This new competition also places an emphasis on personalized learning.
The prospect of new money, not to mention the status associated with winning a federal-level award, could spur significant changes in a school district. In comments sent to the Department of Education last Friday, the PreK-3rd Grade National Work Group — a group including members of the Early Education Initiative that promotes high-quality learning experiences for children ages 3 to 8 — submitted its thoughts on a draft of the guidelines posted by the department last month. The national work group identified which parts of the proposed guidelines are strong, and which parts could be stronger.
In this podcast, we speak with Kristie Kauerz, research scientist and program director of PreK-3rd grade education at the University of Washington, and a member of the PreK-3rd National Work Group. Kauerz discusses the potential strengths and pitfalls of offering money at a district level and points to some districts she thinks could be models for districts applying for the new Race to the Top money.
“This is really providing the opportunity to finally bring together some of the really great reform efforts going on in the birth-to-five realm, and some of the really great reform efforts going on in the K-12 realm,” Kauerz says. She also thinks that investing at the district level, where the “rubber hits the road,” could allow districts to link and align the early childhood centers, elementary schools and others in a given neighborhood.
Early Ed Watch podcast – June 12, 2012
PreK-3rd and the Race to the Top District Competition
With our guest Kristie Kauerz, research scientist and program director of PreK-3rd grade education at the University of Washington.
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