Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are on the road today promoting the Race to the Top program—and union-school district collaboration—at a visit to a Delaware high school.
Duncan has been preaching cooperation-not-conflict for some time now, even as unions and GOP lawmakers stage high-profile battles in several states, most notably Wisconsin and Ohio.
Delaware was one of the first states named a winner in the federal grant competition, receiving $100 milllion, and the administration says the state’s plan reflects the sort of bridge-building the administration wants to promote. Nationally, 11 states and the District of Columbia received money through the $4 billion competition.
The VP, who used to represent Delaware in the U.S. Senate, and the secretary will appear at Howard High School of Technology, in Wilmington, a school that was a pioneer in serving African-American students and is in the process of undergoing an academic overhaul with several Race to the Top components.
Delaware had strong buy-in from the affiliate of the National Education Association in its Race to the Top plan, and the president of the state organization is expected to appear at the event today.
Department officials also note that, as part of the state’s RTT plan, educators helped develop student academic growth measures and a process through which time is carved out for teacher lesson planning and sharing of best practices. Teachers are also expected to use information from data coaches to inform their instruction. You can read the state’s full plan here.
Delaware has also created new Partnership Zones (see page 177 of the state plan) designed to improve low-performing schools. The state has already approved longer school days and school years and more instructional time in some of those partnership zones, according to the department.
Howard High School is taking part in the Partnership Zone program, and teachers at the school, according to the department, have agreed to modify their collective bargaining agreement to allow for implementation of the school’s transformation plan.
Will states’ Race to the Top plans provide the sort of example of a collaborative balm that the administration hopes for, one that can set example for the rest of the country?
Photo: Vice President Joe Biden talks with students at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Del., on March 21. (Cliff Owen/AP)
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.