Teaching Profession

AFT on the Race to the Top: “Overly Prescriptive”

By Stephen Sawchuk — August 21, 2009 1 min read
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I was poking around on the American Federation of Teachers’ Web site and came across this blurb from their Inside AFT newsletter about the union’s thoughts on the Race to the Top fund. Apparently, it held a webinar for its affiliates to get them up to speed on the $4.35 billion program.

In general, the AFT believes the administration's draft 'is being overly prescriptive in many areas' of the new program, legislation director Tor Cowan explained, 'and this is crowding out the chance to use evidence-based solutions already developed on the local level.' "

Most of the newsletter is behind a firewall, and AFT will probably submit much more detailed comments on the proposed criteria closer to the comment deadline.

Still, the unions have been fairly quiet about the RTTT, and this indicates some dissatisfaction with the guidelines, which put a premium on using test scores in evaluating teachers. Also, it is evidence of a philosophical difference in reform approaches between ED, which has 19 different criteria in the Race to the Top application, and the AFT, which put only a few guidelines around its own $1 million innovation fund.

I wonder what the “collaboration meter”is registering these days over at AFT HQ.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.