Home > Standardized Testing > Race To The Top or Bust?

Race To The Top or Bust?

On July 24, 2009 President Obama initiated Race to the Top, a $4.35 Billion dollar program designed to help reform
in-state and local district K-12 education.  This type of reform was the type that would get any state school involved. The reason why these types of schools would get involved is because the government is offering money to schools that have high test scores. The state schools that were trying to compete had to meet various requirements in order to apply for the government funding. The requirements were things such as; the raising of academic standards, recruitment, keeping good teachers, track student performance and have a plan to turn around failing schools. As a high school graduate and current college student that has been through the effects of Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind my belief is that race to the top should not have ever came in to effect in the first place. Waving money in schools faces is unethical it might get these types of schools to raise standards and test better but that often doesn’t mean that they will improve.

There are a lot of questions people are asking but the question that sticks in my mind is: “How are kids supposed
to compete with higher standards when it was hard to meet previous ones?” Each standard is worth a specific amount of points so they can rank were each school stands. The standards are great teachers and leaders which are worth 138 total
points this is based on how well the teacher teaches the students. The second one is the state success factors, which are worth 125 total points this is based on the proposed plan of the school. The third is the standards and assessments which are worth 70 points were the school is graded upon if they adopted and developed common standards. The next is on general selection
criteria which is worth a total of 55 points basically is about making sure you are teaching your kids what they need to know. The fifth standard is turning around the lowest-achieving schools, which is worth a total of 50 points which
is just what it says turning around a low scoring school. Finally, the sixth which is data systems to support instruction this is worth 47 total points this standard means that they follow what the government tells you to teach. This is
only 485 points but there is also to account for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), which in addition is worth the final 15 points. Because the Race to the Top has so many standards it is pressuring students to either succeed or completely give up and teachers are become more reliant on the standards that come with this test to teach their students (Obama, 2008).

            The effects of these standards are seen in the schools and the children they hold within the walls of the establishment.  Each state, such as Illinois, Massachusetts and, West Virginia was affected differently. Illinois lifted the cap on charter schools so that they can have more schools for testing. Massachusetts made it possible for students in lower performing
schools to switch to charter schools. West Virginia had a different reaction to the standards imposed on them. They proposed a merit pay system that includes student achievement in its compensation calculations. Because of testing, states are changing their laws to benefit the schools that are testing for money. This does little to benefit the schools that do not make good enough
scores to receive good funding (Vermont).

            Being a freshman in college my high schools days are not far behind me. When I was in high school I witnessed a number of the effects by No Child Left Behind plus Race To The Top. Our teachers in are high school would teach only what it is on
the test and nothing more than that. While this was helpful for the school scoring wise but for a student that wants to continue to further their education this method of teaching is very ineffective.  When I entered college in August of 2010 I was
very surprise by the teaching style and what the teachers expected me to have learned. The reason that I did not learn during my high school years is because the fact that they taught to the test and not what they thought was important.
When I reached my freshman year in college I was required to take remedial math which to me was a waste of my time. I learned during my time in this particular class that most students could not even conduct the simplest long division
problem without using a calculator. Race to the Top is another excuse for the government to have power over each state without announcing what their particular plan is. This way is very successful because teachers in K-12 need to keep their jobs while care for their students and while caring for their students they must teach them the things that will prepare them for the test.
The test is a valuable key to education because without government funding teaching students becomes much harder. Without money school, teachers and, students lack the benefits of education because every kid has a different way of learning. The dangling of money in front of public, charter or private schools makes education flawed and unmoral. Race To The Top and No Child Left Behind should be put to rest. The change that I would like to see is equality that all schools good or bad received the same amount of money so that teaching can prevail and students can learn what they need to in order to higher their
education.

Works cited

“Obama offers ‘Race to the Top’ contest for
schools”
.
The Guardian (London). January

23, 2008. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8625198?FORM=ZZNR7. Retrieved April
4, 2011.

Vermont sits out first round in Race to the Top
competition”
. Burlington Free Press. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20100125/NEWS02/100124021/Vermont-sits-out-first-round-in-Race-to-the-Top-competition.
Retrieved April 4, 2011

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Categories: Standardized Testing
  1. Cheryl Mitchell
    May 21, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I was very interested in reading the post from the freshman who found himself taking remedial math in college. He wrote, “I learned during my time in the particular class (remedial math) that most students could not even conduct the simplest long division problem without without using a calculator.” The reason for this is that public schools have stopped teaching real math, and that students are no longer required to learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. No one can do long division without knowing his or her multiplication tables. Students are being cheated by reform math and they are not even given the choice of taking classes that would help them. I am interested in hearing from other students who are having problems, as I am trying to document that what is being taught in public school is not working.

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