OEA: Race to the Top rules have strong points, raise concerns
In a formal comment to the U.S. Department of Education, the Ohio Education Association expressed general support of the goals of the Race to the Top Program.
Please click here to view the letter in .pdf form.
The Race to the Top program, which will provide a limited number of states with competitive grants for education reform, has many features that are appealing, including a significant reliance on teacher professional development, teacher quality and teacher input for reform measures to be successfu.
But OEA cautioned against the tendency of the Race to the Top rules on two issues:
- OEA opposes over-reliance on student test score data to make critical decisions on teachers and students.
As the letter to the U.S. DOE says, "Although student outcomes can be considered as one of several criteria for assessing the practice of teachers and principals, OEA believes as most researchers do that the use of student outcomes as the primary indicator of success is inappropriate to achieve the desired result of a valid, fair and robust educator evaluation system."
- Secondly, OEA raised a concern about broad expansion of charter schools in Ohio, without taking into account Ohio's experience with charter schools and the need for stricter accountability in these schools.
"We are concerned, however, that the Race to the Top rules put the federal government in the position of mandating changes in Ohio that would dilute the quality of our new reform legislation," OEA said. Ohio and other states should be allowed "to determine the policies for regulating the growth of charter schools," taking into account state experience.
To download a .pdf facsimile of Patricia Frost-Brooks's letter on Race to the Top to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, please click here.