“MY GREATEST CONCERN IS THAT WE WILL SPEND, AS A STATE, $400 MILLION IN THE NEXT FOUR YEARS AND A TRUE TRANSFORMATION WILL NOT HAVE TAKEN PLACE.”
Muscogee County School District Superintendent Dr. Susan Andrews agreed to answer some questions I have about education reform in America, Georgia, and Muscogee County. Yesterday she explained the effects of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program. Today, she explains the effects of President Obama’s Race to the Top.
Race to the Top is a federal grant for school reform. The purpose of this grant is to transform the nation’s lowest performing schools, to enhance teaching and learning, to ensure the implementation of the Common Core Standards, and to allow for teachers to use the most current data available to inform their instruction day to day, as well as providing them longitudinal data so they can see student progress over time. Muscogee County will be receiving $11.6 million dollars over the next four years. I am excited to be at the table as we begin these initiatives. My greatest concern is that we will spend, as a state, $400 million dollars in the next four years and a true transformation will not have taken place. We are going to work very hard in Muscogee County to use this money over the next four years to implement the reforms with integrity and make a difference in the achievement of all students. A large portion of this money had to be set aside for year four of the grant to provide bonuses for teachers who reach a certain level on the Teacher Effectiveness Scale which will be developed at the State level. The State told districts how much of the money to set aside for that purpose. Another large portion of the money will be spent on building capacity among our teaching staff through targeted professional development.
Having said all of that I must remind everyone that in America, we value every child and believe that every child should have the opportunity to be educated in our public schools. We are educating more students, with more diversity, to higher levels than at any time in the history of our nation. That is a story that doesn’t often get told. Providing a quality education for all students is a civil right due to all American children.