Nearly 900 districts to apply for Race to the Top funding

“We don’t know a lot about the specifics of what a good system looks like in different settings,” Loveless said.

Education historian Diane Ravitch said she has the same concerns about the district-level competition as she did the state Race to the Top.

“It’s turning education into a competition,” she said. “It’s not a competition. It’s a slow developmental process that involves everybody.”

Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools in Florida, one of the states awarded Race to the Top funds, said the district-level competition would give “the ability to achieve rapid and catalytic transformation at the local level without a state process to be navigated.”

The district’s application will focus on personalizing education for students based on how they best learn, rely more on digital content, and changing the learning environment and outcomes of middle school students who have fallen behind.

“This is a creative and effective way of spurring reform from the bottom up,” he said.

Carvalho, a 2011 recipient of of the Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards from eSchool Media, said he wasn’t daunted by the idea of a superintendent evaluation, especially given that teachers and principals are now given them as well.

“I think it is fair it is extended at all levels of the organization,” he said.

For more news and opinion about school reform, see:

Bill Gates: The keys to effective teacher evaluation

On ed tech, we’re asking the wrong question

School Reform Center at eSN Online

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