Monday, June 14, 2010

New Jersey the Outlier

Edweek’s Michele McNeil has looked at all the Round 2 Race to the Top applications and come to the following conclusion:
States significantly increased buy-in from local teachers’ unions in round two of the Race to the Top competition, but made far less progress in enlisting districts or expanding the number of students affected by the states’ education reform plans.

In this latest round of applications, those competing for a second time got, on average, 61 percent of their districts on board, and within those districts, 68 percent of local unions signed on. In the first round, those states on average had buy-in from 62 percent of districts and 46 percent of unions.
In other words, most states were able to increase the level of teacher union support from Round 1 to Round 2 without weakening applications, though there was not any meaningful increase in school district or school board support. States attributed increases in teacher union buy-in to better communication, more transparency, more time spent on explaining proposals, and legislatures (about a dozen of them, according to the New Teacher Project) passing teacher-evaluation laws that tie compensation to student performance.

New Jersey is not mentioned in the article, by the way. We don’t quite gel with the EdWeek thesis.