Last month, New York’s Race to the Top delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. to pitch its case for why the state deserved a slice of the $4.3 billion competitive federal grant pool. We already know the result, of course: New York was second-to-last among finalists, and was one of just three states that lost points after the interview round.
But today the U.S. Department of Education posted full videos of the presentation and the subsequent question-and-answer session, so we can now see precisely how the judges framed their questions and how the state defended itself. Many of the judges’ concerns are likely to drive how the state revises its application for the next round of competition.
Many of the questions revolve around how the state plans to build local support for its reforms, and particularly how the state can resolve disagreements between school districts trying to change how teachers are evaluated and teachers unions resisting those changes.
“I actually think it’s great that you are being serious about engaging stakeholders at those local-level conversations, but there will be a point where those conversations get difficult,” one review said. “And the question is, what’s the state going to do then?”
Senior Deputy Chancellor John King responded to one thing the state can do is require that districts use student data as one element in evaluations. Districts and unions would then bargain how heavily the test scores would be weighted.
There’s a lot here to sift through. Now that the weather has returned to a gloomy gray, cuddle up with your laptops and watch; let us know your observations in the comments.