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AMAZING RACE: President Announces Education Winners

TOP OF THE HEAP: Education Reform Prize Winners Named

 

The President announced the winners of his “Race to the Top” education reform competition.  Schools across the country initiated education reforms, including new teacher accountability criteria, in an effort to receive part of the $3.4 billion reward, which is part of the stimulus package. The money will be shared by the winning states of Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

MOMism: Shake it up, baby.  When the status quo is not working, then we’ve got the shake it up a little.  It makes things more interesting, that’s for sure!  Our kids should know they do not have to accept the way things are done, just because that’s the way they’ve always been done.  If something’s not working, then we need to try another approach.  The President is challenging states to try something new…to come up with our own solutions for our struggling public schools.  MAMAs – what are your blue ribbon ideas to improve our schools?

21 Responses to AMAZING RACE: President Announces Education Winners

  1. Anonymous August 25, 2010 at 8:53 pm #
    Opinionated MAMA

    Let's also recognize, as a country, the incredible importance of early childhood education in the future success of our children. By the time I get my Kindergarten students, they have had 5-6 years of experience to develop their brains and get them ready (or not) for the rigors of a 21st Century education. This ain't your mama's Kindergarten! Times have surely changed since I began teaching in 1996, and the kids who have no previous experience (either at home or in a formal preschool) are at a distinct disadvantage. Parents who believe that the school will teach their child(ren) everything needed, and provide little or no enrichment for their preschool aged kids, are creating a situation where their children are behind before they've even begun! And now, I will step down off my soapbox. Thanks for listening! Also, please excuse any typos or lapses in grammar, as I am exhausted after yet another workday which began at 6:30 and ended at 5:30, then carried over into my evening for an additional 90 minutes of work at home after our son has gone to bed. All this, for less money than someone working in restaurant management without any college education… Remind me, why did I get that Master's Degree??? Okay -stepping off my soapbox. Again. Really.

    • Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 4:33 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      Oh great, another "teacher" sniveling about having to do her job, and trying to lay the blame, in advance, for his/her failure anywhere else possible.
      When I entered my daughter into public schools, after homeschooling, at the 6th grade level, she tested at a grade 12.8 in reading. All she wanted was to be a pediatrician. After a few years with burnt out losers like you, complaining about having to do WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR (no one forced you into this job, remember that!) she now has NO aspirations for college at all, and is willing to settle for being a COSMETOLOGIST???!!!
      I have nothing but rage and resentment for those like you who don't just EARN the damned paycheck INSTEAD OF GIVING CONSTANT EXCUSES FOR YOU OVERWHELMING FAILURE.

    • Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 5:11 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      Why would you assume that a child's change of professional aspiration from pediatrician to cosmetologist would have anything to do with school? What kind of logic makes that case? Not enough information is given. ALL the teachers I know, and I know quite a few, socially and through my work, are extremely hard working, smart and dedicated. Your accusation, also made without adequate information, is kind of scary, certainly hate-filled and unhelpful to this conversation.

    • Anonymous August 29, 2010 at 9:28 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      Hello Felix. Wow. Your comments are both insulting and uninformed. You know NOTHING about my success or failure as a teacher, nor of the positive impact my years of service have had on my students. With regard to my opinion that our citizens need to be educated on the importance of early childhood education, and ensure that their child(ren) is/are ready for school, I stand by my statements. Am I trying to make excuses for my own failures? Absolutely not. I work extremely hard (as in, more than 12 hours a day during the week and countless hours on my weekends) to ensure the success of ALL my students, regardless of their skills when they begin school. Our school also provides individual support to help EVERY student achieve to the best of their ability. Yes, I am frustrated that I make less than my neighbor after all the years I have dedicated to the profession. And yes, no one forced me into the job. I chose it of my own free will. If I'd had a better understanding of the economic ramifications, perhaps I would have chosen differently… However, coming from a family of teachers who were greatly satisfied with their professional lives, I did not fully understand how poorly educators are paid for the level of professional service they should deliver. You accuse me of "laying blame" and yet go on to lay the blame for your child's choices at the feet of her teachers. Hmmm… Could it be that her peers have a great amount of influence on your daughter, given that she is a teenager? I hope she finds happiness in whatever career path she chooses – and I hope you will provide loving guidance to her on her path to adulthood. To graminator, thank you for your support.

  2. Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 4:29 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    What an assinine idea, and too much like the bogus no child left behind, which only resulted in exasperating the situation,not helping it, to even be considered original in any way. This is just throwing good money after bad, and an idiotic way to try to improve things. May as well be giving a junkie meth and thinking it will cure him.
    Clean up the schools, get rid of the illegals, and there will be all the funding you need. Stealing even more from the taxpayers and putting it into a failing system is not the answer. We all saw how those bogus tests, to supposedly measure teacher performance, turned into the opposite of education improvement. IF YOU'RE A PARENT PAYING ATTENTION, that is. Just exactly what did these "blue ribbon winners" DO? Are these ribbons as big of a joke as the Peace Prize is by now?
    I swear, obama is only interested in getting us further in debt with nothing but bona fide BS, and is once again showing that he is just talking out his ass about something he knows nothing about. When was the last time the punk was anywhere near a school, much less sat through a class or interviewed the students, like I do every damned year. I loathe this worthless prick and REALLY look forward to his removal, BY ANY MEANS.
    Early childhood development IS WAY TOO IMPORTANT for him to be trying to USE it to manipulate idiots, and that is all that I see this as being.

  3. Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 5:06 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    Felix, I hope you calm down before you have a stroke. If the government does not spend money educating our citizens, we ALL suffer. As an employer, I know this first hand. It is fine that your homeschooled daughter tested so well when she entered school, mine did too. They are smart, came from homes where all the elements of learning: good diet, regular, creative and engaging interaction, etc were present. This is NOT TRUE OF ALL HOMES. When my children entered school (one wanted to be a marine biologist, the other, smartly, refused to say, at the age of 8), they found classmates who had not had breakfast, who arrived in brutally cold weather wearing sandals, who sometimes had a parent in jail, who were traumatized by things that happened at home, who had to take time off from school to translate for their (legally here) parents. This is what teachers are dealing with, not just your very well cared for child. This is what frustrates and overworks parents. And this is what we deal with as employers, as parents active in our communities, as grandparents caring about the future.

    Obama is trying to get the conversation started in a new way, get some sense of competition and lively interaction going. Of course, if we only care about balancing the budget, we will pay for it in much bigger and worse ways down the road. I am not decided about this new program. No child left behind was a cynical bureaucratic mess. My daughter in law is starting to teach this fall. There are many teachers of all grades among my friends and family . I will keep my ears open, and my mind open to see what happens.

    • Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 9:15 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      graminator, get over yourself, first and foremost. Then, try to read what is written, instead of making crap up. Never said we shouldn't spend money to educate our citizens. I said to quit wasting it on other things. As an employer, you should know just how horrific the "average" education is becoming due to the watering down. Why play like you have your head in the sand about the big picture? And why is it that you want to hold me to some bogus standard on some internet site, but want to give a pass to all those parents who don't apply themselves to raising their children properly? The bit about having to translate for their lame, lazy parents who don't even learn the language, was pathetic!!!
      And why are you putting crap like this on teachers, when it isn't their job? There are there to teach, not to be social workers for dysfunctional junkies, or break up fights between rival gangs… And how do you go from trying to excuse these parents, to "This is what frustrates and overworks parents…" Those "parents" and their off spring are not my responsibility. I advocate NOT HAVING KIDS IF YOU AREN'T GOING TO RAISE THEM.
      As far as being an employer, I simply do not hire those who aren't qualified. Simply enough.
      your comments about obama seem to be more fantasy than fact, and no clue where you get this impression, as I see the opposite. Especially when you imply he has any interest in balancing the budget, that's laughable. Seems he just wants to flush more of our money down the toilet every time we turn around, if michelle hasn't spent it all on a yet another shopping spree LOL
      As far as having teachers in the family, my mother was one, my aunt still is, so yeah, I know just how full of it this whole load of BS is.
      Teachers should teach. If they can't or won't, they need to get kicked off the payroll. In this county, I have had 2 principals, one counselor and a teacher removed for either not doing their job, or engaging in point blank criminal conduct that directly endangers the kids. What the hell have you done to REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Don't just make noise or throw money at a problem, DO SOMETHING. Sure, those kids were bigger than me, and greatly outnumbered me, but sure as hell didn't keep me from stopping 5 from jumping the one. People like you are what angers me. Nothing but lame excuses, wanting to throw money at problems that can't be fixed with any amount of money if not utilized in efficient, and productive ways, just following obama like a mindless puppet. You even admitted, "I am not decided about this new program." Don't even really know what you think, much less are talking about (how many years did you put in teaching, I have about 30), but think you can take shots at me? To hell with that one, as it IS a large reason why people like you are a part of the problem, not the solution. How about you calm down, get off your high horse, and find out what really goes on, where the money really goes…and then get back to me. I have been dealing with this mess, and especially the bullying, all the way from this district to the United States Department of Public Education for YEARS.

  4. Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 6:23 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    Teachers and students need to be affirmed when they do a good job. The current system does not reward good teachers financially. Many teachers leave the profession within 5 years because they are burned out. If we can find ways to retain teachers and stimulate the learning environment this program will be a success.

  5. Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 6:52 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    This is the wrong kind of competition for state"s school due to the fact that all states school are all endanger of losing money,teachers,and closing schools. With the Presidents telling us no students will be leave behind, what happen to this? Are we going back to one-room schoolhouses? Or more homeschooling?

  6. Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 7:23 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    Need More better paid teachers, and less students per class

  7. Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 8:05 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    First off, a 'competition' based on costly presentations rubbed me the wrong way – especially when so many schools are in need. Even the just passed "stimulus" legislation to save teacher's jobs is not working for some States. For instance, the distribution is based on a district's "poverty" level. In my State, the district that had to lay off the greatest number of teachers will not receive any of the funds because they are above that level.
    For the RT3 competition, some critics are already questioning how the winners were REALLY selected – Ohio supposedly had a very mediocre plan/presentation as compared to other States who did not win.

    Some States that competed had introduced and passed legislation – without going to the citizens of their state – in order to satisfy the NEA's "rules" for competing.
    They also 'forced' some of their districts to sign "Memorandum of Understanding" that the NEA required as part of the application. Missouri, 'encouraged' districts to "sign-up," and indicated that they could opt-out after the competition was over.

    States also spent thousands of dollars on resources – including people – for the competition. States had to pay for travel expenses to required "technical assistance workshops" out of their RT3 grants.
    For the losing states, there is no reimbursement of that money. When many are so strapped and cutting educational programs, what is the justification?
    And the States that "won" ~ will their schools now have an opportunity to be "better" than other Sates? What happens when the funds provided by the NEA run out? Will the changes the schools make be sustainable?

    Earlier this year I visited the NEA site to see would be req'd of the States to secure the funding. One item that was particularly disturbing was the Federal Dept of Education will have rights to fire teachers/staff, close schools, etc that were not performing based on new Dept of Ed's requirements. Also, currently, the NEA 'suggests' State levels use their lesson plans. For the winning States, they will be required use them. These points, among other items, continues the trend that States powers are being diminished.

    Finally, the majority of the current administration, as well as parents across the nation, have criticized the "No Child Left Behind Program" as it bound many schools to unreasonable standards, and removed control from the State. Teachers began to "teach to pass the test," rather to ensure understanding of the material.
    With RT3, the administration has done an about face in which it serves only to expound on that failed program.
    All the money in the world will not MAKE a student want to learn. It is said that the Detroit school system is one of the top recipients of tax dollars per student and is the worst school system in the United States. We provide free education and if someone is not willing to do the work or is not capable of doing the work, all the money in the world won't change things.
    n Missouri, most city schools have a higher per pupil expenditure than the rest of the districts, but the LOWEST performance.
    Changing school performance starts at the local level – and in the home – not at the Federal level. "It takes a village…"

  8. Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 9:44 pm #
    Opinionated MAMA

    I noticed that the state of PA was not one of the winners for this. Every person in this state pays a school tax. The parents are very involved in their childrens education. Just talk about a raise to the school tax or shut down a school, and the meeting house will be filled to overflowing with more people and opinions then you can shake a stick at. It was recently said that our children in our schools will wait for the others to get to the top with them.

  9. Anonymous August 30, 2010 at 6:39 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    graminator, my suggestion is in putting the money back where they stole it from, and reinstating the same curriculum, with the technological updates, as there used to be when we were prospering. Forget wasting it on things like ESL, gang management (why in the hell they don't just treat those criminals the same when found in schools as they would when picked up in the streets, I will never know, cops need to deal with them, not teachers)… And no, don't take time away from legitimate studies for idiotic propaganda campaigns. It isn't the place for it. And for crying out loud, hold teachers accountable and quit buying into excuses that I know from personal experience are JUST excuses and not valid reasons.

  10. Anonymous August 30, 2010 at 6:55 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    calijen, weren't you the same teacher complaining about having to do the job you signed up for? LOL And I am supposed to respect your griping? Fat chance. As long as you cash that paycheck, STFU! You are enjoying the additional benefits of the job as well, aren't you? Seems it isn't all that bad if you are still doing it. so, your remarks show your success, or should I say failure, in the area of personal accountability. Noticed you advocated that children learn at home, and no expect teachers to do it all. Looked like you wanted them taught before they got there so you could just sit back and do nothing at all LOL
    Sure, I may not know you personally, only what you post here, which did look exactly like the same crap I have been hearing from the deadwood teachers for the 35+ years I have been personally dealing with them. I have 45 years total in early childhood education and development, along with the education on the same subject to back it, and you? Yeah, bite me if you think I don't have the experience to know what goes on, what the average teacher deals with, here and in other countries. Guess you are one of those teachers who needs to learn a few things themself, especially regarding assumptions LOL
    Oh, and while I may have this much experience, not all by a long shot was paid for, I VOLUNTEERED FOR FREE BECAUSE I THINK THE KIDS ARE WORTH IT. So spare me the crap about how much you get paid.
    I do not lay blame for my child's choices on teachers, I blame them for creating an atmosphere, especially with the point blank sexual harassment from one, where she was repulsed from the entire concept of school, as it was not only a hostile and perverse environment, it was a hate filled one DUE TO THE STAFF. Her peers? LOL She was raised to expect them to raise their standards to associate with her, not the other way around. Trash is not an option around here. She may be a teenager, but I am still the parent. Some of us are still doing our jobs, and for the record, her older brother is already working toward his doctorate. I am trying to just plain get her into a decent school, as I do have access to the Bellevue School District (look it up, its in Washington).
    And spare me your sarcasm regarding her future, I already know it will be better than your present, from your own admissions.

    • Anonymous September 4, 2010 at 9:32 pm #
      Opinionated MAMA

      My comments were sincere, not sarcastic. You seem to have difficulty recognizing the difference. Your anger is toxic to everyone involved.

    • Anonymous September 5, 2010 at 5:58 am #
      Opinionated MAMA

      Apparently you are one of those narrow minded teachers that needs a bit of schooling herself. "Teachers" who want to have the parents do what they get paid for, deserve not only the anger of parents, but the disgust I feel when reading your remarks.
      No way you are going to dodge your lack of accountability by attacking me and calling me toxic LOL Just another lame, shady tactic of a certain group backing a certain fraud.
      This is yet another thing that teachers should definitely be barred from. Lying, to and about our kids. I get real sick of that one as well.

  11. Anonymous August 30, 2010 at 7:00 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    graminator, why the school etc?
    Male teachers sexually harassing her, and then protected from criminal prosecution by the administration.
    Gang member being protected by administration because they are more afraid for themselves than the students.
    Teachers acting like the gang members themselves.
    Teachers stealing school supplies from students.
    Teachers refusing to answer questions, just, "Go back and read it again", and then the teacher goes back to their computer games.
    False claims of her skipping classes to harass her, and these are not only constant, every time she has had proof they were lying.
    In and out of civil and criminal court for protection orders, as far back as elementary school when I had to restrain the principal himself from her (he lost his job, and many kids were quite relieved, as now the bullies didn't have him backing them).
    When I joined the Anti Bullying Task Force, I found out all they do is make up more excuses for why they JUST SIT THERE PASSING A TUB OF LICORICE AROUND THE TABLE WHILE TALKING ABOUT THEIR WEEKEND!
    Shall I go on?

  12. Anonymous August 30, 2010 at 7:04 am #
    Opinionated MAMA

    Seems to me that the teachers are still up to the same old same old. Blame everyone except themselves, when the school is their "house", and they can't even keep it in straight enough order to do what we pay them for. Yes, I own property, and yes, I pay my taxes, and a buckload at that on a property like this one. So, I do think I should be able to expect teachers to at least do what they are supposed to. I have been the one to teach my child to read, write, spelling (one teacher went the entire school year without correcting the error between "whether" and "weather" even once, so he was actually teaching her to do it WRONG!!!), math…and of course the basic living skills like cooking, shopping, budgeting, etc.
    The only thing she ever really learned during the last school year was American Sign Language, and that course has been dropped, so…

  13. Anonymous September 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm #
    Opinionated MAMA

    I'm proud to say that our State of Ohio is in the tops for kids success for public schools.
    My school system has attained an excellent rating 3 years in a row.
    When it comes down to it, we must hold all accountable and to a high standard.
    If our kids are not excelling and do not graduate then we need to look at who is at the top and work our way down.
    A lot of people think starting at the bottom and working your way up is the answer, but when it comes down to it "The Buck Stops Here!" at the top.
    I have found that by eliminating problems at the top, you end up taking care of the problems at the bottom.
    Either the people get off the bus at the bottom or they get on the bus going in the right direction when they see there is no option, because they have strong leaders at the top.
    We need to start holding top officials accountable for the job they do. So far I don't really see this happening. It wasn't done at the car companies, not done in wall street and not done for the banks and large corporations.
    Privatizing schools isn't the answer either. I have seen many corrupt charter schools who just opened under a different name when they didn't help the kids get a better education or blew the money given to them by the state.
    Stand up as a parent, do your homework, don't be afraid to speak out. Bring groups to make your voice heard stronger. Your child has everything to lose if you don't stand up for them!
    How do I know this works? I followed these exact words I just gave you and now have helped change the direction our school district has taken.
    I didn't let them bully me into being silent, I just spoke more often when they tried and made sure others became informed.
    I went to ODE (Ohio Department of Education) to find out about funding. I asked for funding information from our school, as well as staff evaluations (all public information). They must within a reasonable amount of time get you this information, as long as you put it in writing.
    If not they break the law.
    I'd love to say it will be easy, but in the end it is worth the reward of knowing your child receives a great education.

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