Some local districts forego ‘Race’ money

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fifty school districts in Ohio are among “Race to the Top” winners who have pulled out of the process, some saying they can’t manage such a major overhaul, according to Education Week.

The state of Ohio won $400 million in the grant competition, but some local districts that signed on to the program now say that implementing it requires too much time and work, Michael Sawyers told Education Week.

Sawyers, the state’s assistant superintendent of education, said some districts couldn’t agree on how to count student academic growth in teacher evaluations, which is part of the state plan. Collective bargaining agreements “complicated the work” in some districts, Education Week reported.

In Georgia, Superintendent William C. Mathews of the Jones County School System said his district will forego $1.3 million in “Race” dollars because of concerns over the fairness of the required merit pay plan, Education Week reported.

Despite the drop-outs, Sawyers told Education Week that state officials are “ecstatic” about the degree of local buy-in.

“That represents a major cultural shift for most districts,” Mr. Chester said of the evaluation system.

Education Week, “Race to Top Winners Push Ahead, Despite Pushback,” Dec. 2, 2010 (Subscription required)

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Race to the Top Realities,” Dec. 12, 2009