Fri May 28, 2010
RI education officials to submit Race to the Top application
By Elisabeth Harrison
Providence, R.I. – State officials have finalized their application for $75 million in federal Race to the Top education funds. But they will submit the proposal today without broad union support.
Just one of the state's two teachers' unions has endorsed the Race to the Top application, which seeks $75 million for a host of public school reforms. Eleven local teachers' union presidents have signed onto the plan - state officials say their members teach just under half of Rhode Island public school students.
But state officials had hoped to present a more united front, something that characterized the two winners in round one - Delaware and Tennessee. The Rhode Island Federation of Teachers which endorsed the plan, said teacher input was taken seriously during the second round. But the National Education Association of Rhode Island, which represents many of the state's suburban teachers, has decided not to sign on for now.
Union officials cite concerns including a plan to base 51 percent of teacher evaluations on student performance. The NEA says there's still a chance they will support the plan if Rhode Island is selected as a finalist.