Thursday, March 4, 2010

Devastating Race to the Top news

Minnesota is not a finalist for the Phase 1 Race to the Top grant funds from the Federal Department of Education. The St. Paul Federation of Teachers first worked to learn about Race to the Top, we questioned it, we offered ideas and feedback to the Minnesota Department of Education at every opportunity and we decided to support Minnesota’s application. It is very disappointing that Minnesota was not named as a finalist today, yet we can be proud of the work we did on the application.

The restructuring we are required to do remains mandatory, but today's announcement means we will have to continue that work in the district with money we don’t have. The bolder innovation and further possibilities for innovation we just successfully negotiated into our contract are in serious financial jeopardy as a result.

With all of that said, this is not a moment to give up, but it is a moment to redouble our efforts and perhaps even find more creative solutions to funding our ideas—as we did with our teacher recruitment and preparation ideas that have become CareerTeacher, which is now funded with a 1-year planning grant from the AFT Innovation Fund. We will continue to pay attention to any next steps that evolve from this announcement or the Race to the Top program and determine what our involvement could be as well.

I am grateful for those who believed in our value in the discussion and application development.

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