MEA-MFT to U.S. Education Secretary
Oct 29, 2009 - MEA-MFT, along with other education leaders in Montana and other states, are seriously concerened about the Obama Administration's proposed Race to the Top funding requirements.
"The entire Montana public education community sees no useful purpose in an unwarranted constitutional and cultural overhaul of our educational enterprise to do no more than qualify us to apply for an uncertain amount of one-time-only federal funds," said MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver.
"We have done and are continuing to do a lot of good stuff out here in Montana, real reform, without any help from the federal government."
At this point, Race to the Top is still only a proposal. MEA-MFT is waiting to see what if any changes in qualifying criteria the Obama/Duncan administration may adopt.
Feaver to Duncan: Feaver sent a letter in August to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan strongly criticizing Race to the Top (R2T).
Read President Feaver's entire letter to Secretary Duncan.
Background: The new federal Race to the Top Fund provides competitive grants for states. Technically speaking, the program is not a federal mandate: States can choose whether to apply. But given the current economic downturn, many states likely will apply.
Here in a nutshell are some of MEA-MFT's concerns about Race to the Top:
· NCLB redux: It is a top-down approach cut from the same cloth as No Child Left Behind.
· Heavy-handed: It usurps the constitutional and statutory authority and duties of the Montana Board of Public Education and Office of Public Instruction to govern Montana public schools.
· Federally mandated charter schools: If states want Race to the Top funding, they must create charter schools that would be independent of, and compete with, existing public schools for public and political attention and funding.
· Test scores: Race to the Top criteria put a premium on using student test scores for evaluating, paying, and granting teachers tenure.
Bozeman Chronicle article
The National Education Association (NEA), one of MEA-MFT's two national affiliates, submitted this letter to Sec. Duncan regarding Race to the Top.
NEA's talking points on Race to the Top.
Letter from Eric Feaver and other Montana education leaders to Sec. Duncan on charter schools
Letter to Sec. Duncan from U.S. senators Tester, Baucus, and others