N.C. Needs to Get Out of Federal 'Race to the Top' Program
By Richard H. Monroe
Special to The Pilot
As a retired educator of 40 years, I have followed with concern North Carolina's competition in Race to the Top, as well as its interest in the National Common Core Standards.
My feeling is that North Carolina is making a huge mistake in attempting to acquire funds from Race to the Top and in adopting a form of the National Common Core Standards for use in grades K-12.
My reasoning is based on the following points:
1. North Carolina has worked very hard at developing, revising and refining its own set of standards for all subjects and grade levels. There is no body of research that proves that the National Common Core Standards are better than ours.
2. Under Race TTT, student test scores are tied to teacher salaries and performance. Because -teachers will be concerned about their evaluations, salaries and employment, they will "teach to the test." Teachers will teach -students day in and day out -whatever the people in Washington, D.C., decide and not what we in North Carolina believe is important for our children's education.
3. Test scores will also be tied to teacher evaluations by a percentage method. A fixed percentage determined by legislators is arbitrary and lacks no research-based, scientific data.
4. Parents and educators under RTTT will lose both state and local control of their schools. It is simply not true that material can be added or deleted from the National Common Core Standards at will. Curriculum advanced by the U.S. Department of Education will be mandated, as well as the items for national test assessment.
5. RTTT also requires the formation of charter schools. There is no basis in research for this requirement. The Stanford CREDO study did not find that charter schools outperformed public schools.
6. Increased taxes will be required to fund the new level of bureaucracy for implementation of RTTT (e.g., new textbooks, new units of instruction, new benchmark assessments, new piloted questions, etc.). These taxes cannot be used to plug other budget gaps in education. They must be strictly applied only to RTTT.
7. Many public schools will be closed down to comply with the demands of RTTT. These schools will be heavily concentrated in poor and minority communities, robbing them of their social -capital.
8. States have reported that RTTT funding only amounts to a one-time $75 per student. Why would North Carolina want to hand its schoolchildren over to the people in Washington, D.C., for such a paltry sum of money?
Because of the above-stated reasons, I am asking the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education to withdraw their request for funding from Race to the Top. Several other states have taken the lead in doing so. North Carolina needs to join them.
Richard H. Monroe lives in Whispering Pines.
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