North Carolina’s 193 page application for $459 million in Race to the Top funds is available on the Governor’s web site. It’s not scintillating reading, but probably interesting for education wonks. Aside from the problematic topdown approach, North Carolina’s application is built around initiatives in four areas: international standards, data systems to measure success, improving teacher effectiveness and turning around failing schools.
Interestingly, North Carolina iniatiative to turnaround failing schools excludes charter schools. Why? The cap on charters will already hinder the state’s application.
Not surprisingly, the document is also larded with plenty of buzz words and educational jargon. The most odious phrase: “21st century”. I came across “21st century skills, 21st century content and 21st century professionals.” At one point, I counted seven references in the same section. Can anyone tell me what the phrase means? Since it’s never defined, I plead ignorance.
Page 23 lists an interesting statistic: approximately 50 percent of all students in North Carolina students are living in poverty. Bet you didn’t know that. I think someone is playing fast and loose with the federal free and reduced lunch programs. For a whole lot of bad reasons, FRL has become a proxy for poverty in the schools. The validity of the numbers is a whole other subject.