RTTT, LEA workshop update

This month saw me attending another LEA workshop for RTTT with other members of my district, and several other Sussex school district groups. This workshop focused on Goal #1 of the state’s RTTT initiatives which dealt with Standards, Curriculum, and Assessments. The key parts of this goal are adoption of the Common Core Standards, and transitioning towards them and away from the Delaware Standards. The second piece of the goal is looking to fund the SAT for all 11th graders, and looking to create ways to better prepare Delaware’s students to be “College and/or Career Ready”. The last piece to this puzzle is moving to a computer–adaptive assessment, DCAS, and also adding other assessments to compare more globally while still showing growth for the special needs population. Each of the districts present was charged with finding ways to meet this goal in the individual districts, and then to suggest ways to show how these ideas perform. Now this was my third workshop I attended since they were started by DEDOE, and I’ve enjoyed listening and learning what both my own and other districts are doing with regards to RTTT. Problem I still have is that I see a lot of work being done by staff outside the classroom, but the returns are not only hard to see but also not sustainable!
The Sec of Ed has a new way to describe RTTT as it has picked up some very negative images lately, and now it is being called, “not an Education reform plan, but only a Funding Stream for a Delaware initiative to improve education in the First State”. Well as anyone who knows anything about RTTT the funding stream is only 4 years long, and districts are not guaranteed to receive any funding unless their plans meet DOE approval first. The DEDOE claims that its not going to play “gotcha” with the funding, but not all districts are to receive the same amount of funding even though they all must jump through the same hoops. Some of those hoops being pushed by both Federal and State Education folks is that all 10th grades will take the PSAT at no cost, and now they want to add the 11th grade SAT’s as well. Then lets add additional AP classes in our high schools, and lets find away to increase the number of students in those courses. With >50% free and reduced lunch in the Milford district, I asked DEDOE how are we going to pay for all these extra SAT’s and AP tests to which I was told that it’s a district issue when the RTTT funds are gone. Now I’m not an expert on state finances, but if I were going to try to save some money I can see one way. The current DCAS and other assessments being given in our districts are paid for out of state funding, yet these assessments are not recognized when our students go to apply for college educations. So would it not be cheaper to give one test the SAT’s that truly measure whether a student is ready for college? One last comment about an issue that has been brought to my attention recently and that is if we look at the SAT results for our students their grades have fallen over the last several years. Now again I’m not a genius but if you’re going to teach to a test should it not be to one that’s going to get our students accepted, yet now they are being told their skills are not good enough so they need to attend remedial classes first! Wasted funds before they ever reach the districts yet the public believes it’s about high priced administrators and incompetent board members!

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About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
This entry was posted in Delaware Politics, Education. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to RTTT, LEA workshop update

  1. John Young says:

    The public is actually being sold on incompetent teachers more than anything.

    • Frederika says:

      Not sure that I understand this comment, John.

      • John Young says:

        The public dialogue about fixing education in America is a constant regurgitation of a false premise: that bad teachers are the root cause of the achievement gaps in our schools, that bad teachers ARE the problem. In Delaware the sell is slow and very coordinated…….. but we are headed to the same conclusions as WI, OH, NYC, DC, etc………

  2. Pingback: RTTT, LEA workshop update (via Education and Community News from Home Town Delaware) « Transparent Christina

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