Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday’s office has just released the following:
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday issued this statement today, after the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement of the federal Race to the Top funding winners:
“Although I’m disappointed that Kentucky’s application was not selected for funding in the first round of the Race to the Top allocations, our work to improve the state’s P-12 system of education will continue. We’ll begin reviewing the scores and comments on our application and planning for the second round immediately. This does not mean that the work outlined in Kentucky’s plan will not be done – it just means that we’ll have to work harder to ensure that every funding source is tapped. Kentucky’s Race to the Top plan is more than just an application for federal funding. It is the roadmap for the state’s next move forward in public education, and we will not abandon that.”
Both of the winning states, Delaware and Tennessee, have charter school laws.
In addition, Tennessee has a tremendously successful school assessment program known as the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System.
While Kentucky created and crashed two testing programs known as KIRIS and CATS, since 1992 Tennessee’s assessment has continually provided that state with rich trend lines of data on how schools really perform. Tennessee has data right now that will clearly show longitudinal changes as it spends its RTTT winnings. Kentucky simply can’t do that because we wasted many valuable years on a series of misleading assessment programs that ultimately crashed.
While some thought it was a ‘plus,’ another factor may actually have worked against Kentucky. The state made a lot of noise about how there was very wide “buy-in” to our RTTT proposal by all sorts of groups from teachers unions to local school boards. The problem is that making real changes that work isn’t likely to come from a wide consensus. Real change will require doing things that some groups – like Kentucky’s always objecting teachers union – just don’t like. Maybe the people judging RTTT realized that, as well.
And, maybe not having charter schools will knock us out of the RTTT Phase II awards as well if our legislature doesn’t get smart about what real change in education looks like.