Tuesday, January 5, 2010

RTTT and binding district agreements

Politics K-12 reports that:
Folks at two organizations that advocate for districts, the National School Boards Association and the American Association of School Administrators, tell me they've been fielding lots of questions on this issue. It sounds like in some places district officials aren't clear on whether the MOUs are supposed to be binding or not, meaning they're not sure if they have to follow through if a state gets selected for a grant.
In case that's a question for anyone in the Bluegrass State, I've read the full application. In the instructions to reviewers on scoring the 45 "state success factor" points that depend on district commitments, here's what counts:
The participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) are strongly committed to the State’s plans and to effective implementation of reform in the four education areas, as evidenced by Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) (as set forth in Appendix D) or other binding agreements between the State and its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) that include—
(a) Terms and conditions that reflect strong commitment by the participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) to the State’s plans;
(b) Scope-of-work descriptions that require participating LEAs (as defined in this notice) to implement all or significant portions of the State’s Race to the Top plans; and
(c) Signatures from as many as possible of the LEA superintendent (or equivalent), the president of the local school board (or equivalent, if applicable), and the local teachers’ union leader (if applicable) (one signature of which must be from an authorized LEA representative) demonstrating the extent of leadership support within participating LEAs (as defined in this notice).
Bottom line: states will get those 45 points if and only if their districts sign binding commitments that accept implementation requirements. They won't get the points for anything less.

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