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New York education’s (scary) future through Tennessee’s crystal ball

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As you may or may not know, the new APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) requirements that have teachers freaking out these days — that base teachers’ job security and pay on their students’  test scores — all stem from requirements that go along with states accepting federal money through Race to the Top legislation.  You may also know that only two states won the federal grants in the first round of applications in spring of 2010:  Delaware and Tennessee. New York State was among nine states and the District of Columbia to win round two grants in August of 2010.

So Will Richardson’s recent post about what is actually happening in Tennessee schools is a frightening harbinger of the future:  ”‘It’s all about distrust.’”

My question is (really — I don’t know) what can WE do to make sure that this kind of thing does not happen in our schools?  This will devastate public education in this state.  Part of me wonders whether that is not the intention of this legislation, and I am not alone in my conspiratorial musings:  many educators have been outspoken on the extreme negative effects that this legislation will have on teaching (and more important LEARNING).  I feel frustrated by just “talking” about it, and feel that I want to — need to — do something that is BIGGER than my classroom, this blog.  Teacher unions have been actively involved in pushing this agenda, but then films like Waiting for Superman have demonized and thereby undercut the social power of unions to the point where I feel that we also need to pursue this through other channels

How can we affect the policy at state and federal levels?  What is being done about it now?  That is where I should go with this…..  Do you know of anything that is going on along these lines?

Cross-posted on 21st-Century Literacies.


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