ABC News’ Rick Klein and Mary Bruce report: The Obama administration this week announced plans to expand its “Race to the Top” grant program, with a change that would allow individual school districts — not just states — to compete for grants even if their states don’t meet the competition’s parameters.
On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said she supports taking the competition to the district level, so school districts in all states are able to compete.
“Look you know, the race to the top applications yesterday were a mixed bag,” Weingarten said. “We actually wanted districts to be able to compete — not just have the competition with states. We had over 600 local unions, we have a bunch of states where there’s great labor relationships, where the state unions have signed on.”
“The real issue becomes what do we do with money? We need it, we need to change schools — what do we do with it? Part of the Recovery Act that is so essential, though, is not just ‘Race to the Top’ but that piece of it that actually stopped carnage from happening last year. We would have had hundreds of thousands of layoffs of teachers around the country. We’d have ballooning class sizes. That Recovery Act from last year is a lifeline, and that’s what I hope is made permanent as well.”
In some cases, notably in Texas, individual school districts want to compete but have found themselves at odds with state decision-makers who decided not to file an application for stimulus funding.
Weingarten also talked about a proposal she unveiled last week to have teachers evaluated in part on students’ test scores.
“This kind of myth about what teacher unions are for or against — you just have to actually look at the facts instead of listening to the kind of screeching rhetoric,” she said. “But what we said this week was, let’s come up with a real path to great teachers and great teaching.”
There’s more on Weingarten’s thoughts on the state of health care reform HERE.
Watch the full segment with Randi Weingarten HERE.
We also checked in with Ana Marie Cox of Air America about the state of health care reform efforts, in the wake of Scott Brown’s upset victory in the Senate race in Massachusetts.
“Well apparently we’re pausing. I actually think we might hit rewind, rewind and erase,” Cox said.
Watch the segment with Ana Marie Cox HERE.