TCTA supports the decision of Governor Perry and Commissioner Scott to decline to seek funds under the federal Race to the Top program.

From our perspective, seeking these grant funds would be a classic “be careful what you wish for” situation.  Texas public schools would face significant policy shifts, concessions, and related costs if we were granted the limited, one-time funds available under the RTTT program. 

In order to be reasonably competitive in the grant application process, Texas would have to agree to a national curriculum that has yet to be developed, related national tests, a commitment to authorize charter schools without limits regardless of their performance compared to their traditional school counterparts, and highly prescriptive and punitive changes in such areas as teacher appraisal, compensation, and employment decisions.

We think the price is far too high for Texas to pay.  We do not need or want an increased emphasis on high stakes testing, the federal government dictating employment practices, essentially unchecked charter school growth, or the institutionalization of policies that are neither grounded in research nor good for Texas students and educators.

Our experience with prior federal legislation in the form of No Child Left Behind illustrates the dangers of assuming that federal funds will cover associated costs. Texas public schools need enhanced funding, but the limited funding and potentially harmful policy requirements associated with RTTT are, in our view, likely to result in a net cost to Texas education.  The loss of autonomy and flexibility that are essential to meet the needs of Texas students is simply not worth it.

TCTA Executive Director Jeri Stone spoke at a press conference on Jan. 13 in support of the decision by Perry to not seek federal Race to the Top funds, receiving extensive national and statewide media coverage.

Commissioner Scott comments on the decision not to apply for RTTT grant funds.

President Obama intends to continue RTTT into fiscal year 2011, and to provide an option for individual districts to seek funding.

Updated: 01/19/10