Race to the Top

Newark Public Schools – Race to the Top 2013


Press Links


Responses to each of the Union Issues with the Current Applications

Two Hours Now Remain Until All The Race To The Top Applications Are Due In Washington, Dc. As A Finalist Last Year, $30 Million Is Potentially Available To Serve Our Schools.

This Afternoon The NTU Distributed A Press Release Listing Their Grievances With Newark’s Application For Race To The Top.

If You Have Any Questions Or Concerns, Would Like An Actual Copy Of Newark’s Race For The Top Grant Application, Or Comment Please Feel Free To Call Me At Anytime.

For Your Information, NPS has Responded Below To Each Of The Accusations Detailed In Their Press Release.

“Out-Of-Date Information When It Comes To Evaluation And Our Contract. This Was Corrected In The Final Draft, But It Is Pretty Much The Only Recommendation We Made That Was Followed Up On.”

ClarificationEarly In The Process NPS Identified That The Version Provided NTU Included Some Portions That Were Still In Working Draft. These Sections Of The Application Had Already Been Updated Before They Were Flagged By The Union.

“There Are Numerous References To The Changes Made In The Schools Over The Last Few Years, But Little To No Data To Demonstrate If Those Changes Have Resulted In Any Improvement At All To The Students And Schools.”

ClarificationThe Application Includes Several Examples Of Specific Data Relating To Improvements For Students And Schools, Including Increases In Graduation Rate, College Matriculation, And Progress In K8 Schools. We Have Pointed The Union To These Sections In Writing Several Times.

“Many Concessions To Provide Money To Charter Schools, Including Providing $600,000 For A Charter School Event Coordinator And Various Charter School “Events.”

ClarificationThese Funds Are Actually Not Included In This Year’s Application Due To A Change In The Grant Guidelines. However, These Funds Were Included In Last Year’s Application, Which The Union Signed. This Was Also Shared With The Union.

“Some Of The Most Egregious Figures In This Document Include:

“$1 Million For School Climate And Student Engagement Survey.”

ClarificationThe Grant Specifically Requires The District To Collect Data To Evaluate The Progress Of Implementation

‘$6.8 Million For “Outside” Providers For Common Core.”

ClarificationThis Was The Funding Level In Last Year’s Application, The Application Which The Union Actually Approved. In This Year’s Application, We Have Reduced This Number By More Than $3m. It Should Also Be Noted That This Funding Is Going Directly To Providing Both Coaching Supports And Data To Teachers To Assist Them With The Implementation Of Common Core Standards – Which Is In Line With The Grant Guidelines And Scoring

“$2.4 Million For Data Management System.”

ClarificationThe Funding Noted Was In Last Year’s Application, Which The Union Signed. This Year’s Plan Calls For Giving Teachers Access To New Forms Of Adaptive Learning Software, Which Will Generate New Types Of Data For Teachers To Use In Diagnosing Student Need

“$600,000 For A Charter School Event Coordinator And Various Charter School “Events.”

ClarificationAgain, These Funds Are Not Included In This Year’s Application. This Is Last Year’s Application, Which The Union Signed.

“$500,000 For Race To The Top Project Coordinator.”

ClarificationA Project Coordinator For Race To The Top Encouraged By The Application.

“$800,000 For An “Advisor On Social-Emotional Learning.”

ClarificationWe Think This Could Refer To A Couple Of Different Budget Lines. At Least One Of Which – A Central Office Position Overseeing Social Emotional Learning Was In Last Year’s Application But Has Been Deleted From This Year’s Application Already. Any Other Budget Reference Here Would Also Have Been Included In The Version They Signed Last Year – We Did Not Make Any Additions In This Area. The Point Of The Grant Is Adding Capacity To Support Students Social And Emotional Growth And Well Being – A Strange Thing To Be Against.

“$2,000,000 For “Partnership To Provide And Coordinate School-Based Student Support Services. The District Has Terminated Many Staff Student Support Services, Including Parent Liaisons And Attendance Counselors. Why Isn’t This Money Being Used To Rehire The Staff They Terminated?”

ClarificationGrant Funding, Obviously, Does Not Permit The Use Of Funds To Backfill Eliminated Positions. The Specific Partnership Being Referred To Will Allow Schools To Work With Mental Health Service Providers, Which Many School Personnel Told Us During The Planning Process Is A Significant Need. Further, Grant Funds Explicitly Cannot Be Used For Full Time Positions – But Rather To Add Capacity Around Issues The Make The Jobs Of Teacher’s More Difficult.

$676,000 To Give Teachers Earbuds For Virtual Observations…Done By Educators Who Aren’t Even In The Room With The Teacher. This Service Will Be Offered By The “Center For Transformative Teacher Training.”

ClarificationVirtual Observation Is A Way For Teachers To Receive Real-Time Live Feedback On Their Performance, And It Would Not Have Any Stakes For The Participating Teachers. In Addition, This Is Only One Of Several Potential Pilot Programs This Budget Line Refers To, And We Are Explicit That No Teacher Will Be A Part Of This Unless They Directly Opt In And Want To Participate. This Concern Was Raised Last Year And The Union Agreed To It As Long As It Was Voluntary.