Show New York State Students the Money

We lost out on $700M but have another chance

Why did New York fail to get 700 million dollars in federal funds for education?

Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the Board of Regents, summed it up well: "Blame is a ridiculous game. If anyone thinks they are blameless in this game, I suggest they look in the mirror."

Tennessee and Delaware got a total of $600 million in federal Race to the Top Money. Obviously these states are doing something right. New York was 15th out of 16 finalists.

New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said: "Race to the Top sets a high bar for states to adopt sweeping education reforms, and at least this time, New York State couldn't clear that bar."

The state failed to pass charter school reform and it also failed to find a way of evaluating teachers according to student performance.

Governor Paterson, a charter school advocate, blamed the unions for standing in the way of reform. And the Charter School Association blamed the unions too.  The unions blamed the charter advocates.

Mayor Bloomberg blamed he Legislature for blocking a law that would have lifted the 200-school cap on charters and for scrapping a law that prohibits linking teacher tenure to student test scores.

A Daily News editorial damns the Legislature and the teachers unions for "[subjecting] 1 million public students---and peers around the state -- to gross educational malpractice."

 It reminds me of an old political cartoon in which a group of men stand in a circle, each pointing his finger at the man next to him. Each was blaming the other for a corrupt act.

Merryl Tisch, New York State's top educational official, told me quite vehemently: "We must stop blaming each other. Today is Day One of the next round. The clock starts today.

"The feds," she said, "were very clear about what they require.

We've got to raise the charter school cap and embolden the language we use around teacher evaluation." She explained that "we are looking for student growth, the quality of schools, the atmosphere -- and all this is doable after we stop the blame game."

We're fortunate -- and the state's school children are fortunate -- to have a sane voice in the educational system advocating for us.

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