A teacher writes to ask how test scores might be used wisely if his district gets Race to the Top funding.

My advice: RTTT funding will cost your district far more than it receives from the federal government. Your district will have to increase class sizes, lay off teachers, and cut programs to meet all the demands of the mandates. Some fine teachers will get bad ratings because they teach kids with disabilities or are ELL. The ratings will bounce around from year to year.

Just say no.

Here is the comment:

“I suspect this conversation is timely for many of us: my district is considering applying for a Race to the Top grant (and I’m quite worried about it). I’d love to hear reactions to this idea: since the grant application requires some “significant” incorporation of test scores into the evaluation process (which is probably just a bad idea, but is required) do any of you think that it might be possible to incorporate them in a “formative” phase? What if teachers got “test score feedback” early in the process, and administrators worked with teachers to use those scores to plan goals, etc. Then the actual “summative” evaluation (also required by the grant) was done using a system of standards and rubrics, similar to the system this teacher describes above (our district uses the Danielson model). I bet there are many things wrong with this idea, but it’s the only thing I can come up with that might (might) satisfy the requirements of the grant that doesn’t completely horrify me.”