Sunday, July 26, 2009

$4.35 billion for U.S. education reform

Obama is a typical simplistic Leftist who thinks that throwing money at a problem will solve it: A strange combination of knowing nothing about money but having huge faith in it. Things that really would help -- such as bringing back discipline, academically selective schooling or offering vouchers -- are against the current Leftist religion so are not considered

President Barack Obama on Friday introduced what was described as the largest-ever federal investment in education reform, including a competition aimed at bringing schools in line with the administration's education goals.

The "Race to the Top" fund would disburse about $4.35 billion in competitive grants, in an incentive for states and local schools to adopt the administration's core agenda: implementing more rigorous standards, improving teacher quality, transforming the lowest-performing schools and embracing data-driven systems to track student achievement and teacher effectiveness.

"This competition will not be based on politics, ideology or the preferences of a particular interest group," Obama said at the Department of Education headquarters in Washington.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former Chicago Public Schools chief, said the program would mark "a new federal partnership" with states, districts and unions. But Duncan said it would also be "a competition" in which states could decrease their odds of winning federal support if, for example, they capped the number of charter schools or prohibited the linkage of student-achievement data to staff evaluations.


Competition has become a dirty word in British schools, says Dame Kelly

Dame Kelly Holmes yesterday launched a stinging attack on the decline of competitive sport in schools and said it risked spawning a generation of bad losers. The double Olympic champion and former Army physical training instructor blamed a culture of political correctness for making 'competitiveness' a dirty word. Her comments come a year after Gordon Brown admitted Labour had made a 'tragic mistake' by allowing dozens of mainly left-wing councils to scrap competitive sports in schools in the 1980s.

This meant huge numbers of inter- school matches and tournaments were cut from state schools after theorists claimed children on losing teams could end up psychologically traumatised. After the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Government pledged to end a 'medals for all' culture in which sports days have been cancelled and field sports 'dumbed down'.

But Dame Kelly has criticised established policies that continue to allow health and safety concerns to ride roughshod over sporting rivalry. The 39-year-old former middle distance athlete said: 'Too often, in these politically sensitive times, it seems that competitiveness is seen as a dirty word. 'I was surprised by how many schools I came across where sports day had been abandoned. It's very important to learn how to lose. 'What you should do is pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again. If everyone gets a prize, where on earth is the incentive to push yourself to do better next time?'

The retired British recordbreaking athlete, who won two gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, called for competitive sport to play a much larger part in the school curriculum.

Dame Kelly, who was awarded an honorary degree from Brunel University this week, told Heat magazine: 'Competitive sport can increase a child's confidence, develop their social skills and get them fit into the bargain.'

The Prime Minister has promised to reverse the longterm decline in competitive school games in the run-up to the London Olympics. Fixtures between schools dropped 70 per cent in the early 1990s following a steady decade-long decline, according to figures from the Secondary Heads Association. But in 2007, Government figures showed numbers were still falling. One million fewer school children were pitted against their classmates than the previous year.

In total, 3.1million pupils aged five to 16 - equal to more than four in ten school children - did not play any competitive sport, while 438 schools did not hold a sports day, a survey for the Department for Children, Schools and Families showed.

Last year the Football Association banned children under the age of eight from playing in football leagues and cups amid fears they are under too much pressure. Youngsters can still play matches but results must be kept private and no league tables can be compiled. They should not compete in knockout tournaments where trophies or medals are at stake, FA officials said.


No comments: