Florida plans to use its Race to the Top money to pay outsiders for education improvements
A chunk of Florida's $700 million Race to the Top grant for public education reform is slated to go to private firms that might compete with the public system.
The Department of Education has released two invitations to negotiate on RTTT services, with responses due in a week. One seeks a national non-profit charter school funding organization "with a track record of supporting successful charter school operators in high-need neighborhoods." (Can you say KIPP?)
The other looks for a partner to recruit and train "promising teachers," including those without formal training in education, to work in "persistently low-achieving" schools in several counties including Pinellas, Miami-Dade and Duval. (Perhaps informal adviser Michelle Rhee's old stomping ground, Teach for America?)
The state is keeping half of its grant to pay for such things, with the rest of the funds going to approved plans submitted by most of the districts around Florida. We asked for more rationale from the DOE, such as why the state would pay to bring in alternative certification teachers to districts rather than just give the schools money to do it directly (it's already allowed, anyway, after all). The press office said a formal press release would be sent next week.