Thursday, September 03, 2009

Intermission II: Can New Mexico Race To The Top In a Broken Down Car?

(Caution: the extent of acronym use below gets way, way out of hand)

If we're going to take a short break from looking at all the APS middle school websites, I want to bend your ear briefly on a thing or two regarding the Obama Administration's dumpster dive for educational cash known as "Race To the Top" (aka: RrrT or RTT or "Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash").

In sum, I'm somewhat to very concerned that our little sun-drenched piece of "Enchantment" ain't gonna be getting any/much of the Race To the Top pie. As the wonkfest at the blog Eduflack puts it:
We all know that not every state will become an RttT state. In fact, no one seems to expect that half of the states will receive the designation. That leaves a lot of states on the outside looking in, particularly for those seeking to make some real change but currently lacking some of the intangibles.
And given the dearth of innovation, "intangibles" and chutzpah from the New Mexico Public Education Department on issues like standardized testing and school reform it's real easy to see NM as one of the "states on the outside looking in" when it comes to grabbing some of that $4.35 billion in RTT cash.

Moreover, missing out on this cash lines up to be even more of a bummer in the context of an upcoming special session already featuring threats of 3 to 5 percent cuts in the state K-12 education budget.

Quite obviously I could be wrong and folks at the PED are both frantically and skillfully putting together a RTT proposal that could knock the socks off a...uh, person with really, really tight socks. I'd love to be wrong and will be more than happy to eat a crow, or shoe, or crow-filled shoe if we end up with $500 million in RTT money.

And maybe I should begin considering what condiments best go with crow, as New Mexico is one of 15 states the Gates Foundation is funding with consulting dollars to help create RTT proposals.

Still...consider me skeptical. Which I know might be the best way to consider/describe me 24/7/365, but seems especially apt when it comes to expecting much from the PED.

My Skeptometer on this issue is really pegged when I read that the impoverished country of California just finished its own special session, a session hand-tailored to get RTT and other U.S. Department of Education money.

This bears repeating....California just had a special session in which everybody from the Governator on down just legislatively groveled before the Obama Administration, crafting "laws" to specifically correspond with RTT and other new grant language. Groveled.

And look at that..and look at our NM Legislature...and look at California...and look at us. In honor of the impending "High Holidays" I can only respond with a hearty "Oy! Vey!"

Prove me wrong New Mexico, New Mexico Legislature and New Mexico Public Education Department. Prove me wrong to the tune of $150-200 million or so. I'll sing any song you want if you can grab that kind of federal cash, while pouring Sriracha on my tough old crow and leather.

1 comment:

Skep-tyc said...

Just so you know - New Mexico is considered to be in Category 5, which means we are only eligible for $20-75 million. Thankfully, we aren't in the same category as California, but I agree - my first thought was, "New Mexico...yeah, right."