Dexter schools decline to join state Race to the Top application
The Dexter school district is among 90 in Michigan that did not sign up to support the state’s application for federal Race to the Top education funds.
The district sent a letter to the state on Monday, declining to join, Superintendent Rob Glass said. The letter came from Glass, the school board and Dexter’s teacher union.
All other local districts signed memorandums of understanding saying they supported, in concept, the state’s application, which was filed with the federal Department of Education Tuesday.
However, following the advice of the Michigan Education Association, none of the local teacher’s union presidents signed their district’s MOUs.
Michigan is seeking $526 million to make reforms in education. If the federal government approves its application, the state would then divvy that money up among districts that signed MOUs. By not signing, Dexter is not eligible for the funding.
Forty states filed applications for the funds yesterday. Decisions about who gets the money and how much money they will get are expected in the spring.
Among the reforms in Michigan’s plan are raising the age at which students can drop out of school to 18, giving the state the ability to take over or shutter the worst-performing 5 percent of schools in the state and promises to work on changing the way teachers are evaluated.
Districts were asked to sign on to the plan before seeing any details on how the reforms would be implemented. That’s one reason why Dexter did not endorse it.
“The Dexter Community School District and the Dexter Education Association have determined that it is not in the best interest of our students, employees or community to sign the Memorandum of Understanding proposed by the Michigan Department of Education relative to its application for Race to the Top funding," the district said in its letter to the state. "Our reasons have to do with concerns about:
- Possible negative effects on Dexter students and the quality of the educational experience.Â
- Possible negative impact on the collaborative relationship between Dexter's employees, administrators, Board of Education, and community.
- A timeline which denied us reasonable opportunity to review the grant proposal and understand its implications.”
It’s widely expected that many of the reforms being pushed by President Obama and his education department in this plan will be included in legislation that will replace or revise the current federal No Child Left Behind education laws. Work on the new laws is expected to pick up steam this year.