Sunday, May 11, 2008

So Much for Kids

A $13.2 million, five-year grant from the National Math and Science Initiative, designed to add new Advanced Placement teachers, courses and exams for thousands of Washington high school students, has been scrubbed.

The reasons?

The state’s rule against merit pay for teachers and top-down inflexibility. (Check out the whole article from The Columbian.)

The grant would have provided for resources to help get more minority students into AP programs...and rewarded teachers will additional pay for successful students. It was this additional "merit pay" which was the sticking point with WEA. Heaven forbid that outstanding teachers be compensated for their efforts.

I'm most disappointed for students. While I think that some districts have done what they can to encourage traditionally underrepresented groups to participate in Advanced Placement programs, removing financial barriers may have gone a long way toward giving even more children a boost.

While MAP will continue to match a growing number of local math and science mentors with AP students, loss of the NMSI grant is “a tragedy,” Keeney said.

“We knew it would take some discussions, but we didn’t expect not to be able to get through this. This is a major setback for Southwest Washington, and Washington state,” Keeney said.

“The real shame here is that it’s more than $13.2 million: It would have been matched by other private sector (donations),” he said. “It was all new money coming to teachers. It wouldn’t have taken anything away from anybody.”

Marcia Fromhold will wrap up the loose ends of the grant process, then leave MAP, Bill Fromhold said. She retains her local political consulting business; his plans are unclear, he said.

Perhaps I should just be grateful that I didn't get that job when I applied for it last fall?

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