RTTT GETS PERSONAL: This just out: the 2012 Race To The Top is about to get personal. Or rather, personalized. Here's what the government has to say: in this round, almost $400 million is destined to go to districts that "support learning strategies that personalize education in all or a set of schools, within specific grade levels, or select subjects." Eligible districts (or combinations of districts) will have at least 2,500 students, more than 40% of whom are eligible for free or reduced price lunch. We asked the Dept. of Ed's Karen Cator whether the government includes maker-types of activities as "personalized learning," even if the classic standardized assessments can't easily measure these. Her answer: "Yes." She added:
"We're squarely supportive of creating environments that fully engage and support students and teachers," she said. "We need to get students in school, leaning forward, interested, engaged and we need to develop their ability to persist and to be learners. So, we need to figure out all the various strategies that will work for each individual student. For some it will be making and designing, for some it is video games and game design, for some it is art or music or sports, for some it is a love of stories and reading...The Makers Movement is squarely in the engagement and persistence camp, but there are so many other things students are learning."
The precise criteria for awards are still in flux. Your mission: comment here on the idea, the requirements, the whole shabang before June 8. The Dept. of Ed will finalize its rules by the end of July and open up for bids, which will be due in October so the funds can be awarded before Dec. 31.