From California to Vermont, the Obama administration has issued a challenge to schools nationwide: reform or miss out on the chance to receive millions of dollars in stimulus funds.
"We know the race to the top for some states is wonderful and I applaud Secretary Duncan for challenging us to improve education. Does it fit for every state? We're not sure," said Vermont Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca.
Under the Race to the Top program, states compete for cash. Those that commit to major reforms, like tying teacher's salaries to test scores or expanding charter schools or receive the most points. Vermont's largest teachers union wants the state to apply.
"The idea is to apply in hopes the federal government will take into consideration we are small and we are rural and we would like to make some movement in this direction, and hopefully they'll make some allowances," said Martha Allen, President of the Vermont National Education Association.
The problem is, the union and others don't support the specific changes necessary to win.
"To tie pay to test scores just wouldn't work in Vermont especially. We don't feel the need to have a charter school law. We have a lot of similar programs in our state that go along with that," said Allen.
The Vermont Education Department is now trying to decide whether to even submit an application. Vermont passed up the chance to compete in the first round of the program, and only two states were awarded grants. Many here believe it may not be worth time, arguing education reform is in the works in Vermont, just not in the form of charter schools or performance based pay.
"You look at all those things and if we don't have the support of all 100 percent of the professional organizations we're not going to be in any position to be competitive," said Vilaseca.
The education department will make a final decision on whether to compete for grant money later this week.
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:31 AM EST2014-03-08 13:31:36 GMT
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. His office says Governor Peter Shumlin will be at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. While theMore >>
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 AM EST2014-03-08 13:17:30 GMT
We have some ideas for your Saturday. IRISH FESTIVAL The 19th annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival kicks off today. There is a lecture about the role of Irish immigrants in the Civil War at theMore >>