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.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:53 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:53:47 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
It was a lifesaving rescue in the nick of time. A Franklin County sheriff's deputy put his life on the line to save a woman trapped in a truck with floodwaters raging around her. More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:00:55 GMT
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin (D-Vermont), VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath. ShumlinMore >>
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin, VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:21:46 GMT
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire. Michael Hayward, 42, of Sunapee, disappeared two months ago. His car was found near the Quechee Gorge. PoliceMore >>
A body found near the North Hartland Dam appears to be that of a missing man from New Hampshire.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-04-16 23:14:24 GMT
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. First responders say when they arrived at 42 Smith Street, the house was completely engulfed in flames. CityMore >>
Authorities say six people managed to escape a house fire in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning. Police say the blaze was sparked by a child playing with a lighter.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:07:50 GMT
Police in Haverhill, N.H., say they got numerous calls about a young child walking down a road alone. They found the child about a mile from her home. She was brought back to the residence, but the NewMore >>
Police in Haverhill, N.H., say they found a young child alone about a mile from her home.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:00 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:00:26 GMT
U.S. Marshals have caught a Vermont woman who escaped from furlough. Authorities say Kylee Dubuque, 29, of Essex, had been on the run since late March. Essex police nearly caught her last week, but sheMore >>
U.S. Marshals have caught a Vermont woman who escaped from furlough.More >>