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New Race to Top Stresses Pre-Natal Tests, Fetal Test Prep Program Ratings

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New Race to the Top Stresses Pre-Natal Tests,

Fetal Test Prep Program Ratings

By Suki Wessling, Special Correspondent to the Pre-Born

Please welcome Suki Wessling to Parent at the Helm, as she shares an Onion-esque look at the “new” Race to the Top competition emanating from Washington, D.C. where those who know everything about education reside. Thank you, Suki!

fetus Race to the Top

Duncan plans to secure funding for SmartFetalPhones for all qualifying fetuses.

Washington, D.C.: To win a grant in the U.S. Department of Education’s new Race to the Top competition for pre-childhood education aid, states will have to develop rating systems for their fetal test prep programs, craft appropriate standards and tests for pre-born children, and set clear expectations for what teachers should know.

That’s according to the proposed rules released today by the Obama administration that will govern the $500 million competition, which was made possible by the fiscal 2011 budget deal Congress passed in April.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was given $700 million in new Race to the Top money, and chose to put most of it into pre-natal education, while keeping a $200 million slice to award to runners-up from last year’s competition. (Details of that separate contest have yet to be announced.)

The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge awards will range from $50 million to $100 million, depending on a state’s population, and the contest is open to all states, not just the winners in last year’s competition. This could be especially attractive for small states, which were eligible for maximum grants of $75 million in the first edition of Race to the Top. For big states, $100 million won’t go as far; the biggest states in the original Race to the Top won $700 million each. For this pre-natal competition, four states—California, Florida, New York, and Texas—are eligible for $100 million.

What $700 Million Race to the Top Money Buys You

In crafting this new iteration of Race to the Top, the Obama administration is building upon the stress of last year’s $4 billion competition, which pushed states to embrace destroying their public schools, payola for teachers who agree to produce better test-takers rather than better students, and better ways to spend millions of dollars on data systems that won’t improve education but will make tax-payers feel like someone is in control. This competition is designed to improve programs aimed at stressing out pre-natal gestators (parents) even before their babies are born, and to eliminate some of the “vast inequities” in care, which result in some fetuses being allowed to loll about all day, sipping fetal junk food and playing with their toes, said Special Assistant to the President for Education in the White House Domestic Policy Council Roberto Rodriguez, speaking in a call with reporters Thursday afternoon.

Sample of State Guidelines to Get In On Pre-Natal Race to the Top Money

“We believe this Race to the Top can have the same kind of impact,” Rodriguez said. “How do we really do more to boost the reach of our parental stress-inducing programs?”

Under the competition guidelines developed by the Education Department—working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—a winning state must:

• Come up with and use pre-natal and development standards for fetuses, along with assessments;
• Develop and administer birth-readiness tests, and develop rating systems for pre-natal gestator stress-inducing programs;
• Demonstrate cooperation across the multiple agencies that touch pre-natal  issues (from departments of health to education), and establish statewide standards for how licensed pre-natal educators can intrude on a parent’s right to gestate their baby in peace;
• Have a good track record on pre-partum stress programs, and an ambitious plan to improve those programs;
• Make sure pre-natal test data is incorporated into its longitudinal data system and is tied to the child from birth by creating IEPs for all at-risk fetuses.

(Confusingly, states do not have to develop pay-for-performance plans for pre-natal teachers—which was an successful stress-inducing component in the first Race to the Top competition. This may stem from the fact that all pre-born children are homeschooled by unpaid, unlicensed pre-natal gestators, a situation Duncan vows to remedy as soon as the technology is available.)

In a nod to rural districts and advocates, who often feel overlooked by the department, the Obama administration says it may go out of its way to reward states with large rural populations, potentially bypassing a higher-scoring urban states, which show a higher use of pre-natal Baby Einstein, in favor of lower-scoring rural states, whose pre-natal education programs are usually nature-based.

Just as in the original Race to the Top, this competition will rely on outside judges to pick the winners. But the ultimate decision rests with Duncan, who plans to personally investigate fetal learning. Duncan, who usually works from his office in Washington, D.C., has promised to man a state-of-the-art fetal inspection van, which will randomly pick up pregnant women in competing states. Non-compliant prenatal gestators will be sent back to Race-to-the-Top winning high schools for retraining in testing compliance and modern educational theory.

Since waste of taxpayers’ money is always funny, for additional laughs you may read the article on which Suki’s article is based at Education Week.

You may visit Suki at Avant Parenting: Keeping Up with the Kids for more informative articles such as this one on Race to the Top.

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