ASD Hopes To "Race To The Top"

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Allentown School District has been chosen as a model for a possible federal program coming into the Keystone State next year.

The program is called "Race to the Top."

For this to be a reality in classroom next year Pennsylvania needs to receive 400 million dollars in federal funds.

If that money comes the initiative is supposed to help ensure all public schools teachers are teaching on the same page.

School can be a strain, several subjects, homework, and the often dreaded tests.

Currently there is no set rule that all students are being taught the same thing.

We know other countries are out performing us as far as academically and higher education, said Allentown School District Superintendent Gerald Zahorchak.

He says that needs to change if America wants to keep up in a global market.

With higher cerebral jobs we can own in the marketplace of the world if we're prepared, said Zahorchak.

To do just that, Allentown is one of 6 statewide schools trying out "Race to the top."

An initiative aimed at getting all teachers on the same page so all students are being taught the same material.

For the first time in American history and in Pennsylvania and Allentown, we'll be able to say no matter where you're teaching Algebra 1, this is the end game, there is a common framework, he said.

Zahorchak says teachers will use a universal curriculum ensuring students are achieving a higher level of learning and that each student understands what's being taught.

I'm not saying I hope only you get it but I'm checking every other student, said Zahorchak.

While "No Child Left Behind" focused on students' test scores; "Race to the Top" tackles teachers.

Zahorchak says student test scores and teaching evaluations will be the litmus test.

But professional development assistance will be a requirement to help teachers handle the new routine.

Everyone is being held accountable for what we're spending billions and hundreds of millions of dollars on, Zahorchak said.

Zahorchak says he is holding himself just as accountable as any teacher.

He says the program is not meant as a means to threaten jobs, only to improve them.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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