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Archive for the ‘Race to the Top’ Category

A wiki document, recently released by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), calls to attention the virtual learning items in all 19 finalists’ applications of the Race to the Top grant competition, Education Week reported. It revealed that the 10 winning states had strong online learn proposals and were ready to use Race to the Top funds to offer more online opportunities.

Here’s a highlight of some proposals:

  • Massachusetts’ application featured already-existing efforts to direct federal stimulus funds toward creating competency-based online and blended learning courses that mix face-to-face and virtual lessons for alternative school students.
  • New York is noted in the iNACOL report for the statewide technology plan it adopted in January that calls for exposing all students to online and blended learning opportunities.
  • Georgia’s plan indicated an interest in completely replacing seat-time standards, both in online and traditional classes. Rhode Island’s pointed to a similar, already-established system.
  • In Ohio’s application, the state’s Credit Flexibility Plan, which is being extended to all the state’s schools for the first time this fall, allows students to gain high school credit through alternative experiences that include online learning, internships, educational travel, or dual enrollment in a college course.

Read the entire article.

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Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the winners of the second round of the Race to the Top competition.

The 10 winning Phase 2 applications are: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

During the second phase of the competition, 35 states and the District of Columbia applied for a portion of the $3.4 billion remaining funds. That list dwindled down to 19 finalists last month. The 10 winners were decided based on the scores they received from peer-review panels. All the winners received a score of more than 440 out of a possible 500. In the first phase of the competition, only the two winners, Delaware and Tennessee scored above 440.

The 10 winning applicants have adopted rigorous common, college- and career-ready standards in reading and math, created pipelines and incentives to put the most effective teachers in high-need schools, and all have alternative pathways to teacher and principal certification.

The $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund includes $4 billion for statewide reform grants and $350 million to support states working together to improve the quality of their assessments, which the Department plans to award in September.

Sources: ABC News and the Department of Education

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On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced 18 states and the District of Columbia as finalists for the final round of the Race to the Top competition. The list includes all of the states that were finalists in the first round, but lost, along with five additional states: Maryland, which did not compete in round one; New Jersey, which placed 18th; Hawaii, which placed 22nd last time; California, which placed 27th; and Arizona, which placed 40th. The returning finalists are: Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. In September, 10 to 15 grants totaling $3.4 billion will be awarded to applicants Duncan believes have the boldest, most sustainable plans for education improvements. Read more. (Source: Education Week and  msnbc)

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What’s more important—the edujobs bill or the Race to the Top competition? Michele McNeil, a blogger for Education Week, proposed this question to her readers in a recent post. And according to McNeil, the answer depends on where you live.

By now, everyone knows that the Race to the Top funding is in jeopardy. Congress has proposed to use $500 million of the competition’s funds to save teacher jobs. States that have no chance of winning the competition will most likely favor the edujobs bill. States that ranked high in Round 1 of the Race to the Top most likely prefer the competition to the bill, McNeil explains.

Read more.

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Are educators against Obama’s school plan? The answer is yes according to a New York Times article.

In California for instance, lawmakers, teacher unions and educators have clashed so much over the changes to the Race to the Top program in the past few months that state officials doubt they have a chance of receiving the much needed money from Washington.  At the center of the debate is Carlos Garcia, the superintendent for San Francisco schools. He believes that the standards are too stringent and the plan is nothing more than a “strong-armed approach” to the Bush administration’s NCLB.  Read more.

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On January 19, 2010, President Barack Obama announced his intentions to propose $1.35 billion for the Race to the Top Program for FY 2011. The Race to the Top Fund is an incentive program designed to promote the adoption and use of effective education policies and practices. States had to apply to be eligible to participate in the program. The Department of Education also announced that 40 states and the District of Columbia have submitted applications to participate in Phase I of Race to the Top. These 40 states include:

 Alabama Minnesota
Arizona Nebraska
Arkansas New Hampshire
California New Jersey
Colorado New Mexico
Connecticut New York
Delaware North Carolina
D.C. Ohio
Florida Oklahoma
Georgia Oregon
Hawaii Pennsylvania
 Idaho Rhode Island
Illinois South Carolina
 Indiana South Dakota
 Iowa Tennessee
 Kansas Utah
 Kentucky Virginia
 Louisiana West Virginia
 Massachusetts Wisconsin
 Michigan Wyoming

The Race to the Top awards will be announced in April 2010 and states that were not awarded in Phase I can apply for a chance to win funds in Phase 2. The application deadline for states that are applying for Phase 2 is in June 2010 and awards will be announced in September 2010.

For more information about the Race to the Top Fund, visit “http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2010/01/01192010.html” let NSSEA know your thoughts!

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A new report released by the Center on Education Policy concludes that more than half of the states report that their capacity to carry out stimulus-related education changes is a challenge for them. The majority of states plan to apply for the $4 billion in Race to the Top Fund grants. These same states are admitting they are having major stimulus-based related problems in adhering to the requests of the Obama administration to improve low-performing schools and teacher quality.

The report entitled, “An Early Look at the Economic Stimulus Package and the Public Schools” focuses on how school districts and states are implementing the education assurances of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed by Congress in February 2009.

These four assurances include:

1. Increasing teacher effectiveness and addressing inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers

2. Establishing and using data systems that track students’ progress from prekindergarten through college and careers and that foster continuous improvement

3. Developing and implementing rigorous standards for college and career readiness and high-quality assessments

4. Providing targeted, intensive support and effective interventions to turn around the lowest-performing schools

The report finds that state education funding problems are likely to worsen in 2010, as more states forecast shortfalls in their K-12 education budgets. What states are having the most problems with in allocating or using ARRA funds are multiple or inconsistent reporting requirements, a lack of administrative funds, and a lack of state capacity.

Take a look at the report “An Early Look at the Economic Stimulus Package and the Public Schools” and let NSSEA know your thoughts!

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