Missouri is one of 40 states competing for a grant to enhance our public schools. Education Commissioner Chris NiCastro gave the legislature an update.
Race to the Top is a competitive grant initiative announced last year by President Obama. NiCastro says Missouri started on the 1,000 page application process last fall.
She says the grants are to reward states for innovation and reform in education. There are four goals of the program:
States to advance reforms around four specific areas:
– Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
– Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
– Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
– Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.
NiCastro says whether Missouri gets a piece of the pie or not, this is a healthy process for the state education system, which will adopt the initiatives to improve and streamline the system.
States that win the grant funding will be notified in April. Missouri’s application is available online by the end of today for the public to view.
Missouri budgeted $743 million for application process, she says, $354 million is slated to go to participating school districts and charter schools.
President Obama requested $1.35 billion for the Race to the Top program in his FY 2011 budget.
“Awards in Race to the Top will go to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform,” Obama says. “Race to the Top winners will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for states and local school districts throughout the country to follow as they too are hard at work on reforms that can transform our schools for decades to come.”