Sunday, April 4, 2010

Two states win Round 1 of Race To The Top

Race To The Top is an education funding program that was created with the 2009 recovery act. Race To The Top uses a point system to discern who should get a cut of the $4 billion budget. There are two rounds of funding, and only two states developed Race To The Top plans that garnered them federal funding. Round 1 funding has been announced, and many states are scrambling in hopes of getting some of the same day cash loans of round 2 Race To The Top funding.

How Race To The Top works

Race To The Top developed a scoring system for school reforms based on 500 points. No single improvement in educational policy is worth over 58 points - most are worth between 10 and 40 points. 10 points are awarded for “making education funding a priority”. 30 points are awarded to states who show they’re progressively shutting achievement gaps. Creating statewide academic standards is worth 40 points. There are 10 states that have opted to compete in Race for the Top. Awards to schools are based on student population, and are ultimately decided by the Department of Education.

Winners of Race To The Top: Round 1

Only two states met the federal government’s requirements for round 1 of Race To The Top. Delaware and Tennessee will both get Race To The Top money. The Delaware education budget will get a $ 107 million increase, and Tennessee may receive as much as $ 502 million. The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, admitted that having only two winners leaves out many states. Duncan said that states that want the cash have had a fire lit under them. The determining factors for Delaware and Tennessee included the support of teachers unions and projects to increase student achievement.

Round 2 funds for Race To The Top

The Race To The Top fund, when it was created, had relatively few rules from Congress. Arne Duncan has adopted a “judged” point system that weighs a state’s own reforms with the point system created for Race To The Top. Attaching student achievement to a principal or teacher’s performance is one worry of many states. Many other states have said they are disturbed that with so much money to lend, the government is still sentencing state education budgets to suffer. Most states are fighting huge spending budget deficits, and education is often one of the first areas where cuts are made. With $3 billion remaining, the Round 2 Race To The Top winners, due to be announced in June, can look forward to some appreciable federal help.

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