Monday, March 29, 2010

Delaware, Tennessee Awarded Race to the Top Funds in First Round

Delaware, Tennessee were the only two states to receive Race to the Top funding in the first round of awards, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today.

Delaware was awarded about $100 million, and Tennessee was awarded about $500 million.  The states will be able to spend the funding to implement reforms and innovations over the next four years. 

“Both states have statewide buy-in for comprehensive plans to reform their schools. They have written new laws to support their policies. And they have demonstrated the courage, capacity, and commitment to turn their ideas into practices that can improve outcomes for students,” Duncan said in a news release.

That leaves an estimated $3.4 billion left for the U.S. Department of Education to dole out in the second round of Race to the Top competition. Idaho plans to apply again in the second phase.

In total, 40 states -- including Idaho -- and Washington, D.C. applied for funding in the first round.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Delaware and Tennessee received the highest marks from peer reviewers in the first round for their overall commitment to reform from key stakeholders, including elected officials, teacher's union leaders, and business leaders. In both states, all school districts committed to implementing Race to the Top reforms. Delaware and Tennessee also have aggressive plans to improve teacher and principal evaluation, use data to inform instructional decisions, and turn around their lowest-performing schools. In addition, both states have put in place strong laws and policies to support their reform efforts.

Idaho will be reviewing the peer reviewers’ comments on its initial application and work with educational stakeholders to make any necessary revisions before applying in the second round. Applications are due June 1.

The Department has made one change for applying in the second round to limit states in the amount for which they can apply.

See the Department’s full news release for more information.

~ Melissa M.

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