CONTACT:  JIM MORRIS
Director, Public Information
573-751-3469

Vol. 44, No. 20

March 4, 2010

Missouri Is Still Racing to the Top; 

Revised Application Is in the Works

Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro confirmed today that Missouri’s application for nearly $750 million in federal “Race to the Top” funding was not selected for first-round approval by the U. S. Department of Education.  But she is not discouraged. 

“We are receiving excellent feedback on our proposal, which will help us refine our application for second-round funding.  I continue to be optimistic that Missouri will be among the states offering leadership for improving public schools as part of the overall Race to the Top agenda,” Nicastro said. 

State education officials, she said, will push aggressively to submit a new application and move forward with educational reform efforts on several fronts. 

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that 15 states and the District of Columbia have been selected as finalists for initial funding under the $4.3 billion Race to the Top program, which is intended to encourage states to implement ambitious reform efforts in public education.  Final grant recipients will be announced around April 1. 

Forty states and the District of Columbia submitted first-round applications in January.  Another round of competitive applications is due June 1, with decisions about those applications expected in September.

“From the outset, we knew the competition for Race to the Top grants would be intense, and that most states would not be funded in the first phase.  We worked very hard, though, to put together a bold, comprehensive proposal that provides clear direction for our work in the months ahead,” Nicastro said.

This week, for example, the Department of Education is inviting Missouri stakeholders to join state-level work groups that will focus on five reform initiatives that are part of the state’s Race to the Top proposal:

  • Developing a model curriculum based on Common Core Standards.
  • Developing a comprehensive education data system.
  • Improving the preparation of teachers and school leaders.
  • Measuring teacher/leader effects.
  • Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department of Education.

“We will refine our proposed initiatives and submit a stronger application for the second round.  Based on the momentum and the enthusiasm that has been generated over the past four months, we are excited about the potential impact of Race to the Top for Missouri students and schools,” Nicastro said.