CONTACT: JIM MORRIS
Vol. 44, No. 5
January 20, 2010
State Submits Ambitious, Multifaceted Proposal for “Race to the Top”
Nicastro: “No time for half measures.”
In a dramatic bid to grab an inside lane in the national competition for education-reform funding, Missouri officials have submitted an ambitious, multifaceted proposal that could bring almost $750 million to the state’s public schools over the next four years.
The Department of Education yesterday completed and submitted its application for “Race to the Top” funding to the U.S. Department of Education. Race to the Top is a $4.3 billion competitive grant program designed to reward – and challenge – states that develop significant school-improvement initiatives. Applications were due in Washington, D.C., at 4 p.m. yesterday.
Missouri’s plan lays out a total budget of $743 million, most of which would go directly to public schools across the state.
“If Race to the Top is going to be this decade’s ‘moon shot’ for public education, we want to be among the first to fly,” said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.
“We intend to establish Missouri’s position as a leader in improving America’s public schools over the next decade. This is no time for half measures. I think we have a game plan that is bold, smart and comprehensive – and we can execute it,” she said.
Missouri’s proposal calls for action on several fronts: curriculum and testing; expanding the role of technology in schools; expanding educational services and options before kindergarten; improving the way teachers are evaluated, rewarded and supported; focusing resources on low-performing schools; and revamping the structure of the state education agency, among others.
“There is no question that this is an ambitious agenda. It will require collaboration and cooperation with all stakeholders. Whether or not we get funding under this program, we now have a plan we can use to propel Missouri’s public education system into the Top 10, nationally and internationally,” Nicastro said.