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Vol. 44, No. 3

January 15, 2010

Missouri Leaders and Local Schools Show “Overwhelming Support” for

Education’s Race to the Top Initiative

Nearly every Missouri school district, business leaders and civic organizations across the state, dozens of education-related associations, directors of state agencies, higher education leaders – all are among those lending their support to Missouri’s entry in the national Race to the Top competition. 

“We are putting the finishing touches on Missouri’s Race to the Top proposal, which requires evidence of support from a wide range of stakeholders.  I am gratified to say that we have received overwhelming support from every corner of the state,” said Commissioner of Education Dr. Chris L. Nicastro.

The Department has received letters of support from more than 150 business executives, civic organizations, higher education institutions, state agency leaders, education-related associations and others.   

“We have received so much positive feedback and support in such a short amount of time that it is almost unbelievable.  But it is incredibly encouraging,” Nicastro added.

Even though details of the proposal will not be made public until next week, and even though schools were closed for the recent holiday break, officials of the Department of Education have spent the past month obtaining written commitments from local school officials that plan to take part in future projects related to Race to the Top.

In all, 513 of Missouri’s 561 public school districts and charter schools – representing more than 99 percent of the state’s public school students – have submitted formal “memorandums of understanding,” indicating that they intend to participate in future projects and activities.

Local schools that agreed to participate are guaranteed to receive at least half of any funding that Missouri is awarded through the Race to the Top program. 

Missouri’s application must be submitted to federal officials by Tuesday, Jan. 19.  It will be presented to and discussed by the State Board of Education during its regular meeting in Jefferson City next Wednesday.

As part of the planning process, the Department of Education conducted an online “stakeholders survey” to obtain comments and reactions about ideas being considered for the RT3 proposal. 

Nearly 5,000 responses were received during the one-week survey.  A summary of the responses, with a sampling of comments, has been published on the Department of Education Web site.