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Communications Coordinator
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Vol. 44, Number 57

July 27, 2010

 

State Still Benefits from Race to the Top Effort

Missouri not among second-round finalists

Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro confirmed today that Missouri is not among the 19 state finalists selected by the U.S. Department of Education in the second round of the Race to the Top program.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the finalists in a speech today at the National Press Club.  The federal Race to the Top program is intended to encourage states to implement ambitious reform efforts in public education.

“While we are disappointed, we are not surprised,” Nicastro said. “The benefit of the Race to the Top competition for Missouri has been the opportunity for all stakeholders to come together to discuss some important areas of reform.”

Delaware and Tennessee were the only states that won grants in the first round of the competition.  Missouri was among the 35 states and the District of Columbia that submitted proposals in the second round, seeking a portion of the almost $3.4 billion available for comprehensive education reform.  Duncan will announce the final grant recipients in September.

The state’s effort culminated a nearly year-long effort of intense planning, data-gathering and participation by stakeholders across the state and personnel within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The second-round plan is leaner, more focused and stronger than the state's initial submission, Nicastro said.  Even without Race to the Top funding, Missouri is committed to the plan, which will drive the improvement efforts necessary to bring about superior results.

The state initiative focuses on developing a model curriculum, identifying best practices in instruction, developing state models for educator evaluation that include measures of student performance, providing assistance for struggling districts and schools, and building better data systems to foster student achievement.  The plan also includes developing a model for “braided” systems of support for children and families.

“The challenge for us as a state will be to build on this discussion and advance necessary and appropriate change for Missouri's children," Nicastro said.  "The future of our state will depend on it.”