In time for the January 19, 2010 deadline Massachusetts along with 40 other states submitted its application to the U.S. Department of Education as part of phase 1 in applying for the federal “Race to the Top” grant program.
Race to the Top is a federal program sponsored by the Obama Administration as a way to inspire innovation among educators and administrators. $4.35 billion was set aside for a competitive grant program offered to state’s for improving education. States that are committed to education reform through aggressive means can qualify for part of the funding to use for programs to turn around the lowest performing school districts. Under the grant program, Massachusetts could qualify for up to $250 million.
Massachusetts took a bold step toward proving its commitment to closing the achievement gap and bringing up the lowest performing districts in the state when the legislature passed the Education Reform Bill earlier this month. It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks and months what comes of the Race to the Top funding. Will this money truly help states narrow the achievement gaps within their districts? Is money the real issue, or is it something else that these schools are missing? These are not easy questions, and there are no easy answers. The proposed reforms and potential influx of aid from the federal government will help to potentially even the playing field. Now implementation and hard work are critical to helping students reach the next level.