From the Governor's Office and ODE today:
Ohio Wins $400 Million in Race to the Top Funding
Columbus, OH – Governor Ted Strickland and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Deborah Delisle today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has selected Ohio as one of the winning states to be funded in Round 2 of the Race to the Top program. Ohio will receive $400 million in Race to the Top funds during the next four years.
''I want to thank Secretary Duncan and the Obama administration for this opportunity to implement what I believe is a visionary education plan for Ohio's children. Our students deserve every opportunity to succeed in and beyond the classroom, and I believe the creative and forward-thinking initiatives outlined in our winning application provide just that,'' Strickland said. ''Ohio has shown its commitment to encouraging innovation by passing successful economic development initiatives like Ohio Third Frontier, and this award builds on our job creation strategy by helping prepare the next generation of Ohio entrepreneurs and innovators.''
''I give my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our education and community partners who supported this application, and our dedicated team of education leaders who worked tirelessly on behalf of Ohio's children,'' Strickland said.
The Round 2 Race to the Top application was submitted by the Ohio Department of Education in June. In total, more than 538 Local Education Agencies, representing more than 60 percent, or about 1 million, of Ohio's school children, agreed to participate directly in Ohio's Race to the Top activities. Ohio was selected as a finalist in late July and a team from Ohio made a presentation and answered questions from U.S. Department of Education reviewers earlier this month.
''I am ecstatic that the USDoE recognized the bold initiatives and high expectations Ohio put forth in its Race to the Top application,'' Delisle said. ''The initiatives, which are the centerpiece of our ''Fifth to First in Four'' strategy, exemplify what it means to be courageous as educators, leaders, parents and students. We must do everything we can to challenge our students and ensure they have access to a world-class education.''
Ohio's application built upon many of the activities of the education reform plan outlined in House Bill 1, and the priorities placed on education during the last two decades. During the creation of the Round 2 application, KidsOhio and the Ohio Grantmakers Forum, Inc. played an instrumental role in bringing together representatives from different education groups. They brought together more than 100 individuals representing 70 organizations to attend editorial and review sessions. From these experts, the Ohio Department of Education was able to add clarity, more detail and evidence to the Round 2 application.
''Our work will begin immediately with school districts and community schools which have agreed to be part of our effort to transform education in Ohio and build on the tremendous progress that has been made over the last decade,'' Delisle said. ''I would like to thank the numerous individuals who helped put our application together, and the dozens of groups which supported our efforts and provided input during the creation of our application. Our collective effort has been recognized and, on behalf of Ohio's schoolchildren, I thank each of you for your dedication to improving education.''
''I would also like to congratulate the other states that were selected to receive funding, as well as Delaware and Tennessee who received funding in Round 1 of Race to the Top,'' Delisle added. ''I anticipate that we will learn much from one another as we proceed with each of our plans. Our students all deserve a world-class education that can only be offered if we all begin thinking innovatively.''
The U.S. Department of Education provided prescriptive guidance in terms of centering the reform work on four specific areas: standards and assessments; data systems to support instruction; great teachers and leaders; and turning around the lowest-achieving schools.
The funds will be used to support Race to the Top activities either directly through Ohio schools districts or through state-supported initiatives. Under terms of the grant, at least half of the funds Ohio must be distributed directly to participating schools. A list of participating schools and funding amounts can be found at www.rttt.education.ohio.gov.
''We will make every effort possible to ensure that the participating schools are able to carry out the initiatives they identify in their action plans,'' Delisle said.
A total of 538 public school districts and community schools signed memoranda of understanding to participate in Ohio's Race to the Top efforts. Of those students participating, the award will impact 81.5 percent of African-American students, 73 percent of Hispanic students, and 66.3 percent of economically disadvantaged students statewide. The Ohio Department of Education will begin working with each entity on its implementation plan. Plans must be submitted by November.