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Education advocates say state should apply for Race to the Top

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Aug. 17, 2009 at 1:56 pm with No Comments »
August 17, 2009 1:56 pm

Which is the opposite of what Gov. Chris Gregoire has said.

Race to the Top is the special $5.3 billion pot of money set aside by the Obama Administration to encourage states to reform their education systems. Gregoire has said she doubts the state would be eligible because it hasn’t met many of the criteria set up – making sure each classroom has a competent teacher, improving achievement in low-performing schools, having a good data collection system to measure results, offering charter schools.

Gregoire said perhaps the state would be ready for a second round of funding if the next session of the Legislature acts on some of these issues.

But a report by The League of Education Voters asserts that the state meet minimum eligibility and should apply for funds now.

“In the wake of the WASL and AYP results announced last week showing flat scores and little progress in closing the achievement gap, Washington State needs this funding more than ever to improve our schools and increase student achievement,” LEV said in a statement. “And despite some rumors to the contrary, Washington does meet the minimum application eligibility requirements for the Race to the Top Fund. A bold application would make Washington a legitimate contender for this funding, which would give a much-needed boost to the state’s education system.”

“While almost every other state in the nation is discussing how to compete in the Race to the Top, Washington State seems to be engaged in a Race to the Sidelines,” said Chris Korsmo, executive director of the league.

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