Gov. Chris Gregoire held a press conference today at Foster High School in Tukwila. Joining her were state schools chief Randy Dorn and state board of education Chairman Jeff Vincent.
The point was to kick off her campaign to get all 295 state school districts to join in the application for a share of the remaining $3.4 billion in federal Race To The Top funds. Those are special stimulus dollars to reward states that reform their schools along certain paths including using test data to improve learning and evaluate teachers and fixing the lowest-performing schools.
Unanimity has become an important goal because the two states that won money in round one – Tennessee and Delaware – had wide support among teachers unions and school districts.
“The legislation passed this year gives us the tools to successfully compete for Race to the Top funds,” said Gregoire. “Closing the achievement gap, creating equal opportunities for success, supporting innovation in our schools, and developing the finest teachers, principals and education leaders in the country is critical to our future and will set every Washington child on the path to a lifetime of success from cradle to career.”
Districts have until May 17 to sign a partnership agreement. The state’s application for round two is due June 1.