ERIC Number: EJ872392
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan-20
Reference Count: N/A
Districts Shun Stimulus Bids
Maxwell, Lesli A.
Education Week, v29 n18 p1, 21 Jan 2010
In the final sprint to polish Race to the Top applications, hundreds of school districts shunned a shot at a share of $4 billion in grants by refusing to sign on to their states' plans for the federal competition. California officials had secured the signatures of 790 local education agencies (leas) late last week, including most of the state's largest school systems and hundreds of individual charter schools, as the Jan. 19 application deadline neared. But California is home to more than 1,000 school districts and roughly 800 charter schools. San Diego Unified, with 117,000 students, was the largest district to rebuff the plan. Louisiana, widely seen as a front-runner for winning a Race to the Top grant, nailed down firm commitments from 28 districts and announced that 32 others had declined to sign. In Michigan, 715 districts and charter schools were on board; the state has 848 districts. Kentucky, in contrast, got every one of its 174 districts to agree to take part in its plan. And in Colorado, seen as another early favorite in the competition, the number late last week was 132 out of 178 districts, representing more than 90 percent of the state's schoolchildren. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, pulled the plug entirely on his state's Race to the Top bid late last week, saying Texas would not cede its control over school improvement to win as much as $700 million. A lot rides on how successful the states vying for one of the federal grants are in securing "buy in" from leas including district superintendents, school board presidents, and teachers' union leaders. Out of a total of 500 points in the Race to the Top competition, 45 are directly connected to whether states secure agreement from local school leaders to implement what in many cases will be an ambitious and difficult array of changes designed to improve public education. States must demonstrate those agreements in signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) from local school officials. Under the rules for Race to the Top, an MOU requires the signature of the district superintendent, president of the local school board, and leader of the local teachers' union if there is one. The grants from the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top Fund, supported by economic-stimulus money, are meant to foster states' school improvement efforts reflecting criteria laid out by the department. The aid will be awarded in two batches.
Descriptors: Charter Schools, Competition, Unions, School Districts, Educational Change, Boards of Education, Grants, Superintendents, Presidents, Public Education, Federal Aid, Educational Improvement, Economic Factors, Public Officials, Administrators
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Colorado; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Texas