Two Maryland public school systems have been named finalists in the U.S. Department of Education’s latest “Race to the Top” competition.
The Baltimore City and Baltimore County systems were among 61 finalists named yesterday. The finalists were culled from nearly 400 applications from systems across the country.
“Race to the Top has spurred innovation throughout Maryland schools, all of it designed to strengthen achievement by our students,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery. “Congratulations to Baltimore City CEO Andres Alonso and Baltimore County Superintendent S. Dallas Dance and their staffs. This is great news for their communities.”
Federal officials announced the $400 million district competition earlier this year. Systems winning grants will be awarded between $5 million and $40 million to implement their ideas.
“These finalists are setting the curve for the rest of the country with innovative plans to drive education reform in the classroom,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said yesterday. “This competition was designed to support local efforts to close the achievement gap and transform the learning environment in a diverse set of districts, but no matter who wins, children across the country will benefit from the clear vision and track records of success demonstrated by these finalists.”
Maryland has been deeply involved in Race to the Top from the very beginning, and has had remarkable success in the grant competitions. The State was awarded $250 million in August 2010 in the second round of the U.S. Department of Education’s national competition, and followed that last December by receiving a $50 million Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant. Both grant awards are designed to strengthen educational programs, improve instruction, and boost achievement.
Information on the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top District Competition is available at: http://1.usa.gov/TpHRJW.