(Dover, DE) - Delaware's efforts to improve student achievement and create stronger public schools were recognized today when the federal Department of Education announced the state has moved to the next round in the Race to the Top competition. The announcement was made today by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
"This is just one more step down a long and very competitive path for Race to the Top funding, but we are pleased to have this opportunity. Even if there was no Race to the Top competition, we would be working to strengthen our public schools, prepare our children for the future and ensure quality teachers can succeed at their jobs,” Governor Markell said. "These efforts have broad support across the state and have happened because we – the state, schools, educators, the business community and others - have worked together to put children first.”
The Race to the Top federal grant competition allowed for states to submit applications during two phases. Phase I applications were due on January 19th. Forty states and the District of Columbus submitted applications for Phase I. The federal Department of Education today chose Delaware, fourteen other states and the District of Columbia as the remaining states in consideration for funding in Phase I. States that do not receive funding or that did not apply during Phase I may submit applications for Phase II.
"Delaware's application outlined some of the bold changes we have made and are making to improve our public schools. Every district, union, charter and school board in the state signed on to Delaware's application because people recognize across the state that progress requires many partners,” Former Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery said.
Delaware's application focuses on four assurances: strong standards and assessment, quality educators, robust data systems, and improving the low performing schools in the state. Last year, the Governor signed into law bills to give districts greater flexibility in funding and providing increased accountability for results. The State Board of Education passed regulations this year that improve assistance and support for schools that are persistently low performing and that reform educator evaluations by focusing on student improvement as a required element for an educator to be rated as "Effective.”
"Great news for Delaware students -- this is a very competitive grant, and the announcement that Delaware is a finalist is a testament to the dedication and proven leadership of our Governor and Secretary of Education,” said Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.). "Race to the Top is a tremendous opportunity for Delaware to build upon our already remarkable collective effort to create world class schools. These Recovery Act dollars would provide unprecedented resources to make even more innovative, ambitious educational improvements in our schools and give students the best education possible.”
"For the past two decades, we have sought to make Delaware a national leader on education,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.). "Today's news that Delaware has been chosen to go to the next level in this very competitive process is another positive for our state. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Markell, Former Secretary Lowery and Delaware's entire education team to ensure Delaware's children have all the tools necessary to succeed.”
The full application can be found at the following website: http://governor.delaware.gov/information/racetothetop.shtml
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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