Senator John Kerry today announced that Massachusetts has advanced to Tier 2 of the Race to the Top Competition. The competition, which is run by the U.S. Department of Education, challenges states to positively reform their education systems. The winner will be awarded $4.35 billion.
Race to the Top awards go to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform. Race to the Top winners help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for states and local school districts throughout the country to follow.
"I'm thrilled to see education reform in Massachusetts acknowledged nationally as a trail-blazer and success. Massachusetts is working to close achievement gaps and ensure that every single student receives a world-class public education. Our entire congressional delegation pulled together with the Governor and the legislature to advance Massachusetts' case and we hope to see our state win the race to the top," said Senator John Kerry.
Kerry and the entire Massachusetts delegation sent a letter of support to Education Secretary Arne Duncan earlier this year.
Massachusetts' application emphasizes four ambitious yet achieveable goals: providing all students with a more personalized educational experience; developing and retaining an effective, diverse and culturally competent educator workforce; concentrating high-quality instruction, additional supports for students and families, and tools for educators in the lowest-performing schools; and increasing the readiness of all students for college and careers.
Massachusetts was one of 40 states and the District of Columbia that applied to receive the funding. Sixteen have advanced to the current round. The winner will be announced in early April.
In order to be eligible, states had to demonstrate that they advanced reforms around four specific areas:
·Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
·Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
·Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
·Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.
Other first round finalists include Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.