U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded Ohio's inclusion in the next round of the "Race to the Top" program. The program uses Recovery Act funding to reward schools that measurably improve their quality of education. Ohio is competing to receive more than $400 million of the $3.4 billion in remaining funds available nationwide. Of the 35 states and the District of Columbia that applied to the program, just 19 were chosen to move on to the next round of competition.
"Teachers, parents, and students in school districts across Ohio already know what the U.S. Department of Education acknowledged today--that our state's education system is on the rise. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Strickland, Ohio is well-positioned to compete successfully in the final round of the competition for Race to the Top funding," said Brown. "Ohio took a strong application and made it even stronger by expanding the participation of school districts and detailing a clear path for reducing persistent achievement gaps. The Race to the Top funding is critical not only for ensuring better schools for today's young minds, but for future generations of Ohioans to come."
More than 530 Ohio school districts signed on to the state's application for funding. In January, Sen. Brown wrote to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan urging that Ohio's application be given strong consideration. "Ohio has commenced its new biennium with a comprehensive education reform plan," wrote Sen. Brown. "Funding provided through the Race to the Top program would accelerate the state's existing agenda to strategically address gaps in delivering a highly effective learning experience to all students." The same month, Ohio's education system was rated the fifth-best in the nation by Education Week, the state's highest rating yet from the publication.