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N.C. among 'Race to the Top' grant winners

Posted August 24, 2010

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— North Carolina will receive about $400 million as a winner in the second round of the “Race to the Top” school reform grant competition, Gov. Beverly Perdue said Tuesday.

The money, part of $4.35 billion being given out nationwide, will pay for recruiting and retaining quality teachers and administrators; a turnaround plan for low-performing schools; and technology for assessing students’ needs, Perdue said.

The money “will give us the resources to more aggressively implement our plan to ensure that all of our children graduate ready for a career, college or technical training,” Perdue said in a statement. “It won’t matter where they live; it won’t matter what their school looks like; it won’t matter what their parents do for a living.”

North Carolina was one of nine states and the District of Columbia to receive money in the second round of the competition. The other winners were: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island.

"This is a once in a decade opportunity for us to move faster and further," said June Atkinson, state schools superintendent.

N.C. will receive $400M in grant money N.C. will receive $400M in grant money

The Tar Heel State missed out when first-round winners were named in March, as only Tennessee and Delaware were selected to share $600 million. In May, Perdue and the General Assembly changed state law to adopt federal guidelines on how local school districts could retool low-performing schools.

Those changes gave local education leaders four options to improve more than 130 continually low-performing schools — those where less than half of the students have failed end-of-grade or end-of-course tests in two of the past three years.

The biggest change would allow districts to “restart” a typical school by giving it the same flexibility as a charter school without making it independent from the district. Charter schools are exempt from many rules of most public schools and can test innovative learning techniques or focus more on children at risk of failure.

Other methods the State Board of Education could authorize local districts to use to help continually low-performing schools include increasing learning time and improving teacher performance; removing the principal and many teachers; and simply closing the school.

The winners named Tuesday will divide a remaining $3.4 billion. Another $350 million is coming in a separate competition for states creating new academic assessments.

“This will allow North Carolina to continue the tradition of being a leader in public education,” Atkinson said.

The historic program, part of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, rewards states for embarking on ambitious reforms to improve struggling schools, close the achievement gap and boost graduation rates.

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  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Aug 27, 2010

    "what is going to happen next year when this runs out"

    They are going to have to close some schools, fill the others well past capacity, let go 1/3rd of teachers ...

    you don't want to hear anymore, because most parents couldn't handle "the truth".

  • josephlawrence43 Aug 25, 2010

    All of this discussion about money, how/where it is to be spent; what is going to happen next year when this runs out--all of these are legitimate topics--but one that is being missed. The government gives the states the money--IF the states comply with federal requirements, including teachers and what they teach. We are looking dead in the face of standardization--with the government telling schools what to teach, and teachers how to teach it to an extent far and above what we have now.. They will now control the content of the textbooks, and the content of teacher preparation courses ( indoctrination). One single education system--with the federal government at the top...shades of 1984

  • Nope Aug 25, 2010

    "Isn't it fascinating that with way smaller staff and far worse buildings & structures many charter schools are still outperforming schools in their districts?"

    They have far less students.
    They get to CHOOSE which kids they take.
    The parents are very involved in their children's education.
    The majority of parents volunteer at the school.

  • ThinkChick Aug 25, 2010

    Shouldn't this be called "Race to the Trough"? And it's true that when this money is gone, then what?!

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Aug 25, 2010

    great question, pay attention citizens and see if you can learn something here.

    "Would you rather not get the money and have the state or local govts. have to raise taxes to pay for the shortfall?"

    What do you think they're going to do next year? Bev's stimulus money will end. Slammed shut like a door on your foot. And NOW, this great "grant money" coming our way, only lasts 4 years, what are you going to do then? ALL of the programs and jobs saved with this current money that is ending and this chunk coming will have to be scrapped once the money is gone OR you, the citizens, can pony up all those millions upon millions to keep them going. Will the citizens of NC EVER get it? Yes, they will when their new tax bills come in!

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Aug 25, 2010

    "And many are doing worse. Especially the heavily minority ones."

    What? You mean Billy and his gang aren't helping them achieve? Where are their parents? Need I say more? IF I did it wouldn't get posted!

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 25, 2010

    nighttrain, current U.S. literacy rates seem to be 99%, so what’s your point with the 90% Colonial comparison? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate Didn’t the Colonial people still “bleed” people to “cure” them? ;-)

    I agree with you that many parents these days are incapable of doing their job as parents. But, how will childhood education improve (as you say) if these same parents have to PROVIDE an education equivalent to the public system? You seem to be undermining your own argument.

  • Plenty Coups Aug 25, 2010

    "Isn't it fascinating that with way smaller staff and far worse buildings & structures many charter schools are still outperforming schools in their districts?"

    And many are doing worse. Especially the heavily minority ones.

  • I-40 Warrior Aug 25, 2010

    "The biggest change would allow districts to “restart” a typical school by giving it the same flexibility as a charter school without making it independent from the district."

    Making the charter independent from the district is part of what makes them succeed. They get no capital dollars (buildings, etc), but in turn they get much more flexibility in how they spend their operational dollars. Isn't it fascinating that with way smaller staff and far worse buildings & structures many charter schools are still outperforming schools in their districts?

  • Plenty Coups Aug 25, 2010

    "And yet literacy rates in North America BEFORE public education was over 90 percent by some accounts"

    Awesome post! Lets go back to the days of blood letting, and witch hunts! Never mind that your "90%" only takes into account certain areas of urban New England (where they had compulsory education)and leaves out women and all other minorities. Never mind that literacy rates in more rural areas (like the South) at this time were much, much, lower. Never mind that technology and advancements have made it important to teach such subjects as computers, science, advanced algebra, economics, history, web sites design, etc. Never mind that we would be the joke of the world if we neglected our poor, and only educated those who could afford it. Never mind that our world now demands more than a basic understanding of how to read words that weren't necessary in a colonial society that was made up mainly of farmers. Give me a break!

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