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Maine to Apply for Race to the Top Funds
Changes in legislation needed before filing application
November 19, 2009
AUGUSTA – Governor John Baldacci announced today that Maine will apply to the U.S. Department of Education for Race to the Top funds during the second phase of the application process next spring. More than $4 billion are available as innovation grants to states as a way to raise student achievement and accelerate achievement gains with innovative reforms.
Maine could be eligible for $20 million to $75 million in funds from the competitive program.
“We will apply for these funds as a way of accelerating Maine’s progress toward reducing the number of dropouts and increasing the number of students who graduate high school and go on to post-secondary education or training,” Governor Baldacci said. “This program offers us a good opportunity to make needed reforms and improve education in Maine.”
To be successful in the grant application, Maine must make the case that it is raising student achievement, and that it has in place the tools necessary to accelerate achievement gains. In particular, the state must show it has comprehensive and coherent plans for: using common standards and assessments; building a workforce of highly effective teachers and leaders; creating data systems to support instruction and student achievement; and developing systems to turn around the lowest-performing schools in the State.
While Maine excels in some areas cited in the newly released criteria, Maine will have to make some changes that need legislative approval, the Governor said. The Governor has directed Education Commissioner Gendron to complete the work necessary to apply for the second application deadline of June 1, 2010.
The Administration will work with the Legislature to improve education policies in areas such as:
Commissioner Gendron said the newly released criteria for RTTT funds shows that Maine has to make some changes this legislative session in order to improve the chances for its application. As important, she said, it’s an opportunity to strengthen Maine’s educational reform efforts, by increasing flexibility while still keeping the focus on the key outcome of all students graduating from high school ready for college, career and civic life.
Commissioner Gendron said she will work with the education community in developing ideas for how best to meet the requirements through legislation. In particular, she will work with teachers, principals and others to develop effective evaluation systems that stress growth in student performance (not just raw achievement scores) and multiple other measures of student achievement of the state’s Maine Learning Results standards.
For more information, visit the Maine Department of Education website.
David Connerty-Marin | Director of Communications | 207-624-6880
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