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CT Applies for the Race to the Top Grant
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In a speech on Tuesday, President Obama said he'll ask for $1.35 billion next year to expand the Race to the Top educational grant program.  Connecticut officials submitted the state's application Tuesday for the highly competitive grants. WNPR's Diane Orson reports.

This is the first round of Race to the Top applications nationwide. Connecticut could win as much as $175 million. States have to spell out their educational strategies in four areas. First, testing. The Obama administration wants more consistent assessments from state-to-state. Second, better data systems for measuring students' achievement over time. Third, states can choose from a list of models to turn around their lowest performing schools; and finally, they must improve the effectiveness of teachers and principals.  Federal officials support pay-for-performance incentives, also known as merit pay. But speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Commissioner Mark McQuillan says the State Dept of Education does not support that idea.

"We are not in favor of merit pay.  What we are in favor of is a comprehensive system to measure principal effectiveness and teacher effectiveness, rather than starting with a series of pre-ordained outcomes that have been I think, very divisive and in the long run very unproductive for all of us."

Most educators expect RTT guidelines to become future federal requirements.  First-round competition winners will be announced in the spring.

For WNPR, I'm Diane Orson.