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Race To The Top to Support School Reform
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Federal education officials have just finalized guidelines for Race to the Top competitive funds. State Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan says he’s “guardedly optimistic” about Connecticut’s prospects. WNPR’s Diane Orson reports.

The 4.35 billion dollar Race to the Top Fund represents the largest-ever federal investment in school reform. The highly-competitive grants require states to focus on four areas – better testing – the Obama administration wants more consistent standards state-to-state; data systems that measure kids growth over time; interventions in low-performing schools; and a strong emphasis on effective teachers and principals.

Washington wants to see great teachers in disadvantaged areas, and new ways to measure whether they’re doing a good job. Education Commissioner Mark McQuillan says Connecticut’s still coming up to speed in the teacher quality area.

"…partly because the expectations in the grant are demanding a very different orientation around teacher supervision and evaluation than CT has had for some time."

Washington has created funding eligibility categories tied to the number school-age children in each state. Funds go out in two rounds. First round competition winners will be announced next spring.

For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.