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State may try again for Race to the Top funds


The governor's office and the California Department of Education are pondering whether to participate in a new version of the federal "Race to the Top" competition.

The U.S. Department of Education announced last week that California and eight other states could vie for chunks of a $500 million grant to improve early childhood programs for students. California could be eligible for up to $50 million of the award's total payout.

Gil Duran, spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown, said the administration is taking a "close look" at opportunities to see how the state might benefit.

Specific details on the new contest have yet to be released. The application should be available at the end of summer. States who participate and win would likely receive funding by Dec. 31, 2011, said Cathy McBride who works on federal policy matters for the California Department of Education.

A total of 46 states and the District of Columbia have applied for rounds one and two of the federal contest, which strives to highlight and reward the best strategies and practices on education and education reform.

California struggled during its two previous attempts, receiving low marks during the judging in numerous areas, including its data-tracking systems and relationships with teachers unions – who would be counted on to implement proposed reforms at the local level.

The state's proposals had plenty of pros in the eyes of judges, however, including its overall favorable stance toward charter schools.

Long Beach Unified Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser told the Los Angeles Times that any reforms undertaken by the state should not be done solely for the sake of funding.

"We need to do these reforms based on what's best for students," Steinhauser said.


Filed under: K–12, Daily Report


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