Friday, Aug 27–County’s Take Of Race To Top Funds Comes To $1M

BERLIN – Out of $250
million in federal Race to the Top (RTTT) funds awarded to Maryland schools
this week, Worcester County will most likely get just $1 million over four
years, which will not be enough to make the  
changes required by the initiative.

The county will get
$250,000 a year for four years, according to the state’s funding formula for
the RTTT monies, Worcester Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes said.

“It will not be
sufficient funding to make the changes and modifications we need to make to
come into compliance with the new state testing system,” Andes said.

Maryland is one of
10 states across the country to be awarded the RTTT funds.

“We are honored to
have been selected as a winner of this prestigious competition … We are
grateful for the opportunity to advance these reforms with the assistance of
federal investments from President Obama and the U. S Department of Education,”
said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Half the $250
million, $125 million, will go the Maryland State Board of Education, to
realign the current state curriculum with the national core standards and to
change state tests to reflect the new curriculum, which should ensure that all
graduates are ready for employment or college.

The state also
intends to use technology to analyze and monitor student achievement, as well
as redesigning the model to develop and evaluate teachers and principals.

“With the help of
these important funds, Maryland intends to bolster our data systems, improve
instruction, and attract and maintain a stronger educational workforce,” State
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick said.

One quarter of the
RTTT award, $67.5 million, will go to school systems with the 5 percent lowest
performing schools in the state, Andes explained, which are Baltimore City and
Prince George’s County.

The other $67.5
million will be divided among the other 22 school systems. Funding will be
divided using the Title I formula, which takes households of poverty into
account.

The RTTT money must
be used to make changes in the school system to comply with the new state
curriculum, which will reflect national standards, and to purchase materials of
instruction such as textbooks.

The Maryland school
board must sign off on county use of the funding.

“The state’s not
going to just write us a check for $250,000,” said Andes. “We’ll have to put
together a plan.”

As of this week,
the counties have no details on the RTTT money.

The funding will
most likely be used for intensive staff development and training with county
teachers and new instructional materials.

New textbooks will
probably consume the majority of the funding.

Modifications must
be made by the 2012-2013 school year, which is not much time, according to
Andes.

The changes to the
state curriculum, Andes said, will be significant. He feels the state
curriculum needs more rigor.

The county has been
working on increasing the rigor of its curriculum for some time, he said.

“Maryland’s
education reforms have moved our students forward and our school system is the
envy of the nation,” Grasmick said. “We must continue that momentum and give
all students the education they deserve.”

Andes said he would
find out more about RTTT in Maryland during the September school
superintendents meeting.

 

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