U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis, Lieberman, Introduce Race to the Top Act of 2010

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Washington, September 29, 2010 | comments
Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) today introduced legislation that will authorize the continuation of the highly successful Race to the Top competitive grant program that was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Race to the Top is a competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward states that demonstrate a strong commitment to bold educational reforms.  The first two rounds of competition for funding already spurred unprecedented change across the country, with states enacting more education reform legislation in eighteen months than they had in the previous eight years. The Race to the Top Act of 2010 would extend the competition to school districts and authorize President Obama’s proposed $1.35 billion in funding for 2011, and continue funding for the next five years.

“There are no losers, but only winners under Race to the Top,” said Congressman Polis.  “The biggest winners are America’s children, especially the millions of underserved students who suffer unacceptable achievement gaps.  That is why we introduced this legislation today: to continue incentivizing the bold reforms needed to create an excellent public education system that serves the need of all children.  From coast to coast, Race to the Top has been a catalyst for mobilizing communities and unleashing creative waves of meaningful reform.  Now, not only will we continue the push for improvements at the state level, but we will also open it up so districts can directly invest in change.”

“The positive impact of Race to the Top, in a very short period of time, is evident and impressive,” said Senator Lieberman.  “States, school districts, unions, teachers, parents, and students are engaged in the mission of a better education for all of our children regardless of race, nationality or family income.  Race to the Top has without a doubt helped to focus the country’s attention on school reform, and now it is essential that we keep the momentum moving forward.”

“With less than 1 percent of the annual K-12 education spending in our country, Race to the Top has helped advance reform more in the past 18 months than any other program in the history of the Department of Education,” said U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  “To sustain the tremendous momentum we’ve seen in the states, President Obama and I have proposed to continue the program for states and expand it by inviting school districts to create their own roadmaps for reform.  With the introduction of this legislation, Senator Lieberman and Congressman Polis have taken a big step toward making that a reality.  I appreciate their outstanding leadership on this issue and look forward to continuing to work with Congress to support collaboration and innovative reforms at the state and local levels through the Race to the Top.”

Under Race to the Top:
  • 46 states and DC developed statewide reform plans;
  • 15 states changed laws to increase their ability to intervene in their lowest performing schools;
  • 22 states enacted laws to improve teacher quality, including alternative certification, effectiveness and evaluation systems;
  • 36 states and DC have adopted high college- and career-ready standards;
  • 15 states have altered laws or policies to create or expand the number of charter schools.
The Race to the Top Act of 2010:
  • Encourages and rewards the implementation of comprehensive reforms and innovative strategies that close the achievement gap and remove barriers to innovation through 4-year competitive grants;
  • Supports increased teacher and principal effectiveness and efforts to ensure that all students have equal opportunity to be taught by effective educators;
  • Strengthens the use of high-quality data to improve instruction and student outcomes;
  • Incentivizes the adoption of internationally benchmarked college- and career-ready standards that prepare students for success in a global economy;
  • Opens the competition to school districts in addition to states;
  • Promotes early learning programs to ensure that kids are prepared to learn when they enter the public school system;
  • Holds states and districts accountable  by making funds conditional to progress toward performance goals, and requires annual reporting;
  • Directs the Secretary of Education to ensure that the evaluation of applications is transparent, fair and objective;
  • Ensures a priority for rural and high-poverty districts.
  • Authorizes $1.35 billion for 2011, and such sums as are necessary for the succeeding 5 years.
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