West Virginia Doesn’t Race To The Top
Washington, DC – When the US Dept of Education released its list of finalists in the first round of its Race To The Top grants, West Virginia was not on the list. They’re not alone – of the 41 applicants that applied for the grants, only 15 states and the District of Columbia made it to this stage.
Race To The Top is a 4.35 Billion dollar grant program to dramatically reshape Americas’ educational system to give students the tools they need to be competitive in the world economy and workplace. According to the US Dept of Education panels of five peer reviewers independently read and scored each state’s application. The panels then met in February to finalize their comments and submit the scores. From this process, the sixteen finalists were chosen.
The WV Dept of Education won’t know why they didn’t make the cut until the reviewers comments are released in April. WV Governor Joe Manchin has pledged to support whatever efforts are needed, including a special legislative session, to ensure that WV can make it through the second round of RTTT grants in June.
All 55 school districts, including Pocahontas, signed a Memorandum of Understanding supporting the WV Dept of Educations RTTT grant application. The grant is important in supporting the states 21st Century learning vision called Global 21: Students Deserve It, The World Demands It. This program defines a 21st century learner as part of a generation that has never known a world without the internet, computers, video games and cell phones. They’re digital natives that have grown up with information technology as part of their daily lives.
Accordingly, learning skills in this program are based on information and communication skills such as word processing, e-mail and various software applications. They also emphasize critical thinking, problem solving, and being self-directed and adaptable.
Finalists chosen in round one are Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
This month the finalists will present their proposals to the same panel that chose them, for a more in-depth interview. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan anticipates that very few will make the final cut. Those that do will be announced in April.