Ohio Wins $400 Million in Race to the Top Funding
The U.S. Department of Education has selected Ohio as one of the winning states to be funded in Round 2 of the Race to the Top program. Ohio will receive $400 million in Race to the Top funds during the next four years.
"Ohio has a great strategy for public schools – the Ohio Education Opportunity Act, also known as House Bill 1," said OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks, reacting to the funding announcement. "Race to the Top dollars now give all of us the chance to implement that vision more quickly than we ever could without this funding. We have not only replaced the state’s unconstitutional system of school funding, we have also pointed the way to public school innovation and transformation."
"As president of the Ohio Education Association, I want to congratulate everyone who worked on Ohio’s application for Race to the Top funding," Frost-Brooks added. "The $400 million Ohio received will truly help all of us move our public education system from fifth to first in the nation. "
The Round 2 Race to the Top application was submitted by the Ohio Department of Education in June. In total, more than 538 Local Education Agencies, representing more than 60 percent, or about 1 million, of Ohio’s school children, agreed to participate directly in Ohio’s Race to the Top activities. Ohio was selected as a finalist in late July and a team from Ohio made a presentation and answered questions from U.S. Department of Education reviewers earlier this month.
"I’m grateful to Governor Ted Strickland and Superintendent Deborah Delisle for their tireless efforts in pursuit of this grant," Frost-Brooks said. "Also, I want to thank OEA members in local associations throughout Ohio who worked on Race to the Top. Many of them have already begun planning their next steps in this collaborative approach with school administrators."
Govenor Ted Strickland also offered thanks saying,“I give my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our education and community partners who supported this application, and our dedicated team of education leaders who worked tirelessly on behalf of Ohio’s children.”
Additionally, Strickland thanked U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Obama administration "for this opportunity to implement what I believe is a visionary education plan for Ohio’s children."
Ohio’s application built upon many of the activities of the education reform plan outlined in House Bill 1, and the priorities placed on education during the last two decades. During the creation of the Round 2 application, KidsOhio and the Ohio Grantmakers Forum, Inc. played an instrumental role in bringing together representatives from different education groups. They brought together more than 100 individuals representing 70 organizations to attend editorial and review sessions. From these experts, the Ohio Department of Education was able to add clarity, more detail and evidence to the Round 2 application.
The announcement comes as NEA President Dennis Van Roekel is on a seven-city, back-to-school tour to highlight NEA’s own efforts to help turn around low-performing schools and showcase effective teacher- and union-led school transformation efforts. Van Roekel will be in Columbus August 25.
“As I visit schools, I am witnessing what can happen when collaboration is front and center," Van Roekel said. “As the funds are distributed and implementation gets underway, we urge all the award winners to collaborate with educators and other key stakeholders—that is the only way to leverage these grants to bring sustainable change to schools. We also want the awardees to look hard at what works and what does not. We look forward to working with them to ensure great public schools for every student.”
“Our work will begin immediately with school districts and community schools which have agreed to be part of our effort to transform education in Ohio and build on the tremendous progress that has been made over the last decade,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Deborah Delisle said. “I would like to thank the numerous individuals who helped put our application together, and the dozens of groups which supported our efforts and provided input during the creation of our application. Our collective effort has been recognized and, on behalf of Ohio’s schoolchildren, I thank each of you for your dedication to improving education.”
Frost-Brooks pledged support to OEA local associations "as they strive within their school communities to use Race to the Top dollars wisely. Together, we can shape the future, working toward world-class teaching and learning conditions for all children, regardless of where they reside.”