Massachusetts is one of more than a dozen states that have made it to the finals in the "Race to the Top" competition for generous federal education grants, US Senator John Kerry's office announced this afternoon.
“I’m thrilled to see education reform in Massachusetts acknowledged nationally as a trail-blazer and success. Massachusetts is working to close achievement gaps and ensure that every single student receives a world-class public education. Our entire congressional delegation pulled together with the governor and the Legislature to advance Massachusetts’ case and we hope to see our state win the race to the top,” Kerry said in a statement.
Governor Deval Patrick called the Obama administration’s announcement “very, very good news,” and said he wanted to go to Washington to press for the state’s application in the final round of the application process.
“It is an opportunity for us, if we are ultimately successful, to make the most significant investment in the next stage of education reform in a very, very long time here in the Commonwealth,” he said at a press conference in his State House office. “We’re not there yet, but we’re a big step closer.”
Education Secretary Paul Reville said the application is a “blueprint for the next generation of education reform.”
A total of 40 states and the District of Columbia applied to receive the funding.
Massachusetts advanced to Tier 2 of the $4 billion competition, along with Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee, Kerry's office said.
When the state Legislature approved a major education bill in mid-January, Governor Deval Patrick predicted it would bring an end to a persistent achievement gap between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds and would probably enhance the state’s chances of receiving $250 million from the Race to the Top competition.
President Obama’s competition is intended to encourage states that aggressively pursue overhauls of failing schools and expansions of charter schools. Half of the money the state receives would go directly to school districts committed to undertaking major changes in improving failing schools.
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