CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s Race to the Top (RTTT) application has been signed, sealed and delivered. West Virginia was one of 40 states across the nation to apply for the federal education dollars.
Race to the Top is one of several federal initiatives aimed at improving education quality in the United States. West Virginia’s application outlined a comprehensive approach to reform that emphasizes four priority areas Standards and Assessments; Quality Teachers and Leaders; Comprehensive Data Systems; and Low Performing Schools and Struggling Students.
“Our RTTT application built upon our current successes in the education arena,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “We are cautiously optimistic that we will land the $80 million we requested. We were diligent about focusing on growing initiatives that would lead to gains in student achievement, improve high school graduation rates and college/career readiness, and ensure students have 21st century performance skills.”
Race to the Top is important for West Virginia for several reasons. First, RTTT priorities align with the ongoing work of districts and schools across the state to equip students with 21st century performance skills. We call West Virginia’s vision Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it. www.global21wv.com . Second, RTTT highlights the areas of reform that will shape future federal education policy, including other funding opportunities, the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Finally, RTTT provides flexible funding to strengthen our current educational infrastructure.
All 55 county districts in West Virginia elected to participate in RTTT by submitting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The state also received letters of support from institutions of higher education, business groups, foundations and teacher organizations, including both the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia (AFT-WV) and the West Virginia Education Association (WVEA).
“We obviously want West Virginia to win RTTT, yet we know that change is on the horizon either way,” said Paine. “We are confident that what we are teaching in our schools and how we are teaching is the path to success. In addition, we are incredibly encouraged to see that this federal initiative has inspired other states to join the 21st century learning revolution launched in part by the Mountain State.”
Grant winners are expected to be announced in March. To view West Virginia’s full RTTT application, please visit http://wvde.state.wv.us/race-to-the-top.html, or contact the West Virginia Department of Education Communications Office at (304) 558 – 2699.
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