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NC Educators anxious to see Race to the Top Money

Liza Weidle

The din of celebrating winning the Race to the Top (RttT) grant has died down and now NC educators are saying “Show me the money.” Myra Best, Special Assistant to the Governor for Education, met on Sept. 8 with the Cary Chamber of Education Committee members to discuss the plans for implementing the RttT funds.

According to Best, Governor Perdue's "Career and College: Ready, Set, Go!" education reform plan is the foundation for NC RttT application. The thumbnail sketch of the plan promises that all students will be ready to read, write, and do math at or above grade level; all students are set to perform at or above grade level; and all students will go on to a career, college, or technical training by accelerating experiences in high school.

“A big piece of the plans boils down to maximizing what you have available and to be able to personalize learning for all children,” said Best. There needs to an effort to move away from End of Grade testing, sometimes referred to as “autopsy data.” This means Local Educational Agencies (LEA) will need to diagnosis throughout the year to make a difference in that student’s school year.

According to the NC RttT application, “NC will work with each LEA to find the best way to blend short-term RttT funding with existing recurring funding to achieve NC and LEA objectives, with a particular focus on developing long-term LEA capacity for sustaining professional growth and student achievement. Hear from Governor Perdue, Bill McNeal, and other NC educators by watching the video of the application that was sent on August 10, 2010.

The bulk of the money is to be used for capacity-building activities that will focus on initiatives that include building an infrastructure for a next-generation technology for K-12 schools and implementing a Regional Leadership Academies (RLAs) project that will directly address the need to recruit, prepare, and support leaders of transformational change in challenging school contexts.

Educators are hoping to learn more about the timeline for rollout of funds to the districts. Best expects NC LEAs to have details by the end of September.

Liza Weidle is Parenting's NC Mom Congress delegate and author of "The Truth about Parenting: Navigating the Elementary Years."