Board OKs pursuit of Race to the Top funds

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Richmond County school board members took the first step Thursday in a Race to the Top. In a called meeting, board members unanimously agreed to file an application in coordination with the state for the Race to the Top initiative that President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan unveiled earlier this year.

"Our district was one of 40 that was invited to join the state in the application for the Race to the Top federal funds," Superintendent Dana Bedden told the board before the vote.

He said the district was chosen partly for its commitment to innovation and willingness to improve low-performing schools. Through Race to the Top, states will compete for financial support by submitting applications for planned school reforms.

"A lot of the things we're already doing," Dr. Bedden said.

One such reform would focus on turning around lowest-achieving schools. That could occur through four federal models, one of which would involve adding a new principal and retaining no more than 50 percent of a school's staff. School closure is an option.

Georgia is among seven states that have been told to plan statewide for a potential $200 million to $400 million.

All total, the Race to the Top initiative is set to award $4 billion nationwide in two phases, with recipients to be announced in April and September. Dr Bedden said that on the statewide level, Georgia's share would be spread over four years, with half going to the state and the remainder being divvied up among participating local school systems.

He said it's not known how much Richmond County might be eligible for, but the amount is partly based on Title 1 funding. He said Richmond County could benefit from its significant number of Title 1 schools.

Thursday's meeting was called because the county's deadline for applying is Jan. 8.

Columbia County school officials are gathering information from the state Department of Education, and should the county meet the Race to the Top criteria, it likely will seek some of the money, said Associate Superintendent Lauren Williams.

"We're not going to let any money sit on the table that we might qualify for," she said.

Aiken County schools could earn up to $6 million if South Carolina wins one of the first-round grants, according to King Laurence, the school system's federal programs director.

He said many Aiken County initiatives would only need to be tweaked.

"We're already focusing a lot of attention on schools that are struggling and we've implemented a system for principal evaluations based on performance," he said. "We're ahead of the curve."

FOCUS AREAS

The U.S. Department of Education has asked states to focus reforms on four areas for the Race to the Top initiative:

- Adopt standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college, the workplace and compete in the global economy

- Build data systems that measure student growth and success and let teachers and principals know how they can improve

- Recruit, develop, reward and retain effective teachers and principals

- Turn around lowest-achieving schools

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Riverman1
83537
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Riverman1 12/18/09 - 09:30 am
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If you get any money, spend

If you get any money, spend it fast. Giving away billions we don't have convinces me a Zimbabwe inflation like nightmare is coming soon.

deekster
24
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deekster 12/18/09 - 10:43 am
0
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A "Race To The Top" in

A "Race To The Top" in Disgusta would be, lets see, to the top of a pile of steaming excrement.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 12/18/09 - 10:47 am
0
0
Does every thing have to be

Does every thing have to be about ....race?

deekster
24
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deekster 12/18/09 - 10:49 am
0
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The consistent dumbing down

The consistent dumbing down of America by the federal government. Anything but teaching children to read, write, spell and do math. #1 more testing less teaching, #2 more computer programs that don't work, #3 Unions and Affirmative Action will not allow this one, #4 Ethnicity will not allow this one

cleanup
0
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cleanup 12/18/09 - 10:58 am
0
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Bedden will waste the money

Bedden will waste the money if he gets it, guaranteed. Educrats like him don't care about education, only appearances.

g-dog express
0
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g-dog express 12/18/09 - 12:36 pm
0
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Figures. There is nothing

Figures. There is nothing about taking education back to the student. The teachers do not need more reports to do, they need to spend more time educating the students. Go to any class room today and see what is going on. Parties. Most of your children are having parties in school today not education.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 12/18/09 - 06:34 pm
0
0
hey ms. cain, hey's an idea

hey ms. cain, hey's an idea about improving performance on all the high schools except johnson/davison(or as described in the paper as "low performing")...expell all disruptive, disrecptful, violent or student not there to learn...aint't this something they will impliment a federal learning model, but refuse to to impliment the learning model that caused davidson/johnson to be recognized as being among the top high schools in THE ENTIRE COUNTRY!!! but when you say money, ms. cain and the school board will come a running!!! just goes to show as far as ms. cain and the schoold board are concerned IT'S ONLY ABOUT THE MONEY!!!! they will put the lives, health and the safety or the teachers, parapros, bus drivers and other school employees at risk as long as they can continue to get state/federal funds to was on wasteful, useless and ineffective programs for schools that consistantly fail to meet ayp, have low graduation rates and test scores....

justus4
99
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justus4 12/18/09 - 09:29 pm
0
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Schools must establish a
Unpublished

Schools must establish a year-long apporach to educating students. No more Summer vacations and create a four -day school week. Thats the future, plus it will improve the scores of average students. Its gotta happen and this federal program would welcome such changes to the school environment. And please, get someone who knows & understand how to write a grant. The person selected to write the plan will prove to be critical to the success of the request.

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