AEN members recently participated in a webinar titled “What to Expect: Arizona’s Race to the Top Application,” presented by Arizona School Boards Association [ASBA] and the Arizona Association of School Business Officials [AASBO]. The featured speaker was Mesa School District Superintendent Dr. Debra Duvall, who serves as a Special Advisor to Governor Brewer on the Race to the Top program. The Race to the Top Fund will provide $4.35 billion in competitive grants to encourage and reward states that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform.
The Governor, in conjunction with Dr. Duvall and the P-20 Council on Education, have created a plan to apply for the Race to the Top grant. The stated goal of the plan is to make sure that, “[b]y 2020, Arizona’s students will be ranked in the top 5 in the country and among the best globally.”
In creating the plan, four areas of reform were identified:
- Standards and Assessments
- Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems
- Great Teacher, Great Leaders
- Supporting Struggling Schools
Race to the Top is a competitive grant that all 50 states can apply for. In order to apply for a Race to the Top grant, local education agencies (LEA’s)– public school districts and charter schools–have to fill out a participation agreement outlining specific actions to be taken under the four reform areas, as well as a memorandum of understanding. Arizona plans on meeting the January 15, 2010 federal deadline for funding. The winning states will be announced in April and if Arizona is chosen, school districts and charter schools would have to submit a written plan within 90 days. Implementation would take place in August/September 2010. If Arizona is not chosen in the first round, the state can reapply in June, 2010.
Dr. Duvall’s presentation, as well as a recording of the full presentation along with the Q & A, can be found on the AASBO web site.
.The following are some key points made by Dr. Duvall during the Question and Answer section of the webinar:
- Race for the Top (RTTT) funds will not replace funding cuts by the state.
- RTTT funding is not dependent on an increase in education funding by the Arizona legislature.
- Funding is not assured but AZ can expect to receive approximately $150-$250 million over 4 years if it is one of approximately 10 states that is chosen.
- The RTTT grant money will be split 50% to the LEA’s and 50% to the Arizona Department of Education.
- Only Title 1 schools or those eligible for Title 1 funds will receive RTTT LEA grants; however, LEA’s that don’t qualify may receive money through the portion of the funds that go directly to the state.
- For-profit charters are not expected to be eligible for RTTT money.
- Arizona has joined 48 other states (all except AK and TX) in an agreement to adopt common academic standards, which Dr. Duvall expects to adopt whether or not AZ receives a RTTT grant.
- Arizona parent stakeholders have not been involved in the formation of the plan, though they have been present during informational meetings.
- As part of the proposed data gathering process, students and teachers would receive an ID number for tracking performance and information in the data warehouse, which would be shared by LEA’s and higher education partners to track student performance and teacher effectiveness.
- Social promotion would be controlled at transition points (i.e. end of 3rd grade).
View Arizona’s Race to the Top application, submitted on January 15, 2010.
Find out more about Race to the Top:
Arizona seeks $250 million in federal stimulus funds for education grants, San Francisco Examiner, January 20, 2010
State on track to receive education funding, Yuma Sun, December 1, 2009
Arizona may have leg up in race for education funds, Arizona Republic, November 30, 2009
Race to the Top, Ted Simons interview with Dr. Debra Duvall and Rep. Rich Crandall, PBS Channel 8, September 16, 2009
Duncan Sets High Bar for Race to the Top, Coverge, November 16, 2009
Tags: arizona education, Arizona education funding, Arizona Race to the Top, Arizona RTTT, Arizona school funding, Dr. Debra Duvall, Mesa Superintendent Deb Duvall, Race to the Top, Race to the Top Arizona, RTTT, RTTT AZ