Race to the Top Begins

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Today the Obama Administration is beginning the “Race to the Top” to reform our schools.

Thanks to the work of the president and Congress, we have $4.35 billion of from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the “Race to the Top” fund to invest in school reforms that work. Today, we’re telling states what they have to do to win the competition for that money.

But the president and I want to send a message to everyone: governors and mayors, school board members and teachers, parents and students; businesses and non-profits. We all need to work together to win this race so that our students can outcompete any worker in the world.

To win the race, states have to have standards and tests that prepare students to succeed in college and careers. They’ll need to recruit and reward excellent teachers and principals. They must have data systems to track students’ progress and to identify effective teachers. They must identify their lowest-performing schools and take dramatic action to turn them around.

In addition to the “Race to the Top” competition, the administration has another $5 billion available to targeted efforts to reform schools.

We have the resources at the federal level to drive reform. Now all of us need to take this challenge on and work together to reform our schools.

Arne Duncan

Note: President Obama joins Secretary Duncan today to announce the draft application for Race to the Top and information about other Recovery Act education programs. Watch the webcast live, beginning at 12:15 pm ET. See also…
– President Obama’s interview with the Washington Post
– Secretary Duncan’s op-ed, “Education Reform’s Moon Shot
– an Education Week article on Race to the Top
– a media advisory on today’s event.