Statement by The Education Trust—West on California’s Intent to Apply for the Second Round of Race to the Top
OAKLAND, CA (April 30, 2010) After much speculation as to whether or not California would drop out, The Education Trust—West commends California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senator Gloria Romero and state education leaders for formally announcing a new strategy to win a share of $4.35 billion in federal education stimulus dollars in the second round of the Race to the Top Competition. As the state faces massive budget deficits and persistent achievement gaps, California’s continued pursuit of funds aimed at improving teaching and learning in our public schools is worthy of praise.
“We met with state leaders last week and urged them to keep California in the race on behalf of the millions of underserved Latino, African-American students and children in poverty in our state who could benefit from a combination of reform and funding,” said Arun Ramanathan, executive director of The Education Trust—West. “We also shared our ideas for revising the application to significantly boost our chances to win.”
According to a policy brief released last week, California’s Race to the Top: A Road Map for Round Two, The Education Trust—West contends California state leaders must be even bolder and more innovative in proposing second round reform strategies that will garner the points needed to keep up with returning Round One finalists.
In addition to the clustering of large reform-minded districts, the policy brief highlighted other concrete reforms that earned special recognition for first round winners Delaware and Tennessee, as well as top finalists Florida, New York and Illinois— three large diverse states like California. These states were rewarded for committing to innovative but feasible strategies with rapid timelines for improvement.
With the question of whether we would apply out of the way, California can win by quickly understanding why it lost the first time, what other states did better, and what it must do differently to win.
“Deciding to apply is a step in the right direction,” stated Ramanathan. “The next step is devising a new strategy that prioritizes a strong reform agenda instead of proposing the same old watered-down reforms.”
The full brief is available below:ETW Statement on RTTT Round II
About The Education Trust—West
The Education Trust—West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, kindergarten through college, and to forever close the achievement gaps separating low-income students and students of color from other youth. Our basic tenet is this— All children will learn at high levels when they are taught to high levels.