New York State Wins Nearly $700 Million in Race to the Top Competition

August 24, 2010 Updated Aug 24, 2010 at 1:33 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

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New York State Wins Nearly $700 Million in Race to the Top Competition

August 24, 2010 Updated Aug 24, 2010 at 1:33 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The United States Education Department today announced that New York State has been awarded $696,646,000 as a winner in the second round of the federal Race to the Top competition.

Of the ten states named winners, only Massachusetts’s application scored more points than New York’s.

Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said, “The Regents and I are absolutely thrilled that New York has been selected as a winner in the Race to the Top competition. We want to thank the State’s entire educational community, which came together in an unprecedented way to support the State’s RTTT application. We’d like to thank the Governor, Assembly Speaker Silver, and Senate Majority Conference Leader Sampson for their leadership and for enacting new laws that will support educational excellence. I want to extend a special thank you to United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein for appearing with us in Washington to help successfully make the case for New York."

The funding that New York State receives from the competition will help advance the Regents reform agenda through 27 projects over four grant years. $348.3 million of the RTTT funds will be awarded to participating LEAs (school districts and charter schools) over the course of the grant to support implementation, while $348.3 million will be used to build the capacity of educators statewide and directly support new curriculum models, standards, assessments, teacher and principal preparation and professional development, and the statewide student data system.

New York State’s Race to the Top application incorporates reforms enabled by legislation enacted earlier this year. The legislation: (1) establishes a new teacher and principal evaluation system that makes student achievement data a substantial component of how educators are assessed and supported; (2) raises New York’s charter school cap from 200 to 460 and enhances charter school accountability and transparency; (3) enables school districts to enter into contracts with Educational Partnership Organizations (the term for non-profit Education Management Organizations in New York State) for the management of their persistently lowest-achieving schools and schools under registration review; and (4) appropriates $20.4 million in capital funds to the State Education Department to implement its longitudinal data system.

Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. James Williams will be holding a press conference at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday to discuss what the funding may mean for the city school district.

New York State Governor David Paterson released the following statement regarding the award:

"I am proud to announce that today New York State has been awarded $696,646,000 in Race to the Top Round II stimulus education funding. During these difficult economic times, this funding will go a long way to ensure that our State's children are given greater opportunity and access to a quality education. This new funding will help provide the foundation for academic success and the emergence of a new generation of leaders and achievers for New York State."

"This funding would not have been possible without the Legislature approving my proposals to lift the State's charter school cap, link teacher evaluations to student performance, and provide resources to implement a data system that tracks individual student performance. In addition, the hard work of the State Education Department to ensure our application was the strongest it could be was recognized by this significant award for New York's schools. Moreover, I know the support of our New York Congressional Delegation was key to our success."

"I would like to thank President Barack Obama for his commitment to our nation's children, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan for pushing the President's strategy forward and for recognizing that New York State is worthy of these important dollars. These funds will be directly invested in our children's futures, which I am confident will lead to a bright and prosperous future for New York State."

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said the following regarding New York's federal Race to the Top funding:

"New York's schools have made strong strides towards excellence and this grant will accelerate that progress. This is great news for parents, teachers, and taxpayers across the state. This will send a message to other states that making hard choices, as New York did, will be rewarded by the federal government."