PSEA president commends state efforts on Race to the Top application
Although Pennsylvania came up short in the initial bid to receive federal funds for school improvement in the Race to the Top grant program, kudos should go to all from the Keystone State who participated in the application process, said PSEA President Jim Testerman.
Testerman said the teachers, education support professionals, state and local school officials who supported the grant application in the $4.35 billion earned an “A” for extra effort. He predicted that Pennsylvania will eventually receive a share of the funds, as the next phase of Race to the Top applications begins this June.
“PSEA and state officials worked closely together, and that cooperation resulted in Pennsylvania being named one of 15 states who were finalists in the first round of grants awards,” said Testerman. “Our members are committed to providing the very best education to the Commonwealth’s students.”
“In an effort to make Race to the Top grant opportunities available to the students, schools and communities that could benefit from them, PSEA worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the best spirit of cooperation, and we will continue to work with the state and federal government as this process moves into the second phase,” Testerman said.
More than 120 districts and dozens of charter schools signed on to Pennsylvania’s application for Phase 1 funds of the RTTT program, signaling their intent to support the grant application process. The deadline for states to submit applications to the U.S. Department of Education for Phase 2 of the program is June 1.
Officials at the U.S. Department of Education have promised feedback to the states which did not receive the Phase 1 funds, Testerman noted. “We look forward to receiving additional information, and will keep working to improve Pennsylvania’s chances for the grants in Phase 2,” Testerman said. “We are ready and willing to continue our close partnership with state and local officials to implement research-backed programs to increase student learning and achievement.”
Pennsylvania was named in early March as one of 15 state finalists, along with the District of Columbia. These 15 states and D.C. beat out 25 other states and earned the highest scores from the peer reviewers, who awarded points based on a 500-point grading scale that judged states' commitments to improve teacher effectiveness, data systems, academic standards, and low-performing schools.
For more information on Race to the Top, visit www.psea.org/RTTT.