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Race to the Top is the $4 billion federal grant initiative to improve education. But of the twelve jurisdictions the received funds two local ones — D.C. and Maryland — are not making the progress they promised they would.
Each jurisdiction laid out its own plan for comprehensive reform and nine of the 12 are making remarkable progress, federal education officials say. But Maryland and D.C. join Georgia in being behind the curve.
D.C. received $75 million in funding to improve 13 low-performing schools. So far, only one school has seen implementation of the plans for improvements. In addition, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has had significant staff turnover and was late releasing a website with resources to help teachers and data to help track information about student’s progress.
"The slow pace of D.C.'s progress needs to dramatically accelerate," says U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Maryland received $250 million, part of which was supposed to go to developing a new teacher evaluation system. Those evaluation plans have not been completely developed and the pilot evaluation system did not capture the information needed.
Education department officials say a lot of this happened during the time Maryland did not have a permanent education superintendent. The post is now filled. The 'Race to the Top' states are now entering the third year of the four-year grant program.