Ohio competing for share of $3.5 billion in education funds

Columbus, OH – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Deborah Delisle and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland today announced that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) submitted its application for Round 2 of the Federal Race to the Top grant competition.

The application builds on Ohio’s strong Round 1 application and, by providing enhanced details of Ohio’s plan, puts Ohio in a competitive position to receive funding. Ohio’s application requests $400 million to accelerate and enhance the education reform initiatives required by Race to the Top and closely align with the requirements of Ohio House Bill 1.

The full application may be viewed at www.rttt.education.ohio.gov.

“We have strengthened and expanded the reach of Ohio’s application so that more of our students would benefit from Race to the Top funding,” Strickland said. “Gathering support from groups around the state was a critical part of our effort to improve the Round 2 application.  We collected more than 200 letters of support from people and groups who believe that Ohio needs a student-centered education focused on innovation and 21st century skills.”

“I want to sincerely thank everyone who assisted with the development of this application. Continuing to demonstrate a strong, bipartisan state commitment to the goals of Race to the Top will improve Ohio’s likelihood of success,” Strickland said.

In order to receive funding through the state’s Race to the Top grant application, districts and community schools had to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ODE, agreeing to take on the reform initiatives outlined in the state’s proposal. These schools will share more than $200 million of the $400 million requested in Ohio’s application. The remaining funds will be used to develop statewide initiatives that align with HB 1 and will deepen the work outlined in Race to the Top. ODE received 537 MOUs from schools that represent 81.6 percent of African American students, 73.2 percent of Hispanic students, 71.9 percent of Limited English Proficient students, and 63.2 percent of students with disabilities. In each of these critical student population groups, Ohio significantly increased participation from the Round 1 application.

“Ohio’s Race to the Top application is stronger, more detailed, more thorough and more robust. In developing our Round 2 application, we analyzed reviewers’ comments from Round 1, engaged in many focus groups and analysis sessions with educators, parents, state leaders and members of the Ohio Legislature,” Delisle said. “Through these many collaborative efforts and conversations, I believe we have accomplished our goal of increasing commitment from Ohio’s schools and we can demonstrate that Ohio’s education system is strongly supported by organizations beyond the education community.

“Following the first round application for the Race to the Top program, we experienced an outpouring of support from the education community, state leaders, businesses and private foundations. More than 100 individuals participated in two forums to provide valuable insight and ideas for strengthening Ohio’s Round 2 application.

“Through this statewide support, we increased the number of participating school districts and community schools to 537 from the 480 that were part of our Round 1 application. This increased commitment from Ohio’s schools has resulted in more than 1 million students who will be impacted through their school’s involvement in Race to the Top. The effects that the initiatives outlined in our application will have on learning for all of our students will bolster Ohio’s education system.

“I am indebted to everyone involved in helping create the Round 2 application. I believe our collaboration resulted in a much stronger application that articulates a clear vision of how we will achieve an education system in which all students have access to a high-quality education, regardless of their zip code.”

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