Federal officials will tell you that education is a state responsibility, but federal dollars impact state policy.
So, if Race to the Top (RTT) does lose it funding in the new Omnibus bill, what goes away?
What are the new education priorities in the bill? A listing from the U.S. Department of Education website gives a list of RTT grant initiatives that may be affected.
New priorities are set. School Improvement Grants (S.I.G.) remain.
RTT grant initiatives:
- Adopting standards and assessments to prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy.
- Building data systems to measure student growth and success and to inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction.
- Recruiting, developing, rewarding and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed the most
- Turning around lowest performing schools by one of four options:*–Children stay and teachers leave a public school–Public school becomes a charter–Public school is reorganized. Performance evaluation/turn around curriculum/increase learning time/provide staff and budget flexibility small schools where teachers are not available–Close underperforming schools
*The Washington Post reports that funding for the School Improvement Grants to turn around failing schools has not been cut in the 2015 budget. These grants go to Title I and Title II schools that serve low income families. We need to dig deeper to determine if charter startup grant money given to states also has been retained.
Support to implement Common Core standards and testing is gone, but much of this funding came from private sources. The data system for tracking student achievement is eliminated along with money to develop new teacher and principal evaluation systems based on student performance. President Obama’s new RTT budget had also called for money to expand the school day and year, but this proposal did not survive.
- Special Education gets $25 million more
- School Improvement Grants stay at $506 million
- Preschool Development gets $250 million (Early Head Start and Head Start maintain funding)
- Title 1 increases $25 million
- Some funding will be available to help schools with educating immigrant children.