Maryland and Washington, D.C., are among the newest winners of the highly competitive Race to the Top initiative, announced U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Tuesday.
The District and Maryland will receive up to $75 million and $250 million, respectively, joining eight other eight states winning Phase 2 applications and Phase 1 winners Tennessee and Delaware.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the education initiative will directly impact 13.6 million students and 980,000 teachers in 25,000 schools.
“These states show what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children,” said Duncan in a statement. “Every state that applied showed a tremendous amount of leadership and a bold commitment to education reform. The creativity and innovation in each of these applications is breathtaking.”
A total of 46 states and the District of Columbia put together comprehensive education reform plans to apply for Race to the Top in Phases 1 and 2. Over the course of the competition, participants took on challenging standards in reading and math, and 34 states changed laws or policies to improve education.
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., congratulated Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick and Maryland’s education leaders for their dedication to students and improving school standards.
“Education can be the key variable in changing a life of poverty and suffering into one lived along the path toward the American Dream,” said Cummings in a statement. “These grants, and the work that has gone into earning them, will help more students in Maryland stride proudly down that path.”
Similarly, education and political officials in the District are celebrating the Department of Education’s decision, although the city’s education community has faced a turbulent year. When D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee fired hundreds of city teachers, some community leaders and parents questioned the quality of education their children were receiving. However, District Mayor Adrian Fenty said the award indicates the school system’s resiliency and strong leadership.
“This is fantastic news for the future of the District of Columbia and its kids. For the past four years, there is nothing that has been a higher priority than public education for my Administration and we are both thrilled and grateful that President Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan are showing support through this grant for our reform efforts to create a world-class education system in the nation’s capital,” the mayor said in a statement.
The other Race to the Top grant winners are Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island.
For more information about the Race to the Top competition, visit www.ed.gov.