Florida's Race to the Top for federal education funding

Megan Allen, Hillsborough and Florida Teacher of the Year said she is excited about the new application. Allen was on the Governor Crist’s working group for changes to the application. The application also imposes a new structure for evaluating teachers, which Allen says, will make her a more effective educator.

“I think this is a huge step forward for Florida’s students and Florida’s future,” Allen said.

Florida came in fourth in the first phase of the Race to the Top fund. The winners for Phase two will be announced in late August, or early September by the Department of Education.

Congresswoman Kathy Castor, and leaders in Tampa Bay education are optimistic about their chances of winning Phase two in the Race to the Top fund. Florida’s application for Phase two will be its second, and final chance of receiving federal funding for Florida schools. Applications for Phase two are due Thursday, May 27. Up to $700 million is on the table for the winners.

The Race to the Top Fund is part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill  to improve performance in our nations schools. Delaware and Tennessee both won funding in Phase one, Tennessee received $500 million, and Delaware around $100 million. They are now ineligible to compete in Phase two, where Florida has a chance of winning.

“We have a great application to submit this week for the second round of Race to the Top,” Castor said today.

The new application for the fund will encompass proposed changes for Florida’s education, including focusing on hurting schools. The education leaders who worked on the new application looked at Delaware and Tennessee’s winning application as successful models.

“We truly need this additional resource,” said Kim Black, president of Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, “We know our schools are struggling.”

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