Two charter school systems with San Antonio campuses, Harmony Public Schools and IDEA Public Schools, have applied to compete for funds from the U.S. Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” program. “Local schools are poised to Race To The Top”, Francisco Vara-Orta, San Antonio Express-News, September 1, 2012.
This summer, the Department of Education began accepting applications from districts; before the change, only states could apply, but some states (including Texas) chose not to apply. “School districts can seek ‘Race to the Top’ money”, Maria Luisa Cesar, San Antonio Express-News, May 24, 2012.
What are the requirements for “Race to the Top”?
The new Race to the Top competition encourages districts to create learning environments that are aligned with college and career-ready standards, accelerate student achievement and expand access to the most effective teachers.
The guidelines do not advocate a single approach but require applicants to design a personalized learning environment that uses data-based and digital tools to meet the needs of individual students.
In order to qualify, at least 40 percent of participating students must come from low-income families. The districts also must put into place teacher, principal and superintendent evaluation systems by the 2014-15 school year and be able to provide instructors with data on student growth.
“Nearly 900 districts to apply for Race to the Top”, Christine Amario (AP), San Antonio Express-News, August 31, 2012.
Other local applicants: Harlandale ISD, Edgewood ISD, and Education Service Center, Region 20. (What is an “Education Service Center”? See the Texas Education Agency’s Education Service Center (ESC) Information page.)