CEA Lends Support To Federal Grant Application

Ohio could receive up to $400 million in federal education funding, and some of that could come to Columbus.

Last week the CEA Board of Governors voted unanimously to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the CCS Superintendent and the CCS School Board President, agreeing to join the State of Ohio’s application to receive Race to the Top (RTTT) funding.

To receive RTTT funding, each state must promise to help its lowest-achieving schools by:

  • Implementing standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed after graduation
  • Developing data systems measuring student growth and success
  • Recruiting, supporting and rewarding effective teachers and developing incentives to retain them
  • Turning around its lowest achieving schools

CEA President Rhonda Johnson was among only a handful of school and union officials from across the state asked to personally weigh in during discussions about the application. She believes the Association’s endorsement and pledge of participation represents an opportunity that cannot be passed up.

President Johnson told the Board of Governors that support of this application is critical for Ohio, where
deficits already undermine school funding. But the program also would reward Ohio schools-particularly in Columbus-for already doing the things the federal government wants.

“We are the type of school district that can do great things with this funding,” she said. “We already understand the work that needs to be done.”

The Race to the Top program aims to close achievement gaps across the nation while increasing graduation rates and preparing students for college and the workplace.

“We in Columbus already are reform-minded,” said Johnson. “We already work as a team with the administration to identify and assist our lowest achieving students. We already provide strong teacher support within our own district and have developed groundbreaking incentive programs, including financial rewards for teachers at schools that achieve high goals they set for themselves. We are a model for the nation, and we should seize this opportunity to lead reform.”

School districts that buy in are likely to receive a portion of the funding that is awarded. The level will be based on districts’ Title I service levels. Grants will be awarded in April and September. Only a few states will qualify. To learn more, visit www.ed.gov/racetothetop/index.html.