County Schools Not Selected as Finalist for Race to the Top Grant

Howard County Schools are no longer in the running for a $20 to $30 million federal grant.


Howard County Public Schools was not one of 61 school districts selected as finalists for a federal Race to the Top district grant that could have netted local schools up to $30 million in federal money.

The nearby school districts of Baltimore County and Baltimore City were both selected among the finalists, which were announced last week. But Howard County wasn't able to obtain the approval of the teacher's union for the grant application, which was one of the requirements.

"It is disappointing that we will not be able to accelerate our efforts to personalize learning for students in our highly impacted schools with the infusion of $30 million from the federal government," said Supt. Renee Foose. "I am delighted to hear that both Baltimore County and Baltimore City are among the finalists for this grant and wish them well."

Paul Lemle, the president of the Howard County Education Association, which represents teachers and school staff, said during the grant application process that HCEA wasn't given enough time to review the application. He also said the union isn't supportive of Race to the Top measures that tie teachers' pay with students' standardized test performance.

The grant is designed to help school districts implement personalized learning plans in order to close achievement gaps and increase educators' effectiveness, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In a press release, the Department of Education stated 15-25 winners will be selected from the 61 finalists for grants ranging from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of students in the district.

In Howard County's case, central school staff worked hard to finish the grant application within the 10-week window given by the government, according to Foose.

However, the application wasn't approved by the Howard County Board of Education until Oct. 30, which gave HCEA only two days to approve the final version of the application that was due on Nov. 1—something Lemle said the union couldn't do because HCEA bylaws require three-day notice to hold a board of directors and representative council meeting.

As a result, the school system submitted the application to the federal government on time, but without the required signature of the teacher's union.

For more information see - "$30 Million Grant Application Fails to Receive Union Signature"

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Thomas Diller December 10, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Wrong again Jack old boy! You made up the claim that Foose "put the college graduation rate for hcpss grads at about 20%" (which she never did) and then you followed that up by claiming that "A couple BOE members confirm the numbers" (even though you refuse to say which ones). Then when questioned, you further claimed that Foose "put Hcpss grads in line with the national average", right? Well, the 69% high school graduation rate is the national average that you claim is in line with HCPSS students. This stat is even on the same slide as the stat about how many graduate from college, right? She says that for every 100 ninth graders who enter high school, 69 will graduate from high school, 42 will enter college, and 20 will graduate from college. These are the stats that you're quoting Jack, aren't they? So which is it: are the HCPSS students inline with the national average or not? And when did Foose make this claim?
Marc December 10, 2012 at 10:05 PM
H.R. Based on your comments and jumping to conclusions re school vouchers, I believe your teachers failed to reach you or else you slept a lot in class.
Marc December 10, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I believe our schools have failed in the past years to teach critical thinking skills based on the comments that I've read. Paul, you must get after the teachers to stress critical thinking skills in ALL classes.
Jack December 10, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Thomas. let's quit going in circles. Since you seem to believe you know the answer you tell us how many of the 90% of our hcpss graduates which the hcpss claims enter college actually ever graduate? While we wait I am going with the 13% HCC graduates and publicly states and even though I found it shocking I will stay with the low 20% which Foose cited as the national average unless you can find someone in the hcpss to show us otherwise.
MG42 December 10, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Mark- Haha, very intelligent comment. Your teachers have clearly exceeded my expectations (at least in absolute value terms).


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