Governor Jim Doyle this week announced that Wisconsin has submitted its second round Race to the Top application to the U.S. Department of Education. The application is strongly supported by teachers, school boards and school administrators across the state, and addresses some of feedback the state received in its round one Race to the Top application.
“It was clear after round one that Secretary Duncan and the Obama Administration were looking for states with aggressive reform plans and strong buy-in from educators, leaders and local communities,” Governor Doyle said. ”The application we are submitting today proves you can do both. In round two, Wisconsin‘s teachers, school leaders and communities stand ready to accept the Race to the Top challenge.”
More than 96 percent – or 423 Wisconsin school districts and charter schools – have joined President Obama and the State of Wisconsin in this unique opportunity to improve education in the state. Additionally, over 80 percent of local teacher union leaders are in support of Wisconsin’s Race to the Top application.
Governor Doyle thanked WEAC President Mary Bell, WASDA president Dr. Miles Turner and WASB President John Ashley for working hard to ensure that educators are helping meet the challenges Wisconsin faced in putting together a really strong application.
The second round application builds on areas of strength in the state’s round one application including: putting forward a strong reform agenda aimed at improving student learning; strong leadership and participation from local school districts; and strong charter school and alternative licensing programs.
Since the Governor submitted the state’s first round application in January, several major steps have been taken to reform education and strengthen the state’s education system through:
Strong reform legislation that gives the State Superintendent clearer, stronger powers to turn around struggling schools and a system for placing top-level teachers and principals in those schools that need the most help.
Working with students and teachers to create powerful tools for determining how students are learning and providing feedback to teachers, principals and parents on their students’ achievement.
Wisconsin’s second round application continues to focus on priorities set forth in the first round application including efforts to: build on early childhood development programs, ease the transition from middle school to high school, and develop good teachers and principals. In round two, Wisconsin will continue to make cutting the achievement gap a top priority by again seeking to provide additional resources to the biggest six districts in the state – Kenosha, Racine, Green Bay, Beloit, Madison and Milwaukee.
The round two application also makes major improvements to benefit local school districts, including a new funding formula for the second round that ensures more direct funding for districts. While the Race to the Top funds will continue to be distributed through the Title I formula, the minimum amount a district can receive has been increased to $70,000 – or $100 per pupil – whichever is greater. For the Milwaukee Public Schools, Race to the Top would mean an additional $70 million in school funding to help ensure every student is succeeding and prepared for the future.
Governor Doyle again recognized the hard work of the State Superintendent and education leaders across the state in working together to put forth a strong application.
To view the state’s Race to the Top application visit: http://www.dpi.wi.gov/sprntdnt/racetothetop.html.
Wisconsin’s Race to the Top application is another step in Governor Doyle’s work to improve and reform education. Since taking office in 2003, Governor Doyle has taken major steps to improve education in Wisconsin. In his first term, the Governor protected schools from a Republican-led State Legislature’s attempt to slash education funding by $400 million – a cut that would have devastated our schools and our students. The Governor increased funding for small class sizes, increased funding for special education, expanded school breakfast programs, expanded four-year-old kindergarten programs and invested in early childhood education. Governor Doyle also created the Wisconsin Covenant, a pathway to higher education for every hardworking Wisconsin student.