Friday, August 17, 2012

Rural districts face hurdles in applying for $400 million in federal Race to the Top grants

A little over two months remain for school districts to apply for $400 million in Race to the Top federal education grants. Michele McNeil of Education Week doubts that many rural districts will apply. "Not only is the 116-page application complex and demanding," she writes, but more than half the nation's districts are not eligible to apply on their own because their enrollments are too small. To apply, a district or a group of districts must have at least 2,000 students. Thus does the department continue to maintain its reputation as heavily favoring large, urban districts like the one in Chicago that was run by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

"The latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that 47 percent of the nation's school districts had fewer than 1,000 students in 2009-10, McNeil writes. "Another 24 percent had between 1,000 and 2,499 students. . . . More than half of the nation's schools have fewer than 2,000 kids. And so these districts already face big hurdles in applying for the money." (Read more)

Is your district applying? Why or why not?

UPDATE, Aug. 20: The Department of Education will hold a webinar for potential applicants from noon to 3 p.m. ET. Space is limited, registration is required, and preference is given to school districts. Perhaps your district would let you sit in. For more information, click here.

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