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State Representative Carlos Mariani

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Posted: 2009-10-29 00:00:00
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Joint House Education Committees Hearing on Race to the Top


Minnesota Joint House Education Committees Prepare for the Race to the Top Fund, a competitive federal grant program designed to encourage education innovation and reform

A joint House Education Committees hearing on the Race to the Top will be convened to hear how the Minnesota Department of Education proposal has engaged Minnesotans in the design of innovative strategies for improving student outcomes and closing racial and income achievement gaps. Overall, the joint House Education Committees seeks to determine how this proposal will validate new investments and reform in our K-12 system.

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) is investing $4.35 billion for the Race to the Top, a competitive federal grant program that is inviting States to submit individual proposals spelling out how they will create and sustain far-reaching improvement in their schools," said State Representative Carlos Mariani, Chair of the K-12 Education Policy Committee. “This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Minnesota to compete for significant funding that transforms state and local education systems. We’re the people’s House and it’s our job to promote broad-based ownership of all Minnesotans over this plan. We want to avoid a top-down set of mandates from both the federal and state level.”

The agenda for the Joint House Education Committees Hearing is to hear testimony from key organizations involved in the development of the Race to the Top grant application. David Shreve, National Conference of State Legislators, will provide a brief overview of Race to the Top and give advice on potential benefits and pitfalls of the grant program. State Education Commissioner Alice Seagren will address questions on Minnesota’s process for developing its Race to the Top application and discuss how the Minnesota Department of Education will meet the requirement for the state to have long-term capacity to implement its proposal. Testimony will also be heard from the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, Minnesota School Boards Association, and Education Minnesota.

“The Race to the Top Fund is very much in line with the New Minnesota Miracle’s priority to encourage innovation and reforms that work,” said State Representative Mindy Greiling, Chair of the K-12 Education Finance Division. “This competitive grant program provides real incentive to create a long-lasting foundation for education reform by supporting investments in innovative strategies that are intended to improve results for all students, long-term gains in school and school system capacity, and increased productivity and effectiveness. “

The Race to the Top emphasizes four core education reform areas:
• Adoption of internationally-benchmarked standards and assessments to prepare students for success in college and the workplace
• Recruit, develop, retain, and reward effective teachers and principals
• Build data systems that will measure student success and inform teachers and principals how their practices can be improved
• Turn around our lowest-performing schools

“The core education reform areas of the Race to the Top provide an invaluable framework that hopefully our grant application will follow,” said State Representative Nora Slawik, Chair of the Early Childhood Education and Policy Finance Division. “Of course, investing in early childhood education is an essential key to any education reform initiatives that will help establish a foundation for a highly skilled workforce to ensure our long-term economic recovery.”

“Overall the federal stimulus dollars for education has been good for Minnesota and it has saved education jobs,” said State Representative Carlos Mariani. “But we still need to address the real challenge of finding a permanent solution to funding K-12 education. “

The joint House Education Committees hearing on Race to the top is on October 29th at 7:00 p.m. in the State Office Building, Room 200, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155.

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