Oklahoma strikes out again in quest for Race to the Top education funds

The U.S. Education Department announced Monday that 61 finalists were named from about 370 applications nationwide. Six applications came from Oklahoma; none were finalists.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: November 27, 2012
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Oklahoma has been shut out for the fourth year in a row in the big-money Race to the Top grant program.

The U.S. Education Department announced Monday that 61 finalists were named from 372 applications nationwide. Six applications came from Oklahoma; none were finalists.

About 20 winners will be selected by the end of the year to share $400 million.

In past years, states applied for grants. This year, individual school districts or conglomerations of districts could apply.

State education officials said the reason Oklahoma schools weren't selected is clear.

“It isn't unusual for Oklahoma not to receive Race to the Top money,” said Tricia Pemberton, a spokeswoman for the state Education Department.

“With the current administration, we can't really expect any additional help from Washington.”

Last year, Gov. Mary Fallin also blamed the Obama administration for not selecting Oklahoma for funding. The state placed 30th out of 37 state applications for early learning funding.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the finalists “are setting the curve for the rest of the country with innovative plans to drive education reform in the classroom.”

“This competition was designed to support local efforts to close the achievement gap and transform the learning environment in a diverse set of districts, but no matter who wins, children across the country will benefit from the clear vision and track records of success demonstrated by these finalists,” Duncan said in a news release.

School districts selected as finalists were picked from “a range of districts, both rural and ,” and from states that earlier received federal Race to the Top funds and those that did not, the release states.



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