Archived Story

Michigan out in round one of ‘Race to the Top’

Published 11:02am Friday, March 5, 2010

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

It seems as though now, it’s a race for second.

The second round, that is.

Michigan was left off the list of 15 state finalists for the first round of federally administered “Race to the Top” grant funds.

The U.S. Department of Education made the announcement Thursday.

“We always believed it was in Michigan’s best interest to apply for Race to the Top funding early, even if we didn’t receive a penny in the first round of funding,” Gov. Granholm said following the announcement. “The Department of Education will now provide us with detailed feedback on our plan, allowing us to strengthen our application for round two. We look forward to making the case that the reforms we are putting in place will help us build the best-educated workforce in the country – a vital part of our strategy to grow and diversify Michigan’s economy.”

Granholm signed a five-bill package of education reforms affecting districts statewide at the start of the year.

Left out in the cold in round one, Michigan must now wait to see if it will make the list for round two, which isn’t scheduled to be administered until the end of September.

“So now we have significant legislative change and no money to help support making those changes in education,” Niles Community Schools Superintendent Doug Law said Thursday. “Part of the problem, in my opinion is the legislature did all of this legislative reform in eight days. Not a long, thoughtful, collaborative process.”

Calling it “somewhat disappointing” news, Brandywine Community Schools Superintendent John Jarpe said there had been previous speculation that Michigan might not see any federal funding in the first round.

“Hopefully we’ll have a shot at the next round,” Jarpe said.

The decision is somewhat “surprising” he added, saying, “everybody knows things are bad in Michigan.”

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