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NEA President comments on Race to the Top awards

Announcement comes in the middle of NEA’s tour to highlight own transformation efforts


WASHINGTON - August 24, 2010 -

The U.S. Department of Education today announced the winners of the second round of funding in the Race to the Top competition. Some 35 states and the District of Columbia submitted applications for this round. The 10 winners are: District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island.

The announcement comes as NEA President Dennis Van Roekel is on a seven-city, back-to-school tour to highlight NEA’s own efforts to help turn around low-performing schools and showcase effective teacher- and union-led school transformation efforts.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“We congratulate the 10 winners of the final round of funding in the Race to the Top competition. Most of the winners, like Delaware and Tennessee in the first round, reflect the value of collaboration among unions, administrators and state governments, which is essential in transforming public schools and sustaining the changes that benefit students.

 “As I visit schools, I am witnessing what can happen when collaboration is front and center. At the Math and Science Leadership Academy in Denver, for example, teachers have the freedom to try new methods. They work together to evaluate each others’ performance. This commitment to teacher professionalism helps teachers better support their students.

“We appreciate Secretary Duncan’s recognition of the importance of working together to transform schools. However, we remain concerned that competitive grants such as Race to the Top fall short of addressing the long-term fiscal and programmatic inequities among America’s public schools. 

“As the funds are distributed and implementation gets underway, we urge all the award winners to collaborate with educators and other key stakeholders—that is the only way to leverage these grants to bring sustainable change to schools. We also want the awardees to look hard at what works and what does not. We look forward to working with them to ensure great public schools for every student.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823, mgonzalez@nea.org