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Race to the Top Proposed Changes Applauded

NEA President commends Administration’s focus on rural students


WASHINGTON - February 12, 2011 -

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel today commended the Obama Administration on changes to the Race to the Top program in its Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education has indicated that the program would include a rural focus and be targeted towards districts, not states, as the current program is designed.

“As we wait to review the Administration’s FY2012 budget proposal, we are encouraged by the new focus on rural schools in the Race to the Top program. The renewed commitment to students who live and learn in rural and frontier areas of the country is a great step forward for the Race to the Top program,” said Van Roekel.

“NEA supports the plan to limit Race to the Top to school districts,” said Van Roekel. “We commend the Administration's further refinement of this program, as long as it requires local collaboration, best practices that boost student learning, more flexibility for turnaround models without minimizing the need for results, and as long as it does not reduce the basic funding for children in poverty.”

“We call for a budget that increases resources for students who need consistent and targeted support.  The federal government needs to honor America’s commitment to provide all children with a level playing field in education,” said Van Roekel.

“We know that the real drivers of change in schools come from educators, administrators, parents, and communities working together at the local level — district by district, school by school. Together we will help all students succeed,” said Van Roekel.

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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:  Andy Linebaugh  (202) 411-9866, alinebaugh@nea.org