Maryland Schools Look Forward to $400 Million in Federal Funding

An August 29 Baltimore Sun article discusses how Maryland school systems are preparing to receive nearly $400 million from the federal Race to the Top initiative and the education jobs bill.  The monies provided from both sources of funding are one-time only.

Unlike states where budget tightening has increased class sizes or shortened school days, Maryland is starting the school year largely protected from such drastic changes — and looking forward to a $400 million infusion of new federal money over the next several years.  …

Over the course of the next year, students should begin to see the effects of the cash infusion: more rigorous assignments, a greater use of technology and an overall rise in the level of teaching, said James Foran, an assistant state superintendent and project manager for Race to the Top. …

While local school officials say no decisions have been made yet, Foran said each district is likely to target the area that needs the most improvement.  …

The money also commits the state to developing a new evaluation system for principals and teachers, directly linking student test scores to teacher performance. Teachers unions will begin negotiating with their school boards in the next year over the details of those evaluations, and some counties will begin pilot programs in the spring.

The second half of the Race to the Top money will be spent by the state to provide teachers and principals with more training, and to develop the new state curriculum and other programs such as a statewide data collection system.

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