New England states report on Race to the Top progress

On January 10th the U.S. Department of Education released detailed reports documenting each state’s progress on comprehensive education reform under Race to the Top. The Race to the Top program is a four- year grant designed to stimulate and reward states that are fostering the conditions for education innovation and reform. Twelve grantees, including two New England states–Massachusetts and Rhode Island–received Race to the Top funding in 2010. Each state’s report details the numerous accomplishments and challenges experienced while pursuing reform measures. Race to the Top focuses primarily on four major areas: raising academic standards, building strong data systems to improve instruction, supporting teachers and school leaders, and working on rehabilitating low- performing schools.

Massachusetts chose to focus its efforts on building their capacity for reform. The state established the Delivery Unit within its Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to facilitate the methods of evaluation and monitoring processes required to implement Race to the Top. The BESE approved a new curriculum for English Language Arts and Literacy, as well as Mathematics. The new curriculum will work towards promoting college and career ready standards. Massachusetts also initiated numerous professional development programs for educators to help jump start Race to the Top efforts. You can find the full Massachusetts report here.

Rhode Island directed its vision towards preparing educators for the transition to the new Common Core Standards (CCSS). Rhode Island held Study of the Standards Training sessions, which encompassed sessions on English language arts and mathematics. The state also created a new mentoring program for first and second year teachers to provide one-on-one job-embedded support. To track the progress of educators, the Rhode Island Board of Regents requires annual evaluations for all teachers, based on evidence of student growth and achievement. You can find the full Rhode Island report here .

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