By Elisabeth Harrison
Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island has won a federal Race to the Top grant for an ambitious slate of public school reforms. The state is one of at least 10 winners in the national contest.
State officials said the competition was intense as 36 states vied for a share of $4.35 billion in federal funding for school reforms. In the end, 19 applicants made the final round, and nine will receive grants.
They include Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York. The amounts of each award will be announced later today. Rhode Island is seeking up to $75 million dollars for school reforms that include upgraded data systems and training for a corps of school turnaround specialists.
The state is also planning to link teacher evaluations to student performance, a move that has been controversial with teachers unions. Few teachers supported Rhode Island's first try for a race to the top grant.
In round two, the state had support from one of two statewide teachers unions.