December 17, 2014 – Georgia has spent the past four years implementing the Race to the Top $400 million grant to improve educational outcomes for students. The scope and scale of the work undertaken was massive. There were 31 major projects and each project consisted of many activities.
The goal of the grant was to reform standards, assessments, data systems, teacher effectiveness systems, certification, educator preparation programs, professional learning, lowest achieving schools and more. Although work remains on several requirements, as of this past September, all the reforms were in place.
The Georgia Department of Education asked the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education to conduct an independent, objective review of its work. The result is the 50-page report Race to the Top – Georgia’s Vision for Educational Excellence. It is a thorough review of the work conducted during the grant period and of the achievements gained, as well as showing where Georgia goes from here to sustain the progress.
Dr. Susan Andrews, Georgia Department of Education Deputy Superintendent for Race to the Top, is proud of the work the Race to the Top team has done these last four years. “The seven agencies that have participated in the Initiatives funded by the Race to the Top grant have done some incredible work as described in this report,” she explained. “The students in Georgia’s public schools will benefit from higher standards, more rigorous assessments and the identification of our most effective teachers and leaders.” She emphasized, “The results of these efforts will be realized for years to come.”
Both Andrews and Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education President Dr. Steve Dolinger agree that although so much has been accomplished more work remains. As Dolinger explained, “Georgia is moving forward, but we have to take advantage of this momentum if we hope to make lasting improvements and remain competitive in the global marketplace.”
Dolinger added his own perspective of the value of the work over the past four years conducted by the Race to the Top Implementation Team. “It is my belief because of this effort, Georgia is well positioned to undertake new and innovative ways to improve teaching and learning.”
The report is available on the Georgia Partnership’s web site and the Georgia Department of Education’s Race to the Top webpage.