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AZ to seek schools grants via ‘Race to the Top’

Arizona will seek competitive grants through the federal government’s Race to the Top program, Gov. Jan Brewer announced on Aug. 7.

Brewer also named Debra Duvall, superintendant of the Mesa Unified School District, as a special advisor who will oversee Arizona’s involvement in the competition. The “Race to the Top” program, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides $4.35 billion in competitive grants to states for educational reform and innovation in the classroom.

The federal program encourages states to implement educational reforms in four areas: enhancing academic standards and assessments, improving the distribution of qualified teachers, supporting struggling schools and establishing a longitudinal data system.

Superintendant of Public Instruction Tom Horne said the new Governor’s P-20 Coordinating Council on education, which was announced by Brewer in July, will assist the state in competing for the Race to the Top grants. Not every state that applies for the grants will receive federal money, Horne said, but he believes Arizona has a strong chance of winning one of the grants.

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