Illinois Awarded Race To The Top Funding

December 23, 2011

Illinois is one of seven states to win a share of a $200 million dollar education grant in the federal Race to the Top program. The state won more than $43 million, more money than any of the other winners in this round of the competition.

Some of that money will help bolster education in science, math, engineering and technology. State Board of Education spokeswoman Mary Fergus said Illinois is currently working on creating a system that ties student growth with teacher evaluations.

"About half of that fund will go to local districts out there in Illinois we have 868 districts," Fergus said. "The $21 million will go to those districts that have agreed to accelerate education reform."

The rest of the Race to the Top money will help install new Common Core State Standards that have already been adopted by many other states.

Judy Wiegand is the assistant superintendent of the Champaign School District, and she will become the district's superintendent next year.

"It's great in the sense that we're going to have one universal system for standards that's aligned with college and career readiness standards, and then even more importantly is really the instructional practices and the rigor that comes into the classroom to teach those standards," Wiegand said.

Wiegand said she expects Unit 4 to have the new Common Core standards fully implemented by the 2013-2014 school year. The Obama administration has awarded billions of dollars in Race to the Top funding.

Story source: WILL