S.C. in line for $300 million federal education grants
South Carolina is one of 15 states and the District of Columbia that were named finalists Thursday for billions of dollars in federal aid that will be awarded to states to employ innovative education programs.
The state has applied for $300 million in grants to help with drop-out prevention and to help attract teachers to rural communities.
The federal Education Department says the proposals in the Race to the Top are intended to reshape public education in America “to better engage and prepare our students for success in a competitive 21st century economy and workplace.”
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Forty states submitted proposals and the federal Education Department said it intends to spend up to $2 billion on first phase winners.
S.C. has requested $300 million to pay for various initiatives, including:
- New dropout prevention programs
- Outfitting more Montessori classrooms
- Giving incentives to teachers who agree to teach in the state's most challenged schools
- Building housing for teachers who agree to live and teach in rural areas where housing is hard to find
- Creating high-tech labs for students to learn about advanced manufacturing and green engineering
Money also would go toward improving data systems, including one that would link individual student achievement to student intervention programs and professional teacher development programs. As a result, South Carolina could pinpoint and measure which student programs and teacher training gets results in the classroom.
"These states are an example for the country of what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a news release.
"Everyone that applied for Race to the Top is charting a path for education reform in America," Duncan continued. "I salute all of the applicants for their hard work. And I encourage non-finalists to reapply for Phase 2."
Phase 1 winners will be announced next month.