Teachers, school administrators, bureaucrats and a bunch of textbook vendors and educational consultants met in Columbus earlier this week to learn what Ohio is doing with its $400 million in Race to the Top stimulus funding.
This is the money the state and local school districts are using to reach five key goals, including increasing high school graduation rates by .5 percent per year and more than doubling the increase in college enrollment for 18 and 19 year olds.
But when a panel of people working on Race to the Top projects explained where they thought — or hoped — Ohio would be in three years, reaching those specific, number-heavy goals wasn’t the first thing any of them mentioned. Instead, here’s what they said:
- Catherine Whitehouse, Founder of The Intergenerational School, a Cleveland charter school: “I’d like to see every child have access to high-quality early education.” Also, more partnerships between charter schools and traditional public schools.
- Matt Gandal, a U.S. Department of Education official focused on Race to the Top: “Enough people believing this is the right route that it doesn’t matter what happens in the next election.”
- Lillian Lowery, Delaware Secretary of Education, who was presumably speaking about both her state and other Race to the Top states: “An accountability system that looks at growth of individual students and that gives teachers and principals credit for their hard work.”
- Michael Sawyers, number two at the Ohio Department of Education: “Whatever your choice is, you should have the opportunity to go to a quality place to get an education.” And “that every day, we come to school to do right by kids.”