Florida Among 19 National Finalists in ‘Race to the Top’ Federal Education Reform Competition

Jul 27, 2010


Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced today, July 27, 2010, that Florida has been selected as one of the 19 finalists in Phase 2 of “Race to the Top” (“Phase 2”), a national grant challenge to improve schools as part of the federal stimulus program.

Led by the Governor, a delegation of Florida education officials will travel to Washington D.C. in August 2010 to present Florida’s proposal to the U.S. Department of Education.  If selected, the State could receive as much as $700 million in federal funding to implement comprehensive education reform.

A Memorandum of Understanding in support of Phase 2 was signed by 54 local teacher unions, as well as 65 of Florida’s 67 school districts, three of the State’s four lab schools and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.

To access comprehensive information on Phase 2 from the Florida Department of Education, click here.  To access meeting materials and information from the Governor’s Race to the Top Working Group page, click here.

A press release issued today on the announcement by the Governor’s Office is reprinted below.


Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.


Governor Crist Announces Delegation for Race to the Top Phase 2 Competition

~ Florida one of 19 finalists invited to present Phase 2 application in Washington D.C. ~

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today announced Florida as one of 19 finalists qualifying in the federal Race to the Top Phase 2 competition. Governor Crist will lead a delegation to Washington, D.C., in August to present Florida’s Race to the Top proposal. Education Commissioner Dr. Eric Smith and Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, will also participate in the presentation. If Florida’s proposal is selected, Florida could receive up to $700 million in federal funds to implement locally developed, comprehensive education reform plans.

Other delegation members include Public Schools Chancellor Dr. Frances Haithcock and Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Carvalho was appointed by Governor Crist to chair Florida’s Race to the Top Working Group in May.  At the Governor’s direction, the working group built consensus to develop the Phase 2 Memorandum of Understanding that was later signed by 54 local teacher unions – as well as 65 of Florida’s 67 school districts, three of the state’s four lab schools and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.

“Florida has worked diligently to bring together diverse support from superintendents, school board members, teachers and teacher associations for our Race to the Top application,” said Governor Crist. “I am confident our team will clearly communicate why Florida’s past and present success will ensure bold education reforms that are critical to Florida’s future.”

The wide-ranging support for Florida’s Phase 2 Memorandum of Understanding signifies strong dedication by district leadership throughout the state to accelerating student learning and improving the quality of education in Florida public schools. Through the federal Race to the Top competition, the U.S. Department of Education has challenged all 50 states to propose bold education reforms focused on helping struggling schools, elevating the effectiveness of teaching professionals and education leaders, building internationally recognized education standards and assessments, and improving state education data systems.

“For more than a decade our state has been involved in a comprehensive education reform effort that has resulted in undeniable increases in the academic performance of our children,” said Commissioner Smith. “I believe strongly that this past success, coupled with our innovative strategies and renewed collaborative spirit, gives us the best possible chance to win this unprecedented competition.” 

Fifty percent of a state’s total award will be distributed to participating school districts according to a federal funding formula and the remaining 50 percent will fund state-level projects benefiting all school districts statewide. Winners of the competition are expected to be announced in late August/early September of 2010.

For more information about the Race to the Top competition, visit http://www.fldoe.org/ARRA/RacetotheTop.asp.