In letter to U.S. Secretary of Education, Reid expresses support for Nevada’s Race to the Top application
May 24, 2010
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today sent a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan to express his support for Nevada’s application for federal Race to the Top education funding. Race to the Top is a competitive U.S. Department of Education grant that encourages states to implement systemic education reforms. More than $4 billion in funding was authorized through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to incentivize state education systems to implement high quality standards and assessments, build data systems to better track student success, strengthen the teaching and educational leadership corps, and turn around the lowest-performing schools. Nevada is competing with 38 other states for the second round of Race to the Top funding. A copy of Reid’s letter to Secretary Duncan is included below.
May 24, 2010
The Honorable Arne Duncan
Dear Secretary Duncan:
I am writing to express my strong support for Nevada’s application for the Department of Education’s Race to the Top competition. Nevada is ready to seize the opportunity available through Race to the Top to help implement the reforms necessary to ensure that all children in the state have access to the quality education they deserve.
During this economic crisis, Nevada has been hit particularly hard. Our state’s narrow economic base has suffered significantly and severely reduced state tax collections have contributed to the massive budget crisis. Our foreclosure and unemployment rates are among the highest in the nation. For many Nevadans, the current crisis has also highlighted the state’s failure to prioritize education.
In response, a broad coalition of educators, elected officials, community and business leaders have worked to develop a proposal for systemic reform. The proposal, as outlined in Nevada’s Race to the Top application, aims to address the challenges facing the state, scale up existing pockets of excellence, and help build a more sustainable and diverse economy. By adopting high-quality standards and assessments, building on Nevada’s comprehensive data systems, ensuring strong teachers and leaders in every school, and turning around our lowest-performing schools, Nevada will be in a position to raise student achievement, increase the graduation rate, and prepare our students for success in college or a career.
With this unprecedented commitment to reform, I believe you will find that no state better represents the opportunity for advancing and sustaining education reform than Nevada. Our seventeen school districts constitute a microcosm of urban and rural education and our diverse, multilingual, and rapidly-changing student population reflects the future of America. Nevada has rural school districts the size of entire states, including one with fewer than a hundred students. All face the challenges of rural districts across America. Our largest district –the nation’s fifth largest – educates nearly three-quarters of the state’s students. It was also, until recently, among the fastest-growing school districts in the country, having to balance teacher shortages and school construction with the challenges of other large, urban districts. Such variety and diversity make Nevada an ideal place to bring education reform to scale.
I am strongly supportive of Nevada’s proposal and have committed to assist this broad coalition of education, business and elected leaders in implementing these reforms. I appreciate your consideration of Nevada’s Race to the Top application and urge you to support their request for funding.
United States Senator