DENVER - Colorado leaders said schoolchildren are already winners even if the state doesn't win the federal Race to the
But they would love to have the $377 million for education reform they asked for Tuesday when they sent their grant
application to Washington.
Colorado has been racing to the top for years now, with reform after reform after reform," said Gov. Bill Ritter.
President Barack Obama's administration created the grants to spur new ideas for reforming schools. The goal is to
increase student achievement and be able to track improvements through data and testing.
The deadline to apply was Tuesday, and Colorado is up against more than 30 states that want a piece of the $4 billion
in grants, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Obama announced Tuesday that he is asking Congress for
another $1.3 billion for Race to the Top next year.
The money would pay for specific reforms, and it could not be used to restore the $260 million in cuts to schools
Ritter has proposed to help close the state budget gap.
Colorado's application hits the four areas the Obama administration wants to see:
Making teachers and principals better.
Giving better tests to students.
Improving data to track how well individual students perform.
Helping struggling schools.
weren't useful to individual students because they showed only the combined scores for students in the same grade at a
The Legislature also has started curriculum reforms to make sure students are prepared to enter college. The reforms
also will eliminate the Colorado Student Assessment Program test and replace it with a new exam.
Ritter was happy about the cooperation that went into Colorado's application. Students, parents, businesspeople, teachers and their unions all had a part in the application.
The head of a major teacher's union backed Ritter on Tuesday when he signed an executive order to create a Council on
Educator Effectiveness - the final piece of the Race to the Top application.
However, Beverly Ingle, president of the Colorado Education Association, likes the council because it will help set
standards to let teachers know exactly what's expected of them and exactly what they can do to help individual
Not everyone in the state likes the Race to the Top idea. When the state Senate debated a final piece of the Race to
the Top grant last week, conservative Republicans objected to taking federal money.
We have a $10 trillion deficit in this country," said Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch. We are asking future
generations to pay for this bill if we get federal tax dollars."