2011-12-29 / Local & State

Pa. Wins $41 Million In Federal Education Money

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Pennsylvania won more than $41 million in education funding in the competitive federal grant program known as “Race to the Top,” a portion of which state officials want to use for new evaluation systems for teachers and principals.

Gov. Tom Corbett said in a statement Friday that the state plans to pilot new assessments for principals beginning in the next academic year. He is also pushing for statewide implementation of a teacher evaluation system now being tested in more than 100 districts.

State law currently precludes student performance from being used to evaluate the approximately 130,000 teachers in Pennsylvania. But legislation pending in the House “would base a significant portion of an educator’s and a principal’s assessment on multiple measures of student achievement,” according to state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis.

The grant announced Thursday will also be used to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Half the funding – which will be allocated over the next four years by Tomalis’ department – will be appropriated to local education agencies, such as school districts and intermediate units.

Pennsylvania was one of seven states to get a share of the $200 million allocated in this round of Race to the Top. The others were Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and New Jersey.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, DPa., called the STEM education component “critical to our progress as a nation.” He noted that Congress recently appropriated $550 million for another round of Race to the Top.

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