A race worth winning

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Race to the Top challenge continues for North Carolina and 11 other states that received a combined $4.3 billion from the U.S. Department of Education. The grants were awarded to states that agreed to initiate bold education reforms.

One year into the challenge, North Carolina has shown progress with its $400 million grant, but it faces major hurdles in the future, according to a report released Tuesday.

For raising standards in science, arts and technical education as well as advancing regional leadership academies (two-year certification programs for teachers and principals), North Carolina received high marks.

First-year plans that remain on the drawing board include a project to improve virtual course offerings in math and science and an instructor-recruiting system called the North Carolina Teacher Corps. Both are scheduled to launch this year.

“We’re feeling good about where we are,” state Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison said. “We’ve made substantial inroads in meeting our targets, meeting our benchmarks in just about all of our areas.”

Three states — Maryland, Massachusetts and Ohio — are on schedule while significant concerns have been raised about progress in New York, Florida and Hawaii, which could affect their funding.

We applaud the state Board of Education for its commitment to improving education and hope their continued efforts will push North Carolina to the front in the Race to the Top.