Oklahoma schools miss "Race to the Top" funds


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Updated: 2/14/2013 5:29 pm Published: 2/14/2013 4:49 pm


Local school districts are failing a test in Washington.

The federal government handed out $400 million to U.S. school districts. But an investigation by FOX23’s Scott McFarlane finds at least five Oklahoma school districts that applied for funds did not get any.

McFarlane found some local districts got the lowest scores and the harshest critiques.

The superintendent of Fort Gibson Schools told McFarlane he would have used the money to hire people and buy equipment for students. But the US education department turned them down.

President Obama mentioned “Race to the Top” in his State of the Union speech. In recent weeks the US Education Department has given out $400 million in “Race to the Top” money to school districts nationwide.

The schools that were awarded the funds drew up plans to innovate how they teach. An education database obtained by FOX23 found about 370 schools applied for the funding, including five Oklahoma schools. All five of those schools failed.

Fort Gibson Schools asked for money to hire reading coaches, literacy and math coaches and to add teachers. The feds told Fort Gibson it quote: “Fails to present a comprehensive and coherent reform vision.”

“You’ve gotta be asking, who gets to decide where my tax money is going and how are they doing it?” says Neal McCluskey, author of “Feds in the Classroom.”

The education department also rejected Oklahoma City’s applications, saying it hadn’t show the money would improve graduation rates.

A complete shut out of Oklahoma schools.

When McFarlane asked a member of the Committee for Education Funding how that happened, Joel Packer said, ”Well. There's a limited pot of money. There are 15,000 school districts… they didn't all apply but a large number did."

The US Education Department says no district was at a disadvantage because of location, whether rural or non-rural.


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