Bergenfield, Englewood, Garfield and Paterson School Distric Apply for Race to the Top Grants

Leslie Brody | The Record

Four North Jersey districts have applied for federal grants of at least $5 million in the latest round of Race to the Top — the Obama administration’s contest to promote its favorite education policies.

BergenfieldEnglewoodGarfield and Paterson are among roughly 1,100 districts nationwide vying for a share of $400 million. The administration says four-year awards will go to districts with the strongest plans for tailoring instruction to students’ needs and closing achievement gaps. Fifteen to 20 winners will be announced by Dec. 31. The three Bergen districts applied together as a consortium.

The Obama administration has repeatedly used such contests to nudge states to pursue its agenda, such as launching more rigorous teacher evaluations and using more sophisticated data on student growth to shape instruction. Critics have said these contests are too prescriptive and result in too much federal intrusion in local policymaking.

New Jersey famously lost its first bid for Race to the Top money due to a clerical error in 2010. The flap ended with Governor Christie’s firing of his education commissioner at the time, Bret Schundler. 

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