VP Biden back in Del. to celebrate Race to the Top Awards

Washington came to Wilmington today to celebrate the one year anniversary of the first Race to the Top Awards.

Race to the Top is President Obama’s $4.3 billion federal initiative to reform and improve the quality of the nation’s schools.

Marking the day, Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Gov. Jack Markell along with members of Delaware’s Congressional Delegation teamed up inside the packed gym at Howard High School of Technology, to celebrate the state’s multi-million dollar achievement.

The Wilmington school was chosen because it’s one of the first four schools in the state to see Race to the Top dollars at work.

“There’s no reason why every single kid here at this high school can’t do as well as anybody in any other high school if we set the bar high enough and we give you the resources to getcha.That’s why we’re here today,” said Biden.

Race to the Top money has helped put a new principal in place at Howard and it will fund a summer program preparing underperforming students before they enter the ninth grade. The federal money also helped launch the University of Delaware’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Residency Program. The program places STEM experts in Delaware schools, pairing them with certified teachers while they take graduate courses in education. The program placed eight residents this year, including five at Howard. WHYY’s First will profile the STEM Residency Program and break down how the state is spending Race to the Top funds this first year in our April 1st show. First airs Friday’s at 5:30 p.m. and again at 10 p.m.

“The eyes of the country are on you. This state is going to take education to an entirely different level,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

On March 29, 2010, Delaware and Tennessee were announced as winners of the first phase of the competition. Delaware received $119 million, spread out over four years. So far, the state has spent about $58 million in Race to the Top dollars.

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