Houston Wins $30 Million In 'Race To The Top' Education Competition

This week the Obama Administration announced the latest winners in its education competition known as Race to the Top. The list of winners includes the Houston Independent School District

The Houston Independent School District has won $30 million dollars from the federal government.

The district plans to use the money for a program called “Linked Learning.”

Superintendent Terry Grier says it’s meant to prepare students for college and careers.

“Traditionally in public education in America, we have for years had the approach you either prepare some kids for college, but other kids you prepare for the world of work. What this grant is going to allow us to do is to blur those lines.”

Grier says this way a student can take a college prep class and a welding class at the same time.

He says the approach will extend from high school all the way to elementary school. Those young students can go on field trips to both college campuses and work places like the Port of Houston.

Already several high schools in HISD like Reagan and Lee are using an early phase of this program.

Bertie Simmons is the principal at Furr High School.

“It gives me chills. I just left a meeting at our school where we were talking about Linked Learning and what we were going to be doing there. And if you could just see the excitement in our school as a result of this, it has transformed not only our school, our whole community.”

The grant money is for five years. Grier says it will be spent primarily on equipment and teacher training.

More than 200 districts applied for this latest round of Race to the Top.

HISD is one of just five winners, others include districts in South Carolina, Kentucky and Arkansas.

 

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...