City, Baltimore County not among winners of Race to the Top grants

After making it to the last round of the inaugural federal Race to the Top district competition, the Baltimore City and Baltimore County school systems fell short of securing grants that would have strengthened individualized learning and helped close the achievement gap.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced Tuesday that 16 districts, out of 327 applicants, were chosen to share roughly $400 million in funding to implement district-level initiatives.

The districts were diverse, serving rural, urban and charter schools. The two Maryland school districts were named among the 61 finalists for the award, and each were seeking about $30 million to $40 million to invest in innovative programming.

In 2010, Maryland received $250 million in the original Race to the Top competition to further efforts such as developing a new teacher evaluation system that based 50 percent of a teachers' performance on student test scores.