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July 14, 2005



Following a highly competitive process, Massachusetts was one of 10 states selected by the National Governors Association to receive an up to $2 million education reform grant, Governor Mitt Romney announced today.


Massachusetts was among 31 states to apply for the NGA Honor States grant, which is supported by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will be matched by the state over the next two years.


"This is a great day for education reform," said Romney. "Massachusetts is nationally recognized for its leadership on education reform, and we need to continue down the same path if we’re going to help our kids maximize their potential."


The other states to receive funding include Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Virginia. The grant competition was called "Redesigning the American High School."


The NGA asked states to come up with a program that closes the achievement gap between different racial and ethnic groups; uses data to hold schools accountable; and raises the value of the high school diploma to signify college readiness.


The Massachusetts proposal had a sharp focus on math and science as part of a model high school curriculum. Last month, the Board of Education adopted Romney’s proposal to add a science requirement to the MCAS exam starting with the Class of 2010.


The state’s application also proposed to use the grant to enhance opportunities for high school students to take college-level courses, work with high-need districts to close the achievement gap and build a database to better track school performance.


"Massachusetts has been a national leader of standardized assessment and accountability," said Dane Linn, Director of the NGA’s Education Division. "Governor Romney’s leadership provides the state with an opportunity to take reform to the next level."


"The national focus on the urgent need to redesign high schools will give us the opportunity in Massachusetts to set in motion the serious comprehensive initiatives we need for our students to attain proficiency in their schoolwork," said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. "It is critical that we do our part to prepare our children to compete in today’s global economy."


"In order to build upon the great strides our state has taken in education over the past decade we must continue to emphasize student achievement in language arts and mathematics, but also expand that focus to science and technology," said Senator Robert A. Antonioni, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Education. "This grant award underlines our commitment to ensure all students receive the background they need in English, math, science and technology."


Additionally, the state will match the grant funds over the next two years to develop a model high school curriculum and improve teacher quality in math and science.


Maura Banta, Chairwoman of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, applauded Romney and the state’s entire education team for pursuing reform, particularly in the area of science.


"To remain a leader of innovation and technology, the Massachusetts business community needs more talented young people joining the workforce who are educated in the fields of math and science," Banta said.


Banta added, "We applaud the important alignment work that this grant will help accomplish in order to get students excited about their education at an early age."



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