MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

October 26, 2012

Cooperation can help grads’ futures

Cooperation among area school districts could result in millions of dollars in grant money that will help students’ futures.

Seven school districts — Braggs, Fort Gibson, Hilldale, Okay, Oktaha, Sequoyah and Wainwright — have united to seek a $25 million grant to help improve school performance.

The school districts are seeking a grant through Race to the Top, a federal program focused to help high school graduates be ready for college and careers.

“This allows us to have a stronger application by touching a number of our districts,” said Oktaha Superintendent Jerry Needham. “We can make a stronger application by affecting thousands of students instead of 775” — the number of students in his district.

A U.S. Department of Education website says the 2012 Race to the Top final program criteria invites applications from districts or groups proposing to serve at least 2,000 students with at least 40 percent qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch.

Fort Gibson Superintendent Derald Glover said the grant could affect at least 5,500 students in the seven schools.

Schools hope to close achievement gaps between low-performing and high-performing students, Needham said. The grant also could help schools with science, technology, engineering, arts and math programs, he said.

Education is the key to solving many of society’s problems.

A good education is vital to getting a good job and becoming a valuable member of society.

Combining efforts to help students through this grant is a worthwhile endeavor we hope will bear dividends shortly.

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