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CNN NEWS:美国各州竞争教育基金

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WHITFIELD:低迷的经济腐蚀了学校预算。现在,密苏里州卡萨斯城一个学区采取了重大行动。联合校董会通过了一项计划,关闭该学区城市地区61所学校中的接近一半。

此举纯粹是为了节省5000万美元的预算,解决入学率降低的问题。现在,管理人John Covington正在召开新闻发布会,讨论该学区下一步的行动。

不只是堪萨斯城。全国的学校都面临困境。一些学校濒临关闭,许多学校在寻求获得联邦刺激资金。

我们的Josh Levs在CNN刺激计划小组工作。所以,Josh,是不是一些学区正在采取重大行动,许多学区表示希望他们能够获得联邦刺激基金?

JOSH LEVS,CNN记者:是的。大概就是这种情况。因为许多学校都在竞争数十亿美元的刺激资金。对这笔资金的竞争会加剧全国各地的学校所采取的措施。政府出台了刺激资金项目,要求学校之间进行竞争,这就是教育部门所说的。他们提供43.5亿美元对美国的教育体系进行重大整改。该项目的规模非常大。

现在,各所学校都希望分得一块蛋糕,很明显,这是一场竞赛。共有40个州申请这笔资金。上周,教育部将申请者削减至16个。应该说是15个,华盛顿特区仍然在奔波。本月末,他们将说服政府,他们为什么应该得到这笔钱。但是你知道,他们必须表明自己也在采取措施扭转学校的现状,尤其是表现不佳的学校,他们必须表明他们所采取的措施只是为了学校拥有更高质量的教师。

现在,在上月,Central Fall学区解雇了高中的所有教师,罗德岛频频登上报纸头条。几个月来,罗德岛教育委员会表示,为这所学校获取刺激基金是当务之急。这项重大举措赢得了教育部长杜肯的赞誉。可能就是这一点使他们进入最终角逐。

现在,Fred,密苏里州还没有采取行动。但是几个月之内,各州将有第二次机会申请这笔资金,现在,他们表示,他们已经针对卡萨斯城的这个学区采取了行动,这应该有所帮助。堪萨斯城官员表示,他们这样做的其中一个原因是提高学校质量。他们希望剔除一些学校,使得留存下来的学校质量更高。联邦政府正在查看各州采取的重大举措,以决定谁应该获得这笔资金。

WHITFIELD:我们所说的这笔资金总共是多少钱呢?

LEVS:你知道,整个项目资金是40多亿美元。其中大约一半已经使用,所以,未来将有大约20亿美元划分给学校。

WHITFIELD:好的,Josh Levs,非常感谢你的报道。

LEVS:不客气。

WHITFIELD:感谢你的分析。

WHITFIELD: A dismal economy eating away at school budgets. Now, a Kansas City Missouri school district makes a drastic move. The school board has narrowly approved a plan to close almost half of the district's 61 schools in an urban area of the city.

It's all in an effort to save $50 million and addressed declining enrollment. Right now, Superintendent John Covington is holding a news conference to discuss the next step for the school district.

And it's not just Kansas City; schools across the country are in trouble. Some are on the brink and many are looking for federal stimulus dollars.

Our Josh Levs is working at the CNN Stimulus Desk. So, Josh some drastic measures that some school districts are taking and many are saying if only they had some federal stimulus money?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Yes. It's definitely connected to that, because there are billions out there, Fred, in the battle. The competition for that money really might be fueling some of the major steps that we're seeing schools take around the country. There's this stimulus funded program; it's called race to the top, and this is what the education department says about it. They're calling it a $4.35 billion effort to dramatically reshape America's educational system. That's how big this program is.

Now, schools want a piece of that pie, obviously, and this is a race. Forty states applied for that money, and last week, the Department of Education pared that down to 16 finalists. It's 15 states, and Washington D.C. is still on the run, and all later this month, they're going to have to lobby for why they deserve the money. But you know somebody get to this point, they had to show that they were taking steps on their own to turn around their schools, especially the lowest performing ones, and they have to show they were doing things to only have high quality teachers in schools.

Now, in steps, Rhode Island which made headlines last month as you know when the Central Fall School District fired every teacher at its high school after it was designated the worst in the state. For months, Rhode Island's education commissioner had said, getting stimulus money for the school was a priority, and this drastic measure won the praise of Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, and it just may have helped them or in a finalist spot in the race to the top.

Now, Fred, Missouri did not make the cut so far, but states are going to get a second chance to apply for this money in a couple of months, and now, they said that they have taken that one particular school district there in Kansas City, it just might help. Officials in Kansas City are saying that one of the reasons they did is that they want to improve quality. They want to get rid of a bunch of schools in order to improve the quality of the ones that they are keeping, and Fred, the federal government is looking for big steps now in deciding who gets that money -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And how much money are we talking about?

LEVS: Well, you know, the whole program has just over $4 billion. Just about half of it is gotta be used for now, so we're talking about $2 billion that's going to be spent for now to some schools -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Josh Levs, thanks so much at the Stimulus Desk.

LEVS: You got it.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate that breakdown.


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