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Originally published November 5, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Page modified November 5, 2012 at 4:01 PM

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Editorial: South King County schools map a course to the top

The Road Map District Consortium, including South King County schools and communities, is proposing a compelling plan to win a Race to The Top grant.

Seattle Times Editorial

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A proposal of bold education reforms for South King County school districts ought to compel federal officials to award this region up to $40 million in federal Race to the Top grant funds.

Seven school districts partnering under the “Road Map District Consortium” are a strong bet for making good on shared goals of improving early learning and preparing more high-school students for college.

The consortium serves King County’s most disadvantaged students, including 70 percent of the county’s poor children, more than two-thirds of its immigrant children and more than half of the county’s students of color.

The grant would pay for summer reading help for every student at high-poverty elementary schools, free PSAT/SAT tests and expanded educational opportunities tied to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Other kinds of support would include guidance counselors, especially in high-needs schools.

A challenge for South King County schools is the high number of families moving in search of jobs or affordable housing.

Some grant funds would be tapped to develop a shared database to more easily track students and share information about their educational needs, so they don’t lose academic ground.

Long-term implications of the grant are exciting. The districts’ teachers unions, the King County Housing Authority and the local tribes have been included in meaningful ways, ensuring an inclusive team primed for future educational priorities.

Race to the Top grants are competitive. Washington state’s first application failed to dream big or bold enough. A smaller bid to improve early learning was successful.

This latest grant application by South King County schools and communities ought to win.

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