Rex: SC is a "walk-on" in Race to the Top competition

South Carolina schools have made it to their own “Sweet 16” in competing for federal  funds. Tuesday was the second major round of competition in the national Race to the Top for what will be a part of $4 billion in education stimulus money.  South Carolina was the second to make a presentation this morning in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Department of Education.

Superintendent Jim Rex led the team, and to continue the analogy, he says South Carolina is an underdog among the 16 finalists, and that may actually be an advantage..

“South Carolina is sort of like a walk-on. In athletics, you have some athletes who are highly recruited and have the best equipment and the best coaches.  Others walk on and make the first string just because of desire and I think South Carolina is a walk-on,” says Rex, a former high school football coach.  After the grueling 90-minute session, Rex says he is cautiously optimistic. He’s proud that the S.C. education team did not accept money from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to prepare the presentation. He says “We feel good about the fact that we wrote this ourselves and I think it served us well. This wasn’t a proposal that some high-priced consultant had put together. This was a proposal that stakeholders in our state, in our public schools as well as the Department of Education, put together and have made a commitment to implement.”