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Education Dept. OKs New Comprehensive Centers for Districts

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Friday it has awarded $56 million for 23 new comprehensive center contracts, expanding the federal technical assistance network for districts.

"These centers will help low-performing schools and districts close the achievement gap," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement on the awards. "They provide valuable support of the administration's P-12 initiatives to ensure that every child is able to receive a high-quality education."

This iteration of the comprehensive network has reorganized the centers dedicated to responding to the technical assistance needs of specific geographic regions, and expanded the number of comprehensive centers which will specialize in specific focus areas. Each comprehensive center must develop a five-year plan to disseminate the best research-based practices to help schools and districts improve student achievement and meet federal education laws.

Comprehensive network veteran WestEd leads the pack with five contracts. It will operate the $1.4 million Center on Standards and Assessments Implementation as well as the $1.4 million Center on School Turnaround. WestEd will also operate three regional comprehensive centers for California, the West and the Mid-Atlantic.

Learning Point Associates, which operated several comprehensive centers in the previous iteration of the network, merged in 2010 with the American Institutes for Research. Now the AIR will run the $2.5 million Center on Great Teachers and Leaders and the $1.4 million Center on College and Career Readiness and Success, as well as the Midwest and Great Lakes regional centers.

In addition, Rutgers University's National Institute for Early Education Research will oversee the $1.4 million Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes. Edvance Research, Inc. will operate the $1.4 million Center on Building State Capacity and Productivity, and Temple University will run the $1.4 million Center on Innovations in Learning.

The regional comprehensive centers are:
• The $2.4 million Appalachia regional center, run by ICF International, serves Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
&bull: The $4.9 million California center is run by WestEd.
• The $3 million Mid-Atlantic center, operated by WestEd, serves Washington, D.C.; Delaware; Maryland; New Jersey; and Pennsylvania.
• The $1.9 million West center, also run by WestEd, serves Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.
• The $1.6 million Central center, operated by the University of Oklahoma, serves Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.
• The $2.3 million Florida and Islands center, operated by the Educational Testing Service, serves Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
• The $3.5 million Great Lakes center, run by the AIR, serves Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.
• The $3 million Midwest center, run by AIR, serves Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
• The $824,988 North Central center, run by the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning, or McREL, serves Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
• The $3.6 million Northeast center, operated by RMC Research Corp., serves Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
• The $1.9 million Northwest center, operated by Education Northwest, serves Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
• The $824,581 Pacific center, run by Pacific Resources for Education in Learning, serves Hawaii, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the Republic of Palau.
• The $2.2 million South Central center, operated by the University of Oklahoma, serves Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
• The $4.4 million Southeast center, run by SEDL (formerly the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory), serves Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
• The $3.9 million Texas center is also operated by SEDL.

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