The United States Department of Education has released its list of the 12 Race to the Top grantee states which have been awarded grants to continue the second year/second phase of their educational improvement projects.
Those states are Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee.
“Race to the Top has sparked dramatic changes, and in only the second year of the program we’re seeing those results reach the classroom,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement released by his office. “Most states have made tremendous strides and met aggressive timelines on work that has the potential to transform public education for years to come. Comprehensive education reform isn’t easy, and a few states have faced major challenges in implementing their plans. As we reach the halfway point, we need to see every state show results.”
The Race to the Top program is a $4.35 billion United States Department of Education contest created to spur innovation and reforms in state and local district K-12 education. It is funded by the ED Recovery Act as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and was announced by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on July 24, 2009. States were awarded points for satisfying certain educational policies, such as performance-based standards for teachers and principals, complying with nationwide standards, promoting charter schools and privatization of education, and computerization.
Each grantee state had to submit a summary of their achievements and challenges that have faced in the previous school year, while outline their proposed reachable milestones for the 2013-14 school year.
According the United States Department of Education, the grantee states have reached several milestones the previous school year. They have implemented unique plans built around Race to the Top’s four assurance areas: implementing college-and-career-ready standards and assessments, building robust data systems to improve instruction, supporting great teachers and school leaders, and turning around persistently low-performing schools. Some states made strategic investments to develop tools and resources for educators, students and parents; launch state-level support networks; or develop additional science, technology, engineering and math – STEM – schools or programs. Others launched new pipelines for teachers and leaders, supported key efforts to turn around low-performing schools, or implemented teacher and principal evaluations to better support educators and inform continuous improvement.
So far, the Race to the Top program has provided 24 states and D.C. with about $5 billion through three phases of the flagship competition and two rounds of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. Last year, the Department launched the first Race to the Top-District program, which will fund 16 applicants – representing 55 school districts across 11 states and D.C. – with close to $400 million to support locally developed plans that will prepare every student to succeed in college and their careers. The Department’s fiscal year 2013 budget requested an additional $850 million for the Race to the Top program to address the unmet demand of states and districts that have demonstrated a commitment to aggressive and comprehensive education reform.