Difference between revisions of "Race to the Top"

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==See also==
==See also==
[http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html
[http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html|''Ed.gov'', "Race to the Top Assessment Program"]

Revision as of 13:12, 13 June 2014

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Glossary of education terms

School district terms
Academic performance
School board
School bond election
School district
Education reform terms
Common Core
No Child Left Behind Act
Race to the Top
Teacher merit pay
See also
School board elections portal

Glossary of education terms

Race to the Top, abbreviated R2T, RTTT or RTT, is a $4.35 billion U.S. Department of Education program designed to spur reforms in state and local district K-12 education. It was 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.[1]

Funding competition

State applications for funding were to be scored on selection criteria worth a total of 500 points. In order of weight, the criteria are[2]:

  • Great Teachers and Leaders (138 total points)
    • Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance (58 points)
    • Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals (25 points)
    • Providing high-quality pathways for aspiring teachers and principals (21 points)
    • Providing effective support to teachers and principals (20 points)
    • Improving the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs (14 points)
  • State Success Factors (125 total points)
    • Articulating state's education reform agenda and local education agency (LEA) participation in it (65 points)
    • Building strong statewide capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain proposed plans (30 points)
    • Demonstrating significant progress in raising achievement and closing gaps (30 points)
  • Standards and Assessments (70 total points)
    • Developing and adopting common standards (40 points)
    • Supporting the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments (20 points)
    • Developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments (10 points)
  • General Selection Criteria (55 total points)
    • Ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charters and other innovative schools (40 points)
    • Making education funding a priority (10 points)
    • Demonstrating other significant reform conditions (5 points)
  • Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools (50 total points)
    • Turning around the lowest-achieving schools (40 points)
    • Intervening in the lowest-achieving schools and LEAs (10 points)
  • Data Systems to Support Instruction (47 total points)
    • Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system (24 points)
    • Using data to improve instruction (18 points)
    • Accessing and using State data (5 points)

In addition to the 485 possible points from the criteria above, the prioritization of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education was worth another fifteen points for a possible total of 500.[2]

The highest scores in the first round belonged to Delaware, with 454.6, and Tennessee with 444.2. The lowest score received was 135.8 for South Dakota in 41st place.[3]


Phase 1 applications for funding were due on January 19, 2010. 40 states applied for funding, as did the District of Columbia. Phase 1 winners were announced on March 29, 2010. The deadline for submitting Phase 2 applications was June 1; phase 2 decisions were announced in September 2010.[2] The U.S. Department of Education awarded two groups of states grants to develop a new generation of tests to be aligned to the Common Core standards. The tests aim to assess students' knowledge of mathematics and English language arts from third grade through high school. The grant totaling approximately $330 million were awarded to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in the amounts of approximately $170 and $160 million respectively.[http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-secretary-education-duncan-announces-winners-competition-improve-student-asse Ed.gov, "U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan Announces Winners of Competition to Improve Student Assessments Two winning applications composed of 44 States and D.C. Win Grants to Fund Assessments Based on Common Core Standards September 2, 2010.[</ref>


Many states took actions to make their applications more competitive. For instance, Illinois lifted a cap on the number of charter schools it allows; Massachusetts made it easier for students in low-performing schools to switch to charters, and West Virginia proposed a merit pay system that includes student achievement in its compensation calculations.[4]

Race to the Top also prompted 48 states to adopt common standards for K-12, which have come to be known as the Common Core State Standards(CCSS).[5] Adoption was accelerated by the August 1, 2010 deadline for adopting common standards, after which states would not receive points toward round two applications. In addition, the White House announced a $350 million federal grant funding the development of assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. States that adopted these standards stood the best chance of winning. This allowed the Department of Education to circumvent federal laws that prohibit the federal government in Washington from interfering in education at the state and local level. Education is traditionally and constitutionally the province of state and local government, but these incentive grants were very helpful in shoring up education budgets in cash-strapped states.[6][7][8]


States were eligible for different funding award buckets depending on their share of the federal population of children between the ages of 5-17. The buckets range from $20–75 million up to the highest phase 1 award range of $350–$700 million. Only the four largest states (California, Texas, Florida, and New York) were eligible for this highest bucket. The majority of first-round applicant states were not expected to receive funding.[9]

Fifteen states as well as the District of Columbia were named as Round 1 Finalists on Thursday, March 4, 2010: Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.[10]

On March 29, 2010, Tennessee and Delaware were named as the only winners of the first round of the Race to the Top; Tennessee received $500 million and Delaware received $100 million. Announcing the winners, Duncan said, "both states have statewide buy-in for comprehensive plans to reform their schools. They have written new laws to support their policies. And they have demonstrated the courage, capacity, and commitment to turn their ideas into practices that can improve outcomes for students."[11] Along with naming the two first round winners, the Department of Education released the complete scoring of each application, with the intention of making the scoring process more transparent and helping states revise their applications to be more competitive for the second round of competition.

Evaluation of program

While many states have sought to comply with application guidelines, the Race to the Top competition has also encountered opposition from incumbents. Two major sources of opposition have been from teachers' unions and those opposed to what they see as interference from the federal government. In explaining why Texas would not be applying for Race to the Top funding, Governor Rick Perry stated, "we would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington."[12]

Critics further contend that the reforms being promoted are unproven or have been unsuccessful in the past. Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, for example, commented that empirical evidence "shows clearly that choice, competition and accountability as education reform levers are not working."[13] Finally, the Economic Policy Institute released a report in April 2010 finding that "the selection of Delaware and Tennessee was subjective and arbitrary, more a matter of bias or chance than a result of these states’ superior compliance with reform policies."[14]

On May 26, 2010, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell withdrew the state from the second round of Race to the Top funding. Virginia had finished 31st out of 41 states in the first round, but McDonnell said that Virginia should apply for the second round as the competition required the use of common education performance standards instead of Virginia's current standards. In fact, the use of common performance standards is not required.[15][16] Although McDonnell supported the Race to the Top program during his campaign for governor,[17] he claimed on his June 1 appearance on MS-NBC that the Race to the Top rules precluded participating states from adopting more rigorous standards in addition to whatever multi-state standards they join.[18][19] However, in some cases, "Race to the Top" regulations award the points even if states adopt standards more rigorous than the optional, common standards.[20]

See also

Ed.gov, "Race to the Top Assessment Program"


  1. "Obama offers 'Race to the Top' contest for schools", The Guardian (London) (January 23, 2008). Retrieved on January 26, 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Race to the Top Program Executive Summary". U.S. Department of Education. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/executive-summary.pdf. Retrieved on January 26, 2010. 
  3. "Race to the Top Phase 1 Final Results". U.S. Department of Education. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase1-applications/score-summary.pdf. Retrieved on March 30, 2010. 
  4. "Vermont sits out first round in Race to the Top competition". Burlington Free Press. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20100125/NEWS02/100124021/Vermont-sits-out-first-round-in-Race-to-the-Top-competition. Retrieved on February 1, 2010. 
  5. "Virginia's stance against national standards is a blow for students", Washington Post (June 5, 2010). Retrieved on 2010-06-15. 
  6. "Higher Standards, Better Tests, Race to the Top". U.S. Dept. of Education. June 15, 2009. http://www.ed.gov/blog/2009/06/higher-standards-better-tests-race-to-the-top/. Retrieved on 2010-06-24. 
  7. "Race to the Top Assessment Program". U.S. Dept. of Education. June 24, 2010. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html. Retrieved on 2010-06-24. 
  8. The Washington Post, "How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution," June 7, 2014
  9. "States Race to Apply for U.S. Education Funds". Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703837004575012860304884840.html. Retrieved on January 26, 2010. 
  10. "Race to the Top Finalists Are Named". Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704187204575101553383922336.html. Retrieved on March 8, 2010. 
  11. "Tennessee, Delaware schools to get Race to the Top funds", CNN. Retrieved on March 29, 2010. 
  12. "Press Releases - Gov. Perry: Texas Knows Best How to Educate Our Students, Texas will not apply for Federal Race to the Top Funding.". Office of Governor Rick Perry. http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/14146/. Retrieved on February 1, 2010. 
  13. Ravitch, Diane (March 14, 2010). "The Big Idea -- it's bad education policy", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on April 23, 2010. 
  14. "LET’S DO THE NUMBERS: Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” Program Offers Only a Muddled Path to the Finish Line". Economic Policy Institute. http://epi.3cdn.net/4835aafd6e80385004_5nm6bn6id.pdf. Retrieved on April 23, 2010. 
  15. Nick Anderson and Rosalind Helderman (March 27, 2010). "Virginia Withdraws from Obama's Race to the Top", Washington Post, p. B4. 
  16. "Race to the Top Program Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions". US Department of Education. May 27, 2010. http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/faq.pdf. Retrieved on 2010-06-11. "Race to the Top does not endorse any particular consortium or set of standards. Criterion (B)(1) specifies characteristics of consortia and standards that earn States points under this criterion." 
  17. Kumar, Anita (June 1, 2010). "McDonnell on MSNBC: Race to the Top too burdensome", Washington Post. 
  18. Garofalo, Pat (June 1, 2010). "McDonnell Falsely Claims That Race To The Top Would Force Virginia To Lower Its Academic Standards". http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/06/01/mcdonnell-makes-things-up/. Retrieved on 2010-06-11. 
  19. "McDonnell on MSNBC: Race to the Top would bring “burdensome” federal standards". http://virginiapolitics.mytimesdispatch.com/index.php/virginiapolitics/comments/mcdonnell_on_msnbc_race_to_the_top_would_bring_burdensome_federal_stan/#comment. Retrieved on 2010-06-11. 
  20. "Overview Information: Race to the Top Fund". Federal Register. November 18, 2009. http://www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/announcements/2009-4/111809c.html. Retrieved on 2010-06-11. "A State may supplement the common standards with additional standards, provided that the additional standards do not exceed 15 percent of the State's total standards for that content area." 

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