Race to the Top: $200 Million Up for Grabs in Round Three

Race to the Top round three starts this week, with nine states eligible to apply for a share of the $200 million fund, says a the Department of Education.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina are now able to submit applications explaining how their Race to the Top plan will successfully include significant investment in advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said:

"Race to the Top round three will enable these nine states to further their reform efforts already underway and help them get better faster."

The application is in two parts. States must first submit portfolios of assurances of state funding for education and efforts to raise academic standards that confirm their commitment to comprehensively reform education across their state.

If the Department of Education approves these assurances, applicants must then provide a detailed plan and budget explaining how the selected reform effort will have a broader impact in supporting student learning and improving STEM education.

These proposals must focus on one of Race to the Top's four core education reform areas:

  • Adopt standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and beyond
  • Build data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals how to improve instruction
  • Recruit, develop, reward and retain effective teachers and principals
  • Turn around persistently lowest-performing schools

Depending on the size of their population, states can apply for between $12 million to $49 million. This would break down as about $12.25 million for Colorado, Louisiana, South Carolina and Kentucky; $17.5 million for Arizona; $28 million for Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey; and $49 million for California.

States must submit part one of their applications by November 22 and part two by December 16. Awards will be announced in late December.

Obama's Race to the Top has been a catalyst for reform and widespread participation with 46 states and the District of Columbia submitting applications between rounds one and two.

The Administration's 2012 budget proposal includes a request to continue investing in K-12 education reform through a $900 million district-level Race to the Top competition.

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